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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8:24am

Thu October 6, 2011
Tiny Desk Concerts

Fountains Of Wayne: Tiny Desk Concert

Originally published on Thu October 6, 2011 7:00 am

Amanda Steen NPR
  • Audio Only: Fountains Of Wayne's Tiny Desk Concert

Fountains of Wayne has always been slightly miscast as a chipper band of power-pop ironists, thanks in part to the omnipresence of the 2003 novelty hit "Stacy's Mom." But even that song is infused with a melancholy churn: Sure, "Stacy's Mom" makes light of adolescent desire and delusion, but songwriters Chris Collingwood and Adam Schlesinger still find a way to relate to the raw, unrequited want that exists at the core of every undersexed teenager — and in the spirit of everyone who's

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5:52pm

Mon September 19, 2011
Tiny Desk Concerts

Jeremy Messersmith: Tiny Desk Concert

Originally published on Mon September 19, 2011 11:57 am

Emily Bogle NPR
  • Audio Only: Jeremy Messersmith's Tiny Desk Concert

It's sort of astonishing that more people don't know about the sweetly effervescent pop of Jeremy Messersmith. Sure, the Twin Cities singer-songwriter's latest album, The Reluctant Graveyard, is a song cycle about death, and at his Tiny Desk Concert, he trots out a Star Wars-themed "Tatooine," which he says is "for the nerds." But, really, this guy is for everyone — his charming, timeless songs are just radiant, beautifully sung and beautifully played.

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2:47pm

Fri September 16, 2011
Tiny Desk Concerts

Sean Rowe: Tiny Desk Concert

Originally published on Fri September 16, 2011 11:35 am

Michael Katzif NPR
  • Audio Only: Sean Rowe's Tiny Desk Concert

On paper, Sean Rowe's music should be the stuff of ineffectual self-parody: He is, after all, a bearded guy who sings acoustic folk-rock songs, complete with themes revolving around humanity's relationship to nature. But this is big, bold, muscular stuff — a closer relative of Man vs. Wild than the nearest coffeehouse. When Colin Meloy's beard is cornered in a dark alley, it summons the assistance of Sean Rowe's beard.

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6:00am

Sun September 4, 2011
Tiny Desk Concerts

King Creosote And Jon Hopkins: Tiny Desk Concert

Emily Bogle NPR
  • Audio Only: King Creosote and John Hopkins' Tiny Desk Concert

At the risk of serving up a spoiler three months in advance, King Creosote and Jon Hopkins' Diamond Mine is going to turn up near the top of many Best Albums of 2011 lists on this website. The breathless love isn't unanimous across the NPR Music staff, but it's widespread and intense, and rightfully so.

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12:30pm

Fri September 2, 2011
World Cafe

Bon Iver On World Cafe

Originally published on Thu September 26, 2013 12:28 pm

Justin Vernon of Bon Iver.
D.L. Anderson

This session, from Sept. 2, 2011, is part of our Vintage Cafe series, in which we revisit some of our best studio performances.

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