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5 Podcasts You Need in Your Life

I need to be constantly entertained.

Whether I'm commuting around the city (often), or doing chores around my apartment (rarely), I want to be listening to something. Luckily, I have podcasts in my life. Science, religion, politics, pop culture, true crime, psychology, art - pick an interest, and chances are there's somebody that made a podcast about it. That's the good news. The bad news? You’re about to spend an inordinate amount of time researching what you should be listening to, then contriving scenarios in which you can actually listen to it. Your apartment will never be cleaner.

Here are my top five to get you started:

1. S-Town

Hands down my favorite podcast to recommend to people. I actually hope people haven't heard of this one, just so I can talk about it...

Storytelling: captivating, surprising, intriguing, beautiful
Gist (no spoilers): a man named John hates his Alabama town (S-Town = Shit-town) and asks a reporter to come investigate an alleged murder… DUN DUN DUN ...
Good because: the story goes in a very unexpected direction and is much more complex than it seems at first
Final thoughts: people who “aren’t really into podcasts” will like this podcast

2. Invisibilia

Do you ever think about the invisible forces that shape human behavior? Like, how do emotions get made? Are our personalities constant and predictable, or do we all change over time? Do expectations change the way we respond to situations?

Well, these are the questions you’ll tackle in this podcast.

Storytelling: provocative, engaging, sophisticated, scientific
Gist (no spoilers): smart & funny hosts Alix Spiegel and Lulu Miller report on the thoughts, emotions, assumptions, and ideas that make up our world (perceived or real)
Good because: every episode feels like a riddle
Final thoughts: astonishing stories are both challenging and accessible

3. Reply All


Tech-focused without being too techy. Reply All ultimately focuses on human stories that are centered around some aspect of technology.

Storytelling: charming, journalistic, interesting, insightful
Gist (no spoilers): hosts PJ Vogt and Alex Goldman tackle modern life through compelling stories, weaving Internet culture throughout
Good because: the hosts are super affable and often throw themselves into the episodes (standouts for me include Zardulu and Long Distance)
Final thoughts: get into aspects of the Internet that you didn’t know you would be into


4. Crimetown


If you’re into gangsters - like old school mafia style gangsters - then this is your show. The creators of Crimetown are serious storytellers - they’re the same crew behind HBO’s The Jinx.

Storytelling: captivating, shocking, vivid
Gist (no spoilers): every season (there’s only been one so far) focuses on one famous crime city and the first one is Providence, Rhode Island. Get ready for interviews with ex-mobsters, FBI agents, politicians, even a “Doctor Broad”.
Good because: gangsters are loveable and you get a peek behind the curtain at what it’s actually like to be in the mob
Final thoughts: the line between the good guys and the bad guys gets very blurry, in the best way, and stories of alliances and betrayals, heists and stings, crooked cops and honest mobsters will keep you thoroughly entertained

5. Savage Lovecast

Let’s talk about sex. This is the show that will supplement your lackluster high school sex ed. class - ten fold. Dan Savage answers questions you’ve always wanted to ask, and ones you never knew you had.

Storytelling: funny, blush-inducing, sometimes shocking, informative
Gist (no spoilers): callers need advice on everything from how to turn their plain vanilla sex lives up a notch, or how to ask their partner for a threesome, to questions on STDs and coming out to their parents
Good because: Dan Savage is the shining star here. He’s non-judgmental, funny, political, and straightforward. Get ready to learn some new vocab terms (DTMFA, GGG, Unicorn, etc.)
Final thoughts: it’s entertaining and educational. Win win.