Saturday, December 26, 2015

my top ten podcast episodes of the year


I listened to so many podcasts this year. here are my favorites.

1.Song Exploder - The Magnetic Fields
In each episode, Hrishikesh Hirway thoroughly explores the creation of a single song. Here, he talks with Stephin Merritt about his song, "Andrew in Drag." This episode makes me want to listen to every episode of Song Exploder and every song that Stephin Merritt has written, so, it's at the top of the list.

2. The Memory Palace - Notes on an Imagined Plaque to be Added to the Statue of General Nathan Bedford Forrest, Upon Hearing that the Memphis City Council has Voted to Move it and the Exhumed Remains of General Forrest and his Wife, May Ann Montgomery Forrest, from their Current Location in a Park Downtown to the Nearby Elmwood Cemetery
Always careful, delicate, and beautiful, Nate DiMeo of the Memory Palace hits new heights in this timely episode. Just listen to it. I can't say anything else other than that this ep has the distinction of being the only podcast that brought tears to my eyes (at the reading of the names).

3. Home of the Brave - The End of the World
I just uncovered Home of the Brave, but the Scott Carrier episodes of This American Life are some of my favorites. This episode was my entry point to the series and I'm so excited. It's lyrical and indulgent and moving and inspiring and makes me want to hear just about everything that Scott Carrier has done/is doing/will do.

4. Serial - Dustwun
I loved season one of Serial (see number 5 on this list), but since it ended and a thousand other podcasts emerged that are doing in-depth crime stories, I was looking forward to the Serial team investigating a bigger inter/national story. In this episode, we're introduced to the case of Bowe Bergdahl, the PFC who walked off a base in Afghanistan, initiating an international saga that we're still sorting out. Only two eps are out for season 2 so far, but it's so so good.

5. Undisclosed - CrimeStoppers
Serial kicked off the modern podcast obsession. Undisclosed picks up where Serial left off and continues examining the case against Adnan Syed for the murder of Hae Min Lee. They have a very public bias - there was not enough evidence that Adnan did it for a conviction (and Adnan didn't do it). With three lawyer-hosts, they get much more into the legal issues in the case, but this episode details some seemingly very relevant facts that never made it into Serial.

6. The Adventure Zone - Moonlighting, Chapter One
Three podcasting brothers and their father play D&D. This is the first ep where they really step out of the pre-made D&D module and into a story of their own. Go back and start from the beginning if you want the full story, but it's ok to just jump in with this exposition heavy episode. The D&D session is fun, and gets more inventive as it goes on, but the reason you listen is the interplay between the family members.

7. The Cephalopodcast - The Game of Monopoly
The Cephalopodcast is a podcast made by a giant squid, the Giant Squidstravaganza. So, that's what you're getting into. You may not want to start here to get to know Mr. Squidstravaganza a little better, but if you want an entertaining critique of the modern economic era as seen through the (GIANT) eyes of a giant squid, start here. and if that doesn't convince you, listen only for still-stuck-in-my-head squid version of the Coca-Cola jingle.

8. Reply All - Hack the Police
What happens if you hack the police? Find out here. Reply All is a podcast about the Internet, and since the internet is involved with pretty much everything,  it's really a podcast about pretty much everything.

9. Song Exploder - The Microphones
"I Want Wind to Blow" is one of my favorite songs. It stands in the place of a whole era of my life. Here, we learn more about the background of the song, which just makes me love it more. this is also the ep that kicked off my Song Exploder obsession.

10. Limetown - What We Know (episode 1)
Limetown is a fictional podcast, playing with the podcast genre. This pilot ep sucks you in and, although the rest of the first season is uneven, it can be fun (and scary, and that's ok).