“Switched on Pop”: a sophisticated musical seminar

Sofia Kovalenko, Beat Editor

Ever wonder why new Christmas songs fail? Or why the Beatles have four official versions of “Let It Be” recorded? Or perhaps why “ABBA just hits different”? 

Well, musicologist Nate Sloan and songwriter Charlie Harding are here to tell you in their groovy podcast “Switched on Pop.” 

They have incurred tremendous success with their podcast, not only getting recognized but also getting complimented by major news outlets.

“Filled with sophisticated but accessible discussions…a toolkit for appreciating popular music,” writers of Wall Street Journal said.

This praise is all deserved: their episodes cover a lot of ground—from Britney Spears to Megan Thee Stallion to Johann Sebastian Bach to Leon Bridges—and analyze elements in music that you never would have caught yourself.

In an episode discussing The Weeknd, this podcast deems Dawn FM “his most ambitious and creative album yet.” 

“More than just a collection of eighties-nostalgia single bait,” this album is very planned out on multiple dimensions. It is part of a complex narrative that “picks up where After Hours left off.”

This album tells the story of Abel Tesfaye, a man caught up in fame and success that ends up overdosing in the back of an ambulance. 

At the start of Dawn FM, The Weeknd is driving towards a light at the end of the tunnel, accompanied by pastoral winds and bird sounds to symbolize the spiritual nature of his journey–and the gravity of its finality.

All in all, the album is said to be “the sound of purgatory.”

Not only is this podcast a great way to learn more about the elements of music we all listen to—learning to appreciate it more—but it is also a good place to find music recommendations if you are to find yourself stuck in a genre.