FEATURE: A Needle into the Veins: Celebrating the Album-Dissecting Podcast




A Needle into the Veins


PHOTO CREDIT: @skylarfaithfilm/Unsplash 

Celebrating the Album-Dissecting Podcast


I have just finished listening to a great podcast...

 ALBUM PHOTO: Robert Freeman

that brings together well-known people who talk about the records of The Beatles – and the solo albums from the four members. It is called I am the EggPod and, in the most-recent episode, Matt Everitt (drummer with Menswear (and others) and BBC broadcaster) chatted with the host, Chris Shaw about Rubber Soul. It was a great investigation and passionate study of an album that, to me, is the finest thing from The Beatles – Everitt clearly agreed and, for different people, Rubber Soul is the finest moment. I love that album because I remember being played it as a child and staring at the great cover – the four guys dressed in suede, looking cool with their famous haircuts. On the I am the EggPod episode, Shaw and Everitt went through each track and gave their impressions. I know an awful lot about The Beatles’ 1965 album but, throughout, I was learning stuff that was new to me! There were elements that were revealing – Rubber Soul being this percussion-heavy record – and great stories/facts relating to the band and song inspiration. I was captivated throughout and, knowing which song was coming next, I was excited to see what details would be revealed and how everything came together. Check out the podcast – because it is dope as hell – and there are quite a few episodes up already that study Beatles albums and great releases from the lads.

There are more to come and, when you discover a podcast/series that takes the care to dissect albums, it speaks to the true music lover. I think, in a streaming time where we all are busy and do not necessarily listen to albums all the way through, it is rare to hear forensic shows that take apart records and go through them song-by-song. Consider all the classic albums that have been released and the sort of facts and tales we are not aware of. There used to be the classic album series on stations like VH1 where we’d see producers and artists involved in records such as Graceland (Paul Simon). It might have appealed more to the adults but, as a child, I loved seeing these documentaries where time was spent going through a record and discussion inspiration and creation. Long ago, we all used to be much more attached to the album as a concept and thing but, through time, I think we have become more trained towards singles and pick-and-mix sort of listening. Now that music T.V. is not really a big thing, how often do we see series that look at the great albums and look at the songs in such detail? We have moved to the Internet and podcasts and, luckily, there are people who still keep this passion alive. You can check out great music podcasts and specialised podcasts that investigate some big albums and talk about them in real detail.

 PHOTO CREDIT: @neilgodding/Unsplash

The problem today, I think, is the dizzying array of options out in the market and how we get to grips with it all. If you are interested in The Beatles’ catalogue or you have a fondness for Classic Rock gems, how simple is it get all the related podcasts together so you do not miss a beat? Search engines help out but it can be hard typing in the right words; some might be missed off of searches so, oddly, podcasts that dissect music and really go into detail might be overlooked or lost completely. I do like the fact that, even in a digital age, those who are setting up their podcasts realise how vital albums are and the fact these classics have remained because we all listened to them in depth – rather than picking out a few tracks and skipping all the rest. There might be options out there – I am a bit too nervous to look – but I was inspired by the I am the EggPod series and think it would be great to do a similar series. I am fascinated by Kate Bush so either doing a like-minded one about her or having a podcast that dedicated a series to particular artists. The first might be about Kate Bush and then Madonna; moving onto Radiohead and then onto Queens of the Stone. I guess, in some form, all of these artists have had an episode dedicated to them and their albums.

 IN THIS PHOTO: Queens of the Stone Age (who have a rich body of work that would surely make for a great podcast series)/PHOTO CREDIT: Zoe McConnell

There are some great music podcasts around but I have a special fondness for those that focus on an album and unravel it; getting to the heart of the songs and providing context. Maybe it is more impactful when we talk about classic albums but there are records from the past few years that could benefit from a throughout look. Are we still as invested in the album as an artform or do we prefer the odd song and leave it at that? It is hard to say but I do worry that some great albums of this decade will, in years to come, not resonate that hard because we stream them and handpick songs as opposed listening from start to finish. Everyone who loves music loves an album and we all have out top-ten/twenty records. I have not done proper research but I wonder whether there are podcasts that look at great records by Radiohead, Steely Dan and Björk?! Maybe a series that, like I said, looks at one artist and their work and then moves onto another. That would be cool but, I guess, when it has been done once then it is hard to repeat it and add new light. It is ironic that we are less album-orientated now than ever but there are endless choices when it comes to album studies – more than there was when VH1 and MTV ruled. Maybe it is a rebellion against the culture and our fondness for those classic examples.



I think, when we know more about an album, the greater attached we become and it actually provides new insight – I am going to listen to Rubber Soul soon and pick up on stuff that was covered in the I am the EggPod episode. I listen to that album as a purely sonic experience and, to me, it is mostly about the band interplay and harmonies. Now I have heard Matt Everitt talk about Rubber Soul, I am drawn to percussion details and know more about the songs and their origin. It is great, so many years down the line, to learn new things about an album you think you had figured. It makes me excited to hear what else is out there and, indeed, if some of the ideas I have lobbed out have already been covered – I hope one or two are still free! I do worry we are losing that passion for albums and do not really hold the same fondness. Where will we be in a couple of decades and how many of the albums from the time will be picked apart and celebrated as much as the all-time greats?! If anything, these album-dissecting podcasts rekindle our love of albums and make us realise why we love them in the first place. I am off to listen to Rubber Soul and, after I am done, I am minded to see if I can formulate my own podcast/series and take apart an artist’s treasured catalogue. It is wonderful hearing people speak passionately about their favourite albums and addressing every song. At a time when we are all rushing around and skipping through tracks, it is nice to be able to hear these podcasts, take a step back; relax and hear these big albums...

 PHOTO CREDIT: @jonathanvez/Unsplash

GIVEN proper respect.