In 2017 I fell back in love with Podcasts. The act of listening to a podcast is deeply relaxing and rejuvenating for me - since I spend all day at work in front of screens, the absolute last thing I want to do when I come home is get in front of another, be it a TV or a computer. Podcasts allow me to unplug and just listen, and also allow for that great millennial addiction: multitasking. My ultimate unwinding routine: come home from yoga, turn on a podcast, make a mezcal cocktail, do the dishes, and make some sort of elaborate dinner while I get lost in the stories I'm hearing. A totally nerdy, prematurely middle-aged ritual- but I don't care. I can't get enough.
Here are the five podcasts I turned to the most frequently this year, and why I kept returning to them. If you're looking for something new to get lost in I can't recommend the below five podcasts enough!! And they all have plenty of back episodes so you can fall straight down the rabbit hole if you want :)
The Read, by Kid Fury & Crissle.
This podcast...where do I even begin. Kid Fury & Crissle are the most over-the-top hilarious, brilliant, feisty humans I have ever come across in my entire life. The show centers around discussion of pop culture and current events, and as dismal as those two things have been this year Fury & Crissle have kept me DOUBLED OVER in laughter. Honestly, coming from a women who as a general rule is reeeeally not into comedy, these are two of the funniest humans alive. This is what I turn on when I have had ENOUGH of the universe and need someone to preach on it/make me laugh until my sides hurt. Go home, download an episode, and prepare yourself for a great ab workout.
Revisionist History, by Malcom Gladwell.
Revisionist History delves deeply into what we've been told about the past, and the necessity of reconsidering it. Gladwell takes a bit of history (for example, Wilt Chamberlain's refusal to improve his foul shot when he knew exactly how he could, or rich people and their permanent obsession with golfing, or a statue commemorating the fight for civil rights in a park in Birmingham, or the story of the first woman to show a painting in the Royal Academy art show in the 19th century) and dissects it from a modern perspective, questioning not only the stories themselves but the lessons we've gleaned from them as a society. I love listening to him speak - I can honestly listen to this podcast for hours. His analysis and delivery of sometimes dark truths leaves me comforted and calm every time. This is what I turn on when I'm feeling philosophical...when I'm wondering what it all means in the end.
Switched on Pop, by Charlie Harding and Nate Sloan.
What do you get when you shake up a musicologist, a songwriter, and an obsession with pop music?! You get Switched on Pop, a podcast about dissecting and obsessing over what makes great pop music. They've covered everything from "Despacito" to "Bodak Yellow", from Bing Crosby to Selena Gomez, from Max Martin to Quincy Jones...I can't get enough. Both hosts are unassuming and goofy, and it's such a great balance to their intellect. They've managed to talk me into liking the occasional pop song I couldn't stand at first (looking at you, "Bad Liar"), which is no small feat. They've even showed me techniques or motifs I never would have noticed in songs I adore (enter the episode on one of the best songs of the year, "Sorry Not Sorry"). I turn this on when I want to nerd out.
Strangers, specifically "Lea in Trumpland", by Lea Thau.
Strangers is a beloved podcast that I have not yet dedicated enough time to. The few episodes I've heard have been about the extraordinary lives & stories of people Lea encounters. It's a deeply uplifting dive into the human spirit. In the spring of this past year I made an offhand remark to my boss about how I couldn't comprehend all of the individuals who had voted for Donald Trump, and how I thought of them as one huge moral-less force of evil, and she immediately lit up and pointed me to the "Lea in Trumpland" episodes, in which Lea Thau traveled to different places to meet and speak with some of her listeners who had voted for Donald Trump in an attempt to understand, but not necessarily forgive, them. I've been losing sleep over our sad excuse for a President all year long, and have felt such deep rage and disappointment toward the people who elected him, and "Lea in Trumpland" shed a light directly on those feelings. I can't say I left the exploration feeling resolved and full of forgiveness, and neither did Lea, but I still felt a deep catharsis when it was done. These episodes were very atypical to the show, but they soothed me. I listened to this when I was consumed with trying to understand the people around me.
S-Town, by Brian Reed.
I'll set the scene: a journalist travels to rural Alabama on a tip from a local citizen that there was a murder cover-up in his tiny town. You think you're starting a show about a murder mystery, but you quickly realize that you're listening to a show about tragedy, delusion, heartbreak, identity, and the crushing pressures of knowing that you don't belong. I loved S-Town, even when it was hard to listen to. I listened to this when I wanted to be pulled into an engrossing story, and it did the job every time - I'd highly recommend this one for a long flight or a road trip.
Another reason I'm addicted to podcasts? They're all about SHARING. Almost half of the above podcasts were discovered based on recommendations from friends, so I am dyyyyying to know...
...what podcasts did you love this year?? What do I need to check out??