Song Exploder is a podcast where musicians take apart their songs, and piece by piece, tell the story of how they were made. Each episode is produced and edited by host and creator Hrishikesh Hirway in Los Angeles. Using the isolated, individual tracks from a recording, Hrishikesh asks artists to delve into the specific decisions that went into creating their work. Hrishikesh edits the interviews, removing his side of the conversation and condensing the story to be tightly focused on how the artists brought their songs to life. Guests include Fleetwood Mac, U2, Metallica, Solange, Lorde, Yo-Yo Ma.
Now it is an excellent four-episode series on Netflix featuring Alicia Keys, Lin-Manuel Miranda, R.E.M., and Ty Dolla $ign.
The show is produced and hosted by Hrishikesh Hirway. Although not a journalist, he shapes each show with a profound understanding of the result of music, and here, explores how that music comes to life. In the first episode, Alicia Keys collaborates with British musician Sampha, in an emotional exchange of sound and lyrics. Lin-Manuel Miranda reveals that he wrote his hit song. “Wait for It” from Hamilton, while on his way to a party. REM’s hit, “Losing my Religion” gets revealed to be a song that began with a mandolin riff and singer Michael Stipes patiently explains the lyrics.
What becomes apparent is that songs begin with the simplest of moments, a sound heard, a word that won’t let go, and the building of a song, usually a collaboration, becomes a creation that has many parts. It is also evident that singers and songwriters create out of necessity—this is indeed how feelings get expressed.
We seriously look forward to more episodes.