Binge Bytes: ‘Rolling Stone Music Now’


Ashlyn Cary

“Cereal is no longer an unhealthy bowl of sugar and milk, but a delicious reward that I have earned by being alive.” (Design by Ashlyn Cary | Daily Utah Chronicle)

By Oakley Burt, Arts Editor


When I first started listening to podcasts, I was instantly drawn to the idea of hearing others talk about anything and everything under the sun for an extended period of time. As a society, in many ways, we have moved away from long-form conversations in favor of short, simple and sweet ones — this is something I’m guilty of as well. Nowadays, we tend to conduct conversations over text and social media to avoid a phone call or meeting in person. But when podcasts were introduced, they began bringing back this somewhat lost form of communication. I started listening to podcasts as a way to engage, and I was fascinated with hearing others divulge their interests and passions in an extended conversation. 

Now, as I continue to stay home during COVID-19, I’ve been clinging to any semblance of normalcy I can find — listening to podcasts has been one. Between working and completing school from home, finding new podcasts has been a reprieve. I, fortunately, stumbled upon Rolling Stone’s “Rolling Stone Music Now” podcast on Twitter at the beginning of April, and I’ve been listening nonstop since.


To Binge or Not to Binge?

I would highly recommend the “Rolling Stone Music Now” podcast to anyone, but especially to die-hard music lovers. I read Rolling Stone daily, so when I discovered this podcast, I was hooked. I’m always looking for new music-centered podcasts, and “Rolling Stone Music Now” has quickly become a favorite. Rolling Stone is music’s premiere magazine, and the podcast serves as another in-depth look at the biggest stories in music — past and present. The podcast is hosted by Rolling Stone staffer Brian Hiatt, and it usually features additional guests — other Rolling Stone staffers or artists. 

The podcast began airing in January 2016, and has featured a variety of content including discussions, debates and in-depth career spanning interviews with some of the biggest names in music — Fleetwood Mac, Bruce Springsteen, Tom Petty and more. I thoroughly enjoy the episodes where Hiatt conducts interviews with artists — I love listening to artists discuss their creative works and the extraordinary lives they lead. But the discussion and debate episodes are equally entertaining, the vast knowledge of all things music Hiatt and the Rolling Stone staffers have is astounding. As an aspiring music journalist, it’s the extensive knowledge I hope to have one day. 


Best Episode 

It’s difficult to determine which episode is the best, as each episode is unique and covers different music related content. Personally, my favorite episode of the podcast is “An Intimate Look at Harry Styles’ Life and Music.” On this episode, Hiatt is joined by two of my favorite Rolling Stone writers, Rob Sheffield and Brittany Spanos. As explained in the title, this episode is all about Harry Styles, and is centered around Sheffield’s interview with Styles. The episode was released on Sept. 10, 2019, two weeks after Sheffield’s popular feature “The Eternal Sunshine of Harry Styles” was published. 

For the feature, Sheffield spent more than a week trailing Styles in Malibu and London, going into the studio, dive bars and ending their time with a Fleetwood Mac concert. The two struck up a friendship prior to the interview, built on a deep love for music after Styles read Sheffield’s book “Love is a Mixtape.” “He texts all the time about music,” said Sheffield in Rolling Stone. “In one of our first conversations, he told me he was listening to Don McLean’s ‘American Pie’ record and was like, ‘There are other good songs on here nobody knows!’”

This episode is wildly entertaining to listen to. It’s hilarious to hear Sheffield’s and Spanos’ memories of meeting Styles, their shared love of Stevie Nicks and the friendship formed. Together, Sheffield and Spanos offer a thoughtful analysis of Styles coming into his own as an artist as he’s ventured into the realm of ’70s rock ‘n’ roll. 

Though “An Intimate Look at Harry Styles’ Life and Music” is my favorite, “The Best (and Worst) Live Albums of All Time” is a fantastic episode as well. Sheffield is a guest on this episode along with Andy Greene, and the three delve into the history of live albums while celebrating the 50-year anniversary of The Who’s legendary “Live at Leeds” album. 


Similar Shows

“All Songs Considered,” “Dissect,” “Popcast” and “Sound Opinions.”


Trigger Warning



“Rolling Stone Music Now”

4.5/5 stars.

Available on Apple, Spotify, Stitcher and other streaming platforms. 

There are over 150 episodes available ranging from 30-60 minutes long. New episodes are released weekly. 


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