the risk of sticking to familiar

Many months ago, a good friend with similar music tastes recommended a podcast he’d been listening to called Song Exploder.

Song Exploder is a podcast where musicians take apart their songs, and piece by piece, tell the story of how they were made. To me, that sounded amazing.

The first episode features “The District Sleeps Alone Tonight” by The Postal Service and continues to be one of my favorite episodes ever. I was pumped, thinking it would be so cool to hear some of the behind-the-scenes of how my favorite songs were created.

I subscribed and every week I was disappointed to see that the song covered was almost never a song or even a band I’d ever heard of. What a waste of my time!

For months, I didn’t even listen to the new episodes.

But recently, on a long drive and running dry on new podcasts to listen to, I decided to tune in to one of the episodes for a song I’d never heard of.

I was blown away.

Every song I was introduced to quickly became something I listened to afterward. I was discovering new bands and new songs that I really enjoyed, and I was getting incredible insight into the artist’s life and creative process.

These songs aren’t the type of contrived pop music that a Swedish man created according to pattern and psychology. They are imperfect, emotional, and personally connected to the artist who created it.

And, as my friend David articulated yesterday over lunch, that’s the insight.

“You don’t listen to how your favorite songs are made. By listening to how songs are made, they become your favorite.”

But if I would’ve stuck solely to the familiar and known, I would’ve missed it.

PS: Check out Bike Dream by Rostam.


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