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Switched on Pop

Vox

767
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2.5K
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Switched on Pop

Switched on Pop

Vox

767
Followers
2.5K
Plays
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About Us

What makes pop songs so catchy? Musicologist Nate Sloan & songwriter Charlie Harding pull back the curtain on how pop hits work their magic on our ears & our culture. You’ll fall in love with music you didn’t even know you liked.

Latest Episodes

Carly Rae Jepsen: Meeting The Muse

They say you should never meet your idols, that you’ll only be disappointed. We had this possibility in mind going into our first interview with Carly Rae Jepsen, the pop star who inspired us to start our podcast Switched on Pop when Nate taught “Call Me Maybe” as a case study in music theory. Six years later and hundreds of pleading emails later, the time had come to meet the muse and unpack her latest offering, Dedicated Side B. In the course of composing her last two albums, E•MO•TION and Dedicated, Jepsen wrote over 200 songs. Many of her favorite works didn’t make it on either final album, so she’s started a tradition of releasing “Side B” records on the one-year anniversary of her last release. Her newest collection of unreleased music fluidly crosses decades of musical history and spans a vast emotional range. We spoke with Jepsen over Zoom about how she curated her latest B-Side release from a massive body of work. Would this beatific figure, once described by poet Hanif Abdurraqib and the “most honest pop musician working,” live up to her reputation? Listen to find out. SONGS DISCUSSED Carly Rae Jepsen - Call Me Maybe, Julien, Party For One, Now That I’ve Found You, No Drug Like Me, Want You In My Room, Cut To The Feeling, Run Away With Me, Window, This Love Isn’t Crazy, Solo Squeeze - Tempted By The Fruit Irving Berlin - God Bless America performed by Kate Smith Vulfpeck - Back Pocket Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

42 MIN1 w ago
Comments
Carly Rae Jepsen: Meeting The Muse

Why lo-fi is the perfect background music

Lo-Fi hip-hop has emerged as a hugely popular genre and internet subculture. Its millions of loyal fans rely on curated lo-fi playlists and live-streams to write to, study to and even fall asleep to. Heck, we even wrote a good chunk of our book to Spotify’s lo-fi beats playlists. There’s just something about those ambient, spacey, plodding beats that place us in a state of determined zen. But what of its musical roots? Who are its stars? And why, despite its mass following on YouTube, Spotify and elsewhere, is it nearly impossible to spot on the Billboard? We trace lo-fi from its godfathers to its moments in the sun, to the complex creative ecosystem playing out on streaming platforms today. MORE You can find music from this episode on this week’s Spotify playlist Sign up for Cherie Hu’s newsletter Water & Music that sent us down the lo-fi hip hop rabbit hole Check out Seneca B on Spotify: Check out weird inside on Spotify Check out eevee on Spotify SONGS DISCUSSED Brenky - Bye Brenky - People J Dilla ft. Common, D’Angelo - So Far To Go Isley Brothers - Don’t Say Goodnight (It’s Time For Love), Pts. 1&2 Charlatan - Wasted Jazz Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

37 MIN2 w ago
Comments
Why lo-fi is the perfect background music

Eurovision Lives! (with Netta)

Like many events, the international song competition Eurovision 2020 has been canceled. Sadly, there will be no champion crowned this year... or will there?! Charlie and Nate comb through the emotional, the catchy, and the downright bizarre entries, then—with some help from our audience and 2018 Eurovision winner Netta—pick the best song in all the land. Come for the Lithuanian moose dance, stay for the unshakeable power of pop glory in a world gone mad. Songs discussed Netta - Toy Netta - Ricki Lake Senhit - FREAKY! Tornike Kipiani - Take Me as I am Go-A - Solovey Efendi - Cleopatra Gjon’s Tears - Repondez-moi The Roop - On Fire Dadi Freyr - Think About Things Roxen - Alcohol You Little Big - Uno Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

42 MIN3 w ago
Comments
Eurovision Lives! (with Netta)

How To Soundtrack A Villain: Killing Eve

When BBC America reached out to do a piece about the music of Killing Eve, we jumped at the opportunity. The series antagonist, Villanelle, is an unpredictable assassin. On a dime she shifts from cold and calculating to child-like and jocular. Her personality swings are accompanied by a captivating psychedelic pop soundtrack. Whether you are familiar with the series or not, this no spoilers episode breaks down music from the 1960s that has earned its place on primetime. SPONSORED BY BBC AMERICA Songs Discussed Unloved - We Are Unloved Psychotic Beats - Killer Shangri-:ah The Ronettes - Walking In The rain The Beatles - Strawberry Fields Brigitte Bardot - Contact Betty Hutton - It’s Oh So Quiet Björk - It’s Oh So Quiet Jo Stafford - Some Enchanted Evening Duke Ellington - Skin Deep Roxette - Listen To Your Heart Jacqueline Taieb - La Plus Belle Chanson The Beatles - Being For The Benefit Of Mr Kite! Support explainer journalism — all things pop included — by making a contributio...

39 MINMAY 5
Comments
How To Soundtrack A Villain: Killing Eve

Did Fiona Apple Just Release a Perfect Album?

Since 1996, Fiona Apple has only ever had one hit, “Criminal.” Nonetheless, every album she’s released has been nominated for a Grammy. Her newest work, Fetch The Bolt Cutters, has received near universal acclaim. Apple’s songs are simultaneously idiosyncratic and relatable, tackling unusual themes for pop songs: middle school bullies, uncomfortable dinner conversation, toxic masculinity and female friendship. Apple accompanies her idiosyncratic lyrics with homemade percussion and only minimal piano. The final product is on the borderline between crafted composition and impromptu improvisation. It is this duality which makes the work relatable and timeless. Her two song suite “I Want You To Love Me” and “Shameika” have connections to Beethoven, Yeats, and Patti Smith, which we break down in the first half. And listeners call in during the second half to share what moved them about the album. Songs Discussed Fiona Apple - Fast As You Can, Criminal, Under The Table, I Want You...

35 MINAPR 28
Comments
Did Fiona Apple Just Release a Perfect Album?

Doja Cat’s “Say So” is a Masterclass in Good Times

Doja Cat has gatecrashed the Top 40 with her effervescent hit “Say So.” How did this Internet personality best known for a song whose chorus is “B***h, I’m a cow!” join the ranks of Dua Lipa, Drake, and The Weeknd? The answer involves a voice that careens from gentle soul to fierce rapping, a catchy chorus that grabs you from the first measure, and most importantly, interpolating the guitar patterns of Nile Rodgers, the secret sauce behind four decades of smash hits. Songs featured: Doja Cat - Say So, Juicy, Fancy, Moo Chic - Good Times Sugarhill Gang - Rappers Delight Diana Ross - I’m Coming Out David Bowie - Let’s Dance Daft Punk - Get Lucky Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

30 MINAPR 21
Comments
Doja Cat’s “Say So” is a Masterclass in Good Times

Were We Wrong About Kanye West?

A lot of people miss the old Kanye. The last time we reviewed his music was back in 2016 when he released the work-in-progress album “The Life Of Pablo.” Since then, Kanye has put out four albums: Ye, Kids See Ghost (with Kid Cudi), Jesus Is King, and Jesus Is Born (with the Sunday Service Choir). In the same period he’s also caused a media ruckus with his union to the Kardashian family and his foray into political punditry. His public persona has largely overshadowed his musical offerings. But what does the music communicate when we separate it from its messenger? We take the opportunity to listen with an open mind, especially to his most recent two albums. In the first half we examine his recent innovations as one of hip-hop’s best produced with the help of RapAnalysis.com’s Martin Connor. In the second half we speak with music industry veteran and gospel expert Naima Cochrane in order to place Kanye’s spiritual turn in a larger arch of gospel history. Songs Discussed Kanye ...

46 MINAPR 14
Comments
Were We Wrong About Kanye West?

Aussie2Aussie: 5SOS on Tame Impala (with Luke Hemmings & Calum Hood)

The band 5 Seconds Of Summer have just released their fourth studio album, Calm. Lead vocalist Luke Hemmings and bassist Calum Hood join us to talk about some of Australia’s biggest hits. In the first half of our conversation we discuss the catchy rhythms and vocals in Tame Impala’s song “Borderline,” a song driven more by vibe than conventional structures. Then on side B, 5SOS break down their new single single “Wildflower” and its countless 80s references. One sound in particular, the “stab” or “orchestral hit” in "Wildflower's" chorus, truly evokes the 80s. The song’s producer, Rami Yacoub, had used the sound before on Britney Spears “Lucky,” as had 100s of other artists who first got their hands on this sample from an Australian inventor who forever changed the sound of music. Songs Discussed 5 Seconds Of Summer - Youngblood 5 Seconds Of Summer - Who Do You Love 5 Seconds Of Summer - Lie To Me (ft. Julia Michaels) AC/DC - Highway To Hell Midnight Oil - Beds Are Burning Tame Impala - Same Ol Mistakes Tame Impala - Borderline Post Malone - Circles Slipknot - Before I Forget Massive Attack - Teardrop Tom Petty - Wildflowers 5 Seconds Of Summer - Wildflower Fleet Foxes - Ragged Wood Cindy Lauper - Time After Time Oasis - Wonderwall INXS - Need You Tonight Talk Talk - It’s My Life Tears for Fears - Everybody Wants To Rule The World Enya - Orinoco Flow Stravinsky - Firebird Suite Afrika Bambaataa- Planet Rock Pet Shop Boys - Always On My Mind Britney Spears - Lucky 5 Seconds Of Summer - Red Desert More Estelle Caswell’s Earworm Video on Peter Vogel’s Fairlight CMI and her playlist of Orchestral Hits Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

37 MINAPR 7
Comments
Aussie2Aussie: 5SOS on Tame Impala (with Luke Hemmings & Calum Hood)

The (murder) Ballad of Joe Exotic “Tiger King” (with Robert Moor)

Scandal and intrigue surround Joe Exotic, the central character of the new Netflix documentary Tiger King. Among the many bizarre traits of this zoo keeper, Exotic tries his hand at country music. Interspersed throughout the series, Joe sings about his love of big cats as well as his hatred for his nemesis in a gruesome murder ballad. But it turns out that amongst his many lies, Exotic’s country career may be yet another fabrication. Charlie speaks with journalist Robert Moor, host of the podcast Joe Exotic: Tiger King about who’s really behind the music. Songs Discussed Joe Exotic - I Saw A Tiger Vince Johnson Band - He’s Loving You Jake Owen - Down To The Honkytonk Lonestar - My Front Porch Looking In Joe Exotic - Here Kitty Kitty Spindrift - Speak To The Wind Johnny Cash - Long Black Veil Joe Exotic - This Is My Life George Straight - Living For The Night Sean Watkins - I Saw A Tiger More Robert Moor’s Twitter Thread on what Tiger King left out NY Mag: Tiger King Joe Exotic and His American Animals Podcast: Joe Exotic: Tiger King Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

37 MINAPR 5
Comments
The (murder) Ballad of Joe Exotic “Tiger King” (with Robert Moor)

D’Angelo and the Legacy of Voodoo (with Faith Pennick)

In the year 2000, D'Angelo released Voodoo—with some help from Questlove, Angie Stone, Raphael Saadiq, and a band of jazz veterans—an album that has cast a long shadow with its unique sound of stripped-down soul, Faith Pennick, who literally wrote the book on the record, joins to break how D'Angelo broke the "shiny suit" regime of R&B, explore how he conjured the spirits of J Dilla, Prince, and Roberta Flack, and consider how one video almost derailed his career. Check out D'Angelo's Voodoo by Faith Pennick, from Bloomsbury's 33 1/3 Series Songs discussed: D'Angelo - The Line, The Root, Spanish Joint, Chicken Grease, Untitled (How Does it Feel) Rev JC Burnett - Amazing Grace Prince - Kiss Justin Timberlake - Damn Girl Thundercat - Them Changes Slum Village - CB4 Charlie Hunter and Scott Amendola - There Used to be a Nightclub There Roy Hargrove - Strasbourg / St. Denis Solange - Cranes in the Sky Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

44 MINMAR 31
Comments
D’Angelo and the Legacy of Voodoo (with Faith Pennick)

Latest Episodes

Carly Rae Jepsen: Meeting The Muse

They say you should never meet your idols, that you’ll only be disappointed. We had this possibility in mind going into our first interview with Carly Rae Jepsen, the pop star who inspired us to start our podcast Switched on Pop when Nate taught “Call Me Maybe” as a case study in music theory. Six years later and hundreds of pleading emails later, the time had come to meet the muse and unpack her latest offering, Dedicated Side B. In the course of composing her last two albums, E•MO•TION and Dedicated, Jepsen wrote over 200 songs. Many of her favorite works didn’t make it on either final album, so she’s started a tradition of releasing “Side B” records on the one-year anniversary of her last release. Her newest collection of unreleased music fluidly crosses decades of musical history and spans a vast emotional range. We spoke with Jepsen over Zoom about how she curated her latest B-Side release from a massive body of work. Would this beatific figure, once described by poet Hanif Abdurraqib and the “most honest pop musician working,” live up to her reputation? Listen to find out. SONGS DISCUSSED Carly Rae Jepsen - Call Me Maybe, Julien, Party For One, Now That I’ve Found You, No Drug Like Me, Want You In My Room, Cut To The Feeling, Run Away With Me, Window, This Love Isn’t Crazy, Solo Squeeze - Tempted By The Fruit Irving Berlin - God Bless America performed by Kate Smith Vulfpeck - Back Pocket Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

42 MIN1 w ago
Comments
Carly Rae Jepsen: Meeting The Muse

Why lo-fi is the perfect background music

Lo-Fi hip-hop has emerged as a hugely popular genre and internet subculture. Its millions of loyal fans rely on curated lo-fi playlists and live-streams to write to, study to and even fall asleep to. Heck, we even wrote a good chunk of our book to Spotify’s lo-fi beats playlists. There’s just something about those ambient, spacey, plodding beats that place us in a state of determined zen. But what of its musical roots? Who are its stars? And why, despite its mass following on YouTube, Spotify and elsewhere, is it nearly impossible to spot on the Billboard? We trace lo-fi from its godfathers to its moments in the sun, to the complex creative ecosystem playing out on streaming platforms today. MORE You can find music from this episode on this week’s Spotify playlist Sign up for Cherie Hu’s newsletter Water & Music that sent us down the lo-fi hip hop rabbit hole Check out Seneca B on Spotify: Check out weird inside on Spotify Check out eevee on Spotify SONGS DISCUSSED Brenky - Bye Brenky - People J Dilla ft. Common, D’Angelo - So Far To Go Isley Brothers - Don’t Say Goodnight (It’s Time For Love), Pts. 1&2 Charlatan - Wasted Jazz Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

37 MIN2 w ago
Comments
Why lo-fi is the perfect background music

Eurovision Lives! (with Netta)

Like many events, the international song competition Eurovision 2020 has been canceled. Sadly, there will be no champion crowned this year... or will there?! Charlie and Nate comb through the emotional, the catchy, and the downright bizarre entries, then—with some help from our audience and 2018 Eurovision winner Netta—pick the best song in all the land. Come for the Lithuanian moose dance, stay for the unshakeable power of pop glory in a world gone mad. Songs discussed Netta - Toy Netta - Ricki Lake Senhit - FREAKY! Tornike Kipiani - Take Me as I am Go-A - Solovey Efendi - Cleopatra Gjon’s Tears - Repondez-moi The Roop - On Fire Dadi Freyr - Think About Things Roxen - Alcohol You Little Big - Uno Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

42 MIN3 w ago
Comments
Eurovision Lives! (with Netta)

How To Soundtrack A Villain: Killing Eve

When BBC America reached out to do a piece about the music of Killing Eve, we jumped at the opportunity. The series antagonist, Villanelle, is an unpredictable assassin. On a dime she shifts from cold and calculating to child-like and jocular. Her personality swings are accompanied by a captivating psychedelic pop soundtrack. Whether you are familiar with the series or not, this no spoilers episode breaks down music from the 1960s that has earned its place on primetime. SPONSORED BY BBC AMERICA Songs Discussed Unloved - We Are Unloved Psychotic Beats - Killer Shangri-:ah The Ronettes - Walking In The rain The Beatles - Strawberry Fields Brigitte Bardot - Contact Betty Hutton - It’s Oh So Quiet Björk - It’s Oh So Quiet Jo Stafford - Some Enchanted Evening Duke Ellington - Skin Deep Roxette - Listen To Your Heart Jacqueline Taieb - La Plus Belle Chanson The Beatles - Being For The Benefit Of Mr Kite! Support explainer journalism — all things pop included — by making a contributio...

39 MINMAY 5
Comments
How To Soundtrack A Villain: Killing Eve

Did Fiona Apple Just Release a Perfect Album?

Since 1996, Fiona Apple has only ever had one hit, “Criminal.” Nonetheless, every album she’s released has been nominated for a Grammy. Her newest work, Fetch The Bolt Cutters, has received near universal acclaim. Apple’s songs are simultaneously idiosyncratic and relatable, tackling unusual themes for pop songs: middle school bullies, uncomfortable dinner conversation, toxic masculinity and female friendship. Apple accompanies her idiosyncratic lyrics with homemade percussion and only minimal piano. The final product is on the borderline between crafted composition and impromptu improvisation. It is this duality which makes the work relatable and timeless. Her two song suite “I Want You To Love Me” and “Shameika” have connections to Beethoven, Yeats, and Patti Smith, which we break down in the first half. And listeners call in during the second half to share what moved them about the album. Songs Discussed Fiona Apple - Fast As You Can, Criminal, Under The Table, I Want You...

35 MINAPR 28
Comments
Did Fiona Apple Just Release a Perfect Album?

Doja Cat’s “Say So” is a Masterclass in Good Times

Doja Cat has gatecrashed the Top 40 with her effervescent hit “Say So.” How did this Internet personality best known for a song whose chorus is “B***h, I’m a cow!” join the ranks of Dua Lipa, Drake, and The Weeknd? The answer involves a voice that careens from gentle soul to fierce rapping, a catchy chorus that grabs you from the first measure, and most importantly, interpolating the guitar patterns of Nile Rodgers, the secret sauce behind four decades of smash hits. Songs featured: Doja Cat - Say So, Juicy, Fancy, Moo Chic - Good Times Sugarhill Gang - Rappers Delight Diana Ross - I’m Coming Out David Bowie - Let’s Dance Daft Punk - Get Lucky Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

30 MINAPR 21
Comments
Doja Cat’s “Say So” is a Masterclass in Good Times

Were We Wrong About Kanye West?

A lot of people miss the old Kanye. The last time we reviewed his music was back in 2016 when he released the work-in-progress album “The Life Of Pablo.” Since then, Kanye has put out four albums: Ye, Kids See Ghost (with Kid Cudi), Jesus Is King, and Jesus Is Born (with the Sunday Service Choir). In the same period he’s also caused a media ruckus with his union to the Kardashian family and his foray into political punditry. His public persona has largely overshadowed his musical offerings. But what does the music communicate when we separate it from its messenger? We take the opportunity to listen with an open mind, especially to his most recent two albums. In the first half we examine his recent innovations as one of hip-hop’s best produced with the help of RapAnalysis.com’s Martin Connor. In the second half we speak with music industry veteran and gospel expert Naima Cochrane in order to place Kanye’s spiritual turn in a larger arch of gospel history. Songs Discussed Kanye ...

46 MINAPR 14
Comments
Were We Wrong About Kanye West?

Aussie2Aussie: 5SOS on Tame Impala (with Luke Hemmings & Calum Hood)

The band 5 Seconds Of Summer have just released their fourth studio album, Calm. Lead vocalist Luke Hemmings and bassist Calum Hood join us to talk about some of Australia’s biggest hits. In the first half of our conversation we discuss the catchy rhythms and vocals in Tame Impala’s song “Borderline,” a song driven more by vibe than conventional structures. Then on side B, 5SOS break down their new single single “Wildflower” and its countless 80s references. One sound in particular, the “stab” or “orchestral hit” in "Wildflower's" chorus, truly evokes the 80s. The song’s producer, Rami Yacoub, had used the sound before on Britney Spears “Lucky,” as had 100s of other artists who first got their hands on this sample from an Australian inventor who forever changed the sound of music. Songs Discussed 5 Seconds Of Summer - Youngblood 5 Seconds Of Summer - Who Do You Love 5 Seconds Of Summer - Lie To Me (ft. Julia Michaels) AC/DC - Highway To Hell Midnight Oil - Beds Are Burning Tame Impala - Same Ol Mistakes Tame Impala - Borderline Post Malone - Circles Slipknot - Before I Forget Massive Attack - Teardrop Tom Petty - Wildflowers 5 Seconds Of Summer - Wildflower Fleet Foxes - Ragged Wood Cindy Lauper - Time After Time Oasis - Wonderwall INXS - Need You Tonight Talk Talk - It’s My Life Tears for Fears - Everybody Wants To Rule The World Enya - Orinoco Flow Stravinsky - Firebird Suite Afrika Bambaataa- Planet Rock Pet Shop Boys - Always On My Mind Britney Spears - Lucky 5 Seconds Of Summer - Red Desert More Estelle Caswell’s Earworm Video on Peter Vogel’s Fairlight CMI and her playlist of Orchestral Hits Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

37 MINAPR 7
Comments
Aussie2Aussie: 5SOS on Tame Impala (with Luke Hemmings & Calum Hood)

The (murder) Ballad of Joe Exotic “Tiger King” (with Robert Moor)

Scandal and intrigue surround Joe Exotic, the central character of the new Netflix documentary Tiger King. Among the many bizarre traits of this zoo keeper, Exotic tries his hand at country music. Interspersed throughout the series, Joe sings about his love of big cats as well as his hatred for his nemesis in a gruesome murder ballad. But it turns out that amongst his many lies, Exotic’s country career may be yet another fabrication. Charlie speaks with journalist Robert Moor, host of the podcast Joe Exotic: Tiger King about who’s really behind the music. Songs Discussed Joe Exotic - I Saw A Tiger Vince Johnson Band - He’s Loving You Jake Owen - Down To The Honkytonk Lonestar - My Front Porch Looking In Joe Exotic - Here Kitty Kitty Spindrift - Speak To The Wind Johnny Cash - Long Black Veil Joe Exotic - This Is My Life George Straight - Living For The Night Sean Watkins - I Saw A Tiger More Robert Moor’s Twitter Thread on what Tiger King left out NY Mag: Tiger King Joe Exotic and His American Animals Podcast: Joe Exotic: Tiger King Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

37 MINAPR 5
Comments
The (murder) Ballad of Joe Exotic “Tiger King” (with Robert Moor)

D’Angelo and the Legacy of Voodoo (with Faith Pennick)

In the year 2000, D'Angelo released Voodoo—with some help from Questlove, Angie Stone, Raphael Saadiq, and a band of jazz veterans—an album that has cast a long shadow with its unique sound of stripped-down soul, Faith Pennick, who literally wrote the book on the record, joins to break how D'Angelo broke the "shiny suit" regime of R&B, explore how he conjured the spirits of J Dilla, Prince, and Roberta Flack, and consider how one video almost derailed his career. Check out D'Angelo's Voodoo by Faith Pennick, from Bloomsbury's 33 1/3 Series Songs discussed: D'Angelo - The Line, The Root, Spanish Joint, Chicken Grease, Untitled (How Does it Feel) Rev JC Burnett - Amazing Grace Prince - Kiss Justin Timberlake - Damn Girl Thundercat - Them Changes Slum Village - CB4 Charlie Hunter and Scott Amendola - There Used to be a Nightclub There Roy Hargrove - Strasbourg / St. Denis Solange - Cranes in the Sky Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

44 MINMAR 31
Comments
D’Angelo and the Legacy of Voodoo (with Faith Pennick)
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