Editor’s note: We’re expanding our Listen section beyond music this week to bring you some of our assistant news editor Nirmal Bhansali’s favourite podcast episodes. We hope you’ll discover something new, have a less boring commute, or just have a good laugh. Enjoy!
We recommend: Our favourite podcast episodes
Case of the Missing Hit by Reply All: A man from California seems to have a 90s pop song stuck in his head. The catch? No one knows what song it is. No one recognizes the melody. Hours and hours of searching on Google leads to no results. The question remains, is this song even real or a figment of this man’s imagination?
He reaches out to the team at Reply All—a podcast that looks at internet culture, and helps its listeners sort out random Internet doubts. What ensues is an amazing quest in trying to find this old song. Will they reach a conclusion that the song doesn’t exist or will they find the source of this man’s earworm? I won’t tell you, but I promise that you’ll have a blast listening to this episode.
No Co-incidence No Story by This American Life: What’s a coincidence story you tend to share with friends and family? How do they respond? Do you find coincidences to have some meaning, maybe some magical occurrence that helped you along the way? Or are you like me who doesn’t think of coincidences as anything but just that—a statistical exception to an otherwise normal life.
This episode is the perfect one if you want to have a good laugh. This American Life brings you some of the craziest, weirdest, entertaining, and hilarious coincidences. For the record, this episode changed my mind. Now, I think there's beauty in coincidences. So much for statistical and probabilistic thinking.
Colors by Radiolab: In 1665, Isaac Newton pokes a knife into his eye while trying to figure out an answer to the question—what exactly are colours?
That’s the premise of this episode by Radiolab. It is a deep dive into everything related to colours. If you’re wondering if an audio-only episode about a visual element like colour is worth listening to—well, I assure you that listening to this episode is an auditory experience. Radiolab does an excellent job of taking listeners along on this journey of colours, and their sound design helps you feel immersed while listening. No need for visual elements because the episode totally sparks your imagination.
Movies by City of Women: City of Women is one of my favourite podcasts—it’s a show about all the careful, deliberate, and calculated strategies women have to consider to have fun and feel free in their city. To get you started, you should check out their first episode—‘Movies’.
There’s something about movie theatres which is freeing and this episode captures some intimate stories about small ways in which women in Bangalore snuck off to watch movies and enjoy the day. I found this episode to be heartwarming because you get to hear stories about how some women find and create joy despite their many struggles. You’ll experience nostalgia for the good old college days while listening to this, and might want to book tickets for a movie by the end of it.
Listening to the World with Mary Oliver by On Being with Krista Tippett: The late Mary Oliver is among the most loved poets of our time. I have found solace and peace in her poetry. This episode is a conversation with Mary Oliver, recorded back in 2015. It is an intimate and lovely conversation. You get to hear Mary Oliver read out some of her poems, learn more about her life, how she writes poetry, and what it means to pay attention to our surroundings.
In a world which is seemingly engulfed in constant crisis, listening to this episode offers a pause. It is comforting, and worth every minute. My suggestion: listen to this while you’re out on a walk. It’ll enhance the experience even more.
Louis, Can of Cola by Everything is Alive: In Everything is Alive, Ian Chillag interviews objects—things like toothbrushes, a pillow, and a street lamp. These objects are given a voice, and what results is a hilarious conversation about the perspective and stories of these humanised objects.
In this episode, we are introduced to Louis, a can of cola. Not Coca Cola mind you. A generic brand. What does Louis think about constant comparisons to Coca Cola? Does he feel bad when a human ignores him in a supermarket to purchase Coca Cola? Does he feel lonely in a refrigerator surrounded by fruits? I assure you, you’ll laugh throughout the episode and be left in deep thought after it ends.
We've compiled our picks that are available on Spotify into a handy playlist for your convenience. Check it out on the Splainer Spotify account here.