Earlier this year, my good friend recommended a podcast on Spotify: Song Exploder. Each episode invites a new artist to reflect on the process of creating one of their songs. For some, they dive into a deep explanation of how each instrument was added, how each sound was layered, how the final product came to be. For others, they share a personal experience that led to the initial spark of inspiration or the emotions that manifested themselves into the lyrics, melodies, or harmonies. Always searching for new music to learn about, I was hooked immediately.
I sat down the other day to listen to a particular episode featuring Christine and the Queens. She broke down her song “Doesn’t matter” from her 2018 album, Chris. She described a deep feeling of loneliness that kindled its creation; the desolate streets of Paris at nighttime evoked a powerful expression of personal solitude that resulted in an emotional catharsis for her.
Chris says, “I do believe that loneliness is a great disease that is shared by many people.” That certainly struck a familiar chord during this moment of global quarantine.
She compared the process to that of writing a Greek tragedy: her voice playing the part of the hero, the harmonies being a greek chorus providing commentary, and the bridge a soliloquy, breaking the fourth wall and speaking directly to the audience…or in this case, the listeners. What’s more, she revealed the difficulty of translating the song from her native language, French, to English. Chris expresses a desire to build a connection with audiences in both Europe and the U.S.—and she achieves this partly through language.
Each episode is unique, and overall, it traverses many styles of music. I could recommend and write about so many, for I am constantly surprised and delighted by each story. As they are told by the artists themselves, I tend to feel a little closer to them and more inspired to listen to their other work.
It was passed on to me, and now I’d like to pass it forward once more… Explore Song Exploder here: https://open.spotify.com/show/10lMwCjvzLCLwth2AW6cLG?si=IvVoRW9gQkyCTcsBbw3E_A