What Is Your Favorite “Song From the Imminent Past?”

Welcome back, friends!

The oxymoronic theme “Songs From the Imminent Past” was first suggested as a bit of a joke. But the more we thought about it, the more we succumbed to its powers; and well, here we are! For our podcast’s first episode of 2022, we dove into a set of songs that has us thinking hard about the both the recent past and not-so-distant future.

To kick the year off, our panel for the episode was comprised of three podcast regulars: Carter Lee, Mahea Lee, and Martin Fowler. The conversation covered topics ranging from songwriting with someone else in mind to Guinness World Records, from musical symbiosis to the world of performance royalties — all while discussing recent tracks by Japanese Breakfast, Dijon, and Taylor Swift.

Listen to Episode 36 in its entirety right here:

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Episode 36 Highlights

1. Carter on the collaboration between Michelle Zauner and Jack Tatum on “Be Sweet.”

Carter: “So this track released on ‘Jubilee,’ was actually written with Jack Tatum. I wasn’t super familiar but like digging into the Wild Nothing stuff, certainly very dream poppy. You can definitely hear the influence that Jack Tatum would have had on this track for sure.”

2. Martin on what went into capturing the vibe of “Bike Mike’s” from Dijon.

Martin: “It’s extremely well-mixed and obviously extremely well-captured and there are some almost hyper-real moments in the way the mix is accentuated. I think the stomps are a a part of that, I think, you know the way they treat the feedback… He’s got a lot of electronics on the table that he’s messing with, looks like maybe one of them’s like a drum machine or a loop pedal or something. Another one is tied to like, some kind of feedback loop on the guitar. He’s turning it up and it’s this washy feedback-y kinda sound and it’s really overwhelming when he turns it up and when it goes away it’s such a cool dynamic effect.”

3. Mahea on Taylor Swift’s incomparable lyricism.

Mahea: “Her lyrics, and maybe it’s because she came from Country, have such a direct way of addressing things. There’s metaphor but not everything is wrapped in it and I appreciate that when it’s done well. But yeah, I think in the history of great American songwriters there are few people that have really mastered that blunt and beautiful way of writing lyrics and I think that in our generation she’s one of very few.”

Join Our Collaborative Playlist

Yes, it’s collaborative! As in: you can add tracks to the playlist that fit the theme! Every other week, and with every episode of Themes and Variation, we launch a new collaborative Spotify playlist that includes the songs mentioned in the episode and more, which you can add to and enjoy. Here’s this week’s collaborative Spotify playlist!

We’ll see you in a couple weeks with a new theme, new guests, and some new songs to break down. If you have any comments, questions, or theme suggestions, drops us a (bass) line at [email protected]!

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