Saying Bye Bye Bye to Lou Pearlman
Matthew Ducey joins us once again for the thrilling conclusion to the Lou Pearlman story. In addition to fleecing two of the biggest singing groups of all time, Lou is also responsible for one of the biggest Ponzi schemes in American history. The commission of which takes us on an international manhunt. All this and more, this week on Lyrics for Lunch.
April 22, 2022
Special ep: The Lou Pearlman Story with guest Matthew Ducey
This week, for our extra spectacular 50th episode, we are joined by Matthew Ducey, producer of The Boyband Con: The Lou Pearlman Story. In this long awaited episode, we discuss the rise of Lou Pearlman, creator (and sixth member) of the Backstreet Boys, N*Sync, LFO, O-Town, and many more bands. We explore Pearlman's humble beginnings from bling crashing and insurance fraud to becoming one of the biggest record producers of all time. And it's all thanks to a chance encounter with New Kids on the Block. Now that's what we call, the Right Stuff.
April 08, 2022
Listen to this RIGHT HERE, RIGHT NOW
What does a 1991 chart-topper from a bunch of British skater bois with a real Jordan Catalano vibe have to do with Romania's Christmas revolution? Thank you for asking, we will tell you -- this week, when we go deep into the inspiration behind Jesus Jones' revolutionary hit, "Right Here, Right Now."
March 25, 2022
The Band, "The Weight," and the Power of Folklore
How did The Band go from an anonymous backing group to international stardom -- attracting enough attention in a few short years to inspire an iconic Rolling Stone Cover and culminating with a critically acclaimed Martin Scorsese documentary still revered as one of the most beloved concert films of all time? Where do we draw the line between American idealism and complete poserdom ... and should we? All this and more, this week, as we dive into the meaning behind the Band's most epochal tune.
March 18, 2022
Shine on You Crazy Diamonds — Pink Floyd, Syd Barrett, and the Dark Side of Everything
Was Roger Waters a tributarian to one of his best comrades and band mates? Or simply a greedy opportunist looking to make a buck off of someone else’s back? This week we uncover the many phases of the (Pink Floyd) moon (aviv will hate this copy) with special (spiritual) appearances from both of our fathers. Shine on!
March 11, 2022
Right Pnere, Right Pnau - “Cold Heart” Elton John, Dua Lipa, PNAU Remix
What do you get when you combine an Australian DJ trio, Dua Lipa, Elton John, Elton John, Elton John and Elton John? A 28 week chart-topper. This week Aviv and Lindsay examine the strange alchemy that became Cold Heart. How is Toni Collette involved? Who exactly is a discount Sam Elliott? All this and more, this week.
March 04, 2022
Who sings the 1997 hit "Bitch"? with special guest Amory Sivertson
Are you a bitch? a mother? a goddess under cover? Do you know where there this earworm of empowerment even came from? Did you think it was Alanis Morissette? This week, we welcome guest host Amory Sivertson of the Endless Thread podcast to enlighten us about the origins of Meredith Brooks’ angsty ode to feminine multiplicity. We know you wouldn't want it any other way.
February 25, 2022
What's the Frequency, Kenneth?
What do time travel, tinfoil hats, Russian TV, Dan Rather, and the plot of Twelve Monkeys all have in common? This episode, of course. Listen this week as we uncover the many mysteries surrounding one of R.E.M.'s most popular jams.
February 18, 2022
Paris Hilton's "Stars Are Blind" is a Time Capsule to the 2000s
Even though the gods are crazy, even though the stars are blind, the real story of Paris Hilton and this fantastical summer bop is gonna blow... your... mind.
February 11, 2022
The Dark Side of "Dancing in the Moonlight"
Think 1973's "Dancing in the Moonlight" is a carefree ode to body moving? Think again. Its origins are much more sinister than "feeling warm and feeling bright." Consider yourselves warned.
February 04, 2022
"Smells Like Teen Spirit" and Axe Body Spray
Why did Nirvana hate their biggest song? Well, you know. Or do you.
January 28, 2022
Anyway, Here's Wonderwall
In the 90s, Britpop was ruled by what was unironically called the Big Four: Blur, Suede, Pulp ... and Oasis. The latter, led by brothers Liam and Noel Gallagher, might have gone nearly a bazillion times platinum, but they're perhaps a little lesser known for their seemingly never-ending very belligerent, very aggressive, very public feuding — mostly with each other; but you wouldn't say they ever pulled a punch at ... anyone who ever came into their bleary-eyed view. But who was the Manic Pixie Wonderwall? And how caddy did the fighting get and why? What happened when they messed with Jay-Z? Should the brothers formerly known as Oasis have their own Bravo TV show? All this — plus, why Liam Gallagher might be our new favorite Twitter troll, as 90s January continues this week on Lyrics for Lunch.
January 21, 2022
"Baby Got Back" Got A Lot to Unpack
In 1992, Sir Mix-A-Lot's ode to big butts seemed catchy, lighthearted, silly, and fun. But if you ask the Sir himself, he'll tell you we got it all (mostly) wrong. Thirty years later, we reflect on what the song did for body image despite the track's overtly misogynistic messaging — and how Mr. Mix gave name to an entire generation of Beckys who eventually grew up to become Karen.
January 14, 2022
Does Anybody Remember Tubthumping?
This is the story of 8 anarchist punks squatting in an empty house in Leeds, playing in a band and picked up by a major record label. Listen to find out what happens when people stop being polite, and start Tubthumping.
January 07, 2022
Hold Us Closer Tiny Dancer
In the wake of 2022, we look back at an epic song that transcends generations. What is it about Elton John's 1971 sleeper hit "Tiny Dancer" that has stuck with us all these years? On this eve of a new one, we give thanks to Cameron Crowe's film Almost Famous for putting Tiny Dancer on the map, helping it finally earn its rightful place in history. But what does all this have to do with New Years Eve? And who is the OG Tiny Dancer? We've got the story behind the storied song. We hope you've all enjoyed yourselves. And we'll see you all again, in ... 2022. And for all you superfans, here's the video for Hitchcock Blonde: https://vimeo.com/159226004 HAPPY NEW YEAR.
December 31, 2021
Accidentally the Worst Song of All Time? "Accidental Racist" by Brad Paisley ft. LL Cool J
This week, Aviv gives Lindsay the best gift of all: the knowledge that this song exists, Accidental Racist by Brad Paisley and LL Cool J. How could this have happened? Is it possible that a song *on its face* allegedly meant to promote racial understanding does way more harm than good? Spoilers: YES. And what does all this have to do with Cracker Barrel? We have the unfortunate details.
December 17, 2021
"We Are the World" — Behind the Scenes of the Hit that Raised Over 60 Million to Fight Hunger
In 1985, more than 45 of pop music's biggest stars got together for one wild night that would churn out a recording that would ultimately raise more than $60 million to fight hunger in Africa. Lionel Ritchie, Michael Jackson, Dionne Warwick, Tina Turner, Billy Joel, Cyndi Lauper, Bruce Springsteen, Bob Dylan, Ray Charles — it was a who's who of Billboard's top performers. This massive collaboration represented the best that music had to offer and the best America had to offer .... which was a muddled message, a pantheon of big egos, and uncertainty as to whether they'd helped anyone at all. This week, we welcome comedian and podcast host Kyndra Crump to share the devilish details — right down to Michael Jackson's socks.
December 10, 2021
Oh My Darling Nikki
This week we're discussing the song that Diffuser once said "almost led to the downfall of society" — Prince's "Darling Nikki." How could a little song about female empowerment and public masturbation cause so much uproar? If you don't know, then you clearly haven't been paying attention. As the supreme court prepares to dismantle Roe V. Wade, we bring you different kinds of oppression: censorship and sexual repression. With appearances from Tipper Gore, Dave Grohl, George Harrison, Frank Zappa, and John Denver, this episode runs the musical gamut to tell you the story of how we got those pesky parental advisory labels and how we can all blame capitalism, the patriarchy, and white supremacy in the end.
December 03, 2021
Ace of Base's "The Sign" is Ruined Forever
This week, Aviv ruins another childhood favorite of Lindsay's: Ace of Base. How much of their sound do they owe to the reggae band that practiced next door to them? What made their lead singer want to give up touring? And just how many of them were white nationalists? We’ve got the upsetting details.
November 26, 2021
Taylor Swift is Breaking the Internet “All Too Well” — With Special Guest Elayna Harrison
You'd be hard pressed to ignore that something is going on with Taylor Swift this week. The release of her re-recorded 2012 album Red (Taylor's Version) last Friday — complete with 14 never released tracks and a 10-minute version of fan-favorite heartbreak anthem "All Too Well" — sent Swiftie's on a tizzy of epic proportion. And in classic Swift "Style," Queen Tay did not disappoint: surprise dropping a short film, a new music video directed by Blake Lively, and in the time between recording this episode and uploading it, a #sadgirlautumn version of "All Too Well" featuring The National's Aaron Dessner. But why is Taylor re-recording her first 6 albums in the first place? And why is everyone so worried about the mental health of notorious scarf thief Jake Gyllenhaal? We've got the whole scoop — plus the inside story from our special guest, musician Elayna Harrison, one of the lucky few Swiftie's invited to the secret All Too Well film premier. I think it’s safe to say we Need to Calm Down.
November 19, 2021
Ladies and Gentlemen of the Imploding Planet Earth, Wear Sunscreen
In 1999, alongside Y2K hysteria, an unlikely chart-topper was also sweeping the globe: a five-minute-long spoken-word pop hymn that earnestly dispensed life advice of the "Live, Laugh, Love" ilk. Something about the song's message -- guised as a commencement address delivered by what could have been your crazy, old uncle -- resonated with humanity in a way that no one could have predicted. "Everybody's Free to Wear Sunscreen" charted alongside songs like LEN's "Steal My Sunshine," Backstreet Boys' "I Want it That Way," Vengaboys' "We Like to Party," and Ricky Martin's "Livin' La Vida Loca." But who wrote it? Was it Baz Luhrmann, who the song is credited to? Or was it based off a commencement address given in 1997 by Slaugherhouse-Five author Kurt Vonnegut as the freshly oiled Internet machine would suggest? This week, we've got the full story, as we take an honest look at an unlikely earworm still echoing through the hearts and minds of those who came of age in the new millennium.
November 12, 2021
Let Them Eat Pancakes: Rich Girl, Satan, Stockholm, and the Son of Sam
With Lindsay on vacation in Mexico, this week Aviv is joined by very special guest Alex Ronallo (@alroxro on Twitter) as he dives into Hall and Oates' 1976 #1 single, "Rich Girl." Did Darryl Hall make a deal with the devil for a number one? Why is there a box of Ritz Crackers on the cover of the record? Should the song be called Ritz Girl? And what does all this have to do with a Chicagoland pancake house, famous kidnapped heiress Patty Hearst, and notorious serial killer David Berkowitz? Find out this week on a Lindsay-less Lyrics for Lunch.
November 05, 2021
"Blurred Lines": The Rapey R&B Groove that Just Can't Stop Implicating Itself
In 2013, Robin Thicke catapulted to stardom with an R&B single that spent 16 weeks at number 1 — becoming the biggest hit of the entire year. Mired in controversy from the get-go, the song (and its x-rated video) was quickly recognized for its creepy, coercive sexual messaging and banned by everyone from student unions to YouTube. Eight years later, after a nearly decade-long copyright battle with the Marvin Gaye estate, the song is in the news once again thanks to a leaked excerpt from a forthcoming collection of essays from "Blurred Lines" supermodel Emily Ratajkowski revealing that Thicke not only wrote a song promoting sexual assault (...or did he?), he also committed it on the "Blurred Lines" video set. Did all these "blurred lines" spawn a feminist movement? We think not, but the UK's Telegraph isn't so sure. Plus! Aviv gets his mind blown by the second-biggest single of 2013 — Macklemore & Ryan Lewis's "Thrift Shop" (smells like R. Kelly's sheets!). YOU KNOW YOU WANT IT!
October 29, 2021
The Saga of "You Are My Sunshine"
Thanks to listener Jenna for writing in with this week's song suggestion! In this episode, Aviv and Lindsay discuss one of the most recognizable songs of all time, "You Are My Sunshine." Despite its familiarity, the song has 5 verses that are much harder to recall. The authorship of the yodely lullaby is most often credited to two-time Louisiana Governor Jimmie Davis, but the song's true origin is a bit more of a mystery. We're here to take you on the long journey of the song's history and the psychological reasons we sing sad songs like this to our kids!
October 22, 2021
Aerosmith, Armageddon, and "I Don't Want to Miss a Thing"
In 1998, Ben Affleck brandished brand-new pearly whites in an end-of-the-world asteroid movie so nice they made it twice (well, kind of). Despite having more plot holes than questionable one-liners, the apocalyptic blockbuster earned over $553 million globally. The movie's theme song, surprisingly inspired by a certain gay icon's heterosexual romance, spent 77 weeks on the charts. This week, we've got the scoop on how arena rock band Aerosmith finally made its way to number 1 after decades of not-quite-number-1 hits -- and all it took was Steven Tyler sweetly serenading his daughter while she made love to a cookie.
October 15, 2021
Al Gore loves the Macarena
What do you get when you cross a pair of middle-aged former bullfighters, a Venezuelan flamenco dancer, the casual racism of corporate radio, and choreography that "even a child with no sense of rhythm" could perform? Only one of the biggest singles of all time! This week on Lyrics for Lunch, we dive into the strange, twisty, contradictory history of "The Macarena." More than 25 years later, who is responsible for the song's popularity? And why is it definitely Al Gore? We've got answers.
October 08, 2021
Hey, ya "Hey Ya" fans, you know what to doooo
What's cooler than being cool? How about an infectious dance track that took a double-album triple platinum in a month flat, simultaneously becoming the first song to ever reach a million downloads on iTunes? This week, we break this thing down for just a few seconds: How OutKast's "Hey Ya" inspired a generation to shake it like a Polaroid picture, blissfully ignoring a not-so-hidden message about the bleak state of modern love. Guest appearances by Rosario Dawson, the Beatles, Woody Allen (regrettably), Ryan Phillippe, and of course, all Beyoncés and Lucy Lius .... you know what do.
October 01, 2021
The Great Grime Divide (w/Guest Sonja Cori Missio)
Grime (not to be confused with Canadian music sensation Grimes) is the edgy electronic style of rap music that emerged in London in the early 2000s as an evolution of the city's garage music scene of the 1990s. But lately, the genre has seen a bit of a resurgence across the pond in the Great White North — thanks to known Anglophile and pride of Toronto, Drake. For this week's episode we invited very special guest Sonja Cori Missio (writer, music academic, and fellow Torontonian) to school us about the underground scene and the energetic sound that boasts 140 beats per minute. And we always mind our Ps and Qs.
September 24, 2021
“Wonderful Tonight”— the Conclusion of Eric Clapton Being Utterly Wretched and Reprehensible
The tumultuous story of Eric and Pattie reaches its gut-wrenching conclusion with Clapton's miserable "love" song, "Wonderful Tonight." It won't be the last song Eric writes about Pattie, but it will be the worst. This week, we find out how Eric managed to survive the 70s and 80s and only impregnate two women who weren't his wife. Then, after Eric and Pattie finally split (good riddance), we discover Eric Clapton's true love—racism. Buckle up, babes.
September 17, 2021
"Layla" Unplugged — Irreconcilable Differences
Murder! Manipulation! Beatle affairs! Golden brown! The horror continues this week as we look, maybe a little too close, at how Eric Clapton's adulterous anthem became all he ever dreamed of and more.
September 10, 2021
How to Steal Your Best Friend's Wife — "Layla" pt. 1
In January 1966, model/photographer Pattie Boyd married George Harrison at the height of the Beatles' popularity. They moved into a dope house, went to India to meditate, and did other fun Beatley things. So then how did a heroin-addicted philanderer (spoilers, it's Eric Clapton) convince Boyd into leaving her marriage? We've got this story and more this week as we embark on the unsettling tale of how Eric Clapton's best-known song came to be.
September 03, 2021
Hey There Delilah: What's It Like Bearing the Weight of My Long-Distance Crush? [Update]
This week, Aviv takes us through the tale of 2006's "Hey There Delilah" (soon to have its own TV show adaptation). In 2002, only three years after a near-fatal car crash, Plain White T's singer Tom Higgenson met Delilah DiCrescenzo through a mutual friend. Tom was interested, Delilah wasn't, but as their relationship transitioned to AOL Instant Messenger, Tom promised to write Delilah a song that would get them both invited to the Grammys. Little did either of them know that Tom's prediction would come true. "Hey There Delilah" became a number one hit in the summer of 2007, and with it Delilah kissed her anonymity goodbye. Depending on who you ask, and when, this was either a dream come true or a nightmare. And what would Delilah's longtime boyfriend Will have to say (and do we even care)? Don't forget to enter our giveaway to win the vinyl record of your choice from @newtownbookandrecordx at @lyricsforlunch on Instagram!
August 28, 2021
"My Heart Will Go On" Goes On
The conclusion of our Titanic double header! In 1996, an Australian newspaper printed a letter claiming that the Titanic never sank at all -- that it was her nearly identical sister ship, the Olympic, which was purposefully derailed as part of an insurance scam. Twenty-five years later, the rumor still runs rampant on TikTok, reddit, and all the places conspiracy theories lurk. But could it be true? We've got all the details and the answer to one burning question: Which ship sank? The Titanic or the Olympic?
August 20, 2021
Celine’s Titanic love ballad “My Heart Will Go On”
In the late 90s, Titanic broke the bank (and our hearts and brains) before becoming the highest grossing film of its time. But Jack and Rose’s epic love story was never supposed to end with a sappy pop song. Or was it? This week: Studio feuds, the tyranny of James Cameron, the rise of Celine Dion, and the real centenarian who inspired the multi-platinum single that helped carry Cameron’s blockbuster to box office billions.
August 13, 2021
Famous Monsters: Phil Spector (Part 2) "To Know Him is to Love Him"
This week, the conclusion of the Phil Spector story. Murder! Wigs! Murder and wigs! We get into the life and crimes of Famous Monster Phil Spector including the abuse of his wife Veronica Bennett of the Ronnettes, and, of course, the 2003 murder of actor Lana Clarkson, of which Spector was found guilty of in 2009. But the fun doesn't stop there. We explore his musical evolution from one of his first singles: To Know Him Is To Love Him, to his masterpiece: River Deep, Mountain High, to his final production: his third wife Rachelle Spector's here in my heart, off of her 2010 album "Out of My Chelle." Sources: https://www.songfacts.com/facts/the-righteous-brothers/youve-lost-that-lovin-feelin https://societyofrock.com/the-story-behind-youve-lost-that-lovin-feelin-by-the-righteous-brothers/ https://www.wsj.com/articles/SB10001424052702303343404577519042622092010 https://www.britannica.com/art/blue-eyed-soul https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2019/08/14/magazine/music-black-culture-appropriation.html?mtrref=www.google.com&gwh=73F0357B264979EEE94F8CD7E0EAF8D7&gwt=pay&assetType=PAYWALL https://www.bbc.com/culture/article/20200811-why-be-my-baby-is-the-perfect-pop-song https://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=8993130 https://www.grunge.com/258491/the-tragic-real-life-story-of-ronnie-spector/ https://www.the-sun.com/news/2166243/phil-spector-ronnie-spector-assassinate-stage-gold-coffin/ https://www.theguardian.com/music/2019/dec/12/ronnie-spector-i-love-metoo-and-times-up-because-mens-time-is-up https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/evil-deeds/201303/dangerous-genius-the-rise-and-fall-phil-spector https://www.theguardian.com/world/2009/apr/14/phil-spector-lana-clarkson-murder https://www.biography.com/musician/phil-spector https://www.npr.org/2021/01/17/528954909/phil-spector-legendary-record-producer-and-convicted-murderer-has-died-at-81 https://www.npr.org/2021/01/17/528954909/phil-spector-legendary-record-producer-and-convicted-murderer-has-died-at-81 https://www.nytimes.com/2021/01/17/arts/music/phil-spector-dead.html
August 06, 2021
Famous Monsters: You've Lost That Lovin' Feeling (Part 1)
In the mid-1960s, the success of the Four Tops’ first Motown single “Baby I Need Your Loving” was the envy of an evil genius who responded by puppetmastering the Righteous Brothers' chart-topper "You've Lost That Lovin' Feeling"—and just like that "Blue Eyed Soul" was born. This week in the continuation of our Famous Monsters series: The appropriation of soul music, Phil Spector's Wall of Sound, the McMartin preschool trial, and ... a Karen murder. Sources: https://www.songfacts.com/facts/the-righteous-brothers/youve-lost-that-lovin-feelin https://societyofrock.com/the-story-behind-youve-lost-that-lovin-feelin-by-the-righteous-brothers/ https://www.wsj.com/articles/SB10001424052702303343404577519042622092010 https://www.britannica.com/art/blue-eyed-soul https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2019/08/14/magazine/music-black-culture-appropriation.html?mtrref=www.google.com&gwh=73F0357B264979EEE94F8CD7E0EAF8D7&gwt=pay&assetType=PAYWALL https://www.bbc.com/culture/article/20200811-why-be-my-baby-is-the-perfect-pop-song https://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=8993130 https://www.grunge.com/258491/the-tragic-real-life-story-of-ronnie-spector/ https://www.the-sun.com/news/2166243/phil-spector-ronnie-spector-assassinate-stage-gold-coffin/ https://www.theguardian.com/music/2019/dec/12/ronnie-spector-i-love-metoo-and-times-up-because-mens-time-is-up https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/evil-deeds/201303/dangerous-genius-the-rise-and-fall-phil-spector https://www.theguardian.com/world/2009/apr/14/phil-spector-lana-clarkson-murder https://www.biography.com/musician/phil-spector https://www.npr.org/2021/01/17/528954909/phil-spector-legendary-record-producer-and-convicted-murderer-has-died-at-81 https://www.npr.org/2021/01/17/528954909/phil-spector-legendary-record-producer-and-convicted-murderer-has-died-at-81 https://www.nytimes.com/2021/01/17/arts/music/phil-spector-dead.html
July 30, 2021
Hallelujah! It's the Shrek Song — Part 2
This week, we look at how Leonard Cohen's most-popular work was co-opted by pop-culture to become the poster song for Big Emotional Moments and Sad Montages everywhere. Plus!—An update on the long-lost versus (hint, there are more than 15!), Aviv's dad tells a Bible story, and why author Alan Light calls "Hallelujah" a musical Rorschach test. Some additional sources: Michael Barthel Alan Light The Forward New York Times
July 23, 2021
Hallelujah, it's the Shrek Song — Part 1
How Leonard Cohen's initially rejected, melancholic tribute to love, sex, euphoria, and disappointment became the poster song for Big Emotional Moments everywhere. In part one of this two-part series, we look at the inception of Cohen's most-famous work, the meaning behind his iconic lyrics, how the many verses came to be, and how, over the span of four decades, the song has become one of the most performed standards of all time.
July 16, 2021
Famous Monsters Part 2: I Desire to Whip It — Devo's Satirical Stuntery and the Man Who Shot Reagan
In the second edition of our Famous Monsters series (with Lindsay's mic still haunted by the ghost of Charles Manson) we do a deep Devo dive into the art-rock band responsible for the 80s megahit "Whip It." Forged in the wake of the Kent State massacre, Devo weirded out audiences for years before their biggest success was inspired by Roy Orbison, Thomas Pynchon's novel Gravity's Rainbow, and the drummer for Captain Beefheart. For their next album, however, Devo would find their strangest collaborator yet—would-be Reagan assassin John Hinckley. Additional sources: https://dangerousminds.net/comments/de-evolution_devo_talks_groupies_the_gop_and_the_future https://www.salon.com/2017/09/16/33-13-devo-excerpt/ https://www.vice.com/en/article/43p97n/devo-mark-mothersbaugh-gerald-casale-anniversary-interview-2018 https://www.spin.com/2010/07/secret-history-devo/ https://www.rollingstone.com/music/music-news/devo-sixties-idealists-or-nazis-and-clowns-119053/
July 09, 2021
Famous Monsters Part 1: The Beach Boys and the Manson Murders
In 1968, a chance encounter set off a chain reaction that led to (arguably) the most famous murder in american history. This encounter also led to the 1968 Beach Boys track "Never Learn Not To Love," a song credited to Dennis Wilson, brother of Beach Boys wunderkind Brian Wilson. However, the truth behind the song is far more sinister--first written by Charles Manson. Today we discuss the tragedy of the Wilson Brothers and the bizarre truth of how they contributed to the Manson Family’s Helter Skelter--in the first episode of a mini-series we’re calling Famous Monsters
July 02, 2021
What Gives Toto's "Africa" its Staying Power?
In the early '80s, yacht rock group Toto needed a hit or else risk being dropped by its record label. Keyboardist David Paich, allegedly inspired by his catholic upbringing and late-night Africa documentaries, penned much of what would become Toto's biggest hit in less than ten minutes. But is "Africa" a harmless monument to kitsch--or a prime example of poorly aged cultural appropriation and harmful stereotyping? This episode examines the lore behind the writing of perhaps the most memeified song of all time--and what it means today and yesterday.
June 25, 2021
Talking Heads' Ballad of Manic Middle-Class Monotony
Well, how did we get here? This week we've got the story behind Talking Heads' sleeper hit "Once In A Lifetime," a 1980s preacher-inspired tune that permeates pop culture even today -- perhaps because it's so damn relatable to the masses. Special appearance by Kermit The Frog. You're welcome.
June 18, 2021
"Who Let the Dogs Out?" And Other Unanswered Questions
Is "Who Let the Dogs Out" proof that time travel exists? Or that telepathy is real? Is it just an earworm infinitely floating through space and time? These questions and more as we uncover the origin of the Baha Men's biggest hit.
June 11, 2021
Taylor Swift’s “the last great american dynasty”: An ode to Great Gatsby-esque "Holiday House" heiress, Rebekah Harkness
On her Grammy-winning album Folklore, Taylor Swift regales listeners with a tale of the eccentric dance patron and philanthropist Rebekah Harkness — who once owned Swift's Watch Hill, Rhode Island mansion (aptly named "Holiday House"). But there are way too many peculiarities to Rebekah's story than could ever fit within 3 minutes and 50 seconds. That's where we come in. From fish tanks filled with Scotch to missing bodily remains — with appearances from Salvador Dali, LBJ, and B.K.S. Iyengar along the way — our detailed retelling of Rebekah's life and death has got a little something for everyone.
June 04, 2021
N.W.A's Anti-Establishment Rallying Cry "Fuck Tha Police"
Last summer, 32 years after its release, streams of N.W.A's "Fuck Tha Police" surged nationwide in the wake of the murder of George Floyd by Minneapolis Police. Here, Lindsay and Aviv recount the story behind the song as depicted in the 2015 movie Straight Outta Compton: Paintball wars, Arsenio Hall, the return of Lindsay Lohan Cool J, separating fact from movie fiction, FBI letters ... and the making of the biggest protest anthem of our time -- and why it's as important as ever.
May 28, 2021
"Love Take Me Down" To Hoax Town
This week we've got it all: Beatlemania, musical hoaxes, untimely deaths, and plenty of copy cats.
May 21, 2021
Madonna's Controversial Banger "Like A Prayer"
In 1989, Madonna flipped off industrial capitalism, institutionalized racism, and religious fanatics everywhere. Then she danced on the ashes. And it was glorious.
May 14, 2021
Blues Traveler's "The Hook," Line, and Sinker
Blues Traveler's sharp-tongued work of metafiction is the stuff karaoke dreams are made of. Plus! A Twitter-troll nightmare we wish we could forget. sGjjX1hmpfmcynXGf6BW Hosted by Lindsay Tucker & Aviv Rubinstien. Intro compilation by Aviv Rubinstien. Outro music by Bella's Bartok. http://bellasbartok.com/ https://open.spotify.com/artist/3B6zmdjSaNEglCKouagGpo sGjjX1hmpfmcynXGf6BW
May 07, 2021
Aretha Franklin's Equity Anthem "Respect"
How Aretha Franklin turned an ode to patriarchal prejudice into an anthem of female empowerment for the ages.
April 30, 2021
"Drivers License" to "Deja Vu" — The Olivia Rodrigo Starter Pack
We've got the dirt behind Olivia Rodrigo's monster breakout hit "Drivers License" and its followup companion piece, "Déjà vu"—Plus all the teenage Disney drama and TikTok love-triangle theories our little hearts could handle.
April 23, 2021
Fastball "The Way" to the Eternal Highway
How the tragic 1997 disappearance of Lela and Raymond Howard inspired a megahit that saved Disney's Hollywood Records.
April 17, 2021