Episode 241: King Princess

“Let Us Die”

 

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King Princess is the project of Mikaela Straus, a singer, songwriter, and producer from Brooklyn. She’s a platinum-selling artist, and she put out her second album in July, 2022. The last track on the album is the song “Let Us Die.” Rolling Stone called it “the banger of the year.” In this episode, Mikaela breaks down the song, along with two of her collaborators on it: co-producer and co-writer Ethan Gruska, and multi-Grammy winning producer Mark Ronson. You’ll hear the original voice memo that Mikaela recorded, and the demo she made with Ethan. And you’ll hear the drums recorded by the late Taylor Hawkins, the legendary drummer of Foo Fighters and Alanis Morissette, who passed away earlier this year

You can buy or stream “Let Us Die” here.

Illustration by Carlos Lerma.

footnotes
Mission Sound, Oliver Straus’ Studio
Shawn Everett (listen to Shawn on the Perfume Genius episode)
Reuben Cox, Old Style Guitar Shop

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Episode 240: Panic! At the Disco

“Viva Las Vengeance”


Panic! at the Disco is the Grammy-nominated project of Brendon Urie, who originally started it as a band with his high school friends from Las Vegas in 2004. In the eighteen years since, Panic! At the Disco has won American Music Awards, MTV Video Music Awards, iHeartRadio Music awards, and more. In August 2022, Brendon released the seventh Panic! at the Disco album, Viva Las Vengeance. The title track hit #1 on Billboard’s Alternative Airplay chart. In this episode, Brendon tells the story of how he, Grammy-nominated producer Jake Sinclair and Oscar-nominated songwriter Mike Viola all got together to make the song “Viva Las Vengeance.”

You can buy or stream “Viva Las Vengeance” here.

Illustration by Carlos Lerma.

footnotes
‘Army of the Dead’ (zombie movie)
Rob Mathes, arranger
The Cars

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Episode 239: Madonna

“Hung Up”

Madonna is the best-selling female recording artist of all time. She has 12 albums that have gone multi-platinum. She’s won seven Grammys, and has had fifty songs reach number 1 on the Billboard Dance chart. That’s more number 1s than anyone in any category, ever. In this episode, she talks about one of those number 1 hits: “Hung Up,” from her 2005 album Confessions on a Dance Floor. The song and that album were co-produced by Stuart Price, an electronic musician, producer, and DJ from the UK. “Hung Up” began in part because Madonna was working on a film with director Luc Besson (whose films include The Fifth Element and Taken). But the song also grew out of Stuart’s DJ sets.

Madonna has a new career-spanning album out, called Finally Enough Love: 50 Number Ones, and in honor of its release, Madonna and Stuart Price told me the story of how their collaboration and partnership led to one of Madonna’s biggest hits.

You can buy or stream “Hung Up” here.

For a transcript of this episode, click here.

Illustration by Carlos Lerma.

footnotes
“Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! (A Man After Midnight)” by ABBA
Studio 54

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