January 2016 Pop-Up: Double Choruses


On this pop-up episode of Pop Unmuted, Scott Interrante and Kurt Trowbridge explore different types of choruses that deviate from the norm: songs with choruses and post-choruses, songs with long, multi-part choruses, and songs with two distinct choruses.

For more reading:
Gary Ewer, “Why a Double Chorus Might Work Better Than a Pre-Chorus,” Secrets of Songwriting.

Songs discussed in this episode:
Maroon 5 – “Maps”
Fifth Harmony – “Sledgehammer”
Carly Rae Jepsen – “Boy Problems”
BeyoncĂ© – “Single Ladies”
Sia – “Chandelier”
Nick Jonas – “Jealous”
Girls’ Generation – “Party”
Katy Perry – “Teenage Dream”
Carly Rae Jepsen – “Call Me Maybe”
Allen Stone – “Fake Future”
Drake – “Hotline Bling”
Phoebe Ryan – “Mine”
Taio Cruz – “Dynamite”

Favorite Songs Of 2015


On the last episode of 2015, Kurt Trowbridge and Scott Interrante are joined by Kira Grunenberg and Annie Dineen to discuss our favorite songs of the year. Kurt picks Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Run Away With Me,” Annie picks Chris Stapleton’s “Tennessee Whiskey,” Kira picks Little May’s “Home,” and Scott picks Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Let’s Get Lost.”

For more reading:
Annie Dineen, “Interview: Chris Stapleton Talks ‘Traveler,’ Writing Process, and a Changing Nashville” The Shotgun Seat.
Kira Grunenberg, “Music Collections Everywhere Will Find Great Company in Little May’s Debut!” Throw The Dice and Play Nice.

Talking About Pop


How do we communicate our thoughts and feelings on pop music? What is mainstream pop music’s cultural position and in what ways is that related to gender? On Episode 16 of Pop Unmuted, Scott Interrante and Kurt Trowbridge are joined by fellow pop music podcasters Ellen Mayer and Charlie Harding to talk about talking about pop.

Be sure to also check out Pitch and Switched on Pop.

October 2015 Pop-Up: One-Note Melodies


On this Pop-Up episode of Pop Unmuted, Kurt Trowbridge and Scott Interrante discuss a trend they’ve noticed popping up in recent pop songs: one-note melodies. They discuss some recent and historic examples of the technique, why songwriters might employ it, and what it brings to the meaning of the music.

For more reading:
Nadine Hubbs, “Music of the ‘Fourth Gender’: Morrissey and the Sexual Politics of Melodic Contour,” Genders.
Ashley Chittock, “How To Write Like John Lennon,” Genius.
David Temperly, “The Melodic-Harmonic ‘Divorce’ in Rock,” Popular Music.

For more listening:

Fandom and Justin Bieber’s “What Do You Mean?”


On Episode 15 of Pop Unmuted, Scott Interrante and Kurt Trowbridge are joined by fandom scholars Helena Dare-Edwards and Dr. Mark Duffett to discuss pop fandom, fan screaming, and the power of fan armies. The group then turns their attention to Justin Bieber’s come-back single, “What Do You Mean?”

For further reading:
Mark Duffett, Understanding Fandom: An Introduction to the Study of Media Fan Culture, Bloomsbury Academic.

Lisa A. Lewis, The Adoring Audience: Fan Culture and Popular Media, Routledge.

Lyrics and Kacey Musgraves’s ‘Pageant Material’


On Episode 14 of Pop Unmuted, Scott Interrante and Kurt Trowbridge are joined by Annie Galvin, a Ph.D. candidate in English at the University of Virginia and Alice Bolin, a poet and essayist to talk about different aspects of pop lyrics. The panel then discusses the latest album from country singer-songwriter Kacey Musgraves, Pageant Material.

For more reading:
Lori Burns, “Vocal Authority and Listener Engagement: Musical and Narrative Expressive Strategies in the Songs of Female Pop-Rock Artists, 1993-95,” in Sounding Out Pop: Analytical Essays in Popular Music, ed. Mark Spicer and John Covach.