Analyses of the Mechanics of Popular Music OTHER than Song Exploder
December 28, 2016 9:02 AM   Subscribe

I’m looking for reporting/interviews/discussions/critique of popular music composition. The Song Exploder podcast is the obvious candidate here, since the host discusses the mechanics of how different songs were built. What else is out there that’s similar? (As a contrast: roughly none of the reporting done in Pitchfork, FACT, or Resident Advisor fits this requirement.)
posted by Going To Maine to Media & Arts (9 answers total) 27 users marked this as a favorite
Tape Op magazine.
posted by xo at 9:07 AM on December 28, 2016 [1 favorite]

I'm loathe to suggest it, because I don't really like it (the analysis is frequently a bit tortured), but Switched on Pop probably fits the bill.
posted by uncleozzy at 9:09 AM on December 28, 2016 [1 favorite]

(I’ll add that I assume some of the 33 and a third books are good for this, but if you can point me at a specific one that would be great. The ones I’ve read so far have been much further ranging.)
posted by Going To Maine at 9:10 AM on December 28, 2016

It was made in the 90s, so it's all text, but Alan Pollack's Notes On series analyzes every Beatles song.
posted by dfan at 9:18 AM on December 28, 2016 [2 favorites]

The book "A Light That Never Goes Out" by Tony Fletcher is just OK, but it has some good details about how some of The Smiths' songs came together. I remember the discussion of "How Soon Is Now" being particularly in depth.
posted by Leontine at 9:30 AM on December 28, 2016

David Byrne's book "how music works" may be helpful for general help

I'll second the 33 1/3 books
posted by kbbbo at 9:36 AM on December 28, 2016

Tuner and Pitch are both podcasts that are in the same ballpark. (And are both infrequently updated these days, but have some archives that are worth a listen.) Tuner is about "what makes this pop song work", and Pitch is "let's talk about this element/concept in music, with examples from pop music."
posted by jeffjon at 11:01 AM on December 28, 2016 [1 favorite]

The Man Who Sold the World: David Bowie and the 1970s
Rebel Rebel : All the Songs of David Bowie from '64 to '76
seem to cover the same ground; song by song analysis of the early period. The first one I have read and is pretty good. The second one is from the author of the blog Pushing Ahead of the Dame and seems to be an expansion of that and looks like it would definitely be worth a look.
posted by bongo_x at 11:27 PM on December 29, 2016

You might want to take a look at the song analysis postings in Bobby Owsinski's blog. If you like what he does there he has a book containing more.
posted by doctord at 8:14 PM on January 1, 2017

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