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The Radio Ga Ga Podcast is a weekly album review podcast that explores why we like the music we like. Host Justine Piehowski dives into each album in depth, with artist backgrounds, song-by-song meanings, and notes from the recording studio. The goal of the Radio Ga Ga Podcast is to help you as the listener feel more knowledgeable and connected to the music you love, and maybe even music you didn't know you would. Available wherever you listen to podcasts. https://radiogagapodcast.com/
 
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Though Maggie Rogers began songwriting in her teens, it wasn't until Pharrell Williams critiqued her masterclass at NYU when she got her big break. Many of the songs on "Heard It In A Past Life" deal with this overnight success and all the waves of emotion that come with that. She says "Heard It In A Past Life" was the introduction that she never r…
 
In this episode, we're diving into one of punk's most enduring albums, "Marquee Moon" from 1977. We'll talk about Television's role in CBGB & OMFUG becoming the epicenter of American punk and the history of the venue, as well as the friendship and later falling out of Tom Verlaine and Richard Hell. Also–the Lower East Side poetry scene, Patti Smith…
 
"After Hours" is like a film noir in album format. It depicts the rise and fall of an anti-hero, The Character, as he admits that his loneliness is more unbearable than he lets on. In this episode, we discuss The Weeknd's whole visual campaign around "After Hours," including an important series of music videos and appearances where The Weeknd showe…
 
In this episode, I talk to music writer Jamieson Cox, whose work has been featured in Pitchfork, Time Magazine, and more. We discuss how he finds new music, what made him get into criticism, and towing the line between having a hobby and keeping it one. We also get into his role in Pitchfork’s first-ever review of Taylor Swift, how the Pitchfork sc…
 
Even though metal isn't at the top of my list, "Colors" is one of the most interesting albums I've heard in a long time. Between The Buried And Me is a progressive metal band made up of virtuosos and friends, most of whom have been playing together since high school. Whether you're already a fan or just curious, my guest Job Fickett is amazingly he…
 
One of my personal goals for 2021 was to listen to a LOT more new music, or at least "new" to me. In this episode, I'm sharing 10 albums I just listened to for the very first time recently. To be fair, a few of these just came out in 2021 so they are actually new. But a lot of these, I wish I would've listened to much earlier. If you're like me and…
 
In the final installment of our Mariah Carey series, we get into the later years of her career, the tryst with Derek Jeter that was the catalyst to ending her abusive marriage, and the surprising side hustle Mariah was working on during the recording of "Daydream." Also, Christmas wishes, Tommy Mottola's revenge on Mariah via a J.Lo song, and the h…
 
Though we know Mariah Carey as a high-maintenance diva, there's a LOT more to the story. She grew up in an incredibly turbulent environment with a family that could have very easily kept Mariah down (and keeps trying to). Her professional and personal life also merged in her early 20s, when she married a music exec who treated her like a prisoner. …
 
“Spirit In The Sky” by Norman Greenbaum is a fantastic song, and one of rock music’s definitive one-hit wonders. Its omnipresence across television, film, and advertisements has earned it a permanent spot in classic rock history. And from "Apollo 13," to "Remember The Titans," to "Guardians of the Galaxy" and everything in between, "Spirit In The S…
 
I always thought of R.E.O. Speedwagon as an '80s band, but their breakthrough album, "Hi Infidelity" from 1980 was actually the band's ELEVENTH album. Formed in 1967, R.E.O. spent basically the first decade of their career struggling to expand past their Midwestern roots. We'll talk about their major change in sound over the years, and how the pres…
 
Vince Guaraldi’s soundtrack for "A Charlie Brown Christmas" was perfect for the animation of the Peanuts comics. It’s not just jazz, it’s what Charlie Brown sounds like. It’s what Christmas sounds like. And it perfectly encapsulates that melancholic feeling that comes around this time each year. In this episode, we'll talk about how jazz came to de…
 
“Come On Over” is still the all-time best-selling country album, and one of the best-selling albums of all time in any genre. In this episode, we explore Shania Twain's rise to pop-country fame, from her early days as Eilleen Twain in Timmins, Ontario all the way to Nashville. Things were extremely difficult for Shania most of her life growing up, …
 
"Dig Me Out" is an album that feels harsh and feminine at the same time. It’s not comfortable or nurturing, and in direct contrast with expectations of female vocals at the time. Guest Phoebe Reilly and I discuss Sleater-Kinney's role in the riot grrrl movement, what unique elements Corin, Carrie, and Janet bring to the table, and how Sleater-Kinne…
 
American composer Bernard Herrmann is most remembered for his spooky, suspenseful film scores in collaboration with directors including Alfred Hitchcock, Orson Welles, and Rod Serling. From the shower scene in "Psycho" to some of our favorite episodes of "The Twilight Zone," Herrmann was a master at creating dramatic tension and character developme…
 
“Hot Fuss” is one of my all-time favorite albums. In this episode, I'm diving in to the history of the album and how it came to be the Killers' signature work. My guest is Jon Landman of The Syndicate, who worked with the Killers in their earliest days to help promote the band and get “Hot Fuss” on American radio. We talk about the “Murder Trilogy,…
 
Musically and lyrically, "Dirt" was far more sinister than anything that had come before it in grunge music. Nearly half of the album's songs are explicitly about heroin addiction, which we'll find is the one true villain in the Alice In Chains story. In this episode, we talk about how metal impacted the earliest days of Seattle grunge, the vocal h…
 
"Take On Me" by Norwegian trio A-Ha is one of the greatest pop songs ever made. We'll talk about the history of the song, Morten Harket's vocal gymnastics, and all the '80s instruments they used including the LinnDrum and the Roland Juno 60 synthesizer. "Take On Me" also had one of the greatest music videos ever made. We'll talk about how the video…
 
Listening to Halsey is like touching a wire you know is going to give you a shock. But you touch it anyway, letting little sparks of electricity bolt through you. She's an artist who has grown on me over the past few years, and her story is wild. The road was difficult for Halsey, then her entire life changed basically overnight. From the release o…
 
We conclude the story of Jimi Hendrix starting with "Axis" Side 2, which has one of the most beautiful songs Jimi ever wrote, "Castles Made of Sand." We talk about the techniques and gear Jimi used, what it was that made him such a good guitarist, and how things took a turn for The Jimi Hendrix Experience after the release of "Axis" in the U.S. We'…
 
We all know Jimi Hendrix, one of the most legendary and influential musicians to ever walk the planet. But there's a lot about his life we don't hear about. In this episode, we talk about Jimi's rough childhood and life before he had a guitar in his hands, his time in the Army's 101st Airborne Division, and rise to music fame in the late '60s. We'l…
 
Hole's prophetically titled "Live Through This" would release just one week after the suicide of Courtney Love's husband, Kurt Cobain. The album is haunted, a bit psychic, and stands up against any of the big '90s grunge albums. If you’re like me and only knew Courtney as a tabloid cover girl, listen to this episode. My guest, music writer Phoebe R…
 
In this episode, we dive into the world of Ivy League indie pop with Vampire Weekend's third studio album. Though much of the indie world fell in love with this band from the start, some music media pegged Vampire Weekend as privileged, waspy Columbia grads using cultural appropriation to their advantage. My guest Jerry Bell explains how the band r…
 
In the summer of 1979 came one of the harbingers of disco’s doom, Disco Demolition Night at Comiskey Park. In this episode, we talk about how that evening at the baseball field got increasingly out of control, and the many other reasons disco fever didn't last. We'll talk about what disco stars did in the 80s to stay relevant, how some of disco's b…
 
Get ready to dance! In the second installment of our series, we talk about the artists that brought disco to the mainstream including Donna Summer, the BeeGees, and Gloria Gaynor. There’s also a number of other artists who created songs just to join the trend, including the Rolling Stones, Dolly Parton, and even the Grateful Dead. We’ll talk about …
 
Disco is one of just a few music genres that can call itself a full-bodied cultural movement. The history of the discotheque begins as far back as World War II Europe, and by the 60s, begins blossoming in the American epicenter of disco, New York City. Disco music's true roots lie in American R&B, soul, and funk, so we'll talk about the impact of t…
 
It’s easy to look at Counting Crows frontman Adam Duritz and not take him seriously. It seems like 1990-era MTV created him in a lab. But there's more to him, and "August and Everything After," than it seems. In this episode, we're highlighting the Counting Crows biggest hits, the time the mayor of Omaha offered Duritz the key to the city, and the …
 
In this episode, we’re exploring why all the music we hear in the "James Bond" film franchise sounds so undeniably "Bond." Some of these songs were written nearly 40 years apart, yet musically, we immediately associate all of them with 007. I unpack the music theory behind the "Bond sound" and all the musical motifs and chord progressions that have…
 
"Dummy" is one of the defining records of the trip-hop genre, and one of the most unique albums we've covered here. We'll talk about all the elements that defined their otherworldly sound, the film Portishead made to "introduce" the band, and how the band got creative before there was such a thing as ProTools. I also talk to The Syndicate's Jon Lan…
 
Leon Bridges' music reflects a vintage quietness; an articulation of raw feelings of love and heartbreak that we've all felt, but rarely find the words for. On "Good Thing," he breaks away from the golden age soul comparisons to Sam Cooke to find a voice that's all his own. We also discuss the Grammys, Fort Worth, beauty in simplicity, and how a pa…
 
In Part II, we break down Side 2 of Black Sabbath's second studio album, with "Electric Funeral," "Hand of Doom," "Rat Salad" and "Fairies Wear Boots." We also get into some debaucherous tales of Sabbath on the road, Ozzy's solo career and subsequent Sabbath reunions, the invention of the devil horn hand gesture, and the embarrassing stage gaffe pa…
 
Heavy hitter episode! Black Sabbath is one of the most influential bands of all time and the originator of the metal genre. In Part I of our series, we break down Side 1 of the band's second studio album, "Paranoid," diving deep into "War Pigs," "Paranoid," "Planet Caravan" and "Iron Man." Also, a music theory refresher on the tritone or “devil’s i…
 
From old classics to new songs from 2019, I've compiled a countdown of my absolute 20 favorite songs this holiday season. And you guys helped! Thanks to everyone who sent their favorites in. This playlist features Bing Crosby, The Sonics, Ella Fitzgerald, Sufjan Stevens, Kacey Musgraves, and many more. Light a balsam candle, heat up a hot toddy, an…
 
In the final installment of our series on "Deja Vu," we break down the songs on Side 2, the story behind the simulated leather album cover, and the disastrous string of tours that followed the album's release. We'll also discuss CSNY's various levels of solo career success, the debaucherous 1974 stadium tour, how any of them survived the 80s, and w…
 
Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young released only 22 songs together during 1969 and 1970, many of which have become standards in the classic rock canon. In Part I of our series, I talk about how CSNY got together amidst frustration with their former bands, and the first moment of vocal harmony between Crosby, Stills, and Nash. Also, why they refused to ca…
 
Maroon 5 went from being a small-time high school band to selling out stadiums, playing the Super Bowl, and crashing weddings. In this episode, we'll highlight the trajectory of one of today's most popular bands, beginning with their debut album, "Songs About Jane." Jane's a real person, so we'll discuss her relationship to Adam Levine. We also tal…
 
My Bloody Valentine's groundbreaking "Loveless" remains one of alternative music's most influential albums. In this episode, we discuss MBV's pioneering of the shoegaze genre and its defining production characteristics, the interesting/amazing effects this album has had on my mind, the idea of 'horror vacui' as it pertains to music, and why it took…
 
Happy Halloween! John Carpenter is one of the most famous horror filmmakers of all time, creating the "Halloween" franchise, as well as films including "The Thing," "Christine," and "The Fog." But he also composed nearly all the scores to his own films, with a distinct style that's become one of the most iconic in the genre. In today's episode, we'…
 
"Louie Louie" is one of the most covered songs of all time, with a reported 2,000+ official recordings. So how did "Louie Louie" go from the bargain bin and "Worst Record of the Week" on a popular radio show to one of the most popular rock songs of all time? For one, the FBI investigation of the song in 1964 probably helped. We'll discuss the origi…
 
At the beginning of 1998, Jeff Mangum released his masterwork, "In The Aeroplane Over The Sea," now one of the all-time indie records. But by year's end, he would walk away from music, only to be heard from on rare occasion for the next two decades. In today's episode, we discuss how to create distortion without an electric guitar, why Mangum was c…
 
One of the most important album art designers of our time, Storm Thorgerson counts amongst his credits "Dark Side of the Moon," "Wish You Were Here," "Houses of the Holy" and about a million more. In this episode, we're diving into Storm's history as a high school friend of Pink Floyd, and we'll detail how he concepted and shot some of his most ico…
 
The Shins had a lot to prove with "Wincing the Night Away." This was the album that would decide whether the Shins would stay in the indie pop conversation, or if their inclusion in Zach Braff's film "Garden State" was just a brief lucky break. The Shins are a band I'm literally always in the mood to listen to, so we'll explore why that is. We'll a…
 
Karen Carpenter's voice is one you know instantly, and makes you feel like the only one listening. Though on the surface the Carpenters seemed like a squeaky clean brother-sister duo, their story is wrought with family drama, painful emotional scarring, and tragedy. We'll discuss the Carpenters' rise to popularity, as well as Karen's eating disorde…
 
Ween can feel very overwhelming to get into. Their discography is endless, their music odd, and there's an intimidating amount of vocabulary words, culture, and backstory related to these two best friends from New Hope, PA. I'm hoping to detangle it all in this episode with guest Paul Gutkowski, long-time Ween fan and host of the "God Ween Evan" po…
 
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