Song Exploder Live


Deconstruct now. Ask me how.

Who doesn’t love a good deconstruction? Strip away the layers. Examine each for their presumptions and intent. Reveal the order underneath.

Granted you may not love diagramming a sentence or examining institutional hierarchies as much as this girl, but can you deny the pleasure of craft—seeing a master chef, designer, or filmmaker make all the little decisions that go into creating something that, god willing, is greater than the sum of its parts?

The Song Exploder podcast geniusly deconstructs a single song with each episode. Host Hrishikesh Hirway invites the artists involved in creating a song to break it down, isolating its instruments and effects.

While vaguely indie-leaning, the podcast keeps its genre allegiances as eclectic as any contemporary listener’s, spotlighting everything from The Postal Service’s “The District Sleeps Alone Tonight” to Ghostface Killah’s “The Battlefield.” Each episode takes on a slightly different feel as well, with some offering hardcore gearhead geekery and others delving deep into the influences that informed a song.

At the end of each episode, the song you’ve just heard broken down into its constituent parts is played in full. Turns out all that process talk doesn’t rob the songs of their magic. Composition is only part math after all. The artistry and alchemy is still front and center.

While each episode is only 15 minutes long, Song Exploder fans in Austin and Chicago still have a chance to catch an hour-long version of the podcast live with guests Will Butler of Arcade Fire and American Football respectively. If you live in one of these fine towns, check out the shows. If not, there are plenty of episodes to catch up on.

And, check out BBC’s Soul Music while you’re at it. They haven’t thrown up any new episodes in awhile, but their heartbreaking examinations of songs by the people who created them, popularized them, and loved them will get you every time. (Really, if you need to cry, there’s no better place to go than their “Don’t Leave Me This Way” episode. Emotional blackmail, but the best kind.)

Enjoy the chatter.