I found Hrishikesh Hirway’s Song Exploder, the Netflix series, before I found the podcast that preceded it, also called Song Exploder. Late in 2020, Hirway’s Cookie Exploder entered my world as an amazing holiday gift box (thank you PopUp Magazine!). But first…a bit about Song Exploder.
October 2020 brought music lovers like myself something exciting that built on the famous podcast, Song Exploder was now a Netflix series that documents how songs came to be. I love Hirway’s curiosity, imagination and…that he’s a foodie (more on that in a minute)
Song Exploder: Water in the Pandemic Desert
As a singer forced into digital music production in 2020 as a way to continue singing, Song Exploder’s “how the ‘sausage’ of a song gets made” fascinates me. The series captures the moments of humanity and life being lived at the time the creators were living it while working together on the song.
Song Exploder reveals how much expression, hard work, lack of glamour, and obsession and more goes into making music.
A few episodes held my attention, got me thinking–or both:
“Hurt,” Nine Inch Nails
“Losing My Religion,” R.E.M.
The practice of overplaying a song on radio makes me wonder if getting too popular changes not just the artists themselves, but also the audience? The band was also surprised that this was the song that skyrocketed them to fame. In my memory, I’ve held onto the song’s overplayed status. Popularity changes the equation for both the creators, and the fans.
“Hasta la Raíz,” Natalia Lafourcade
“LA,” Ty Dolla $ign
The disconnection with parents or our loved ones, is close to my heart and is an ongoing theme in this space. Hirway calls the recipe of him and his father, together: “1 part language barrier, 1 part generational gap, 1 part cultural gap and 2 opposing personalities, and bring to a boil.”
We are not our parents, but often we walk in their footsteps. I hope Hirway takes this story further. Maybe I’ll get to talk with him about it one day.
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