Backtracks Newsletter — March 15, 2018


If you’re reading this on a web page or on Backtracks’ blog, you should subscribe to the newsletter on the site.

I’m Emily Elias and I am a podcast producer. Basically, I tell stories because I am not good at sports (a fact 10th grade phys-ed teacher Mr. Francisco and I came to a mutual agreement on this after he interjected it was medically impossible I had my period every Monday/Wednesday/Friday for a year).

I’ll be writing the Backtracks newsletter and while that is a broad brief, hopefully you will like them too or at least scroll to the bottom of the email. I mean, let’s set realistic goals.

1. A tasteful solution

If you were thinking it’s about time restaurant giant McDonald’s got out of the kitchen and into investigative journalism biz, you’re in luck with a new-ish podcast called The Sauce.

The Sauce is a branded podcast by McDonald’s/Studio@Gizmodo/Onion Labs that is supposed to act as an apology for the US rollout of Szechwan sauce that went totally awry. You know, that cult sauce that was featured in the cult TV show Rick and Morty and spawned another, bigger, cult of followers.

The podcast also introduces you to some of the folks behind the arches and guess what? They’re just like us! But ultimately, it is a branded podcast so there is a vibe of you-get-to-know-what-McDonald’s-wants-you-to-know.

If you happen to be looking for another awesome podcasts about condiments, you can also listen to my podcast Desert Island Dips.


My co-host Tom Wiggins and I look at the history of the condiments you find in your fridge/cupboards and ask, if you were trapped on a deserted island, what 5 condiments would you take with you? Our latest episode is all about Sriracha and it comes with some classic Emily Elias Oversharing™ that probably should not have been put on the internet.

2. Throwing away my shot

If you are apart of that elite group that has seen Hamilton, naturally I am 100% jealous. I have yet to see Lin Manuel’s award-ridden musical but I have listened to the cast recording and seen a lot of episodes of Undercover Boss so, I think I’ve got the general idea.

The subgenre of Hamilton-inspired podcasts is strong. But I want to point you towards the amazing show Twenty Thousand Hertz — it’s a podcast about, you guessed it, sound.

I feel a bit stupid for not realizing that Broadway musicals would have sound designers but OF COURSE THEY HAVE SOUND DESIGNERS. Host Dallas Taylor (cool name) and his team do a really great job of walking you through the process Hamilton sound designer Nevin Steinberg went through to create probably our generation’s greatest piece of art. A bold statement considering we also boast the Kardashians.

This is one of those podcasts that I truly love and encourage you to take a deep dive into their feed.

3. Is depression funny?

And while we’re on the topic of musicals and not living up to your potential, check out this recent episode of The Hilarious World of Depression with John Moe. In particular, his interview with Rachel Bloom (from the TV show Crazy Ex-Girlfriend and writer of the Sugar Ray: The Jukebox musical).

If you haven’t seen Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, get on it. In the show the protagonist Rebecca Bunch blows up her life in New York and moves across the country to West Covena, California to try rekindle a romance with her summer camp boyfriend. And there are songs.

Now, the show is not real life but on this podcast, Rachel talks really candidly about her struggles her mental health and how it affected her physical health and relationships. Oh, and Rebecca Black’s hit song “Friday.” If you don’t remember it, you’re a better person than me.

So, add it to your list and download The Hilarious World of Depression with John Moe for the LOLz, the tears and the vindication that you are not alone.

4. Opinion-o-rama: Music Edition

Happy Belated International Women’s Day. The New York Time’s podcast Popcasthas decided to celebrate by launching part one of a two part series called: Was Ashlee Simpson Underappreciated? Discuss.

FINALLY. A podcast for the people. Move over The Daily, this is now the most culturally relevant podcast on the New York Times’ network.

For those of you know who don’t remember this cultural icon. Back in the early-00s, after watching her sister Jessica get famous from a few landfill pop singles, a marriage to a b-list boybander and a reality TV show… younger sister Ashlee thought: Me Too! And sold A LOT of records. (Her album “Autobiography” went triple platinum and her follow up “I Am Me” also went platinum…) but after an ill-fated live performance on SNL she came tumbled down like the walls of Jericho.

Naturally, 2018 is the year we re-open this cold case. I could save you an hour of your life and say YES! she is underappreciated… but where is the fun in that, New York Times?

And just in case you are wondering about the last major New York Times coverage of the younger Simpson:

Touché Marie Claire Editor. Touché.

5. SPORTZ! (The lady doth protest too much)

Fun fact, just because I am not good at sports doesn’t mean I didn’t spend the last month in PyeongChang, South Korea covering curling for the Olympics.

And you know who was watching?

(Friends, I stole this picture from Sky News… who not only made this but featured it on their website. A website for NEWS)

Yep. One of the legacies of these past Olympic games is that Mr. T became a massive curling fan. My absolute favorite podcast called As It Happens from the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation decided to catch up with Mr. T and interview him about his new interest.

Mr T says he was embarrassed by all the attention… but his 7-minute interview then hits you with a life lesson only Mr T could give:

Mr. T declined to comment directly on the latest controversy in the sport, when Canadian women’s curling skip Rachel Homan removed a burned stone from the rink in their match against Denmark. But he did commend the sport’s emphasis on sportsmanship and respect.

“As I was taught, you win with modesty, you lose with dignity. My TV persona goes ‘pity the fool’ this and that, but deep inside it’s humility. And notice, I said humili-T. Like responsibili-T,” he said.

As It Happens doesn’t just spend their days talking to Mr. T, the show covers everything and has been an institution in Canada since 1968. Another favorite moments include a 1993 interview with ex-Bosnian Serb leader and war criminal Radovan Karadžić, and then-host Michael Enright began the interview by asking “how is the ethnic cleansing going?”

I listen to this podcast religiously and I am continually surprised and amazed by the host Carol Off and the team behind her who track down the guests and some of the most interesting stories on the planet. Plus, I think we can all agree we need a bit more Canada in our lives.

Anyway, that is it for me!

Thanks to Backtracks for letting me write some stuff for you to read and if you want more Emily Elias in your life, you can find me lurking on the internet. I am on twitter (@emilyreports)… there’s my podcast: Desert Island Dips and! I also make another podcast for the University of Oxford called Big Questions with Oxford Sparks which is all science and researcher trying to understand the world.

We’ll do this again soon!


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