Soundtrack Composer Craig Wedren (Zoey’s Playlist, Glow, Shrill) Joins Pretty Much Pop: A Culture Podcast #41 on TV Musicals

Craig was the front-man of the brainy punk band Shud­der to Think from the mid-’80s through the ’90s and has cre­at­ed music for many TV shows and films. He joins your hosts Mark Lin­sen­may­er, Eri­ca Spyres, and Bri­an Hirt due to his involve­ment with the cur­rent NBC musi­cal dram­e­dy Zoey’s Extra­or­di­nary Playlist, which along with Glee, Crazy Ex-Girl­friend, Nashville, Rise, etc. rep­re­sents a new era of musi­cals as main­stream TV.

Why are shows like this being cre­at­ed at this point in our cul­tur­al his­to­ry? These shows all use some nar­ra­tive expla­na­tion for why there’s singing (i.e. the songs are diagetic) instead of just hav­ing the char­ac­ters sing as in a clas­sic musi­cal or a film like The Great­est Show­man or La La Land. Most of these also make heavy use of cov­er tunes and/or par­o­dies in a way that stage musi­cals usu­al­ly don’t. And of course there’s often a heavy use of auto­tune and more star-based cast­ing than is the norm for stage pro­duc­tions.

Some arti­cles to pro­vide an overview of the top­ic:

Note that Craig does­n’t cre­ate the actu­al songs that the cast mem­bers sing for Zoey’s, just the inter­sti­tial music, but he’s writ­ten heaps of songs and is in a great posi­tion to talk with us about every­thing from Cop Rock to Mama Mia. We also touch on musi­cal episodes in Com­mu­ni­ty and Buffy the Vam­pire Slay­er, Bohemi­an Rhap­sody, karaoke in film, Adam Schlesinger, Stop Mak­ing Sense (also see David Byrne’s mobile band on Col­bert) and a weird Net­flix lip-sync dra­ma called Sound­track,

Lis­ten to Craig talk about his own tunes on Naked­ly Exam­ined Music and watch his dai­ly Sab­bath Ses­sions at or on YouTube. Hear the song he wrote for School of Rock.

Learn more at This episode includes bonus dis­cus­sion that you can only hear by sup­port­ing the pod­cast at This pod­cast is part of the Par­tial­ly Exam­ined Life pod­cast net­work.

Pret­ty Much Pop: A Cul­ture Pod­cast is the first pod­cast curat­ed by Open Cul­ture. Browse all Pret­ty Much Pop posts or start with the first episode.

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