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The Popcast is hosted by Jon Caramanica, a pop music critic for The New York Times. It covers the latest in popular music criticism, trends and news.


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Remembering Sophie, Architect of Future Pop

Exploring the legacy of a producer and performer who imagined an approach to music without borders. Guests: Sasha Geffen and Pitchfork's Philip Sherburne.
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The Music Lost to Coronavirus, Part 2

Remembering Fred the Godson, Adam Schlesinger and Cristina. Guests: Kurt B. Reighley; Complex's Shawn Setaro; and Ben Sisario.
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Olivia Rodrigo and ?Drivers License? Aren?t Going Anywhere

A conversation about the year?s first genuine pop phenomenon, and the long arc of the Disney machine. Guests: Joe Coscarelli; Vulture's Justin Curto; and Larisha Paul.
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Inside the Bull Market for Songwriting Rights

The emergence of Hipgnosis has helped turn the battle for catalogs into an arms race that shows no signs of slowing down. Guest: Ben Sisario.
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How Zev Love X Became MF Doom

Conversations about the legacy of the beloved rap figure?s early career, which set the table for the artist he would become. Guests: Stretch Armstrong, Bobbito Garcia and Dante Ross.
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2020 Popcast Listener Mailbag: Taylor, Dua, MGK and More

Answering your questions about the year?s biggest stars, and also some of its curious flops. Guests: Joe Coscarelli and Caryn Ganz.
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Taylor Swift?s ?Evermore?: Let?s Discuss

A second album written and recorded during pandemic lockdown carries the singer and songwriter further from conventional pop. Guests: Joe Coscarelli, Caryn Ganz and Jon Pareles.
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The Best Albums of 2020? Let?s Discuss.

An absence of live music refocused attention on records, and work by Fiona Apple, Taylor Swift and Run the Jewels spoke loudly.

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Saweetie, City Girls and the Female Rapper Renaissance

Streaming, social media and the tireless work of trailblazers have helped change the hip-hop landscape.

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Who Will Control Britney Spears?s Future?

While her father remains the head of her estate for now, the pop star has signaled she?s ready for change. Guests: Joe Coscarelli and Vanessa Grigoriadis.

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Ariana Grande, a Pop Star for the Post-Pop Star Age

A conversation about her unique route to the top of the charts ? and what?s next. Guests: Lindsay Zoladz and Shaad D?Souza.

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The Many Mariah Careys

A conversation about her memoir, her range of contributions to pop music and her secret alt-rock album. Guests: New York's Allison P. Davis; Joe Coscarelli and Caryn Ganz.

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Luke Combs?s Country Stardom and the Remaking of the Bro

The Nashville star learned from the genre?s past and carved his own path. Guest: Grady Smith.

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Will Pop Music of the Future Rely on Actual Musicians, or Avatars?

The pandemic has sped up how digital look-alikes are reshaping stardom. Guest: The Ringer's Alyssa Bereznak.

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Is TikTok a Music Industry Friend or Troll?

?Old Town Road? showed the app?s potential as a hit generator. But its relationship to the business is far more complex. Guest: Taylor Lorenz.

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Lady Gaga and Katy Perry, Preserving Pop?s Old Guard

Six albums into major-label careers with ?Chromatica? and ?Smile,? where do these two stars fit in? Guest host: Caryn Ganz. Guest: Lindsay Zoladz.

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Remembering Riley Gale of Power Trip, a Thrash Titan

The band?s 34-year-old frontman helped break down barriers between scenes, and was known for singularly wild live shows. Guests: Dan Franklin; James Khubiar; and Andy O?Connor.

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How Merchandise Bundles Undid the Album Chart

For today?s biggest artists, an album release isn?t just about the music. Guest: Ben Sisario.

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The Music Lost to Coronavirus, Part 1

Remembering Joe Diffie, Mona Foot and DJ Black N Mild. Guests: Hits' Holly Gleason; Jacob Bernstein; and Elena Bergeron.

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The Welcome Return of the Chicks

How would Nashville be different if it hadn?t pushed the trio away? A conversation about ?Gaslighter? and beyond. Guests: Jewly Hight and Slate's Carl Wilson.

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Answering Your Questions About Taylor Swift?s ?Folklore?

Readers asked about Bon Iver, country music, Jack Antonoff and more. Guests: Northwestern University's Lauren Michele Jackson and Lindsay Zoladz.

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Taylor Swift?s ?Folklore?: Let?s Discuss

On an album made entirely in quarantine, the singer and songwriter embarks in a fresh direction. Guests: Jon Pareles, Caryn Ganz and Joe Coscarelli.

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Remembering Ennio Morricone, the Film Score Maestro

His music was dynamic, bold and idiosyncratic, setting a high bar for composers connecting sound and vision. Guests: Jon Pareles and Joshua Rothkopf.

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The Timely Agitation of Run the Jewels

Killer Mike and El-P?s anti-government and pro-justice hip-hop feels like it anticipated the current moment. Guest: Pitchfork's Sheldon Pearce.

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Pop Superfans Are Getting Politically Active. What Happens Next?

A subset of passionate listeners are asking for more of their heroes than simply music. Guest: Denisha Kuhlor.

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Lil Baby Is Warming Up to the Spotlight

His protest song ?The Bigger Picture? marks a high point in his evolution from reluctant up-and-comer to one of hip-hop?s reliable superstars. Guest: Joe Coscarelli.

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The Long, Complicated History of ?Urban? Music

As the music industry reckons with racial inequality, one of the first old structures to fall has been a term that dates back to the 1970s. Guest: Nelson George.

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How Did The Source Cover the 1992 Los Angeles Uprisings?

Two former editors look back at the magazine?s on-the-ground reporting following the Rodney King verdict. Guests: James Bernard and Reginald Dennis.

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After Missteps, Pop Stars Apologize ? and Sometimes Push Back

Lana Del Rey, Doja Cat and how some in the limelight bristle at social media condemnation. Guest: The Ringer's Justin Charity.

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The Many Lives of Doja Cat

The pop star took an extremely nonlinear path to No. 1, and continues to push the boundaries of online behavior. Guest: Lakin Starling.

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Remembering Tony Allen and Florian Schneider, Two Pillars of Rhythm

Thousands of miles apart, and with radically different tools, both musicians were innovating. Guests: The New York Times's Jon Pareles; and Joseph Patel.

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The Triumphant Return of Fiona Apple, Pop Music Renegade

A conversation about everything ?Fetch the Bolt Cutters? and beyond. Guests: Jenn Pelly and Lindsay Zoladz.

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Beyond ?Trolls? and ?Frozen?: What Are Our Kids Listening To?

Children?s films lean heavily on pop, but the elementary school set has access to a whole universe of music now. Guests: The New York Times's Gilbert Cruz, Jeremy Egner, Dave Itzkoff and Dave Renard.

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Dua Lipa, Dance-Pop Crusader

The English pop star has given fans an upbeat album at a very dark time. Guest: Caryn Ganz.

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Sam Hunt and Kenny Rogers, Country Music Rule-Benders

Both artists pulled Nashville in fresh directions, and gave the genre growing pains. Guests: Bill Friskics-Warren and Natalie Weiner.

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What Is the Role of Criticism in a Crisis?

The coronavirus pandemic has upended the world, and the arts are reeling. Pop music critics are asking (and facing) hard questions. Guests: The Ringer's Rob Harvilla, New York's Craig Jenkins and Lindsay Zoladz.

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What Music Should I Listen to in a Crisis?

Pop critics from around the country recommend pick-me-ups: Pharrell, the Pointer Sisters, Helado Negro and more.

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How Will Pop Music Respond to the Coronavirus?

The ways the pandemic has already reshaped the year, and what might happen in pop next. Guests: The New York Times's Ben Sisario and Jon Pareles.

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The Unrelenting Space Jams of Tame Impala

How has Kevin Parker built and sustained his successful psych-rock project ? and where will he head next? Guests: The New York Times's Jon Pareles and Pitchfork's Jillian Mapes.

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The Death of Pop Smoke and the Future of Brooklyn Drill

The 20-year-old rapper was poised to carry the scene?s sound to the world. Guest: Pitchfork's Alphonse Pierre.

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Justin Bieber Is Back With Confessions, Personal and Musical

One of pop?s biggest stars returns with an album that has unexpected kinship with new music from Harry Styles and Selena Gomez. Guest: Lindsay Zoladz.

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Answering Your Questions About Britney, Billie, Aaliyah and More

The Popcast opens its mailbag in the second of two episodes devoted to our listeners. Guests: The New York Times?s Joe Coscarelli, Caryn Ganz and Jon Pareles.

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Answering Your Questions About Taylor, Mitski, Emo and More

The Popcast opens its mailbag in the first of two episodes devoted to our listeners. Guests: The New York Times's Joe Coscarelli and Caryn Ganz.

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When Did the Super Bowl Halftime Show Become Political?

A conversation about how its meaning has evolved over the last two decades. Guests: The New York Times's Elena Bergeron and The Undefeated's Soraya Nadia McDonald.

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The Grammys, Dissected: Out With the Old, in With the Billie, Lizzo and Tyler

Did the deserving artists win? Was Aerosmith terrible? The debates rage on our post-awards show. Guests: Joe Coscarelli, Caryn Ganz, Wesley Morris and Jon Pareles.

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How TikTok Is Killing the Radio Songwriter

Songs that work in 15-second bursts are different from tracks that succeed on the FM dial. Guests: The writer Aimee Cliff and GodMode's Nick Sylvester.

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In 2019, Jazz Reckoned With Old Boundaries, and Marched Past Them

A conversation about the best jazz albums of the year, and what they tell us about the genre?s future. Guests: Martin Johnson and Giovanni Russonello.

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Were These the Best Albums of the 2010s?

A revealing (and hilarious) look back at our year-end lists from the past decade. Guests: The New York Times's Jon Pareles and Joe Coscarelli.

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Debating the Best Albums of 2019

How do you measure a year in pop? Guests: The New York Times's Jon Pareles, Joe Coscarelli and Caryn Ganz.

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Juice WRLD and the Crisis of SoundCloud Rap-Era Fame

Success is coming faster than ever for a new generation of musicians. But at what price? Guests: David Turner; the directors Ramez Silyan and Sebastian Jones.

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