Episode 176: Semisonic

“Closing Time”

 

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The song “Closing Time” by the American rock band Semisonic came out in March 1998. It hit #1 on the Alternative charts, and was nominated for a Grammy for Best Rock Song. It gets played in stadiums, Weird Al covered it, and it’s the last song of the night in countless bars.

Since then, Dan Wilson, the lead singer and songwriter of Semisonic, has become a powerhouse songwriter who has written or co-written for artists like John Legend and Taylor Swift. And he’s won Grammys for his songwriting with the Dixie Chicks and Adele. But over two decades ago, Dan and his bandmates John Munson and Jacob Slichter were in Minneapolis, getting ready to start work on their second album, Feeling Strangely Fine. In this episode of Song Exploder, Dan breaks down how that process led to “Closing Time.”

You can buy or stream “Closing Time” here.


Illustration by Carlos Lerma.

footnotes
Nick Launay, producer
Elizabeth Bishop
Robert Frost
ZVEX Effects Fuzz Factory guitar pedal

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Episode 175: Vampire Weekend

“Harmony Hall”

The band Vampire Weekend started in 2006, in New York. Their third album came out in 2013 and it was named one of the best albums of the year all over the place, and it won a Grammy. But then, it took six years for their next album, Father of the Bride, to come out. This album’s also been nominated for a Grammy, for album of the year. And the lead single from it, “Harmony Hall,” was nominated for Best Rock Song.

In this episode, Ezra Koenig from Vampire Weekend takes “Harmony Hall” apart. I spoke to him along with producer Ariel Rechtshaid, and the two of them detailed winding path the song went down, over several years, before it finally took shape.

You can buy or stream “Harmony Hall” here.

Right now, Radiotopia is holding its annual fundraiser. You can help support Song Exploder and the network that makes it possible. Make your mark. Go to Radiotopia.fm to donate today.

Illustration by Carlos Lerma.

footnotes
Origin of the Alice Cooper quote
Mark Ronson
Rostam Batmangliij, additional production
Danielle Haim, backing vocals
Dave Longstreth, backing vocals

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Episode 174: Meek Mill

“Trauma”

 

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Meek Mill is a rapper from Philadelphia. He’s put out five albums. His most recent, Championships, debuted at #1 on the charts, and was nominated for a Grammy for Best Rap Album.

Back in 2007, He was arrested on a gun charge at the age of 19, and over the last eleven years, he was sent to prison four times for parole violations. But in July 2019, based on evidence of alleged police corruption, the Pennsylvania Superior Court threw out his conviction, and the parole violation that had led to his most recent time in prison, a five-month sentence.

It was soon after Meek Mill was released that this song, “Trauma,” was created. He took inspiration from his experiences in prison, and his early life in Philadelphia.

In this episode, Meek Mill and Don Cannon, who produced the track, break down how the whole thing came together.

Learn more about the Reform Alliance here.

You can buy or stream “Trauma” here.

Right now, Radiotopia is holding its annual fundraiser. You can help support Song Exploder and the network that makes it possible. Make your mark. Go to Radiotopia.fm to donate today.

Illustration by Carlos Lerma.

footnotes
Meek Mill – “Getaway Freestyle”
Barclay James Harvest – “Taking Me Higher”
1500 or Nothin’ (band)

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