But given my history and what I do for a living, you’d expect me to agree with this idea of the “music explainer.” After a quarter-century of doing The Ongoing History of New Music, the rest of the world has kind of caught up.
Music criticism is dead. Long live music analysis.
Gone are the days when listeners relied on critics for guidance on which albums to buy. In the streaming era, there is no need to read about whether an album is any good—you can sample it for yourself with just a few clicks.
Now, instead of seeking out critics’ assessment of an album, many music lovers want to hear about how songs work, why albums are constructed the way they are, and other bits of musical minutiae.
Enter the music explainer.
Today, there is a plethora of wonderful media focused on how music is made, and why we like what we like. These explainers celebrate the creative process, break down musical theory, and otherwise highlight things that often go unnoticed to casual listeners. While there is some excellent writing that fits the form, the music explainer really shines in podcasts and videos.
Here are five of the best music explainers out there right now—and a few bonus suggestions if you want to go even deeper.
Keep reading. Sadly, there doesn’t seem to be any mention of The Ongoing History on their list. Must be some kind of oversight.