Pop

EP60: Chris Molanphy on George Michael's "Faith" (1987)

| 0 comments
Show: 
Heat Rocks
Guests: 
Chris Molanphy

The Album: George Michael: Faith (1987)

In the fall of 1987, it wasn't a foregone conclusion that George Michael's solo debut, Faith, would be a hit. As successful as Michael had been as half of the Wham! duo, going solo was always going to be a risk but as it turns out, it was one worth taking. Faith turned out to be a runaway hit, not simply a #1 album but spawning four different #1 singles, including the lively title song which became the best-selling song of 1988 in the U.S.

It wasn't without controversy however, especially with conservative outcries against the song, "I Want Your Sex," and its video for being too racy or explicit, all the while Michael, as we learned later, was insinuating hints about his own changing sexual identity into different verses. These were all topics of discussion that came up with our guest, Chris Molanphy, creator and host of the Hit Parade podcast which analyzes chart histories to provide incredibly in-depth discussions about pop music. Chris takes on the sometimes arcane peculiarities of music charts and uses them as a way to jump into far broader discussions about pop trends, figures and transformations. Chris had previous taped an episode of Hit Parade devoted to the parallel careers of Michael and Elton John and he brought that wealth of knowledge to our conversation.

More on Chris Molanphy

More on Faith

Show Tracklisting (all songs from Faith unless indicated otherwise):

  • I Want Your Sex (Parts I & II)
  • Wham!: Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go
  • George Michael: Careless Whisper
  • Hard Day
  • Father Figure
  • I Want Your Sex (Parts I & II)
  • Sinead O'Connor: Nothing Compares 2 U
  • One More Try
  • Hard Day (Shep Pettibone Remix)
  • Hard Day
  • Kissing A Fool
  • Father Figure
  • Hand to Mouth
  • Limp Bizkit: Faith
  • Faith
  • Estelle: No Substitute Love
  • Kissing A Fool

Here is the Spotify playlist of as many songs as we can find on there

If you're not already subscribed to Heat Rocks in Apple Podcasts, do it here!

EP 57: Women Behaving Boldly #4: Ann Powers on Madonna's "Like A Prayer" (1989)

| 0 comments
Show: 
Heat Rocks
Guests: 
Ann Powers

For the fourth installment in our Women Behaving Boldly mini-series, we spin the clock back to an episode we first aired a year ago: Ann Powers, talking about Madonna’s Like a Prayer from 1989. From the beginning, we knew this episode in particular would make a perfect fit with the WBB series. After all, few pop artists, female or male, have done more to transform the pop landscape since the 1980s than Madonna, often times inviting scrutiny and criticism in the process for pushing the proverbial envelope on what people found acceptable by musical artists in that era. And to have Ann Powers, one of the country’s premier music critics, here to break down Madonna’s import was a gift unto itself. If you missed this the first time, we’re excited for you to hear it now. And if you heard it before, revisit this gem from our vaults.

The album: Madonna: Like a Prayer (Sire, 1989)

This week, Morgan and Oliver are joined by Ann Powers of NPR Music and author of the new book, Good Booty: Love and Sex, Black and White, Body and Soul in American Music. Together, the three dug into Like a Prayer, Madonna's critical breakout album form 1989. As Ann lays out, Madonna had already established herself as an MTV-era mega-star with her previous albums but Like a Prayer, with its then-controversial sexual politics and surprising personal candor, marked a new level of artistic ambition.

More on Madonna and Like a Prayer

More on Ann Powers:

Tracklisting (all songs from Like a Prayer unless indicated otherwise):

  • Like a Prayer
  • Madonna: Like a Virgin
  • Till Death Do Us Part
  • Express Yourself
  • Act of Contrition
  • Love Song
  • Cherish
  • Keep it Together
  • Like a Prayer

Here is the Spotify playlist of as many songs as we can find on there
If you're not already subscribed to Heat Rocks in Apple Podcasts, do it here!

EP50: Sidibe on Joni Mitchell's "Court and Spark" (1974)

| 0 comments
Show: 
Heat Rocks
Guests: 
Sidibe

The Album: Joni Mitchell: Court and Spark (1973)

In 1973, Joni Mitchell was in the midst of one of the greatest pop music runs of the decade. By that time, the Canadian-turned-temporary-Angelino had already put out Ladies of the Canyon, Blue and For the Roses, establishing her as one of the very few women that the rock establishment of the era would deign to even recognize. But with Court & Spark, Mitchell showcased her abilities beyond just the folk-rock world by minting a pop album that would become a defining statement of the time and her most successful LP of all time.

To talk about Court & Spark, we had in another transplant to L.A.: singer/songwriter Sidibe. Since moving out here 10 years ago, she's steadily raised her profile, especially after the release of her 2014 EPs, Metaphysical and Soul Siren. Alongside the likes of Anita Baker and Sade, Joni has been a longtime influence and inspiration on Sidibe and during our convo, we discussed Mitchell's vocal gifts, her jazz-rock collaborations on Court & Spark plus a tangential discussions on how bagging groceries might help one get discovered.

More on Sidibe

More on Court & Spark

Show Tracklisting (all songs from Court and Spark unless indicated otherwise):

  • Help Me
  • Sidibe: Unreachable
  • People's Parties
  • The Same Situation
  • Just Like This Train
  • Help Me
  • Joni Mitchell: Sweet Sucker Dance
  • Twisted
  • Raised on Robbery
  • Help Me
  • Sidibe: Love is Stronger Than Pride

Here is the Spotify playlist of as many songs as we can find on there

If you're not already subscribed to Heat Rocks in Apple Podcasts, do it here!

EP49: serpentwithfeet on Björk's "Homogenic" (1997)

| 0 comments
Show: 
Heat Rocks
Guests: 
serpentwithfeet

The Album: Björk: Homegenic (1997)

Josiah Wise aka serpentwithfeet joined us to talk about one of his biggest influences: Björk and 1997 album, Homogenic. First introduced to her as a child, serpentwithfeet found a kindred spirit in the eclectic creativity of the Icelandic star. That especially extends to Homogenic, which, thanks to Björk and producer Mark Bell, would mark a hard turn from the more pop-friendly sounds of Post towards a new, baroque, electronic majesty. Our conversation touched on the mesmerizing nuances of Björk's voice, the album's heavy embrace of dance music, and what it's like to be a fan of an artist when you don't even know what they look like.

More on serpentwithfeet

More on Homegenic

Show Tracklisting (all songs from Homogenic unless indicated otherwise):

  • All is Full of Love
  • Björk: Bænin
  • All Neon Like
  • Björk: Human Behaviour
  • Joga
  • serpentwithfeet: blisters
  • Unravel
  • serpentwithfeet: whisper
  • All is Full of Love
  • Björk: Hidden Place
  • Hunter
  • Immature
  • Bells Atlas: Bachelorette
  • Unravel
  • Erykah Badu: On & On
  • Radiohead: Exit Music (For a Film)
  • Janet Jackson: Got Til it's Gone
  • Missy Elliott: The Rain (Supa Dupa Fly)
  • Roni Size: New Forms
  • Unravel
  • Björk: Pagan Poetry
  • serpentwithfeet: blisters
  • serpentwithfeet: bless ur heart

Here's the Spotify plalist of as many songs as we could find on there
If you're not already subscribed to Heat Rocks in Apple Podcasts, do it here!

EP39: Eliza Skinner on the "Pretty in Pink" soundtrack (1986)

| 0 comments
Show: 
Heat Rocks
Guests: 
Eliza Skinner

The Album: Pretty In Pink Soundtrack (1986)

Actress and comedian Eliza Skinner is part of the brand new Maximum Fun scripted comedy show, Bubble, and hosts her own music podcast, Cool Playlist. For her guest spot on Heat Rocks, she wanted to revisit one of the iconic soundtracks of the 1980s: Pretty in Pink. The film is a key part of the John Hughes pantheon, alongside The Breakfast Club, 16 Candles and Ferris Bueller's Day Off and arguably boasts the most storied soundtrack of all of them, including now-classics that were written expressly for the film such as OMD's "If You Leave" and Echo and Bunnymen's "Bring On the Dancing Horses," and of course, the reworked, sax-ified version of the Psychedelic Furs' "Pretty In Pink."

Eliza and us discussed how soundtracks can create an invented nostalgia for a time we never knew, what lesser known tracks off this album still bump, and why Ducky really didn't deserve to belong with Andie.

(That said, Ducky did kill it during his "Try a Little Tenderness" scene)

More on the Pretty In Pink soundtrack: 

More on Eliza Skinner:

Show Tracklisting (all songs from Pretty In Pink unless indicated otherwise):

  • Pretty in Pink
  • If You Leave
  • Left of Center
  • Simple Minds: Don't You (Forget About Me)
  • The Barden Bellas: Bellas Finals: Price Tag/ Don't You (Forget About Me)
  • Get to Know Ya
  • Prince: Kiss
  • Prince: Purple Rain
  • Deniece Williams: Let's Hear it for the Boy
  • Modern English: I Melt with You
  • Pretty in Pink
  • Wouldn't it be Good
  • Otis Redding: Try a Little Tenderness
  • New Order: Thieves Like Us (Instrumental)
  • If You Leave
  • Please Please Please Let Me Get What I Want
  • Wouldn't it be Good
  • Here's the Spotify playlist of as many of the songs above as we can find on there.

If you're not already subscribed to Heat Rocks in Apple Podcasts, do it here!

EP32: Justin Simien on Michael Jackson's "HIStory" (1995)

| 0 comments
Show: 
Heat Rocks
Guests: 
Justin Simien

The album: Michael Jackson: HIStory: Past, Present and Future: Book 1 (1995)

Justin Simien, whose Dear White People is just beginning its second season on Netflix, came through to join us live for another Voyager Institute collaboration. By sheer coincidence, our last VI event took on Janet Jackson's Rhythm Nation and here we are again, working our way through another Jackson family LP. (Can LaToya be too far behind?)

HIStory, as our crew points out, is an odd duck in the vaunted Jackson discography. Though it was enormously successful – the best selling double album of all time (especially since disc one was a "Greatest Hits" anthology) – it tends to have been overlooked given all the controversy swirling around MJ in that era. He had already been tried and acquitted on child molestation charges but his marriage to Lisa Marie Presley was still tabloid catnip and all this resulted in him recording, to quote Morgan: his most "pissed" off album, ever. This, and more, was all fodder for our conversation. But before you even listen, you have to watch the trailer for HIStory:

Meanwhile, don't forget to listen to last week's episode, about Michael Jackson's Off the Wall, featuring Martin Perna!

More on HIStory

More on Justin Simien

Show Tracklisting (all songs from HIStory unless indicated otherwise):

  • “Money”
  • “Scream”
  • Janet Jackson: Got Till It’s Gone “Got Till It’s Gone”
  • “This Time Around Feat. Biggie Smalls”
  • “You Are Not Alone”
  • “Stranger In Moscow”
  • “Childhood”
  • Michael Jackson: Bad “Leave Me Alone”
  • “They Don’t Really Care About Us”
  • “Tabloid Junkie”
  • Michael Jackson: Thriller “Someone In The Dark”

If you're not already subscribed to Heat Rocks in Apple Podcasts, do it here!

EP31: Martín Perna on Michael Jackson's "Off the Wall" (1980)

| 0 comments
Show: 
Heat Rocks
Guests: 
Martín Perna

The album: Michael Jackson: Off The Wall (1979)

Martín Perna of Antibalas wanted to revisit one of the formative albums of his childhood: Michael Jackson's Off The Wall. For many MJ fans, this is the king of pop's greatest work, a clear statement that he was now fully out of the shadow of the Jackson 5 and, along with super-producer Quincy Jones, ready to remake American pop music as we know it.

Perna not only brought his memories of growing up, mesmerized by the cover of the album, but his multi-instrumentalist also broke down some of the secrets behind the production on the album. Even for deep fans, there's something to learn, and for everyone else, you get to hear from one of the great pop albums of all time. (And if you haven't heard it before, check out this incredible demo version of "Don't Stop 'Till You Get Enough")

Next week's episode is also about Michael Jackson as director Justin Simien (Dear White People) joins us to talk about MJ's HIStory (1995).

And look for a bonus beats episode to post soon that features Perna and us talking about the never-ending "Off the Wall vs. Thrillerdebate.

More on Off the Wall

More on Martín Perna

Show Tracklisting (all songs from Off the Wall unless indicated otherwise):

  • “Off The Wall”
  • Antibalas: Antibalas “Dirty Money”
  • The Wiz “You Can’t Win”
  • “She’s Out of my Life”
  • Jackson 5: ABC “ABC”
  • “Get On The Floor”
  • “Don’t Stop Till You Get Enough”
  • “I Can’t Help It”
  • Fela Kuti: Upside Down “Upside Down”
  • “Rock With You”
  • “Burn This Disco Out”
  • “It’a The Falling In Love”
  • “Girlfriend”

If you're not already subscribed to Heat Rocks in Apple Podcasts, do it here!

Pop Rocket Episode 163: Hail to the Matriarchy

| 0 comments
Show: 
Pop Rocket

This week, Guy and the gang talk about their favorite first ladies and lady presidents in movies and TV. Is there a fictional first lady that ISN'T some kind of commentary on Hillary? What kind of media would we like to see about the Obamas? When will Melania spill the tea? Plus, Margaret's baby makes his first podcast appearance, Wynter discusses Chris Rock's Netflix special, Guy talks Queer Eye, and the panel has a conversation on Parkland and Emma Gonzalez' speech on gun control.

With Guy Branum, Wynter Mitchell, Karen Tongson and Margaret Wappler.

That’s My Jam:

Margaret Wappler - Tammy Wynette - Stand By Your Man
Karen Tongson and Wynter Mitchell- Kendrick Lamar feat. SZA - All the Stars
Guy Branum - Angela Lansbury in The Manchurian Candidate

Each week we’ll add everyone’s jams to our Spotify playlists.

You can let us know what you think of Pop Rocket and suggest topics in our Facebook group or via @PopRocket on Twitter.

Produced by Christian Dueñas for MaximumFun.org.

Pop Rocket Episode 162: Pop Rocket is for Lovers with Dave White

| 0 comments
Show: 
Pop Rocket
Guests: 
Dave White

Karen Tongson takes over hosting duties this week and film critic Dave White joins the panel to discuss all things Valentine's Day. Who are our favorite TV couples? Are rom coms over? What couple do our panelists aspire to be like? Plus, Karen talks the Winter Olympics, Dave tells us about his new favorite chef, and Wynter has a few more words on Versace.

With Karen Tongson, Wynter Mitchell, and Dave White.

That's My Jam:

Karen Tongson - The Shins - Heartworms (Flipped)
Wynter Mitchell - Justin Timberlake - Filthy
Dave White - Trina - Pull Over

Each week we’ll add everyone’s jams to our Spotify playlists.

You can let us know what you think of Pop Rocket and suggest topics in our Facebook group or via @PopRocket on Twitter.

Produced by Christian Dueñas for MaximumFun.org.

Pop Rocket Episode 161: That's What I Do!

| 0 comments
Show: 
Pop Rocket
Guests: 
Guy Branum
Guests: 
Margaret Wappler
Guests: 
Karen Tongson

This week, Guy and the gang discuss different representations of their respective careers in pop culture. How accurately is stand up comedy portrayed in Seinfeld? Are the lives of archaeology professors anywhere near as interesting as Indiana Jones'? Does ER do a good job of showing the process of having a baby? Plus, Karen talks The Alienist, Margaret gets into more podcasts, and Guy is in love with One Day at a Time.

With Guy Branum, Wynter Mitchell, Karen Tongson and Margaret Wappler.

That’s My Jam:

Margaret Wappler - First Aid Kit - America
Karen Tongson - Matthew Wilder - Break My Stride
Guy Branum - The comedy of Bob Smith

Each week we’ll add everyone’s jams to our Spotify playlists.

You can let us know what you think of Pop Rocket and suggest topics in our Facebook group or via @PopRocket on Twitter.

Produced by Christian Dueñas for MaximumFun.org.

Syndicate content