Playlists, Mixtapes, & Have You Heard That (Music) Podcast?

Mixtapes and playlists have been a major allele in the DNA of many of us who love to share music, whether it’s among a small group of friends and family or a wider audience by broadcasting on the radio or a YouTube channel. Personally, I’ve been making both since the 1980s: with a boombox and thousands upon thousands of cassette tapes that dominated the small bedroom I grew up in, my time as a DJ for 90.3 WESS-FM at East Stroudsburg University and internet radio, and currently as a host on Stationhead. I’ve shared and received many playlists and mixtapes by mail with pen pals I made via Metal Edge Magazine’s Metalhead Directory and Spotify where the sheer amount of playlists is both mind-boggling and provides a wealth of discovery. 

My Weekly Mixtape (Pantheon Podcasts), hosted by Brian Colburn, invites fellow music fans and the musicians responsible to curate the ultimate playlist based on that week’s artist, band, or topic. Think of it as the ultimate “fantasy sports” podcast created with music fanatics in mind. It has a classic mixtape approach to constructing a modern playlist. Brian also conducts in-depth interviews with the artists & bands responsible for the songs themselves. At times, playlists are harder to build; just think of trying to build a LEGO® tower based on a single block with the same dimensions. The virtual mixtape is created by Colburn and his guest by selecting ten songs for Side A. They flip the proverbial cassette and opt on a decagon of tunes for Side B. Recent episodes I’ve loved include ‘The Ultimate Desmond Child Playlist’ with Desmond Child, ‘The Ultimate 80’s Metal Playlist’ with Don Jamieson, and ‘The Ultimate Classic Rock Anthems Playlist’ with Britt Lightning (Vixen, Rock ‘N’ Roll Fantasy Camp) with Miles Schuman (Rock Camp: The Podcast). Brian has a natural rapport with everyone who appears on the podcast from a wide variety of musical genres from jazz to jam bands, classic rock to country, and everything in between.

Elvis Costello & The Imposters with Charlie Sexton and Daryl Hall announced a co-headlining jaunt across America on March 8, 2024. I’m experiencing major FOMO because I adore both artists, but the tour stops are a logistical nightmare. On the podcast Dangerous Amusements: the Elvis Costello playlist, Stu Arrowsmith and a guest chat about the music of Elvis Costello. It may leave you wondering what this has to do with the topic at hand, but never fear! The ultimate Elvis Costello playlist is compiled by Arrowsmith and his visitors. Stu has spoken with music journalists, authors, musicians, politicians, and others about Costello’s vast catalog and their adoration for the “Little Hands of Concrete” himself. Notable appearances include singer/songwriter Emma Swift, multiple Grammy and Latin Grammy-winning producer and engineer Sebastian Krys, and vocal powerhouse Kitten Kuroi. The episodes fly by. Arrowsmith’s British accent adds to the allure. 

Last, but certainly not least is There Can Only Be One. The show is hosted by Jason Whissell. He and a guest tackle a “best of” list from the entire studio discography of an artist or band, but only using one song from each album. Every studio album must be represented, except for compilations and/or concert releases. I can’t imagine choosing a track from the epic Prince album Sign o’ the Times without shedding a tear or two, but willing if allowed to do so. Jason and his guests cover artists from all genres. They take suggestions and selections from the audience through their website making it a super cool experience. There Can Only Be One releases episodes on a bi-weekly basis and is a proud member of Pantheon Podcasts.

This trio of podcasts reveals songs revered by interviewers and interviewees alike. They open up doors into the thoughts, feelings, and musical tastes of both the host and guest which make them the best type of shows to indulge in.