Hit Parade

Content Locked for Slate Plus members

The Bridge: Let Me Be the One

Boston Globe and Time critic Maura Johnston says freestyle, however fizzy, was also profoundly emo.

Episode Notes

In this mini-episode of Hit Parade, host Chris Molanphy welcomes Maura Johnston, the eclectic critic and contributor to the Boston Globe and Time magazine. In her study on Latin freestyle dance-pop in the 1980s, Maura pointed out that the music’s themes were surprisingly sad, with an ache that was not unlike goth and synthpop. And freestyle’s penchant for melodramatic ballads meant it was often played alongside hair-metal on the radio, another genre packed with power ballads.

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 Kevin Bendis.

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.

All episodes


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