In this information age where content is readily accessible and overwhelmingly immeasurable, it sometimes helps to take a step back and reflect on the media we’ve consumed. In terms of music, the Dissect podcast does just that. A serialized music series on Spotify (but available on other platforms), it counteracts our scrolling culture and takes the time to really break down some of today’s musical masterpieces.
Dissect, currently on its third season, analyzes one album every season, thoroughly observing each song, lyric, and beat. It looks at overarching themes and how the lives of the artists have inspired their music. And to guarantee that it won’t be too long for viewers, the podcast is sectioned into short, easy to consume episodes that even those with the shortest attention spans can stay still long enough to listen (this author can attest to that).
Host and creator Cole Cuchna credits Dissect as originally being a passion project, one he had to manage along with his family and day job. In his interview with Billboard, Cuchna cites inspiration to create Dissect from one of his musical audio classes in college. The unique approach to music is best understood when Cuchna says he tries to look at it from an objective viewpoint.
It wasn’t until season three that Spotify picked up Dissect, allowing Cuchna to begin fully devoting his time to the podcast. Thanks to his training in music theory (he’s a classically trained composer and musician, as mentioned in his Fader interview) and meticulous research, Cuchna turned Dissect into a kind of historical analysis of the present-day musical culture that is wholly unique. He wants the public to observe today’s music through the same scope that they’ve looked at famous artists from the past. In addition, Cuchna has also recounted how Dissect has affected his own life.
“Taking the time to learn Kendrick’s story … taught me a whole lot about social issues I had no understanding about before. It bred empathy — that was the biggest thing that I took away from season 1, and now I feel like empathy is kind of a guiding factor in my life. That shift was caused by me taking the time to study art.”
“And so I feel like part of what I do with Dissect is to give a template to others to say, ‘Hey, if you spend all this time with a piece of art and give it some effort, it’s actually going to give you some things that you could take in your own life and inspire your day-to-day action. It could change the way you live.”
On season one, Dissect examined Kendrick Lamar, specifically his album To Pimp A Butterfly. Season two took a look at Kanye’s My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy. In season three, the podcast diverted from hip-hop and is currently breaking down Frank Ocean’s music, both Channel Orange and Blonde. With new episodes released every Tuesday, Dissect is one podcast that shows how “great art deserves more than a swipe.”