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12 Absolutely Incredible Podcasts You Need To Listen To

The golden age of radio did not come to an end; rather, it evolved. Now is the era of peak podcasts, in which we can get a direct infusion of knowledge, comedy, music, opinion, intrigue, and dialogue while showering, working, exercising, or simply relaxing. From influential squawk-boxes like Joe Rogan and Howard Stern to amateur shows produced in basements, there seem to be an infinite number of podcasts available. That’s the beauty of podcasting: anyone with a microphone and a hard drive can do it.

These days, there’s a podcast for almost everything. With hundreds of thousands of podcasts available, choosing what to listen to next might be difficult. Finding what’s genuinely good among them can be a difficult task in and of itself.

Podcast subjects and styles can range from news to cuisine, celebrity interviews to important history, self-help to cultural critique, and just about everything in between, using a format comparable to talk radio. The length of podcasts varies as well. Some take only five or ten minutes to complete for individuals with short attention spans or limited time, while others last for hours to allow you to truly relax for the long haul (road trip time-killer, anyone?).

1. Start with This

When a podcast incorporates homework, you know it’s making you smarter. Each episode of ‘Start with This’ (the follow-up to the spooky podcast ‘Welcome to Night Vale,’ set in an imagined US town) gives listeners something to consume and something to create: usually a book or TV show in the first case, and a writing task in the second. The goal is to help you become more creative, and the topics covered in the episodes range from ‘Present Tense’ to ‘Non-Lovecraftian Horror.’

2. Dark House 

This delightful new podcast, hosted by House Beautiful editors Hadley Mendelsohn and Alyssa Fiorentino, explores the convergence of interior design, real crime, and the paranormal. Join them, as well as special guests such as paranormal investigators, authors, and other specialists, as they delve into the dark backstories of four infamous houses that can’t seem to get away from their pasts.

3. So Nigerian

A podcast that covers topics such as lifestyle, comedy, guy and girl code, dos and don’ts, relationship thoughts, bants, unpopular viewpoints, morality, and trends that are relevant to the typical Nigerian youth.

4. Rabbit Hole

Rabbit Hole is an easily bingeable documentary that looks at how the internet affects our lives and politics on a daily basis and in subtle ways, as well as how it got to that point. The New York Times’ eight-part documentary, which is unrivaled in its research and production, is at times disturbing, but the tale it tells about how we interact with the internet is profound and difficult to forget. It will be well worth your time.

5.  Philosophy Bites

Sure, your Platos and Nietzsches are still well-known centuries after their deaths, but most philosophies are largely unknown. Have you ever had a conversation regarding the significance of metaphysics in our understanding of the world? Do you understand what verificationism is? You would if you listened to this delightful UK podcast. Nigel Warburton and David Edmonds, hosts of ‘Philosophy Bites,’ invite guests for wonderful introductions to the debates, philosophers, and ideas that have influenced our world.

6. Slow Burn 

Slow Burn, a new show from Slate, tackles a different topic each season, such as Watergate, David Duke’s ascension, and the bitter battle between Tupac and Notorious B.I.G. in the 1990s. Its latest season just debuted, and it tackles a topic that ought to be revisited: the US invasion of Iraq. Slow Burn’s ability to tell a whole story about difficult themes is motivating and completely addictive to listen to.

7. Crime Show

‘Crime Show,’ which premiered in 2021, lives up to its promise of telling ‘stories about people.’ And sometimes crime,’ with each episode telling a unique story that isn’t solely based on the dreadfully overdone theme of “women getting murdered” (though murder is a common topic). Some shows feature ghosts, while others feature con artists and identity thieves. We also meet a musician whose voice was stolen by a chart-topping imposter in one especially weird case. This isn’t your average true-crime show.

8. The sporkful

This James Beard Award-winning podcast contains interviews with prominent figures in food, discussions on hot-button issues like whether a hot dog is a sandwich, and much more for people who love to eat and speak about the beautiful world of food. But first, take a bite to eat; it’s time to eat.

9. Maintenance Phase

Snake-oil merchants peddling magical treatments abound in the ‘wellness’ industry. With its hilarious, insightful look at the BS clouding the market, Maintenance Phase is here to assist distinguish fact from fantasy. The show is here to demystify an immensely complicated topic in a way that we can all understand, from fad diets to vibrators, fat-shaming to whatever Kim Kardashian is doing at any given time.

10. NYT Popcast

The New York Times also has one of the brightest and most entertaining music podcasts available. For decades, veteran journalist Jon Caramanica has covered pop music and hip-hop like no one else, and every episode has music-writing guests who have even more in-depth knowledge of each artist and subject.

11. 10 Things That Scare Me

This is a rather self-explanatory one. Each edition of this podcast will feature a different guest who will sit alone in a room and discuss his or her worst fears. The topics discussed in ’10 Things That Scare Me’ range from cockroaches to death, flying, enormous crowds, and even boredom, and range from funny to deep and everything in between.

12. You’re Wrong About

If you want to learn even more, You’re Wrong About enlightens you on topics you thought you already knew about. It’s all too tempting to oversimplify things in 2021, given the speed with which news and culture evolve. Fortunately, the hosts of YWA employ their investigative abilities to investigate how our collective perceptions may be incorrect. Some episodes are one-offs, while others are part of a series; nevertheless, You’re Wrong About is one of the best podcasts available.

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