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.

Monkey See
11:00 am
Fri February 21, 2014

Pop Culture Happy Hour: 'House Of Cards' And Pop Culture Punching Bags

NPR

Originally published on Sat February 22, 2014 7:00 pm

  • Listen To Pop Culture Happy Hour

How intrepid is Pop Culture Happy Hour's intrepid Linda Holmes? So intrepid that, when she goes on vacation in February, she heads to even-colder climes, braving the snow-swept Alcatraz that is northern Minnesota. This, of course, left the rest of us to pick up the pieces — which we did, thanks to the arrival of our dear Code Switch pal Kat Chow.

Read more
All Songs Considered
9:07 am
Fri January 31, 2014

The Good Listener: Leave 'We Built This City' Alone!

Everyone piles on Starship's "We Built This City," at least in part, because it's too feeble to fight back.
George Rose Getty Images

Originally published on Fri January 31, 2014 11:47 am

Read more
Best Music Of 2013
7:58 am
Fri December 27, 2013

2013: The Year In Tiny Desk Concerts

Hayley Bartels NPR

Originally published on Fri December 27, 2013 7:20 am

For weeks now, we've been compiling lists of 2013's best music — favorite albums, favorite songs, individual staff members' personal Top 10 lists and so on.

Read more
The Record
2:20 pm
Mon March 18, 2013

Jason Molina, A Folksinger Who Embodied The Best Of The Blues, Has Died

Steve Gullick Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Mon March 18, 2013 2:04 pm

Read more
First Listen
8:30 pm
Sun September 2, 2012

First Listen: David Byrne & St. Vincent, 'Love This Giant'

David Byrne and St. Vincent's new album, Love This Giant, comes out Sept. 11.
Andreas Laszlo Konrath Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Wed September 12, 2012 8:47 am

Audio for this feature is no longer available.

Read more
Song Of The Day
6:54 am
Tue February 14, 2012

Dirty Three: For Valentine's Day, a wordless love song

It's a pleasure to spend the holiday rolling around in the sumptuous beauty of Dirty Three's "The Pier."
Annabel Mehran

Originally published on Tue February 14, 2012 4:03 am

As any pessimistic Valentine's Day veteran can attest, the holiday is strewn with land mines: pressure to find someone, pressure to buy the right gifts, pressure to formalize casual relationships, pressure to even remember the damn thing is happening. Music doesn't help matters: Do you send a love song when you're not yet officially in love? What if you accidentally send a love song that everyone else knows was written about a faithful bloodhound? What if the songs you pick say too much, or too little?

Read more