In 2020, the online music publication Pitchfork started an original podcast called "The Pitchfork Review," the name inspired by the quarterly print journal the outlet used to publish from 2013 to 2016. Now, the staff of Pitchfork has taken to audio storytelling to share their thoughts, opinions and reviews on various artists and albums, making it a controversial and engaging podcast.
Currently in its third year on Spotify, here are the top five episodes to listen to from "The Pitchfork Review:"
This episode is only two months old, with Pitchfork's editor-in-chief Puja Patel and contributor Julianne Escobedo Shepherd discussing Beyoncé's latest album, "RENAISSANCE." In the episode, the two express their likes and dislikes for the tracks on the pop singer's most innovative project yet and discuss the influences of LGBTQIA+ and Black musicians on Beyoncé as a singer and performer. Essentially an audio review, this conversation also dives into the hidden meanings of the album and its symbolism in the U.S. music industry.
For all the Swifties out there, this Pitchfork review of Taylor Swift's most recent album, "Midnights," may ruffle some feathers, but that makes this episode so memorable. Patel sits down with fellow editor Anna Gaca and staff writer Quinn Moreland to talk about Swift's legacy as a musician, her themes and lyrics and her growth and decline as a singer and songwriter. The three critics are not afraid to give the singer some suggestions, but the episode proves that even music's biggest stars can't always be put on a pedestal just because of their reputation and past success. If you're into pop music and Taylor Swift, this is the perfect episode to listen to.
Patel reviews director Jeremy Larson and features editor Ryan Dombal's breakdown of The 1975's "Being Funny in a Foreign Language," voicing their opinions on the British band's lead singer Matty Healy and the album's symbolism, themes and significance in the alternative genre. What makes this episode flyby is the carefully placed moments of humor and playfulness throughout, the conversation flowing even with jokes and a stream of conscious thinking. Even though this review is very critical of The 1975, the episode reminds listeners that Pitchfork knows how to analyze an album from start to finish and consider an artist's past musical discography when creating a review.
Unlike the three episodes previously mentioned, this episode from "The Pitchfork Review" examines artists from different time periods and backgrounds. These artists make music that goes beyond aiming to be a chart-topper and make people question the institutions, laws and movements around in a somewhat traditionalist society. Patel talks with the founder of New York University's Clive Davis Institute of Record Music, Jason King, about 19th-century Black spirituals and artists such as Public Enemy, Lady Gaga and Janelle Monáe. This episode is a historical and informational one about the past and present of musical protest.
If you don't know what hyperpop music is, then you should definitely listen to this episode of "The Pitchfork Review." Patel interviews hyperpop duo 100 Gecs about the genre and talks about artists such as Britney Spears and John Zorn, who paved the way for the genre to enter the mainstream. With the trio explaining hyperpop's origins, meaning and influence on other genres, the episode exposes listeners to this genre while providing a history of exactly how it came to be; it is one for music lovers who want to give a new sound a try.