Guys, I love podcasts. I got way behind on them last year and slowly got caught up as I went along. After clearing out dozens of episodes, I did something crazy: started looking for new shows to listen to. I actually wasn’t even looking for another podcast when I tuned into this week’s episode of Matt & Brett Love Comics featuring Winston Noel. Noel plugged his own podcast called Hear Me Out where he and his co-host Alden Ford talk about some of their favorite bad songs. Even though I love music, I don’t actually listen to any podcasts about the subject and this one sounded right up my alley so I decided to check it out. Much like M&BLC (which I’m a big fan of) Hear Me Out doesn’t examine these songs with a super-cynical eye, but instead looks back with the same kind of knowing smile you get while flipping through a photo album from high school. Each episode features the hosts and a special guest presenting their chosen song to the group and discussing it.
Here’s how they explain it on their site:
We are not music officials. We are not music critics or music snobs. We are unqualified on every level to provide any cogent analysis of why a song is good or bad. All we know is, there are songs we just can’t stop loving, even though the world passed its harsh judgment on them long ago. So every episode we sit down with one choice for each of us, along with our guest, and discuss the sublime highs and humiliating lows of these gentle pariahs of pop music. Join us, won’t you? And we know what you might be thinking about some of our choices. But just hear us out. We might win you over.
I love the approach Noel and Ford take to these songs, they’re like the antithesis of the guys from High Fidelity. Yes, they understand on an intellectual level that these songs aren’t objectively good and can joke about their badness, but also explain why they love these them to begin with. Both hosts admit to coming from non-musical backgrounds, so when they did start getting into music, they were open to pretty much everything. I’ve been a longtime music junky and, while I may have had my music snob days (read: years), I’ve found myself looking back on the music from high school and college with a fondness I might not have had at the time. For instance, I despised Third Eye Blind’s singles “Jumper” and “Semi-Charmed Life” for being poppy nonsense, but if I hear those songs today, I’m hollering the words along with the track as best I can.
It also helps that the show is super funny. I burned through all eight episodes in two days and got at least one solid belly laugh out of each one and probably a lot more. Noel and Ford are Upright Citizen’s Brigade folks — who seem to be taking over the podcasting universe at the moment — so they and their guests are quick with a joke, but never get too mean about things.
That mix of nostalgia, hilarity and honesty makes Hear Me Out a new favorite in my ever-growing stable of preferred podcasts.