Stephen Thompson

Stephen Thompson is an editor and reviewer for NPR Music, where he curates Song of the Day, fusses over the placement of commas and appears as a frequent panelist on the podcasts All Songs Considered and Pop Culture Happy Hour. In 2008, he and Bob Boilen created the weekly NPR Music video series Tiny Desk Concerts, in which musicians perform at Boilen's desk.

In 1993, Thompson founded The Onion's entertainment section, The A.V. Club, which he edited until December 2004. In the years since, he has provided music-themed commentaries for the NPR programs Weekend Edition Sunday, Weekend All Things Considered and Morning Edition, on which he earned the distinction of becoming the only member of the NPR Music staff ever to sing on an NPR newsmagazine. (Later, the magic of AutoTune transformed him from a 12th-rate David Archuleta into a fourth-rate Cher.) Thompson's entertainment writing has also run in Paste magazine, The Washington Post and The London Guardian.

During his tenure at The Onion, Thompson edited the 2002 book The Tenacity of the Cockroach: Conversations with Entertainment's Most Enduring Outsiders (Crown) and copy-edited six best-selling comedy books. While there, he also coached The Onion's softball team to a sizzling 21-42 record, and was once outscored 72-0 in a span of 10 innings. Later in life, Thompson redeemed himself by teaming up with the small gaggle of fleet-footed twentysomethings who won the 2008 NPR Relay Race, a triumph he documents in a hard-hitting essay for the forthcoming anthology This Is NPR: The First Forty Years (Chronicle).

A 1994 graduate of the University of Wisconsin, Thompson now lives in Silver Spring, Md., with his two children and a Frogger machine. His hobbies include watching reality television without shame, eating Pringles until his hand has involuntarily twisted itself into a gnarled claw, using the size of his Twitter following to assess his self-worth, touting the immutable moral superiority of the Green Bay Packers and maintaining a fierce rivalry with all Midwestern states other than Wisconsin.

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All Songs Considered
11:50 am
Fri February 8, 2013

We Get Mail: Why Do We Need Breakup Songs? Aren't We Suffering Enough?

Do breakup songs just make everything worse?
Marat Sirotyukov iStockphoto

Originally published on Tue May 28, 2013 1:20 pm

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All Songs Considered
12:36 pm
Thu January 31, 2013

We Get Mail: As Valentine's Day Approaches, Do We Still Need Mixtapes?

In an age of digital files, does handpicking and handing someone a music mix still matter?
Leah Tihia via Flickr

Originally published on Tue May 28, 2013 1:23 pm

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Tiny Desk Concerts
3:00 pm
Mon January 28, 2013

Of Montreal: Tiny Desk Concert

Of Montreal performs a Tiny Desk Concert on Dec. 14, 2012.
Christopher Parks NPR

Originally published on Mon December 23, 2013 5:44 pm

About halfway into Of Montreal's Tiny Desk Concert in the NPR Music offices, I showed a friend a Post-It note on which I'd just scribbled, "Was I wrong to expect more of a decadent, pan-sexual carnival?" I'd thought we were going to need to throw plastic sheeting over our desks, like at a GWAR concert, and there we were, watching a miniaturized Of Montreal — just Kevin Barnes solo, albeit with the assistance of singer Rebecca Cash and guitarist Bryan Poole for "Feminine Effects" — as it strummed its way through three stripped-dow

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First Listen
10:15 am
Mon January 28, 2013

First Listen: Jim James, 'Regions Of Light And Sound Of God'

Jim James' Regions of Light and Sound of God comes out Feb. 5.
Neil Krug Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Wed February 6, 2013 9:09 am

Audio for this feature is no longer available.

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First Listen
10:15 am
Mon January 28, 2013

First Listen: Thao & The Get Down Stay Down, 'We The Common'

Thao & The Get Down Stay Down's new album, We the Common, comes out Feb. 5.
Lauren Tabak Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Fri February 15, 2013 2:08 pm

Audio for this feature is no longer available.

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First Listen
10:14 am
Mon January 28, 2013

First Listen: Richard Thompson, 'Electric'

Richard Thompson's Electric comes out Feb. 5.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Wed February 6, 2013 11:24 am

Audio for this feature is no longer available.

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All Songs Considered
2:48 pm
Thu January 24, 2013

We Get Mail: When You Hear Music, Are You Really Listening?

Anna Bryukhanova iStockphoto

Originally published on Tue May 28, 2013 1:24 pm

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All Songs Considered
4:32 pm
Thu January 17, 2013

We Get Mail: Loved By Millions, Hated By You — What To Do?

Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Tue May 28, 2013 1:24 pm

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Tiny Desk Concerts
12:44 pm
Wed January 16, 2013

Black Prairie: Tiny Desk Concert

Black Prairie performs a Tiny Desk Concert on Nov. 9, 2012.
Ryan Smith NPR

Originally published on Mon December 23, 2013 5:44 pm

The charming roots-folk band Black Prairie got its start as an outlet for The Decemberists' Chris Funk and Nate Query, who wanted an outlet for some of their rootsy, mostly instrumental string-band wanderings.

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All Songs Considered
6:32 pm
Sun January 13, 2013

We Get Mail: A Father-Daughter Wedding Dance That Won't Make Everyone Gag

How do you pick a song for a father and daughter's wedding dance without spiraling into sappiness?
Lindsay Pierce via carolynhack/Flickr

Originally published on Tue May 28, 2013 1:25 pm

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