Stephen Thompson

Stephen Thompson is an editor and reviewer for NPR Music, where he writes the advice column The Good Listener, 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, All Things Considered and Morning Edition, on which he earned the distinction of becoming the first 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 book 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 room full of vintage arcade machines. 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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Field Recordings
10:14 am
Wed September 19, 2012

Micachu & The Shapes: Weeds In The Forest

Micachu and the Shapes perform for a Field Recordings video in Rock Creek Park, Washington, D.C.
Mito Habe-Evans NPR

Originally published on Tue July 8, 2014 12:24 pm

Experimental musician Mica Levi, a.k.a. Micachu, doesn't exactly fit comfortably into her surroundings: She cuts a vaguely otherworldly, not-so-vaguely androgynous figure, and sings strangely pretty, jagged little songs with the aid of odd tunings and a tiny guitar, which dangles from crudely tied twine. She identifies herself as a pop singer, but while her songs are catchy enough, they're no one's idea of pop-radio fodder.

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All Songs Considered Blog
2:10 pm
Tue September 18, 2012

Randy Newman Returns To Scathing Satire In 'I'm Dreaming'

Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Tue September 18, 2012 7:17 pm

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All Songs Considered Blog
12:03 pm
Tue September 11, 2012

First Watch: Ben Sollee, 'Unfinished'

Ben Sollee's new album, Half Made Man, comes out Sept. 25.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Tue September 18, 2012 7:18 pm

Ben Sollee is a classically trained cellist whose forays into Americana have led him to work with Abigail Washburn, Bela Fleck and Daniel Martin Moore.

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All Songs Considered Blog
11:03 am
Mon September 10, 2012

First Watch: Tilly And The Wall, 'Defenders'

Tilly and the Wall's new album, Heavy Mood, comes out Oct. 2.
Jason Meintjes

Originally published on Tue September 18, 2012 7:18 pm

Once based in Omaha, Tilly and the Wall's members have since scattered to the four winds: They live in different cities, and their busy lives led to a lengthy hiatus following the 2008 release of O. Still, even after a long absence, the band's music embodies unity, togetherness and empowerment.

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Monkey See
12:23 pm
Fri September 7, 2012

Pop Culture Happy Hour: How Long Is Too Long?

NPR
  • Listen to Pop Culture Happy Hour

Half of the Pop Culture Happy Hour crew is scattered to the four winds — if, by "the four winds," you mean "an assortment of movie theaters in Toronto" — but before parting ways, the old gang met up to discuss a question that's been vexing me. What are the tipping points, I vex, that push various forms of entertainment over the line between "long enough" and "too long"?

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