'Song Exploder' Trailer: Award-Winning Musicians Break Down Their Songs Piece-By Piece

Making music can be magical and mystifying, especially for those of us who have no discernible musical talent whatsoever. But Netflix's new documentary series Song Exploder, inspired by the podcast of the same name, will cut to the core of famous songs from award-winning and chart-topping musicians by having the creators break them down piece-by-piece.

From the creation of melodies to the personal inspiration behind the music and lyrics, Song Exploder looks at every facet of a song through in-depth interviews, archival footage, and raw studio sessions with the likes of Alicia Keys, REM, Ty Dolla $ign, and even Hamilton creator Lin-Manuel Miranda. Watch the Song Exploder trailer below for a glimpse at the new show.

Song Exploder Trailer

Here's the first wave of artists and songs that will be featured in Song Exploder:

  • Alicia Keys – "3-Hour Drive" from the album ALICIA
  • Lin-Manuel Miranda – "Wait for It" from Hamilton
  • REM – "Losing My Religion" from the album Out of Time
  • Ty Dolla $ign – "LA" from the album FREE TC
  • I love documentaries that dig deep into the creative process, no matter what the art form. But music is especially fascinating since a single song has so many moving parts, from the lyrics to the various instrumentals. This is exactly the kind of documentary series that I'd like to see for movies, but since songs last just a few minutes, it's easier to break them down so thoroughly.

    Song Exploder has been around as a podcast from Hrishikesh Hirway since 2014, and it has nearly 200 episodes featuring tons of your favorite singers and songwriters. But now he's executive producing this documentary series adaptation with Oscar-winning 20 Feet from Stardom filmmaker Morgan Neville. Hirway said in a statement:

    "As a teenager, I used to sit in my room and listen to music while poring over the lyrics and liner notes and artwork until I could almost feel myself living in the world of the artist. It was the most incredible feeling, and with Song Exploder, I wanted to take that feeling and go even further. It's been so exciting to turn it into a television show, because it's provided a chance to immerse yourself in the music—and the ideas behind the music—in a deeper way than I ever imagined."

    In addition to executive producing the series, Neville also directs one of the episodes. He added:

    "I've always been a huge fan of creative process—how amazing artists do what they do. Song Exploder is a deep dive into that creative magic. I've come away from each of these stories inspired."

    Hopefully, this is just the beginning for Song Exploder as a TV series. This is the kind of show that could go on for years and year and never run out of interesting material. Obviously it's more expensive and complicated to produce than the podcast version, but it looks like it's infinitely more engaging. The series premieres on Netflix on October 2.