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Pop Culture Happy Hour: The Nature Of Suspense And Our Love Of Cover Songs

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This week, we're visited by the marvelous Barrie Hardymon for a show about the nature of suspense — brought on by Stephen's and my enthusiasm for the new Ben Affleck film Argo -- and about cover songs. We play a lot of music, including covers we love and the raw materials to put together covers that don't exist except in our dreams.

Stephen opens with a beef about this, which isn't really suspense, just ... a beef that puts him instantly at odds with Barrie. But he does go on to say nothing but nice things about Argo, which he calls "massively entertaining and great." Talk of suspense brings us naturally to Alfred Hitchcock, which brings Glen to some of the theories laid out in this book. We talk about the difference between suspense and horror as well as suspense and mystery — and the potential for misunderstanding in the phrase "male gaze."

We then move on to a topic dear to all of our hearts, but especially Stephen's: cover songs. He unleashes possibly the best idea he or anyone else has ever had for an unlikely cover, and the rest of us just try to think of anything remotely as promising. You might need this link. People, this needs to happen. If Betty White can host SNL, we can make this absolutely necessary thing come to life.

But this does lead to a very lively music discussion that covers everything from the Violent Femmes to William Shatner to what I call the "reverse cover." (Oh, I'll explain it.) So, you know. And we also got some information over the wires from our former producer Mike Katzif, who's shared information on great covers before. Glen also mentions one of his past works of genius, which you should absolutely read if you never have.

As always, we wrap up the show with what's making us happy this week. Glen is being made happy by the progress of his book. Stephen is being made happy by the fantastic, amazing Tig Notaro Live, which you should absolutely consider obtaining for yourself. Barrie is enormously happy about the return of one of her favorite shows, while I am happy about a documentary you can stream into your very own home.

Please keep in touch with us — you can find us on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter:me, Trey, Glen, Stephen, Barrie, producer Jess, and our producer emeritus and music director Mike.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Linda Holmes is a pop culture correspondent for NPR and the host of Pop Culture Happy Hour. She began her professional life as an attorney. In time, however, her affection for writing, popular culture, and the online universe eclipsed her legal ambitions. She shoved her law degree in the back of the closet, gave its living room space to DVD sets of The Wire, and never looked back.

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