Switched On Pop | "Prince Ali" and Why We're All Music Theorists
A podcast breaking down the music of pop hits.
Switched On Pop
Published 26 June 2019
Will Smith as Prince Ali in 2019's Aladdin / Walt Disney Pictures

Pop music surrounds us, but how often do we really listen to what we’re hearing? Switched on Pop is the podcast that pulls back the curtain on pop music. Each episode, join musicologist Nate Sloan and songwriter Charlie Harding as they reveal the secret formulas that make pop songs so infectious. By figuring out how pop hits work their magic, you’ll fall in love with songs you didn’t even know you liked.

Fans are not happy with Will Smith's update of the classic Disney song "Prince Ali" in the live-action Aladdin.

Their complaint? The new "Prince Ali" is slow, sluggish, and dull. Indeed, the Smith version is 8 BPM (beats per minute) slower than Robin Williams's 1992 original—a subtle musical detail.

We dig into the properties of tempo and key to understand why people have such a visceral reaction to a relatively small change and consider whether it suggests that we—meaning all of us humans, from musicians to amateurs—are more musically literate than we think.

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