Hit Parade

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The Bridge: On the Wheels of Steel

Author and dance critic Michaelangelo Matos says remixing is like songwriting: there’s no one right way to do it.

Episode Notes

In this mini-episode of Hit Parade, host Chris Molanphy is joined by Michaelangelo Matos, author of The Underground Is Massive: How Electronic Dance Music Conquered America and Can’t Slow Down: How 1984 Became Pop’s Blockbuster Year. Matos explains how remixing evolved from a physical artform—DJ Kool Herc manipulating turntables, or producer Shep Pettibone remixing a New Order record with grease pencils and spliced tape—to an act of total electronic reinvention: albums like the Avalanches’ Since I Left You that are literally impossible without accessible samplers and digital editing tools. Some DJs will reduce a track to nothing but the original vocal, then rebuild it from the ground up. Sometimes even the vocal is rerecorded! “Remixing is like songwriting,” Matos says. “There’s no one way to do it.”

Next, Chris quizzes a Slate Plus listener with some music trivia, gives him a chance to turn the tables with a question of his own, and previews next month’s full-length episode. Slate Plus members can sign up for a chance to be our trivia contestant on a future episode here.

Podcast production by Benjamin Frisch.

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.