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May 27, 2020

D, A, C, G. Four chords, placed end to end, repeated over and over again.

On this episode, Kirk takes a deep dive into Sufjan Stevens's "Chicago," the centerpiece of his brilliant 2005 album Illinois. It's a towering construction supported by four chords, with building blocks of vibraphones, wurlitzers, strings, and...


May 20, 2020

On this Patreon-funded bonus episode, Kirk is joined by Dallas Taylor, sound designer and host of the fabulous sound-focused podcast Twenty Thousand Hertz.

The two of them talk about what makes a great recording, the ineffable energy of live music, the history of the Roland TR-808 drum machine, album mastering and the...


May 13, 2020

Are you living in an empty room, with all the windows smashed? Then this is the podcast episode for you.

It's time for a deep dive into Annie Lennox's 1992 pop banger "Walking on Broken Glass," with all its syncopated pianos, string section interludes, ever-changing backup vocals, and tasty guitar cameos. Won't you pick...


Apr 29, 2020

The bells in the church tower chime, so it's time to grab our Telecasters and talk about Jeff Buckley.

Specifically, it's time for a deep dive into Buckley's "Last Goodbye," one of the centerpiece songs on his sole studio album, Grace. There'll be spacious drums, grand basslines, spiraling string parts, alternative...


Apr 15, 2020

It's time for another Strong Songs listener Q&A, as Kirk goes into the mailbag to answer your most burning musical questions.

How does Devo make 11/8 time sound so smooth? What makes one song sound like a train, while another one sounds like a pack of horses? Why does the turnaround of Janelle MonĂ¡e's "Make Me...