Song Exploder (2014 – Present) is a one-man podcast, where a different musician talks about a specific song. It singles out different tracks and songwriters — drummer, guitarist, bassist, singer, etc. — share their thoughts about creating it.
The podcast 99% Invisible (2010 – Present) introduced to Song Exploder, both part of Radiotopia, It shared Episode 28: The Long Winters, which is fascinating and got me hooked. “The Commander Thinks Aloud” is a good place to start, because the Long Winters’ songwriter is an excellent storyteller. He talked about the subject of the song, including his experience flying, hearing about the space shuttle disaster, and imagining impending doom. He also speaks eloquently about the different instrumental parts and their progression in the music.
Looking back in the archives, I found songs from other good bands, like Blonde Redhead and the Album Leaf. Older episodes play the full song first, but it’s nice that they’re at the end of the episode now. Recently, Song Exploder covered a new song from HEALTH (whom I’ve written about here) and introduced me to bands I haven’t listened to, like American Football. The website has a lot of links and visuals you can’t get in a podcast, so I recommend both.