Episode 17. Chris Molanphy of Hit Parade

Chris Molanphy Hit Parade

Hit Parade is a podcast of pop-chart history that dissects how songs become hits: the intersection of art and commerce that is popular music.”

How do songs and albums achieve success on the charts and become lasting memories, for better or worse, in popular culture? Chris Molanphy, a pop-chart analyst, looks at both culture and commerce to arrive at answers. The answers, along with plenty of trivia, song clips, unexpected stories and entertaining cultural analysis form the Hit Parade podcast.

“I’m always looking for the best stories,” explained Chris. “For ways to make the audience go, ‘oh yeah… I’ve experienced that… that’s the song about the such and such with the so and so’.”

In this episode of MetaPod, Chris Molanphy makes the case that the music charts still matter. He also outlines the key developments that have shaped the evolution of the Billboard charts up to the streaming era. We discuss with Chris how he uncovers chart phenomena and conceives topics for episodes of Hit Parade. Plus, Kevin and Wendy quiz Chris on some of his favourite music-related picks, which leads to Chris revealing a cherished item from his clothes closet.

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Show notes

About Chris Molanphy

Chris Molanphy

Chris Molanphy is a chart analyst and pop critic who writes about the intersection of culture and commerce in popular music. For Slate, he hosts the Hit Parade podcast and writes their “Why Is This Song No. 1?” series. His work has also appeared in Rolling Stone, Pitchfork, Vulture, NPR Music’s The Record, The Village Voice, Billboard and CMJ. Chris has also been a frequent guest on National Public Radio (All Things Considered, Soundcheck, Planet Money, On the Media) and on Slate’s podcasts The Gist and the Culture Gabfest.