Song Exploder

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Song Exploder
Song Exploder.png
A podcast where musicians take apart their songs, and piece by piece, tell the story of how they were made
Hosted byHrishikesh Hirway (2014-2018)
Thao Nguyen (2019)
ProductionChristian Coons, Hrishikesh Hirway
No. of episodes151 (list of episodes)
Original releaseJanuary 1, 2014 – present
(previously Maximum Fun)

Song Exploder is a music podcast, hosted by Thao Nguyen and produced by Christian Coons. Hrishikesh Hirway hosted and produced the podcast from its 2014 inception until late 2018. The biweekly show features musicians talking about the creative process behind an individual song while "deconstructing" the song into its component parts. The songs highlighted on the program have belonged to genres ranging from pop to hardcore punk to television theme songs, film scores and video game music. The podcast launched on the Maximum Fun network, went independent in February 2015 and joined Radiotopia in June 2015.[1][2]


Each episode begins with the host introducing the show's featured musician (or musicians) and giving a brief history of the musical act or television program with which they are associated. The artist then discusses the creative process used in the creation of a particular song. This may include anything from songwriting to recording to post-production. The discussion is interspersed with short clips of separate tracks from the song isolated to illustrate the topics being discussed – for example, the drum track might be played to demonstrate how a particular beat was used in the song. The episode ends by playing a recording of the featured song in its entirety.[3]

Notable episodes[edit]

Song Exploder has explored the music of many notable artists, including Björk, The Killers, Iggy Pop, MGMT, Weezer, The Postal Service, Ghostface Killah, Wilco, Spoon, and U2. It has also deconstructed the theme songs to the television programs Bob's Burgers, Stranger Things, House of Cards, Last Week Tonight, Downton Abbey, Game of Thrones, and Transparent.[4]

Song Exploder has also explored music from the scores of the films The Imitation Game, Avengers: Age of Ultron, The Martian, Halloween and Black Panther. It has also deconstructed music from the video game Watch Dogs.


Pete Naughton of The Daily Telegraph called Song Exploder an "excellent podcast" and placed it on his list of top music podcasts in August 2014.[5] The A.V. Club praised the podcast's "beautiful production and thoughtful editing" in June 2014.[6] It has also received favorable reviews from Spin, Gizmodo, Slate, and The Atlantic.[7]

Episode list[edit]


  1. ^ "Thanks to Song Exploder & The Memory Palace". Jesse Thorn: Tumbler. Retrieved 2016-05-16.
  2. ^ "Song Exploder Joins Radiotopia - PRX". PRX. 2015-06-11. Retrieved 2016-05-16.
  3. ^ "Breaking a Song Apart, Note by Note". All Things Considered. National Public Radio. 18 September 2014. Retrieved 25 October 2014.
  4. ^ "Song Exploder". Retrieved 25 October 2014.
  5. ^ "The best music podcasts". The Daily Telegraph. 26 August 2014. Retrieved 25 October 2014.
  6. ^ "Ice T's Final Level joins the 'masses, talks Manslaughter and Maya Angelou". The A.V. Club. The Onion. June 16, 2014. Retrieved 25 October 2014.
  7. ^ "Press". Song Exploder. Retrieved 25 October 2014.

External links[edit]