Sophie Allison makes music under the name Soccer Mommy. Her debut album came out in 2018, when she was 20 years old, and the New York Times named it one of the best album of the year. Her second album, Color Theory , comes out this week, and it includes this song, "Circle the Drain." In this episode, she takes "Circle the Drain" apart and explains how it was influenced by songs from her childhood.
Caribou - Home
Dan Snaith has been making Caribou records since 2001. He won Canada’s Polaris music prize in 2007, and this month, he’s releasing the seventh Caribou album, Suddenly .
In this episode, Dan breaks down the song “Home.” He talks about how he managed to get past several moments of creative uncertainty to figure out the final track.
Vagabon - Water Me Down
When Laetitia Tamko started making the second Vagabon album, she really wanted to produce the entire thing on her own. It would be a new sound, and producing was still a relatively new skill to her, but she wanted to tackle it head on, and do it all herself. On this song, though, "Water Me Down," Laetitia actually has a co-producer, Eric Littman. It’s the one exception to her otherwise entirely self-produced album. In this episode, she breaks down how she and Eric made the song, and why it was worth making that exception.
Semisonic - Closing Time
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."
Vampire Weekend - Harmony Hall
The band Vampire Weekend started in 2006, in New York. Their third album came out in 2013, and was named one of the best albums of the year all over the place, and it won a Grammy. But 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.