Switched On Pop | The 1980s jam that gave Latto and Mariah Carey Big D*** Energy
A podcast breaking down the music of pop hits.
Switched On Pop
Published 02 June 2022
Mariah Carey & Latto

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.

If you've heard Latto's swaggering track "Big Energy" - and after 30 weeks on the Hot 100, you probably have - you may have heard a resemblance to Mariah Carey's 1995 hit "Big Energy".

That's because both songs borrow a groove from the 1981 hit "Genius of Love", a genre-defying smash made by Chris Frantz and Tina Weymouth. "Genius of Love" was made when Frantz and Weymouth took a break from playing in the band Talking Heads to let loose at the Island Records studio in the Bahamas with the help of some reggae luminaries.

The original "Genius of Love" mashed up funk, new wave, disco, and rap, capturing the diverse sounds of 1980s downtown New York City, shouting out their musical influences in the process. From there, the song wended its way through hit after hit, from Grandmaster Flash to "Return of the Mack".

Why does "Genius of Love" continue to spark musicians', and audience's, imaginations forty years after its release? Tune in to find out.

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