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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5:03pm

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.

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8:47am

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.

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10:05am

Thu February 17, 2011
Tiny Desk Concerts

Adele: Tiny Desk Concert

Originally published on Mon December 23, 2013 1:57 pm

Adele Hampton/NPR

There's no one way to define a great voice: Genius might lie in the phrasing, the range, the power, the control, the words themselves, or some sort of indescribable something else. But one way to diagnose genius for sure is to have a singer walk into a crowded room with little to no accompaniment, open his or her mouth, and command breathless attention in a matter of seconds.

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10:00pm

Mon June 21, 2010
Tiny Desk Concerts

'Weird Al' Yankovic: Tiny Desk Concert

Mito Habe-Evans/NPR
  • Audio Only: 'Weird Al' Yankovic's Tiny Desk Concert

Several generations of nerds can chart the course of their lives against the career trajectory of "Weird Al" Yankovic. For me, his 1984 album In 3-D was the first record I ever owned, and his appearance at the Wausau County Fair in 1985 was the second concert I ever attended. I spent my 17th birthday being driven to the movie theater — by my mother, of course — to watch UHF, Yankovic's debut as a leading man, by myself.

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6:51am

Mon June 22, 2009
Tiny Desk Concerts

The Avett Brothers: Tiny Desk Concert

Originally published on Tue August 10, 2010 11:32 am

The Avett Brothers performing a Tiny Desk Concert.
Frannie Kelley/NPR
  • Audio Only: The Avett Brothers' Tiny Desk Concert

With all due respect to its terrific albums and kinetic, frenetic live shows, if The Avett Brothers could put on a three-song acoustic concert at every workplace in America, the band would be a world-beating colossus. For proof, take six minutes to don some headphones and listen to "Laundry Room," which opens this set at the desk of All Songs Considered host Bob Boilen.

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