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: 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.

Sound Opinions: Al Green's The Belle Album

Dec 1, 2017

Al Green sang some of the most acclaimed soul records of the 1970s. So when he decided to leave it all behind for the church, many questioned why. Hosts Jim DeRogatis and Greg Kot discuss Al Green's life and his pivotal transitional record, The Belle Album, with biographer Jimmy McDonough. 

Sound Opinions Show

Nov 30, 2017

It's time for the 2016 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: Esperanza Spalding

Nov 30, 2017

 

Best Albums of 2017

Nov 30, 2017

With the year winding down, hosts Jim DeRogatis and Greg Kot reveal their lists of the Best Albums of 2017. They also hear top album picks from Sound Opinions listeners. Featured artists include Kendrick Lamar, Aimee Mann, and Lorde.

Ted Leo

Nov 9, 2017

After a seven year gap, veteran rocker Ted Leo has expanded his sonic palette with his latest solo record, The Hanged Man. Written in the wake of emotional and financial turmoil, the album is perhaps his most personal work to date. Ted Leo joins hosts Jim DeRogatis and Greg Kot in front of an audience at the Goose Island Tap Room for an interview and intimate solo performance. Plus, a review of the new album from eclectic Las Vegas singer-songwriter Shamir.

Buried Treasures & Ron Gallo

Nov 2, 2017

Each season, there's a few highly anticipated albums with a ton of buzz behind them. Then, there are other deserving records that won't get that kind of attention. Hosts Jim DeRogatis and Greg Kot share their latest batch of Buried Treasures: hidden musical gems that everyone ought to hear. Plus, a conversation and live performance from Philadelphia indie rocker Ron Gallo.

Sound Opinions: Musical Costumes

Oct 26, 2017

Halloween is all about being someone else for a night – and musicians like to put on costumes, too. Hosts Jim DeRogatis and Greg Kot share their favorite examples of artists temporarily donning a musical costume and performing in a different style under a fake name.

Sound Opinions: Julie Klausner

Oct 19, 2017

As creator, writer, and star of the critically acclaimed TV comedy Difficult People, Julie Klausner not only crafts the show's jokes but also guides its soundtrack. This week, she joins hosts Jim DeRogatis and Greg Kot for a hilarious discussion of the show's music and her own musical tastes, and she even attempts to win them over to musical theatre. Plus, Jim and Greg review a new album from Beck and a collaboration between Courtney Barnett and Kurt Vile.

Part 4 of the TED Radio Hour episode Manipulation.

About Steve Ramirez's TED Talk

Neuroscientist Steve Ramirez used lasers to enter the brains of mice and edit their memories. He imagines a future where this technology might be possible in humans as well.

About Steve Ramirez

Part 3 of the TED Radio Hour episode Manipulation.

About Elizabeth Loftus's TED Talk

Years of research have taught Elizabeth Loftus just how unreliable our memories are. From tweaking a real memory to planting a completely fabricated one, tampering with our minds is surprisingly easy.

About Elizabeth Loftus

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