41: New Jack Swing

This episode has been a long time coming. Paul and Kirk talked about having new jack swing as a topic back when they first conceived of “Music Raygun.” Why did it take so long to get here? Because this is the most important music in Kirk’s life. And he needed a lot of time to marinate in exactly what he wanted to say about it. So steel yourself, because not every music podcast out there is treating Guy, Today and even Basic Black with this much reverence.

40: Zbigniew Rybczynski

For the first time on “Music Raygun,” Paul and Kirk have chosen to focus on the work of one particular music video director. In this case, it’s Polish filmmaker Zbigniew Rybczynski. While his isn’t exactly a household name, Rybcynzski’s avant-garde influence was essential to developing music video as an art form during the golden age of MTV in the ‘80s. That’s why he was one of the first winners of the Video Vanguard Award at the MTV Video Music Awards. And, hey, the music ain’t bad either. To see the videos we watch in this episode, visit musicraygun.com/playlists.

39: B-Sides III

“Music Raygun” B-sides episodes are when we look back to past episode themes for new videos that we left out, forgot or didn’t know about the first time around. So our third B-sides podcast serves up bonus clips from the following previous episodes: “Funk,” “Minneapolis,” “Madonna,” “Hip-Hop 1992-93,” “Rebel Girls II,” “Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis,” “Slow Jams,” “Dance II,” “Detroit,” “Music Videos 1995-97” and “Quincy Jones.” If you have a B-side suggestion for a future episode, go ahead and email it to us: musicraygun@gmail.com.

The Aesthetics of Music Video: An Analysis of Madonna's 'Cherish' (PDF)

38: Quincy Jones

Our topic for this episode is someone who’s been around for so long, is such a multi-hyphenate and has worked with so many other legends that he’s worth many artists in one package. He’s a composer, a writer, a band leader, an arranger and conductor, and a producer working in jazz, pop, TV and film scores, soul and R&B. He has 27 Grammys and 79 nominations. And he also made Rashida Jones. This episode is given to scratching the surface of the genius of Quincy Jones.

37: Grab Bag IV (w/ Katie Willert)

Kirk’s on vacation, so pinch-hitter-in-chief Katie Willert is back in the “studio” to fill in for the Kragman. She and Paul are taking it easy for the Los Angeles summer heat wave, eschewing a themed episode entirely. Which means it’s time for another “Music Raygun” grab bag episode. Paul goes weirdly nostalgic for this one, digging up a bunch of vintage clips while Katie keeps things ever-so-slightly more current. But other than that, be prepared to follow your hosts wherever the wind and their fancy takes them.

36: Music Videos 1995-97

For the first time since the second episode, we’re focusing strictly on music videos from a specific era. In this case, 1995-97. Given the age gap between Paul and Kirk, and their musical tastes, they experienced those years very differently from each other. But that only means this is an especially interesting and eclectic episode. So what were you doing in the mid to late ‘90s? Maybe you’re in for some reminiscing. Or maybe you’ll hear some tunes from 20-plus years ago that are new to you.

35: Detroit

Here’s a new entry in the show’s series profiling music from different cities, states and regions of the USA. This time it’s a long look at Detroit, Michigan, aka Detroit Rock City, aka the Motor City, aka Motown. Detroit is a storied music metropolis that’s generated countless legendary artists. But Paul and Kirk avoid those mythical names to focus on the somewhat lesser-known singers and bands to emerge from the city of the straits. That doesn’t mean this episode doesn’t kick ass, though. Oh, it kicks ass.

34: Dance II (w/ Isabel Nelson)

Once again, “Music Raygun” welcomes a past guest back for another episode. Isabel Nelson returns to talk a bunch more about dance with Kirk, a fellow trained dancer; and Paul, a clumsy, oafish idiot. Baryshnikov makes a long overdue appearance, Marlon Jackson reminds us why he used to be “the dancingest Jackson,” Willi Ninja teaches the world how to vogue, and lots more. Just like our first spotlight on dance, this is an especially visual episode, so be sure to check out the featured playlist for yourself.

33: Slow Jams (w/ Katie Willert)

It’s time to snuggle up with your lovers under those covers, because you’re listening to the Quiet Storm on Music Raygun. Paul and Kirk welcome back Katie Willert to join them once again. This time they’re talking about slow jams, aka baby-making music. What constitutes a “slow jam” is open to interpretation. But one thing’s for sure: If you put the songs from this episode on an unlabeled cassette tape and play it for someone you invited to your dorm room, you’ll be dry-humping in no time.

32: Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis

Even if you don’t recognize the names of producers Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, you know their work. Because they’re responsible for dozens of the biggest pop hits of the last 30-plus years. Original members of The Time (as in Morris Day and the Time), Jam and Lewis are also the answer to the question, “Why is Prince’s egomania responsible for Janet Jackson’s entire music career?” And, as a human Prince encyclopedia, Kirk of course has a comprehensive knowledge of all things Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis.