Sound Opinions

Saturdays 9-10 PM
  • Hosted by Greg Kot, Jim DeRogatis

Sound Opinions is where music lovers come together. You can make discoveries, debate, learn about pop culture, engage, have fun and find new ways to further enrich your life through music. Whether you're an expert, or just a casual fan, Sound Opinions is your source for smart and engaging music criticism and conversation. Each week on the show, nationally respected rock critics Greg Kot and Jim DeRogatis interview artists, talk about pop culture and music industry news, review new record releases and give trends a historical context. And, because on Sound Opinions,“everyone's a critic,” you are invited to join in the debate.

Ways to Connect

Sound Opinions: Sir The Baptist

Feb 15, 2018

In many ways, Chicago artist and producer Sir the Baptist is a chaplain in the R&B scene. He creates hip hop infused music that bridges the gap between his gospel roots and the world around him. Jim DeRogatis and Greg Kot talk to Sir about making music with a message, plus he performs in studio with a 10-piece band.

When candy, flowers, and love notes fail to woo your sweetie back, there's only one thing left to do: stake out under a window, hold up that boom box and blast an “I Want You Back” song. This Valentine’s Day, Jim DeRogatis and Greg Kot present their favorite pleading songs. Plus, they'll review the new album from Justin Timberlake.

Sound Opinions: Cover Songs

Feb 1, 2018

Hosts Jim DeRogatis and Greg Kot talk to author Ray Padgett about his book Cover Me: The Stories Behind the Greatest Cover Songs of All Time. They discuss the roots of the term "cover" and dig into the surprising stories behind some of rock's most notable examples, from Elvis's rendition of "Hound Dog" to the Feelies doing the Rolling Stones. Plus, Jim and Greg share a few of their favorite cover songs.

On his debut record, The Autobiography, Vic Mensa raps about his life growing up on the South Side of Chicago. With a confessional tone, he explores topics like community, violence, drugs, and racism. Hosts Jim DeRogatis and Greg Kot talk with Mensa about his influences, his struggles and the experience of growing up “five blocks from the projects and five blocks from Obama’s house." Plus, they review the latest album from tUnE-yArDs, Jim pays tribute to the late Dolores O'Riordan of The Cranberries and Greg bids farewell to South African jazz legend Hugh Masekela.

Sound Opinions: New Wave and Alison Moyet

Jan 18, 2018

Jim and Greg talk to Lori Majewski about her book Mad World: An Oral History of New Wave Artists and the Songs That Defined the 1980s, co-written with Jonathan Bernstein. In it, the authors reveal why New Wave caught on so strongly with pop fans and the media, especially post-punk in the U.K. Plus, an interview with Alison Moyet, an English singer-songwriter that came up in the New Wave scene, and is still making waves musically.

Sam Beam has been releasing his signature indie folk records under the moniker Iron & Wine for over 15 years. His 2017 effort, Beast Epic, returns to his stripped down, acoustic roots. Hosts Jim DeRogatis and Greg Kot interview Sam Beam at the Goose Island Barrelhouse and they talk about his sound, collaborations and fatherhood. He also delivers a performance in front of a live audience. Plus, a review of the new album by punk rocker Jeff Rosenstock.

Sound Opinions: Alex Cox & Opinions on N.E.R.D.

Jan 4, 2018

Few filmmakers have embodied the punk aesthetic like Alex Cox. He joins hosts Jim DeRogatis and Greg Kot to discuss the classic LA punk soundtrack to Repo Man, the making of the Sex Pistols biopic Sid and Nancy, and his fruitful collaborations with Joe Strummer. Plus, a review of the new album from Pharrell Williams's side project N.E.R.D.

Sound Opinions: Mixtapes 2017 & Musical In Memoriam

Dec 27, 2017

As 2017 comes to a close, hosts Jim DeRogatis and Greg Kot present DJ sets full of some of their favorite songs of the year. They'll also pay tribute to some of the musicians who died in 2017.

Bob Ezrin

Dec 20, 2017

Bob Ezrin, the "producer's producer," has been behind the boards for many blockbuster epic albums over the years. He shares stories with hosts Jim DeRogatis and Greg Kot about working on classic albums by Pink Floyd, Alice Cooper, Kiss, and Peter Gabriel. Plus, up-and-coming R&B singer Amber Mark shares the song that got her Hooked on Sonics.

This is a Christmas special like none other. Holiday music collector and expert Andy Cirzan scours record stores, dustbins, and basements to find the best and rarest tunes for the season. And each year he treats Sound Opinions listeners to a much-anticipated hour of music and a free mix to download. This year’s compilation is called Snowbound Soliloquies: Further Adventures in Holiday Obscura.

Sound Opinions: 2017 Holiday Spectacular

Dec 14, 2017

It's time again for the annual Sound Opinions Holiday Spectacular! Each year, hosts Jim DeRogatis and Greg Kot are joined by holiday music collector Andy Cirzan who shares a mix of rare Christmas records scavenged from dusty record bins around the world.

Sound Opinions: Rock Criticism with Jonathan Lethem

Dec 7, 2017

Hosts Jim DeRogatis and Greg Kot indulge this week in a deep look at their own profession: rock criticism. They're joined by novelist Jonathan Lethem, co-editor of a new anthology of rock criticism, who makes the case for music journalism as great American writing. Plus, they look at the life and career of legendary critic Lester Bangs.

Sound Opinions: Mixtapes 2016 & Musical In Memoriam

Dec 1, 2017

Sound Opinions closes out 2016 with the year in song. Hosts Jim DeRogatis and Greg Kot present a mixtape of tracks that tell the story of the the past year. And we remember some of the many musicians who passed away in 2016.

Sound Opinions: The Mekons & Opinions on Dawn Richard

Dec 1, 2017

Formed in 1977 in the original British punk wave, The Mekons are still going strong nearly four decades later. The band joins hosts Jim DeRogatis and Greg Kot in the studio to demonstrate its eclectic blend of country, folk, and punk rock. Plus, a review of the new album from R&B singer Dawn Richard.

Sound Opinions: The Best Albums of 2016

Dec 1, 2017

If you're a music fanatic, the end of the year means one thing: best of lists! Hosts Jim DeRogatis and Greg Kot reveal their favorite albums of the year. And Sound Opinions listeners weigh-in with their favorites of 2016.

Sound Opinions: Hero Worship

Dec 1, 2017

Artists are also music fans like the rest of us, often paying tribute to the musicians who inspired them. Hosts Jim DeRogatis and Greg Kot share their favorite examples of Hero Worship in music – songs that name-check great artists from the history of rock and roll. Plus, the Rolling Stones pay tribute to their own blues heroes on a new album.

Sound Opinions: Jon Brion & Opinions on Emeli Sandé

Dec 1, 2017

Studio wizard Jon Brion has composed scores for films by P.T. Anderson and Michel Gondry and produced for artists from Fiona Apple to Kanye West. The multi-instrumentalist also has grown a following for his virtuosic live performances. Jon Brion speaks with hosts Jim DeRogatis and Greg Kot about the art of songcraft. Plus, a review of the latest from Scottish R&B singer Emeli Sandé.

Every year, a turkey is saved from its Thanksgiving dinner fate by a presidential pardon. In that gracious spirit, hosts Jim DeRogatis and Greg Kot give their own Turkey Pardons. They share their picks of lousy artists who still had one redeemable musical moment.

Many Americans are thinking a lot about Canada these days. So hosts Jim DeRogatis and Greg Kot take the Sound Opinions World Tour to Canada explore the music of our neighbor to the north. And we play our favorite performances by Canadian artists from the Sound Opinions archives. Plus, a review of the latest from Texan singer-songwriter Alejandro Escovedo.

Sound Opinions: Marvin Gaye's What's Going On

Dec 1, 2017

In 1971, Marvin Gaye made a career left turn with the  album What's Going On, adopting a socially conscious sound that addressed war, racism, and drugs. 45 years later, What's Going On remains as relevant as ever. Hosts Jim DeRogatis and Greg Kot present a Classic Album Dissection of the iconic record. Then, they review a contemporary protest album from Common.

The Handsome Family gained wider notoriety for providing the theme to HBO's True Detective. But the duo's dark, literate songwriting has been acclaimed by critics for decades. Rennie and Brett Sparks of The Handsome Family join hosts Jim DeRogatis and Greg Kot for a conversation and performance. Plus, a review of the new album from pop superstar Lady Gaga.

Trumpeter Herb Alpert has had a remarkable, multifaceted career. In addition to scoring his own hits with the Tijuana Brass in the '60s, he cofounded A&M Records, signing a diverse roster of artists ranging from The Carpenters to Janet Jackson. Herb Alpert joins hosts Jim DeRogatis and Greg Kot for a conversation. Plus, a review of the new album from legendary band Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds.

Sound Opinions: Buried Treasures & Alex Ross

Dec 1, 2017

Many great albums are released each year, but only a handful get the attention they deserve. Hosts Jim DeRogatis and Greg Kot share some of their Buried Treasures of 2016: the best albums that flew under the radar. Plus, they speak with critic Alex Ross about the use of music as a weapon.

Sound Opinions: Mudhoney & Opinions on Wilco

Dec 1, 2017

Mudhoney was at the forefront of Seattle's exploding music scene in the '80s and '90s, paving the way for grunge with its distorted, chaotic sound. Though the group never received the world-wide attention of its peers Nirvana, Mudhoney has achieved a cult following. Mudhoney talks with hosts Jim DeRogatis and Greg Kot and performs in front of a hometown Seattle audience.

With lyrics about sun, surf, and young love, there are plenty of songs that welcome in the summer. But how do you musically say goodbye to warm weather and prepare for the fall? Hosts Jim DeRogatis and Greg Kot swap their swim trunks for their sweaters and share their favorite End of Summer Songs.

What goes into writing a hit song? Sound Opinions takes a look at the craft of songwriting, from the Righteous Brothers to Beyoncé. Jim and Greg talk with legendary Brill Building songwriters Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil about their decades long career. Then they talk with Ryan Tedder about penning songs for Adele and Taylor Swift. Plus, a review of the long-awaited new album from Frank Ocean.

With all eyes turned toward the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, the Sound Opinions World Tour makes its next stop in Brazil, a country with an unmatched musical influence on the globe. Hosts Jim DeRogatis and Greg Kot explore the rich musical history of Brazil, including the bossa nova, MPB, and Tropicália phenomena of the 1950s and '60s.

Australian singer-songwriter Courtney Barnett’s 2015 album Sometimes I Sit and Think and Sometimes I Just Sit was a critical success and Sound Opinions favorite. Her conversational songwriting manages to be simultaneously clever and poignant, and her guitar technique combining lead and rhythm parts is nothing short of impressive. All of her skills are on display as Courtney Barnett joins hosts Jim DeRogatis and Greg Kot for an interview and intimate solo performance in front of an audience.

Sound Opinions: Ska & Opinions on Jamila Woods

Dec 1, 2017

In the late 1950s, Jamaican musicians blended home-grown rhythms with R&B to create ska. The genre’s influence quickly spread across the globe, paving the way for the reggae phenomenon. Hosts Jim DeRogatis and Greg Kot explore the history of ska from its island origins to its British revival to its most recent punk incarnation.

Sound Opinions: Songs of Thanks

Dec 1, 2017

Thanksgiving is a time to gather around the dinner table with family and friends to reflect on the past year and give thanks. This week, hosts Jim DeRogatis and Greg Kot share some of their favorite songs that say "thank you." Plus, the story of the twangy guitar-bass hybrid instrument known as the Bass VI, and Rise Against frontman Tim McIlrath shares the song that got him Hooked on Sonics.

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