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.




Thu June 9, 2011
First Listen

First Listen: Bon Iver, 'Bon Iver'

Originally published on Thu June 9, 2011 7:45 am

Bon Iver comes out June 21.
D.L. Anderson

"Beth/Rest," the closing song on Bon Iver, is an absolutely diabolical bit of provocation.

Read more


Mon May 23, 2011
First Listen

First Listen: My Morning Jacket, 'Circuital'

Originally published on Sun May 22, 2011 11:01 pm

My Morning Jacket's new album, Circuital, comes out May 31.
Danny Clinch

My Morning Jacket has been tricky to peg lately, especially after the 2008 release of Evil Urges, which saw the band's cavernous rock sound sprawl out to include absurd forays into loopy funk. At its best, Evil Urges is a monster, but it's not exactly consistent.

Read more


Thu May 19, 2011
All Songs Considered Blog

Final Encore: Pick Your Song For The End Of The World

What single song do you plan to play when and if the End Times arrive on Saturday?
AFP/Getty Images

[Note: Christian radio host Harold Camping (and others) say the Rapture — in which God separates the wicked from the good — will take place this Saturday, with the end of the world to soon follow.]

Read more


Wed May 11, 2011
First Listen

First Listen: Danger Mouse And Daniele Luppi, 'Rome'

Originally published on Mon May 9, 2011 12:01 am

Left to right: Jack White, Norah Jones, Danger Mouse (a.k.a. Brian Burton), Daniele Luppi. Rome comes out May 17.
Courtesy of the artist

The long-anticipated brainchild of producer-composer Danger Mouse and Italian composer Daniele Luppi, Rome benefits from a bit of context.

Read more


Mon April 25, 2011
Tiny Desk Concerts

Steve Earle: Tiny Desk Concert

Adele Hampton NPR

Steve Earle has lived through the sort of horrors that have launched a million country songs: addiction, affliction, heartbreak, even prison. He wears them in his voice, but for all his authentic world-weariness, what's most appealing about him is the wide-eyed, unmistakable fearlessness with which he goes about his life these days.

Read more