Pretty Much Pop #69: Story Songs w/ Rod Picott

Plenty of songs purport to tell stories, and the narrative ballad of course has a long enough history that the two forms certainly aren’t alien. But how do our listening practices conditioned by pop music jibe with recognizing and understanding narrative?

Singer/songwriter and short story author Rod Picott joins Mark, Erica, and Brian to talk about classics by writers like Bob Dylan and Johnny Cash, formative nightmares like “Leader of the Pack” and “Escape (The Pina Colada Song), borderline cases like “Bohemian Rhapsody,” and more. We also consider how this form relates to musical theater, music videos, soundtracks, and commercials.

We tried to stick to popular songs, but most of us are pretty old. You can listen and read the lyrics if you’re not following:


Why these songs? Well, we found a few lists online:

Hear Mark interview Rod on Nakedly Examined Music. Learn more at

This episode includes bonus discussion you can access by supporting the podcast at Pennsylvania got called WHILE we were recording, so you’ll hear us, including Rod, react in real time to Biden’s win, plus an update on Rod’s music. This podcast is part of the Partially Examined Life podcast network and is curated by

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