Themes and Variation Is Back — Revisit the Top 5 Episodes of All Time

Soundfly’s podcast about music and perspectives, Themes and Variation, is coming back after an 8-month hiatus! We’ll be launching our first episode of the forthcoming season on August 30th.

This time around though, things will look a little different. For one thing, Mahea Lee is now fully in the “Host” seat. And her co-hosts will rotate between Soundfly’s Martin Fowler and Jeremy Young, and of course the guests…

But just like always, each episode centers around a theme, like “Songs You Know By Heart” or “Apocalypse Songs.” Each episode features a three person panel; the members of which bring in songs they’ve selected based on how they choose to interpret the theme of that episode; and the resulting conversations are as meandering and revealing as ever. 

Join us for this new upcoming season of Themes and Variation on your preferred platform below: 

But looking ahead at the future is always better when you’ve had a chance to reflect on the past. So we wanted to reach deep into the archives to resurrect some of YOUR favorite episodes.

Without further ado, here are the Top 5 most downloaded episodes of Themes and Variation of all time. Enjoy!


1. Breakup Songs (with Marcela Rada)

themes and variation guest panel

From the somber to the wistful, the trite to the profound, there’s something remarkable about a really, really good breakup song. Let’s jump in and get a good cry in with engineer, producer, and academic, Marcela Rada.

2. Songs to Escape Into (with Com Truise)

Com Truise on Soundfly's podcast panel

Music can itself say things that cannot be articulated through any other means or medium. It can conjure empathy between strangers. In a sense, it can even transport us from one reality to another. We explore escapism with synthesist and composer Com Truise.

3. Songs to Wake Up to (with Sarah Galdes)

Whether you consider yourself a morning person or not, the first thing you listen to can sometimes set the tone for the rest of your day. Do you prefer something with a strong backbeat to shake you from your slumber or a tune with a gentle build to ease the way between dreams and reality? We talk about all this and more with drummer Sarah Galdes.

4. Songs That Defy Expectations (with Ryan Lott)

Ryan Lott podcast header image

To paraphrase the words of our special guest for this episode of the podcast, the most powerful songs are often the ones that both meet and challenge our expectations of music. Let’s explore this topic in depth with Son Lux’s frontman Ryan Lott.

5. Songs That Redefined Our Sense of Time (with Jlin)

So many musical ideas are intrinsically linked to the way we perceive the passing of time. Music’s relationship to time can impact the way we physically move to it, as well as the way it moves us emotionally, and so much more. This is something that producer and composer Jlin thinks about a lot, and now so do we.

Bonus: Songs From Video Games (with Zac Zinger & Chase Bethea)

We just loved this episode so much — it was truly a staff favorite over in Soundfly HQ — so we wanted to post and revisit this one anyway.

Making music for video games presents an interesting challenge. The composer must create something that fits a narrative storyline as well as an aesthetic feel, in addition to providing a soundtrack that will keep the player motivated to work toward each target. (It’s even harder when you get addicted to playing the game!) We hit the start button with game composers Chase Bethea and Zac Zinger.

See you all next week for the season premier!

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