What is Nakedly Examined Music?
Nakedly Examined Music is a podcast about songs and songwriting. Each episode, host Mark Linsenmayer (long-time host of The Partially Examined Life and longer time musician) speaks with a songwriter about three of his or her songs, which are played in full (along with an song at the end) during the podcast. You can subscribe to the podcast here.
What kind of music does NEM feature?
The ambition of the podcast is to be both broad and deep: You'll hear rock, folk, jazz, country, electronic, R&B, rap, classical, and experimental weirdness. But the center vein, the one that receives the most exploration, is the tradition of rock coming out of the Beatles with all their associated stylistic explorations (and who were of course drawing on earlier soul and tin pan alley), through early 70s prog, late 70s punk, 80s new wave, 90s grunge, up through the present where genres have mostly broken down. Pretty much, whenever thoughtful people are making music, we're interested, and if there's an artist or style you see missing here that you'd like to hear, contact Mark.
Is the podcast just for songwriters?
No. While songwriters will learn a lot, this is not a songwriting course, and relies on no prior knowledge of music theory or any of that. The point is to introduce you to new music, but with some context, and not just the worthless "did you guys have fun recording this album?" context you might get out of a celebrity musician interview, but you get to know what this person is like as a creator.
So it's just explaining the meaning of the lyrics?
No. The emphasis of the interview varies depending on the guest. Some songwriters see their work as short stories, in which case yes, we'll talk about them as literature, but may other songwriters de-emphasize lyrics or don't even have any. Our conversations range over song structure, arrangements, stories behind the songs, recording techniques, band politics, influences, music theory, the music business, and the musical life in general.
Why would I care about interviews with people I've never heard of?
Because you're a smart person who doesn't buy into the Social Darwinist bullshit that good art automatically rises to the top, that "success" = "exposure in the mainstream." And the format here, again, is ideal for introducing you to new music.
Who pays for NEM?
We're happy to be able to provide all of these interviews and music free, but could definitely use your support, and occasionally record extra conversation to release (along with more songs) as bonus content, so please go become a recurring supporter at patreon.com/nakedlyexaminedmusic, which offers an ad-free feed and my detailed episode notes for recent episodes. If you're already listening to NEM on Apple Music, you can just click the "subscribe" button to get access to ad-free versions for not only NEM but two of Mark's other podcasts: Pretty Much Pop and Philosophy vs. Improv.
What's the relation to The Partially Examined Life? Is this a philosophy podcast? Why are the multiple podcasts on the same website? Why are NEM episodes in the PEL feed?
NEM is spin-off of PEL, part of our podcasting network, with a common host and a common support team. Funds from PEL subscriptions/donations/advertising supported NEM for many years. (NEM is very much literal debt to PEL!) While NEM typically doesn't discuss philosophical topics, the overall approach to analyzing songs and the musical life is very much informed by my years hosting PEL.
Why doesn't the host shut up and let the guests talk?
Because a conversation is more interesting than hearing yet another stop on a musician's press tour where he tells the same stories again and again. Because the artist, while certainly cognizant of the details of the circumstance under which the work was created and the intentions behind it, arguably isn't in a privileged position in interpreting it as a work of art.
Do I need to listen to the episodes in order?
No, but it might help. The podcast is in part an ongoing story of discovery and sharing, so comparisons are sometimes made to past guests, and there's a effort to impart different lessons in each episode, so if you are interested in songwriting, you may find it helpful to take the whole journey with us.
How are guests selected? How can I appear?
NEM is open to just about any accomplished songwriter, which generally means three or more albums. If you are or represent such a songwriter, please contact us. I select the guests using various flexible criteria, the most important of which is who seems like an interesting speaker, but but I also prioritize those whose music I grew up with, who will bring new fans to the podcast, demographics or genres that I haven't covered so much before, and also older guests who might die before I have a chance to talk to them!
Why have I not heard of more of your guests? Why aren't there more [insert neglected demographic] guests?
We're working on it! Celebrities are hard to reach! Particularly women, who have to shield themselves from stalkers and in most cases can't be cold-emailed. Why, do you have an in with someone? Please hook us up!