In this episode, Merrill Garbus of tUnE-yArDs breaks down “Water Fountain.” It’s a song that draws inspiration from the politics of drought and dancehall reggae, and you’ll hear how and why she tried to make this song less catchy. Despite that effort, in 2014 the tUnE-yArDs album Nikki Nack climbed the Billboard Charts and got widespread criticalpraise.
Buy “Water Fountain,” from the album Nikki Nack on iTunes.
The British television show Downton Abbey is the most popular drama in PBS history, with over 10 million viewers per episode, and more Emmy nominations than any non-US show ever. The theme music is a signature of the show, but it was originally written as a piece of score for the first episode, and then later condensed and turned into the version that appears in the opening credits. The music was recorded by a chamber orchestra, all at once, so in order to isolate different pieces for Song Exploder, we went back to composer John Lunn’s original demo compositions, made with samples in the computer. In this episode, you’ll get to hear how those two compare.
Buy “Downton Abbey – The Suite,” which is the extended version of the theme and some of its variations used in the show, on iTunes.
Jim James is the lead singer of the Grammy-nominated band My Morning Jacket. Since starting in 1998, they’ve put out six albums, and in this episode, Jim breaks down the song Spring (Among The Living), from their soon-to-be released seventh album, The Waterfall.