Stephen Thompson

Stephen Thompson is an editor and reviewer for NPR Music, where he writes the advice column The Good Listener, fusses over the placement of commas and appears as a frequent panelist on All Songs Considered. Since 2010, Thompson has been a fixture on the weekly NPR roundtable podcast Pop Culture Happy Hour, which he created and developed with NPR correspondent Linda Holmes. In 2008, he and Bob Boilen created the 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, All Things Considered and Morning Edition, on which he earned the distinction of becoming the first 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 book 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, his girlfriend, their four cats and a room full of vintage arcade machines. 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.

In honor of MTV's 35th birthday Monday, the network has launched MTV Classic, a new channel featuring programming from the '90s and '00s. On the same day, we also wish a happy birthday to NPR Music and Pop Culture Happy Hour 's Stephen Thompson, who celebrates with an interview on All Things Considered about how MTV Classic is redefining which popular culture fits into the current environment for nostalgia. With the new channel, MTV — a pioneer of reality shows like The...

Transcript AUDIE CORNISH, HOST: At NPR Music, they're wrapping up the year the best way they know how, with their hotly contested list of their 50 favorite albums of 2013. Now, all this week, we'll get a peak of that list from our in-house experts, including NPR Music writer and editor Stephen Thompson, whose beat is the ever amorphous indie pop, which - Stephen, what exactly is that these days? STEPHEN THOMPSON, BYLINE: I have absolutely no idea. It used to mean accessible but unpopular....

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vCadcBR95oU http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cpPSBzGEklE Click the audio link on this page to hear The Good Listener columnist Stephen Thompson and Weekend Edition Sunday host Rachel Martin discuss the intricacies of wedding music — where and when to play everything from sacred music to Salt N Pepa's "Push It." (The column below originally appeared on June 20, 2013.) We get a lot of mail at NPR Music, and amid the 30-plus...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sb5qqoQgPlk http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vVGXcjM9SOQ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pUx5z9O2ZGk http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-WfQN_M1pQc http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PZk2LYsBIi8 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KRxS7Q64xUQ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VFURd_EOIuU http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4nzMS_YrgFk http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qk_wVO7NBMQ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6oqXVx3sBOk All week, Morning Edition has been examining how coffee...

Listen to Stephen Thompson's conversation with Audie Cornish on All Things Considered by clicking the audio link. The South by Southwest music festival kicked off Tuesday with the first of five straight nights of music overload: The clubs, makeshift music venues and front porches of Austin, Texas, were overrun with little-known discoveries-in-waiting and big names alike, as well as tens of thousands of fans who have flocked to the city in search of epiphanies. Finding a...

With the conclusion of Sunday night's ceremony, Linda Holmes and I have now live-blogged fully one-eleventh of the Grammy Awards' 55 annual incarnations. Below is our original post and an archived live blog of the telecast: For the fifth straight year, whether we're marveling at Taylor Swift's capacity for surprise or trying to figure out what to type during the combined 37 minutes of Bruno Mars performances, we're here to serve your reading-along needs. So for those who keep one...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3rnPHlOHb7g http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CQ_9bL7i-Zs Even before Thanksgiving, Bing Crosby , Nat King Cole and Brenda Lee were reborn for the holiday season, with classic songs of theirs — "White Christmas," "The Christmas Song," "Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree" — materializing anew like Frosty the Snowman himself. Like egg nog and advent calendars, their seasonal tunes pop up everywhere for a month and then disappear, only to be repackaged and resold 11...

Ben Gibbard has spent so much time at the head of various bands — Death Cab for Cutie , The Postal Service, All-Time Quarterback — that it's easy to forget how well his sweetly brainy songs work in a solo acoustic setting. His melodies are sturdy enough to withstand skeletal arrangements, and though his persona is unassuming by nature, he remains a charismatic and charming live performer. Gibbard just released a solo album, Former Lives , which he's said is a repository for material...