Tuner is the best podcast you’re not listening to.

Why aren’t you listening to Tuner? I’ve been harassing my friends for the last couple of weeks to listen and subscribe immediately. Now it’s your turn.

The new bi-weekly podcast, hosted by Brian Barone and John Lagomarsino, delves into pop music to explore how and why it works. Combining classic music theory with an academic and working musician’s knowledge of music history, Barone and Lagomarsino unpack radio’s earworms in a way that’s both illuminating and tremendously enjoyable to listen to.

Why does switching from syncopated beat in the pre-chorus to a straight 1 and 3 in the chorus itself in Walk the Moon’s “Shut Up and Dance” work so well? How does the pronunciation on the chorus of “Oooo-oooshaa-dup and dance” bridge the years between today’s stream-ready pop and the 45s our grandparents grew up and listened to? What doesn’t “Single Ladies (Put A Ring On It)” do on the 1 that forces it deep into the limbic cortex and causes everyone to do the Beyonce Put a Ring On it hand thing? Tuner knows.

What makes Tuner so enjoyable for me is that it hits all my buttons for a good podcast: interesting people talking in depth about something I don’t know anything about without dumbing it down; well-edited and engineered so it sounds great as it plays; and very focused in what it wants to be.

Colleague and co-writer Miles gave in, gave it a listen, and said he hoped that Tuner would look beyond the current charts to bands like The Beatles, Big Star, Queen and more. With just two episodes under its belt, Tuner definitely has the potential to do for pop music what podcasts like 99% Invisible did for design.

Tuner is available from iTunes, Soundcloud, and from their own website. Subscribe now. You (and whatever your current earworm is) will be glad you did. 


Since peaking at #103 more than 34 years ago, Griffin Copy Chief Web Webster’s earworm has remained the same as it ever was, Talking Heads’ “Once In A Lifetime.”

Leave a Reply