Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Keke Palmer (Jemal Countess/Getty Images for IFP); Pete Davidson {Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images)

Keke Palmer and Pete Davidson play convincing (and hapless) corporate assassins in Hit Job

Keke Palmer (Jemal Countess/Getty Images for IFP); Pete Davidson {Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images)
Graphic: The A.V. Club
PodmassPodmassIn Podmass, The A.V. Club sifts through the ever-expanding world of podcasts and recommends the previous week’s best episodes. Have your own favorite? Let us know in the comments or at podmass@avclub.com.


Black Girl Soundtrack
Black Cover Girls Feat. Karyn White | Chapter 11

Illustration for article titled Keke Palmer and Pete Davidson play convincing (and hapless) corporate assassins in Hit Job
Screenshot: Spotify

It’s quite amusing hearing veteran music journalist/author Danyel Smith wax poetic about her favorite Black music on this podcast, a joint operation from Spotify and The Ringer. Since the series’ debut in February, Smith has used Songbook to salute many R&B divas past and present, often sounding like a spirited auntie at a family reunion. (The podcast is basically an audio companion to her upcoming book on Black women in pop music.) For this episode, she gives it up to the ladies who’ve sung tunes that were also hits for other sistas down the line, like “I’m Goin’ Down,” the Norman Whitfield-produced song by Rose Royce (fronted by the beguiling Gwen Dickey), which later became a hit for a young Mary J. Blige. But this ep is really a chance for Smith to chat with Karyn White, the songstress best known for the ’80s adult-contemporary anthem “Superwoman” (Gladys Knight, Patti LaBelle, and Dionne Warwick once joined forces for an epic cover), and get her to spill the tea on doing the song with iconic producers L.A. Reid and Kenneth “Babyface” Edmonds. [Craig D. Lindsey]


Hit Job
Orientation Day

Illustration for article titled Keke Palmer and Pete Davidson play convincing (and hapless) corporate assassins in Hit Job
Screenshot: Audible

Maybe it’s just where we find ourselves in this stage of late-stage capitalism, but this farcical narrative fiction podcast about a post-Purge murder-for-hire company just hits. Hit Job, Audible’s new 12-part scripted series, imagines a world where acts of homicide, just like everything else, can be outsourced for a nominal fee, handled by a business that inevitably becomes an environment with Bagel Fridays, breakroom birthday celebrations, and zero-deductible health care plans. Queen of everything Keke Palmer voices Brynn, an artsy new assistant who takes the job at the Uber-like hitman service to help her grandma. But murder numbers are down, instituting a company-wide mandatory murder contest. Luckily for Brynn, the IT dude (voiced by Pete Davidson, winning as the straight man) wants to team up for the spree. The writing hits a nefarious, playful tone, and the orientation trope is exploited for everything it’s worth. Writing farce is a fine line to navigate, but it comes off effortless in this corporate noir. [Morgan McNaught]


My Teenage Band
Josie Long from Brain Gandhi” 

Illustration for article titled Keke Palmer and Pete Davidson play convincing (and hapless) corporate assassins in Hit Job
Screenshot: Apple Podcasts

My Teenage Band has a brilliantly straightforward premise: host Nick Taylor talks to various artists and creatives of all sorts about their time playing in bands as teenagers. Taylor has a wonderful ability to allow his guests to explore their past freely; following along with their nostalgic recollections, he prompts with questions that help unfold memories of formative experiences they had while chasing adolescent dreams of rock stardom. This episode, Taylor interviews comedian Josie Long, who tracks her interest in music across various instruments and into a number of different bands. Listening to Long reflect on teen bandmates, various band names (Dead Call Girl and Brain Gandhi, to name a few), and the influence of ’90s music offers a warm glance at the past from a present-day perspective. It’s obvious that Taylor and Long both have a tenderness for their teen years. Adulthood often makes us forget the passions of those years—a period known for the struggle of figuring out who you are and needing to express it—but luckily, My Teenage Band offers a glance back, and a nice reminder to appreciate the boldness of youth. [Jose Nateras]

Marnie Shure is editor in chief of The Takeout.

pop-culture critic, multi-disciplinary artist, playwright @ Columbia University, they/them