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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3:00am

Sat July 20, 2013
Tiny Desk Concerts

Cheyenne Mize: Tiny Desk Concert

Originally published on Mon December 23, 2013 4:21 pm

Cheyenne Mize performs a Tiny Desk Concert on May 16, 2013.
Marie McGrory NPR

In the years since she first surfaced as a suitably rustic duet partner for Will Oldham — the two Kentuckians released an EP together back in 2010 — Cheyenne Mize has broadened and deepened her sound, injecting it with slinkiness and sparkle. Her new album Among the Grey continues that evolution, bringing out the lushness in songs that can shimmer prettily or punch with the force of a PJ Harvey.

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6:03am

Sat July 13, 2013
Tiny Desk Concerts

Frank Turner: Tiny Desk Concert

Originally published on Mon December 23, 2013 4:22 pm

Frank Turner performs at a Tiny Desk Concert in June.
Hayley Bartels NPR

Frank Turner writes folk songs that harness the fury of punk and the majesty of Springsteenian rock 'n' roll. But more than anything else, his music is playful: There's conversational wit and bite to Turner's music, even as he's bellowing to the back rows. His songs lose little when you strip away electric instruments and leave the entertainment value to a single skinny, tattooed guy with an acoustic guitar.

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4:59pm

Fri July 5, 2013
All Songs Considered

The Good Listener: How Do You Pick The Songs For Your Wedding?

Originally published on Tue July 9, 2013 10:11 am

Don't let a slow, introspective song crash your wedding reception.
Courtesy of New Line Cinema

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12:03pm

Mon July 1, 2013
Tiny Desk Concerts

Laura Mvula: Tiny Desk Concert

Originally published on Mon December 23, 2013 4:24 pm

Laura Mvula performs a Tiny Desk Concert on May 15, 2013.
Marie McGrory NPR

Listen to Laura Mvula's terrific full-length debut, Sing to the Moon, and you'll hear soulful pop music in Technicolor. The U.K. singer's sonic ambition is boundless: Her intricately layered songs straddle genres, locations and eras in ways that sound entirely original.

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9:49am

Wed June 26, 2013
Tiny Desk Concerts

Patty Griffin: Tiny Desk Concert

Originally published on Mon December 23, 2013 4:25 pm

Denise DeBelius NPR

Patty Griffin has always had a gift for locating a song's nerve endings; for surveying her subject matter and identifying the most efficient possible pathways to listeners' emotions. Her warm, wise voice is comforting, inviting and relatable, even — perhaps especially — as she tackles weighty subjects like middle age and the death of a parent.

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