Episode 146: Janelle Monáe

“So Afraid”

 

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Janelle Monáe is an award-winning musician and actress who released her first record in 2007. She’s been nominated for multiple Grammys and starred in the Oscar films Moonlight and Hidden Figures. In April 2018, she released her third album, Dirty Computer, which includes the song “So Afraid.” In this episode, Janelle Monáe takes “So Afraid” apart to explain how she built it, step by step—beginning with a trip to the dentist.

Buy or stream “So Afraid” here.

Illustration by Carlos Lerma.

footnotes
Nate Wonder of Deep Cotton

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Episode 145: Cat Power

“Woman”

Chan Marshall is a singer songwriter who’s been making records under the name Cat Power since 1995. In 2018, she put out her tenth album, Wanderer. It includes this song “Woman,” which has Lana Del Rey on backing vocals. In this episode, Chan breaks down the song and what it means to her, as she tells the story of how she made  “Woman” in Miami and Los Angeles over the course of a few years.

Buy or stream “Woman” here, and watch the music video below.

Illustration by Carlos Lerma.

footnotes
Rob Schnapf
MANT Studios
Rhodes piano

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Episode 144: Blood Orange

“Saint”

 

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Blood Orange is the project of songwriter and producer Devonté Hynes. He’s produced and co-written songs for artists like Carly Rae Jepsen, Solange, HAIM, and ASAP Rocky, among others. He’s been releasing his own music as Blood Orange since 2011. In August 2018, he released his fourth Blood Orange album, Negro Swan, and in this episode, Dev breaks down how he made the song “Saint.” You’ll hear the original version of the track from 2015, as well as the layers and voices that were added over the months to create the final version that appears on the album.

Buy or stream “Saint” here, and watch the music video below.

Illustration by Carlos Lerma.

footnotes
Arthur Russell – Let’s Go Swimming (Puppy Surf Dub)
Guest vocalists on the song: Bea1991, Ava Rain, Aaron Maine (Porches), Adam Bainbridge (Kindness).
Jason Arce, saxophonist

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