Have you told a podcast you love them today?
subtitles, exploring Spain, our possessions, de-influencing, mac n' cheese history, ruining Spice Girls, music and the brain, malibu drama.
I don’t know what cosmic forces are causing this, but lately it feels like I’m stumbling upon so many podcast gems. Whether it’s a tweet, something on my Spotify homepage, or recommendations in my inbox – my queue has been my favourite place to be lately. I have a note on my phone dedicated to jotting down quick thoughts once I realize it’s an episode I need to tell others about and I have been frantically taking lots of notes. I think it’s making me a more attentive listener, but it’s also making me more excited about podcast discovery in general. I’m grateful that I get to share my thoughts with you, but I’m also grateful that I have this archive of great audio to return to. We know word-of-mouth is still huge for discovery, so any time you share any kind of review or recommendation about a podcast it matters a lot. It matters to the creators who work so hard and it matters to welcoming future audiences. I encourage you to spread the podcast love any way you can!
Please enjoy this unrelated, but relevant meme.
This week’s podstack
Radiolingo - Lights! Camera! Translate!
Radiolingo is a fascinating series that’s changing the way I think about language and the impact it has on us. It’s as much about how we shape language, as it is about language shaping us. Their episode on subtitling, dubbing, and captioning gave me a whole new respect for just how intricate and complex that process is. With all the talk about AI lately, you might think that this is a job that AI will takeover, but after learning about all the important nuances, the human touch still gives the superior final product. It’s the difference between a Seinfeld episode using the phrase “make up sex” and the translation being VERY LITERAL, or being translated in a way that actually makes sense in another language. Each show and each language requires specific context to make sure that all audiences are getting the intended experience. It also got me thinking about how much detail we put into podcast transcripts so that all audiences get the same experience. This show is great at mixing humour, research, and relatable stories from every day people into a really fun learning experience! (transcript)
Strong Sense of Place - Spain: Valencia, Velázquez, and Vermouth
Strong Sense of Place’s recent episode about Spain had me wishing that podcasts could get waaaay more immersive so that I could actually feel the sunshine instead of being surrounded by snow. Even without this next level immersion, I still pretended I was sitting at a small bar in Sitges watching people go by with Melissa and David. But fair warning, you’ll be hungry within the first five minutes of this episode. I love the little bits of history that Melissa and David sprinkle in throughout episodes. They always give you a great sense of what to expect when you visit, and it’s even better when they’ve got personal experiences to add on to it. If you love travel, this show will have you looking up flights often, but if you can’t make the trip right away, they also give some book recommendations that take place in each location. Obviously, David’s recommendation for a book all about Spain’s food culture caught my attention! But above all else, my favourite part of this episode was the imaginary itinerary they dreamed up. What would you do for the perfect day in Spain? (transcript)
That Intimate Feeling - Possessions
I need to thank Kattie, from Pod The North, for tweeting about this show because I’m so glad I got to listen to it. I had no idea what to expect. What I heard was an incredibly thoughtful, eloquent, and artistically assembled audio essay about our possessions. What do they say about us? What does our relationship with consumerism do to all our other relationships? Yasaman Mansoori’s words are beautiful, but also so well organized. Every time I thought she had gone as deep as she could about our personal belongings, she took me on another journey, down another path of understanding the things we surround ourselves with. If you’ve ever wondered how good a solo narrated audio story can sound, this is a prime example. It’s about the way she plays with her voice, sometimes whispering, sometimes echoing like our subconscious. It’s the soft, dark, inspirational music choices. It’s the sounds of the possessions and settings she’s describing. This is how you bring words to life through audio.
There Are No Girls on the Internet - De-influencing 101: Stuff Mom Never Told You
For an interesting compliment to that episode about possessions, put this one on next. In a crossover episode between There Are No Girls on the Internet and Stuff Mom Never Told You, Bridget Todd joins Sam and Anney to discuss the “de-influencing” trend. It’s mostly going around TikTok and it’s all about influencing people not to buy stuff. They theorize why this may be happening and what tends to influence our shopping habits, like needing some retail therapy or algorithms. If you want a really unique listening experience, listen to this while walking through a mall like I was. Even though this is mostly a discussion around online shopping and spontaneous spending, it still resonated with me during in-person shopping.
They Did That - The Surprising History of Mac & Cheese: James Hemings
What’s your relationship with mac n’ cheese? Is ketchup on mac n’ cheese weird to you?! I rotate between ketchup or buffalo sauce, but Takara Small’s producer India is shocked by the ketchup choice when Takara chooses it too. This was the fun introduction to what turns out to be a very deep and twisted history of slavery, American cuisine, and Thomas Jefferson. Takara and India take us through the story of James Hemings, the chef responsible for bringing french fries, vanilla ice cream, and crème brûlée to the US. Except that Thomas Jefferson took all the credit because James was enslaved by him. Despite going through all the cruel treatment that Jefferson put him through, Hemings still left an incredible mark on food in America. Just like Takara, I’m Canadian, so l felt like I was learning along with her and India was such a great teacher. Their dynamic is so engaging and I wish more history lessons were like this.
Songs My Ex Ruined - Gianmarco Soresi on Spice Girls "Wannabe"
Gianmarco’s adorable and hilarious love story from the second grade truly captures the power of the Spice Girls era! Judging by the title of the show, I think you can guess how things go, but there’s a whole other part of this episode that got me thinking and made me want to recommend it. As devastating as Gianmarco’s Spice Girls experience is, I love that it inspired a bigger discussion around how our taste in music develops throughout our lives. Together, Courtney, Melissa, and Gianmarco theorize about which musical influences from when they were young carried on as they grew up and which ones faded away or changed.
The Next Big Idea - MUSIC: What the Songs You Love Say About You
Imagine going from being Prince’s producer for several years to studying what happens in your brain when you listen to music. That’s what Susan Rogers did! She had an unavoidable urge to study science and music, so she got her high school diploma, went to college, and went on to get a PhD. On this episode, Caleb, a fellow music nerd and producer of the show, welcomes Susan and Daniel Levitin, who was also Susan’s PhD advisor, and they both have so much enthusiasm for the work they do. They love asking questions about how we interact with music on a psychological and emotional level. I like that Caleb stopped to ask if studying music and the brain takes away from the magic of it and for Susan, it only makes it stronger. I love their discussions around songs that are love at first listens and the ones we hate at first but grow to enjoy. Both Susan and Daniel have written books about the science behind our musical experiences, and I kinda found myself wanting to read them. I want to know the deeper stuff they’ve discovered! Shout out to Hark Daily for putting this episode on my radar.
The Royals of Malibu - My Fairy Godfather
I had heard great reviews from Lauren and Shreya about this one, so obviously had to put it in my queue. From what I had heard about it, it seemed like there were some intense and mysterious things ahead for Ella Sinclair, the show’s main character. But you only get little teases of that by the end of the first episode, which I kind of like. In the first episode, I got to know Ella and she’s really likeable. Determined, independent, and smart. She goes from being an underage cam girl to living with the Royals in Malibu. They’re a rich family who might also be rich with secrets. I have to recommend this one because of how well the first episode made me want to immediately go to the next one. So much so, that I have to thank this show for my clean bathroom. I just kept listening and cleaning! I left off on episode four and found myself wondering what was going to happen next. It took me right back to days of marathoning episodes of Gossip Girl or 90210 and that’s not even something I thought I’d want to go back to, but here we are!
More sweet treats
Realm's fiction podcast "ElfQuest" released an ASL-interpreted version of every episode (h/t Inside Podcasting).
The Podcast Experience at On Air Fest looks so dang cool!
If you’re looking for more diverse interview-style podcasts, Shreya put a call out for recommendations.
Have you started your perfectly timed Ted Lasso rewatch?
Steno.fm, a proof-of-concept podcast app designed with first-class support for transcripts! Check out a demo with Buzzcast.
Thank you for reading! If you listened to something this week that made your heart sing, your imagination wander, or your brain ponder, I’d love to hear about it!
There are some gems in here I need to check out. Thank you for this. Def going to share my love for some pods!
I haven't told a podcast I love them yet today but I do love this newsletter! Listening to the "Foul @#$%ing Language" episode of Radiolingo and haven't even cussed once during it.
Thanks, as always, for the nice recs, Devin!