Switched on Pop explores the subtle ways in which pop music is far more fascinating and thoughtful than its many critics assert. Music snobs often look down on pop music. It's “too simple,” they say.. The lyrics “lack substance”. How could any true music aficionado enjoy pop music? Who considers sugary-sweet earworms and bubbly, peppy dance hits part of music as an art form?
With this podcast, audiences are reminded that looks—or, in this case, sounds—can be deceiving. That's the premise of Switched on Pop. Half of the show concerns itself with the making of pop music. The other half focuses on the meaning of pop. Because, regardless of critics' opinions, this is music that has an enormous impact on popular culture. Pop music is part of music history.
Musicologist Nate Sloan and songwriter Charlie Harding host. Recovering music snobs themselves, they clearly have a genuine affection for dissecting pop hits of all styles, from all angles. They take time to analyze each layer of power pop icon Elvis Costello's long career. They've created a four-part mini-series covering Britney Spears's “pure artistry” (their words). They treat newbies like Olivia Rodrigo with the same esteem as established superstars such as Beyoncé. Or even Beethoven, for that matter (they have a mini-series on him, too).
More often than not, listeners become engrossed in the stories behind the songs. They find themselves unexpectedly turning into fans. Why? Because, sometimes, despite their preconceptions and past sentiment, they've experienced something that opened their minds. They're allowing themselves to listen to seemingly “unsophisticated” music in a sophisticated way. Switched on Pop is an invitation to hear today's music with new ears.