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Podcast Review: ‘Rolling Stone Music Now’

Billie Eilish and Lil Nas X get the podcast treatment.

Robert Frezza

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Editor’s Note: As part of our ongoing Music Journalism Course, our music team was asked to choose, listen to and write a reaction to an episode of a music podcast. 

I chose Rolling Stone Music Now on my iPhone because I hope to get published one day on the online section of their magazine.

In an episode from April 23, writers Brittany Spanos, Brian Hiatt, and Rob Scheffield discuss how eclectic singer Billie Eilish and rapper Lil Nas X found their niches in music.

Eilish’s brother was on Glee, which was informational to hear, but Spanos weighed in that Glee was better in the beginning than towards the end, but back to Eilish, who has seemed to grab the rug from underneath singer Lorde’s feet, as all trio agreed upon, is the new doom and gloom pop singer for the end of the decade.

The trio of writers all agreed upon the fact that Eilish could be Marilyn Manson’s creepy granddaughter, which I agree with, too. Her videos and imagery are dark (to say the least), especially for the single “Bury A Friend.” Her back is stuck with needles as she sheds black tears.

The writers bring up Kate Bush for some reason and compare her to Eilish. Bush’s sound was alternative and so is Eilish’s, but I wouldn’t be so quick to compare the two. They both had different and unique styles of music. Bush leans more towards rock while Eilish is the new pop-goth queen.

Hiatt says that she’s a “creature of rock and rap.” Her music went mainstream quickly due to the Internet, and her brand evolved.

The album has amazing singles. It seems there are no albums anymore but singles, but Eilish created an album that is being consumed as an album. Eilish is in an alternative space that the writers agreed upon. Eilish’s fan base is predominantly teens. Music is and always has been marketed to a younger demo.

Then the panel moves on and discusses Lil Nas X, who is an upcoming young rapper. The Internet helped this artist big time. People are buying into this fad basically because of his social media. He has more than one million Twitter followers.

The Rolling Stone group says is that he’s a musical genius, which is a joke. This is what is wrong with music today. He will soon be forgotten. His lyrics to “Old Town Road” are trash and the twist of rap and country did not start with him. Billy Ray Cyrus hops on the remix, which makes the song even more ridiculous.

The writers talk of trap country, which is a term that they seemed to literally coin during this podcast. What is trap country?? Trap music is a genre that is starting to gain quite a bit of momentum through the ever growing sub-genres of dance music culture in the 1990s.

The podcast started off well, talking about how Eilish is a new rock star, then talk about Lil Nas X and how he might have trouble going forward, which I agree upon, but he cannot “reshape” music like Eilish did.

The guests and host took a decent stab with this topic. They backed up their statements with music from both Eilish and Lil Nas X. The show was just about the right amount of time. They did talk about both artists thoroughly and how they are impacting the music scene.

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Robert Frezza is a music journalist based out of NYC. He has interviewed Lady Gaga, Kings of Leon, Garbage, Nine Inch Nails, among many more. He enjoys interviewing musicians.

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