Still Processing. Photograph: Ryan Pfluger/The New York Times
The New York Times Wesley Morris and Jenna Wortham are two writers of colour who arent afraid to get real about race and identity. They present this sharp pop-culture pod, where you can expect to hear about everything from bad women on screen to Roseannes Ambien-fuelled Twitter meltdown, the rise of queer pop and what whiteness means on screen in 2018.
HJD If you like this try Keep It
The Scottish standup invites other funny people to discuss their mental health and help remove the stigma that persists. Although subtitled A Cheerful Look at Depression, Calmans guests have varied challenges; in the opening episode of eight, she sits down with Edinburgh-nominated comic Jordan Brookes, who has pure O, a type of OCD that focuses around inner compulsions rather than outward rituals. Kind, raw, pertinent and funny, this is everything a mental health podcast should be.
HJD If you like this try Terrible, Thanks for Asking
A fascinating deep-dive into how vast teams of talented people channel their knowledge of melody, diminished chords and syncopated snares into making truly terrible slush pop. Or, if you prefer, a subtle reminder not to dismiss a Despacito or a Twenty One Pilots out of hand.
GH If you like this try Henry Rollins Henry and Heidi Show
What could be just another pop star reminiscing about Live Lounges and the album campaign lull has turned into its own enlightening entity. This podcast finds musician Jessie Ware sitting in her kitchen with her rambunctious mum, who makes dinner for a new guest each week, from Ed Sheeran to London mayor Sadiq Khan, the latter of whom broke his Ramadan fast to talk about standing for re-election, nightlife in London, crime and chips.
HG If you like this try Homo Sapiens
The BBCs pop culture offering gets a millennial spin with this factual-but-fun podcast hosted by journalist Hayley Campbell. Zoning in on the biggest pop culture trends and moments of recent history, from One Direction to Drag Race and, er, Come Dine With Me, she and her contributors offer detailed overviews that never feel overly weighty.
HJD If you like this try The High Low
Pop culture explained The Watch
The Ringer the website thats the new home to cult sports writer Bill Simmons bottles his brand of lightly worn- heavy IQ commentary in the same way his old stomping ground Grantland did. Here you can find The Watch, where writers Andy Greenwald and Chris Ryan take the weeks biggest watch/read/listen questions apart, from the Fox-Comcast merger and Black Mirror to Donald Glovers This Is America video.
GH If you like this try Slates Culture Gabfest, The Nerdist
In each 40-45-minute episode, two romantically entwined, often anguished people sit with Esther Perel, Belgian psychotherapist and emotional mastermind, who works through their insecurities. From low libidos to overcoming infidelity, role play and all manners of childhood traumas that might lead to a skewiff love life, the podcast is an essential for nosy or curious types. Season three is set to branch out into family and platonic relationships.
HG If you like this try Death, Sex & Money
Slates grumble-heavy Trumpcast made heavy weather in 2016. In 2018 the genre it spawned has morphed into a kind of horrified Aaarghcast. With a title that recalls Jeff Goldblum turning into The Fly, Chris Hayes explores a question bigger than just the meaning of Trump: just why the entire mass of society, democracy and media seems to be warping and folding beneath us.
GH If you like this try Chapo Trap House
Prolific podcaster Maron pulls in big names, from Barack Obama downwards. His angry preambles are dynamite and he even makes the adverts sound furious. Start with the Jennifer Lawrence episode, in which she out-talks him and is rip-roaring company rather than line-toeing Hollywood ingenue.
HV If you like this try The Joe Rogan Experience
This cinematic exploration is hosted by Karina Longworth, a narrator whose voice drips with old-school glamour and powder-room gossip. Marilyn Monroe gets the three-episode treatment and Joan Crawford enjoys six degrees, while theres a whole string devoted to Charles Manson, with plenty of fresh material.
HV If you like this try Hollywood and Crime