Episode 211: Sparks

“This Town Ain’t Big Enough for Both of Us”

Sparks are the brothers Ron and Russell Mael, a legendary duo from Los Angeles. Over the last 50 years, they’ve released 25 albums. They’ve collaborated with Giorgio Moroder and Franz Ferdinand, and they’ve influenced bands like Joy Division, Faith No More, Björk, and countless others. Director Edgar Wright, whose films include Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz, Baby Driver, and Scott Pilgrim vs the World, has made a documentary about the band called The Sparks Brothers. It premiered at Sundance, and comes out in theaters on Friday, June 18th. In this episode, Ron and Russell break down their hit song, “This Town Ain’t Big Enough for Both of Us,” which came out in 1974.

You can buy or stream “This Town Ain’t Big Enough for the Both of Us” here.

Illustration by Carlos Lerma.

Adrian Fisher, guitarist
Norman “Dinky” Diamond, drummer
Martin Gordon, bassist
Muff Winwood, producer
Island Records
Top of the Pops

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Episode 210: Arlo Parks

“Black Dog”

Arlo Parks is a singer and songwriter from London. In January 2021, she released her debut album, Collapsed in Sunbeams. It hit number three on the UK charts, and she won this year’s BRIT award for Breakthrough Artist. Last year, NME called her song “Black Dog” the year’s “most devastating song.” In this episode, she breaks down “Black Dog,” which she made with producer Gianluca Buccellati.

I want to let you know that the song being discussed is about someone who is alive and well today, but was going through a period of depression and anxiety. Both the song and the interview allude to suicide, so please be mindful before listening. If you’re thinking about suicide, or if you have a friend who is, or if you just need someone to talk to right now, you can get support by calling the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or by texting HOME to 741-741, which is the Crisis Text Line. If you’re outside of the U.S., check out the list of international hotlines at suicide.org.

You can buy or stream “Black Dog” here.

For a transcript of this episode, click here.

Illustration by Carlos Lerma.

Sufjan Stevens – “Should Have Known Better”
Arlo’s poem

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Episode 209: Imagine Dragons

“Follow You”

Imagine Dragons are a Grammy-winning band from Las Vegas, Nevada. They’ve sold over 20 millions albums so far, and they were the most streamed band on Spotify in 2018. In March of this year, they released the song “Follow You.” Singer Dan Reynolds started the song at home, and then later, the band took it to the studio Shangri-La, to record parts of it with legendary producer Rick Rubin. In this episode, Dan breaks down the song, which tells a deeply personal story of his relationship to his wife.

You can buy or stream “Follow You” here.

For a transcript of this episode click here.

Illustration by Carlos Lerma.

Joel Little, producer
Rick Rubin, executive producer

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