The month may be over, but you can listen to these podcasts anytime! I publish the best podcast episodes of the week every week on Friday – you can find those episodes and my reasoning behind why they’re great by going here to see an archive of those posts. But I also wanted to curate a list of the handful of episodes that simply rose to the very top over the whole month, the ones I’m still thinking about weeks later.
Here are the best podcast episodes (and a list of the podcasts that appeared on my Delicious Ingredients list more than once this month) that I listened to in January 2018 – the best of the best. This month I listened to 259 episodes. Whoa.
If you’re interested in seeing what I listen to, I have a running log by month. I also have a newsletter that comes out every other week which is a bit more editorial than the site – you can find it here.
Best Episodes of January 2018
- Soul Music: Boys Don’t Cry (Favorite episode of the month!) (1/17/18): What it’s about: “Boys Don’t Cry by The Cure is, on the surface, a tribute to teenage angst and a slice of pop perfection. Lol Tolhurst, the band’s drummer, wrote the song with his band mates in Robert Smith’s parents’ house extension. Poorna Bell saw the song’s lyrics echo her husband’s struggle with expressing his emotions, and describes the devastating impact which that can have. Runner Derek Redmond recalls the moment he lost his ‘game face’ at the 1992 Olympic Games in Barcelona, and Sara Pacella and Jeffrey Axt chart the changing fortunes of a giant Boys Don’t Cry poster.”
- BBC Documentary: The End Zone (1/28/18): What it’s about: “Concussion is taking much of the sheen off America’s behemoth national sport and leading to many parents forbidding their children from taking it up. Bill Littlefield asks whether this multi-billion dollar business can survive if so many players turn their backs on the sport. Where will the next generation of players needed come from?”
- The Karen and Ellen Letters, S02E09: Sunset/Sunrise (1/23/18): What it’s about: “The results are in. Mark moves on. Crochet Pants looks back. A life is celebrated. A birthday is celebrated. Aloha Karen watches the sunrise.”
- Now or Never: When Your Life Changes in an Instant (1/20/18): What it’s about: “The blink of an eye: that’s how fast life can be turned upside down. And there’s no going back, no matter how much you may want to. You just have to figure out what comes next.”
- Now Then: Newton 19– (11/21/17): What it’s about: “This is Newton. He set up the first club in Hackney, London.” This podcast is first person journal-style from people who are over the age of 70.
- The Untold: The Toss of the Coin (1/22/18): What it’s about: “Jackie Harrison has a 50-50 chance of developing Huntington’s disease. Her grandfather, mother and uncle all died young with this devastating, neuro-degenerative disease and she cares for her younger brother who has it too. In December 2017 it seemed that there might have been a breakthrough and there’s been a surge of people at risk asking for a predictive test. It’s a blood test which simply tells you if you will develop the disease – but currently there is no cure. Jackie has previously shied away from the test, but is now considering it. The test is a gamble. A bad result can be devastating. Having lived all her life thinking she has Huntington’s, Jackie hasn’t leant to drive for fear she will have her license taken away. She hasn’t had children, for fear that any child would have to look after her when she became ill. “There are very few days you’re not thinking about it,” she admits, checking herself for symptoms, “I twitch my shoulder and I know I do. Sometimes I’ve a twitchy eye or one time my thumb was shaking or shivering for no reason. I’m being bad tempered and I’m shouting at people – so you think is this the start of it?” As Jackie approaches 50, she is increasingly persuaded to have the test. Her partner Tony describes it as a horrendous Catch 22, “Do you want to live the rest of your life in the hope that you may be free of the disease or do you want to toss the coin, with the negative of that being you find you’re not free of it and you then you have no hope left?” Should she have the test and could she cope with the result?”
- Criminal, Episode 82: The Choir (1/12/18): What it’s about: “As a child, Lawrence Lessig was a gifted singer. His church choir director encouraged him to attend a choir camp at a prestigious boarding school in New Jersey. He was so talented that the school invited him to stay and join their official choir. He sang at Carnegie Hall and toured the world. But it was what happened behind the scenes that would change his life forever.”
- Here Be Monsters, HBM090: Two Small Creatures with Human Eyes (1/17/18): What it’s about: “Natural history museums are art galleries. Scientifically focussed art galleries, but art galleries nonetheless.”
- Neighbors: The Manifestor (1/16/18): What it’s about: “Everyone seems inspired by fitness instructor Katherine Tisha Wilson. People describe going to her class as “going to church.” Her fierceness comes at you instantly from the front of the class, but this high school dropout wasn’t always confident in herself. After a long road of disappointment, she found a fitness dance program and lost over 100 pounds, then used that momentum to start changing lives.”
- Code Switch: This Racism is Killing Me Inside (1/9/18): What it’s about: “On this weeks episode we hear the story of Shalon Irving, who passed away after giving birth to her daughter. Black women in the United States are 243 percent more likely than white women to die of pregnancy- or childbirth-related causes. There’s evidence that shows this gap is caused by the “weathering” effects of racism.”
- Uncivil: The Portrait (12/27/17): What it’s about: “A listener voicemail sends us deep down the rabbit hole into one of the most toxic myths of the Confederacy.”
- The Nod: Paradise Garage (12/18/17): What it’s about: “Reggie Ossé, friend of The Nod and host of The Combat Jack Show, explains how a wild night of dancing and partying helped him get into his dream law school. And Producer Emanuele Berry shares the story of the man who made that magic night happen: DJ Larry Levan.”
- HumaNature, Episode 33: Ten Steps (12/20/17): What it’s about: “On December 22, 2016, Karen Klein got trapped in a snowstorm near the Grand Canyon. But she pushed through it to save her family.”
Best Podcasts of January 2018
(multiple appearances on weekly Delicious Ingredients including Honorable Mentions)
- Code Switch
- Here Be Monsters
- Between Us Girls
- Death Sex & Money
- Atlanta Monster