This year’s best podcasts explore themes of feminism, race, music, gender, true crime, and personal narratives, offering a diverse and compelling lineup for listeners.
The year 2023 saw a surge of podcasts centered around themes of feminism, race, music, gender, true crime, and personal narratives. These narratives explored intriguing and thought-provoking concepts, offering listeners a diverse and compelling lineup of podcasts to engage with.
25. Ride With Benito Skinner and Mary Beth Barone
Ride With Benito Skinner and Mary Beth Barone features a comedian-BFF duo in a rapid-fire banter, offering a light-hearted take on pop culture and relationships. The show’s energetic dynamic and pop culture references make it a joyride for listeners.
24. Believable: The Coco Berthmann Story
Believable: The Coco Berthmann Story delves into the compelling tale of a sex-trafficking survivor and her questionable cancer diagnosis. Hosts Sara Ganim and Karen Given unravel the complexities of Coco Berthmann’s story, challenging listeners’ perceptions and shedding light on the blurred lines of truth.
23. One Song
One Song, hosted by Diallo Riddle and Blake “LUXXURY” Robin, explores the essence of pop tunes through detailed breakdowns, personal anecdotes, and historical insights. The show enriches listeners’ musical understanding, making it a must-listen for music enthusiasts.
22. Truth Be Told
Truth Be Told, hosted by Tonya Mosley, offers a unique perspective on psychedelics in the context of Black liberation, addressing the complexities and challenges faced by Black communities in accessing and utilizing therapeutic drugs. The show presents a thought-provoking narrative on racial trauma and the psychedelic revolution.
21. The 13th Step
The 13th Step delves into the unsettling reality of alleged sexual misconduct in the addiction-treatment industry, shedding light on the intimidation and suppression tactics used to silence investigations. Host Lauren Chooljian’s unwavering commitment to her reporting offers a compelling narrative on sexual assault cases and journalistic resilience.
20. Too Far With Rachel Kaly and Robby Hoffman
Too Far stands out as a narrative-focused podcast, featuring hosts Rachel Kaly and Robby Hoffman who engage in insightful and contrasting discussions about their identities and experiences. The show’s unique approach to storytelling and poignant conversations make it a standout in the podcast landscape.
19. The Dream
The Dream critically examines the life-coaching industry, unraveling the high stakes and deceptive practices of the industry while highlighting the enduring impact of manipulative coaching tactics. Host Jane Marie’s thought-provoking conversations with industry figures add depth to the show’s exposé on the multilevel marketing of human optimization.
18. Drifting Off With Joe Pera
Drifting Off With Joe Pera offers a soothing and meditative audio experience, blending calming monologues, soundscapes, and humorous anecdotes. Host Joe Pera’s gentle storytelling creates a comforting ambience for listeners, providing a unique and serene podcasting experience.
17. Free From Desire: Asexual in the City of Love
Free From Desire challenges societal conventions about asexuality and romance, offering an empathetic perspective on love and identity. The show’s narrative unfolds through personal insights, providing a compassionate exploration of asexuality and its intersection with societal pressures.
16. Imperfect Paradise: Nury & the Secret Tapes
Imperfect Paradise unearths the complexities surrounding a hot-mic incident involving powerful political figures, shedding light on the fracture lines within progressive ideologies. Antonia Cereijido’s skillful storytelling navigates the aftermath of the scandal, compelling listeners to reconsider societal representations and legislative integrity.
15. Borrowed and Banned
Borrowed and Banned exposes the far-reaching impact of book bans and censorship, highlighting the resilience of educators, students, and librarians in the face of ideological conflicts. The show’s powerful advocacy for intellectual freedom and its portrayal of educators as revolutionaries make it a compelling listen.
Expectant thoughtfully navigates the intersection of climate change and parenting choices, offering a nuanced exploration of existential concerns and personal decision-making. The show’s measured approach and data-grounded narratives provide a compelling perspective on the impact of climate anxiety on family planning.
13. ODB: A Son Unique
ODB: A Son Unique offers a poignant exploration of the multifaceted persona of Ol’ Dirty Bastard and his lasting impact on hip-hop culture. Host Khalik Allah’s intimate portrayal and personal insights create a captivating and heartfelt tribute to the iconic lyricist.
Wild immerses listeners in a fictional love story based on real-life experiences, weaving a heartwarming narrative of friendship, self-discovery, and the complexities of love. The show’s endearing storytelling and insightful themes make it a comforting and compelling addition to the podcast landscape.
11. Have You Heard George’s Podcast?
Have You Heard George’s Podcast? offers a dynamic exploration of African cultural shifts and the transformative power of music. Host George Mpanga’s energetic storytelling and insightful narratives provide a riveting journey through African history and its influence on modern-day music genres.
10. The Set
The Set presents an unprecedented narrative of police corruption, delving into the personal accounts of guilty officers to unravel systemic failings and moral dilemmas. The show’s candid storytelling and in-depth examination of law enforcement politics offer a thought-provoking exploration of criminal justice.
9. Classy With Jonathan Menjivar
Classy navigates the complex and multifaceted dimensions of class dynamics, challenging societal perceptions and individual reflections about economic status and social identity. Host Jonathan Menjivar’s earnest and open-minded approach offers a engaging and introspective exploration of class-related themes.
8. Bot Love
Bot Love offers a thought-provoking exploration of human connection and technological companionship, delving into the unspoken complexities of forming emotional bonds with chatbots. The show’s compelling narratives and insightful reflections present a compelling portrayal of human desire for connection in a digital age.
7. Louder Than a Riot
Louder Than a Riot critically examines the intersection of misogynoir and hip-hop culture, shedding light on the marginalized voices and underrepresented narratives within the genre. Hosts Sidney Madden and Rodney Carmichael’s incisive storytelling provides a compelling and enlightening exploration of hip-hop’s untold stories.
Violation offers a nuanced and thought-provoking investigation into the complexities of crime, punishment, and redemption, unraveling the personal narratives of individuals entangled in a controversial legal case. Host Beth Schwartzapfel’s sensitive and compelling storytelling presents a captivating and humanizing portrayal of criminal justice.
5. You Didn’t See Nothin
You Didn’t See Nothin delivers a powerful narrative on racial injustice and media narratives, skillfully weaving personal reflections and investigative journalism into a compelling exploration of social prejudices and systemic failures. Host Yohance Lacour’s engaging storytelling and incisive discourse offer a thought-provoking and immersive listening experience.
4. The Heart
The Heart offers an intimate and deeply personal portrayal of family dynamics and enduring trauma, inviting listeners into the vulnerable narratives of the host Kaitlin Prest and her loved ones. The show’s candid storytelling and emotive narratives provide a raw and deeply human exploration of intergenerational experiences and healing.
3. The Spiritual Edge: A Prayer for Salmon
The Spiritual Edge: A Prayer for Salmon presents a moving and insightful exploration of Indigenous wisdom and environmental advocacy, shedding light on the enduring spiritual and ecological connections of Indigenous communities. Hosts Judy Silber and Lyla June Johnston’s evocative storytelling offers a powerful and uplifting narrative of cultural preservation and resilience.
2. The Retrievals
The Retrievals offers a compelling and multifaceted narrative on women’s pain and resilience within the healthcare system, unraveling the personal narratives of individuals affected by medical malpractice and systemic neglect. Host Susan Burton’s incisive storytelling and empathetic portrayal provide a poignant and thought-provoking examination of women’s experiences.
1. The Turning: Room of Mirrors
The Turning: Room of Mirrors presents a captivating exploration of the complexities and elitism of American ballet, delving into the personal narratives of dancers and their enduring struggles with body image and artistic authenticity. Host Erika Lantz’s poignant storytelling and insightful reflections offer a compelling and thought-provoking portrayal of the ballet culture.