Hit Parade

The Bridge: Rain Sounds and Moody Goths

Chris Molanphy and Aisha Harris talk about the song template Janet Jackson’s producers spun into five hits.

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About the Show

Chris Molanphy, a pop-chart analyst and author of Slate’s “Why Is This Song No. 1?” series, tells tales from a half-century of chart history. Through storytelling, trivia, and song snippets, Chris dissects how that song you love—or hate—dominated the airwaves, made its way to the top of the charts, and shaped your memories forever.

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  • Chris Molanphy is a feature writer and critic who writes widely about music and the pop charts.

Episode Notes

In this monthly mini-episode of Hit Parade, host Chris Molanphy is joined by Aisha Harris, culture editor for the New York Times’ Opinion section. Aisha and Chris discuss the Janet Jackson album Rhythm Nation 1814, the topic of the most recent full-length episode of Hit Parade. Aisha tells Chris about her early Jackson fandom, picks her all-time favorite Janet songs, and offers her opinion on the relevancy and influence of Janet’s sound today. Plus, Chris gives an inside scoop on the song template that Jackson’s longtime producers, Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, used to generate multiple chart-topping hits. Chris quizzes a Slate Plus listener with some music trivia, and the contestant turns the tables with a chance to stump Chris with a trivia question of his own.

While this episode is available to all listeners, our trivia round is open only to Slate Plus members. If you are a member—or once you become a member—enter as a contestant here.

Want your question featured in an upcoming show? Email a voice memo to hitparade@slate.com.

Podcast production by Asha Saluja.