As you may have noticed, I post long content. It’s rewarding to explore an idea deeper and to the extent of my own knowledge, filling in the gaps with external sources. Reflecting on my previous endeavor with Windows Phone Daily, the short news articles were never satisfying to write. Unless there was major news relevant to the industry or my followers, brief articles were a necessary evil at the time and the day’s news cycle dictated my writing schedule. There were few other Windows Phone publications available and the fanatic followers loved finding reputable sources of information.

In hindsight, the longform content is what I truly enjoyed. Penning lengthy rants about smartphone specification comparisons, editorials commenting on the general industry, and other broad cultural brush strokes. I wanted to connect the dots, which helped express my passion for the subject. It’s all long gone now, but Windows Phone Daily ultimately made me value methodical, longform content.

“The most surprising development to me has been the disappearance of homely, personal blogs.”

A lot has changed since — Instagram has exploded as the leading social media platform, Twitter has become synonymous with the accelerated pervasive news cycle, video has become a dominant and valuable format for information and revenue, etc. The most surprising development to me has been the disappearance of homely, personal blogs. Or rather, seeing personal blogs morph into startup e-commerce brands. (Seriously, why do ‘blogs’ need to sell everything and push Amazon affiliate links in your face? Revenue matters, but I dislike how little separation there is between original content and advertisements.)

Episodic Music Talk

Cue a pleasant discovery: The Dissect Podcast, a longform serial podcast discussing music albums in tremendous depth. The mission statement may explain it best:

Dissect is a serialized music podcast.

In a world creating and accessing more content than ever before, we’ve quickly become a scrolling culture, hurriedly swiping through this infinite swath of content that seems to replenish without end.

Dissect was created to counter this cultural shift.

Dissect picks one album per season and analyzes one song per episode measure by measure, word by word. […]

Because great art deserves more than a swipe.

Created by Cole Cuchna, the podcast adopts an episodic formula similar to shows like The Serial Podcast and applies it to music. Each season of the show focuses on one subject — a music album.

dissect podcast cover art
Dissect Podcast (Cover art)

Cuchna breaks down each album, song-by-song, delving into the subtext hidden between the lyrics and compositions. (Imagine an audiobook version of Genius for an album you love.)

The Dissect Podcast caught my eye when I saw its second season take on one of my all-time favorites: Kanye West‘s My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy. Widely praised as one of the decade’s greatest albums, the 2010 album is explosively saturated with creative concepts and robust diversity. Season two of Dissect offers a wonderful retrospective on the album.

The Format

The magic behind Dissect is Cuchna, serving as curator and connecting the dots for listeners. The opening episodes of each season serve as prelude, laying the foundation to get listeners up to speed about the artist. To begin season two for instance, Cuchna looks back at Kanye’s early years and his breakout success (even I learned new details about Kanye despite considering him my favorite).

After setting the stage, the heart of Dissect’s seasons begin. Each following episode is dedicated to the musical and lyrical analysis of a corresponding song. Cuchna draws context from multiple sources — historical events, current cultural references, lyrical themes and his own composition expertise. Throw in a dash of personal interpretations, and The Dissect Podcast becomes easy audio-binging material.

Season one of Dissect began with Kendrick Lamar’s To Pimp a Butterfly. Season two continued with Kanye West’s My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy. The current season pivoted away from rap to focus on Frank Ocean’s Blonde. Cole currently has other projects underway thanks to his collaboration with Spotify, like the recently announced miniseries on Lauryn Hill’s classic The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill.

The future awaits when it comes to what else The Dissect Podcast will turn its attention to, but I believe listening to each season is time well spent.

Learn More

Find out more about Cole Cuchna and The Dissect Podcast here:

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September 17, 2018

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