Pop

EP32: Justin Simien on Michael Jackson's "HIStory" (1995)

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Show: 
Heat Rocks
Guests: 
Justin Simien

The album: Michael Jackson: HIStory: Past, Present and Future: Book 1 (1995)

Justin Simien, whose Dear White People is just beginning its second season on Netflix, came through to join us live for another Voyager Institute collaboration. By sheer coincidence, our last VI event took on Janet Jackson's Rhythm Nation and here we are again, working our way through another Jackson family LP. (Can LaToya be too far behind?)

HIStory, as our crew points out, is an odd duck in the vaunted Jackson discography. Though it was enormously successful – the best selling double album of all time (especially since disc one was a "Greatest Hits" anthology) – it tends to have been overlooked given all the controversy swirling around MJ in that era. He had already been tried and acquitted on child molestation charges but his marriage to Lisa Marie Presley was still tabloid catnip and all this resulted in him recording, to quote Morgan: his most "pissed" off album, ever. This, and more, was all fodder for our conversation. But before you even listen, you have to watch the trailer for HIStory:

Meanwhile, don't forget to listen to last week's episode, about Michael Jackson's Off the Wall, featuring Martin Perna!

More on HIStory

More on Justin Simien

Show Tracklisting (all songs from HIStory unless indicated otherwise):

  • “Money”
  • “Scream”
  • Janet Jackson: Got Till It’s Gone “Got Till It’s Gone”
  • “This Time Around Feat. Biggie Smalls”
  • “You Are Not Alone”
  • “Stranger In Moscow”
  • “Childhood”
  • Michael Jackson: Bad “Leave Me Alone”
  • “They Don’t Really Care About Us”
  • “Tabloid Junkie”
  • Michael Jackson: Thriller “Someone In The Dark”

If you're not already subscribed to Heat Rocks in Apple Podcasts, do it here!

EP31: Martín Perna on Michael Jackson's "Off the Wall" (1980)

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Show: 
Heat Rocks
Guests: 
Martín Perna

The album: Michael Jackson: Off The Wall (1979)

Martín Perna of Antibalas wanted to revisit one of the formative albums of his childhood: Michael Jackson's Off The Wall. For many MJ fans, this is the king of pop's greatest work, a clear statement that he was now fully out of the shadow of the Jackson 5 and, along with super-producer Quincy Jones, ready to remake American pop music as we know it.

Perna not only brought his memories of growing up, mesmerized by the cover of the album, but his multi-instrumentalist also broke down some of the secrets behind the production on the album. Even for deep fans, there's something to learn, and for everyone else, you get to hear from one of the great pop albums of all time. (And if you haven't heard it before, check out this incredible demo version of "Don't Stop 'Till You Get Enough")

Next week's episode is also about Michael Jackson as director Justin Simien (Dear White People) joins us to talk about MJ's HIStory (1995).

And look for a bonus beats episode to post soon that features Perna and us talking about the never-ending "Off the Wall vs. Thrillerdebate.

More on Off the Wall

More on Martín Perna

Show Tracklisting (all songs from Off the Wall unless indicated otherwise):

  • “Off The Wall”
  • Antibalas: Antibalas “Dirty Money”
  • The Wiz “You Can’t Win”
  • “She’s Out of my Life”
  • Jackson 5: ABC “ABC”
  • “Get On The Floor”
  • “Don’t Stop Till You Get Enough”
  • “I Can’t Help It”
  • Fela Kuti: Upside Down “Upside Down”
  • “Rock With You”
  • “Burn This Disco Out”
  • “It’a The Falling In Love”
  • “Girlfriend”

If you're not already subscribed to Heat Rocks in Apple Podcasts, do it here!

Pop Rocket Episode 163: Hail to the Matriarchy

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Show: 
Pop Rocket

This week, Guy and the gang talk about their favorite first ladies and lady presidents in movies and TV. Is there a fictional first lady that ISN'T some kind of commentary on Hillary? What kind of media would we like to see about the Obamas? When will Melania spill the tea? Plus, Margaret's baby makes his first podcast appearance, Wynter discusses Chris Rock's Netflix special, Guy talks Queer Eye, and the panel has a conversation on Parkland and Emma Gonzalez' speech on gun control.

With Guy Branum, Wynter Mitchell, Karen Tongson and Margaret Wappler.

That’s My Jam:

Margaret Wappler - Tammy Wynette - Stand By Your Man
Karen Tongson and Wynter Mitchell- Kendrick Lamar feat. SZA - All the Stars
Guy Branum - Angela Lansbury in The Manchurian Candidate

Each week we’ll add everyone’s jams to our Spotify playlists.

You can let us know what you think of Pop Rocket and suggest topics in our Facebook group or via @PopRocket on Twitter.

Produced by Christian Dueñas for MaximumFun.org.

Pop Rocket Episode 162: Pop Rocket is for Lovers with Dave White

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Show: 
Pop Rocket
Guests: 
Dave White

Karen Tongson takes over hosting duties this week and film critic Dave White joins the panel to discuss all things Valentine's Day. Who are our favorite TV couples? Are rom coms over? What couple do our panelists aspire to be like? Plus, Karen talks the Winter Olympics, Dave tells us about his new favorite chef, and Wynter has a few more words on Versace.

With Karen Tongson, Wynter Mitchell, and Dave White.

That's My Jam:

Karen Tongson - The Shins - Heartworms (Flipped)
Wynter Mitchell - Justin Timberlake - Filthy
Dave White - Trina - Pull Over

Each week we’ll add everyone’s jams to our Spotify playlists.

You can let us know what you think of Pop Rocket and suggest topics in our Facebook group or via @PopRocket on Twitter.

Produced by Christian Dueñas for MaximumFun.org.

Pop Rocket Episode 161: That's What I Do!

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Show: 
Pop Rocket
Guests: 
Guy Branum
Guests: 
Margaret Wappler
Guests: 
Karen Tongson

This week, Guy and the gang discuss different representations of their respective careers in pop culture. How accurately is stand up comedy portrayed in Seinfeld? Are the lives of archaeology professors anywhere near as interesting as Indiana Jones'? Does ER do a good job of showing the process of having a baby? Plus, Karen talks The Alienist, Margaret gets into more podcasts, and Guy is in love with One Day at a Time.

With Guy Branum, Wynter Mitchell, Karen Tongson and Margaret Wappler.

That’s My Jam:

Margaret Wappler - First Aid Kit - America
Karen Tongson - Matthew Wilder - Break My Stride
Guy Branum - The comedy of Bob Smith

Each week we’ll add everyone’s jams to our Spotify playlists.

You can let us know what you think of Pop Rocket and suggest topics in our Facebook group or via @PopRocket on Twitter.

Produced by Christian Dueñas for MaximumFun.org.

Pop Rocket Episode 159: The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story

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Show: 
Pop Rocket
Guests: 
Guy Branum
Guests: 
Karen Tongson
Guests: 
Margaret Wappler
Guests: 
Wynter Mitchell

This week, Guy and the gang discuss The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story. How amazing is Penelope Cruz' performance? How "true" is this true crime story and does it matter? Plus, Guy is getting into faith-based comedy, Wynter is watching even more stand up comedy, Margaret has some thoughts on The Chi, and Karen discusses The Hollywood Reporter's feature on Ellen Pompeo.

With Guy Branum, Wynter Mitchell, Karen Tongson and Margaret Wappler.

That’s My Jam:

Margaret Wappler - The Mountain Goats - Wear Black
Karen Tongson - Chuck Mangione - Feels So Good
Wynter Mitchell - Gary Numan - M.E.
Guy Branum - Bow Wow Wow - I Want Candy

Each week we’ll add everyone’s jams to this handy Spotify playlist.

You can let us know what you think of Pop Rocket and suggest topics in our Facebook group or via @PopRocket on Twitter.

Produced by Christian Dueñas for MaximumFun.org.

Pop Rocket Episode 156: The Endless Red Carpet

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Show: 
Pop Rocket
Guests: 
Guy Branum
Guests: 
Margaret Wappler
Guests: 
Wynter Mitchell
Guests: 
Karen Tongson

This week, Guy and the gang talk about awards season and give some Oscar predictions! How will awards shows change in the #metoo era? Are we all tired of obvious Oscar bait? WHY DO THE GRAMMYS EXIST?! Plus, Karen catches up on Downton Abbey, Wynter discusses Black Mirror, Margaret loves Amazon's Rose Parade show, and Guy argues on Facebook about Call Me By Your Name.

With Guy Branum, Wynter Mitchell, Karen Tongson and Margaret Wappler.

That’s My Jam:

Margaret Wappler - Jonny Greenwood - House of Woodcock
Karen Tongson - Japanese Breakfast - Machinist
Wynter Mitchell - ABBA - Happy New Year
Guy Branum - Curtiss Maldoon - Sepheryn (Ray of Light)

Each week we’ll add everyone’s jams to this handy Spotify playlist.

You can let us know what you think of Pop Rocket and suggest topics in our Facebook group or via @PopRocket on Twitter.

Produced by Christian Dueñas for MaximumFun.org.

Pop Rocket Episode 155: The Best of the Worst

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Show: 
Pop Rocket
Guests: 
Guy Branum
Guests: 
Margaret Wappler
Guests: 
Wynter Mitchell
Guests: 
Karen Tongson

This week, Guy Branum and the gang discuss their favorite "so bad it's good" movies, tv, and music. How was Small Wonder a real thing? What's the difference between schlock, schmatlz, and just straight up bad? Plus, Wynter has a few words on 45 in the Hall of Presidents, Karen just watched Masterminds, Margaret takes a 1 second video, and Guy loves Beatriz at Dinner.

With Guy Branum, Wynter Mitchell, Karen Tongson and Margaret Wappler.
That’s My Jam:

Margaret Wappler - Rupert Holmes - Escape (The Pina Colada Song)
Karen Tongson - Wham - Last Christmas
Wynter Mitchell - Bjork - Arisen my Senses
Guy Branum - Lou Bega - Mambo No 5

Each week we’ll add everyone’s jams to this handy Spotify playlist.

You can let us know what you think of Pop Rocket and suggest topics in our Facebook group or via @PopRocket on Twitter.

Produced by Christian Dueñas for MaximumFun.org.

Pop Rocket Episode 154: I, Tonya

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Show: 
Pop Rocket
Guests: 
Guy Branum
Guests: 
Margaret Wappler
Guests: 
Karen Tongson
Guests: 
Wynter Mitchell

This week, Guy and the gang talk about the film I, Tonya. Was Margot Robbie the best choice to portray Tonya Harding? Is the movie maybe just a bit too Oscar bait-y? All that, plus Guy talks Marvelous Ms. Maisel (again), Karen loves The Big Family Cooking Showdown, Wynter discusses Omarosa, and Margaret gets into sex therapy podcasts.

With Guy Branum, Wynter Mitchell, Karen Tongson and Margaret Wappler.

That’s My Jam:

Margaret Wappler - St. Vincent - Pills
Karen Tongson - General Public - Never You Done That
Wynter Mitchell - Beck - Wow
Guy Branum - Lizzo - Truth Hurts

Each week we’ll add everyone’s jams to this handy Spotify playlist.

You can let us know what you think of Pop Rocket and suggest topics in our Facebook group or via @PopRocket on Twitter.

Produced by Christian Dueñas for MaximumFun.org.

Pop Rocket Episode 153: Hanukkah is a Holiday Too

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Show: 
Pop Rocket
Guests: 
Guy Branum
Guests: 
Margaret Wappler
Guests: 
Karen Tongson
Guests: 
Wynter Mitchell

This week, Guy and the gang talk about Hanukkah and their favorite representations of the Festival of Lights in pop culture. Plus, Margaret discusses "Cat Person" Karen watched ALL of Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, and Wynter and Guy can't stop talking about The Crown episode 8.

With Guy Branum, Wynter Mitchell, Karen Tongson and Margaret Wappler.

That’s My Jam:

Margaret Wappler - Darlene Love - Christmastime for the Jews
Karen Tongson - Fiddler on the Roof - Do You Love Me
Wynter Mitchell - Giraffage and Matosic - Slowly
Guy Branum - Matisyahu - Miracle

Each week we’ll add everyone’s jams to this handy Spotify playlist.

You can let us know what you think of Pop Rocket and suggest topics in our Facebook group or via @PopRocket on Twitter.

Produced by Christian Dueñas for MaximumFun.org.

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