The TRL Pop Quiz works like this: our editors are posed a music-related question and have only 15 minutes and just 100 words to research, choose and explain their answers. Inspired by Tyler Oakley’s tweet asking his followers for the best mid-song interlude, here’s this week’s question: what’s your favorite spoken interlude in the middle of a song?
“I’m sorry, the old Taylor can’t come to the phone right now. Why? Oh, ‘cause she’s dead!” Taylor Swift’s Reputation album marked a brand-new era for Swift, with the spoken interlude in her lead single “Look What You Made Me Do” truly reflecting that change. She shed her softer image for one that embraced and even poked fun at the rumors and scandals associated with her career. The shocking interlude was immediately swept up into meme culture and the sentiment was echoed throughout the music video as we saw various “old Taylors” in their iconic looks being killed by Reputation-era Taylor. – Kristen Maldonado
Blood Orange’s album Negro Swan is full of powerful interludes in tracks like “Jewelry,” “Family” and “Runnin’.” The songs are autobiographical for producer/singer Dev Hynes and cover themes of being yourself while being black and queer. The interludes are mostly Janet Mock, a black trans woman, talking about her own experiences. I find particular beauty and vulnerability in “Dagenham Dream,” where Dev sings about being bullied viciously as a child for expressing queerness. Janet Mock adds her own childhood experience of being silenced and forced to conform, commenting on how people have had to do so just to survive. – Landyn Pan
My personal favorite spoken interlude in a song is from “Home” by Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros. The simple, folksy track’s chorus, sung by Alex Ebert and Jade Castrinos, proclaims “home is wherever I’m with you.” The spoken interlude is a little reminiscence about when when Jade fell out of a window and “Alexander” had to drive her to the hospital, all the while falling in love. It’s almost unbearably saccharine, but it’s also goofy and fun. Also, do yourselves a favor and look up Maya Rudolph and Paul F. Tompkins singing this song; it’s a delight. – Leah Williams
As Superfruit‘s Mitch and Scott build a perfect man on “GUY.exe,” the singers pause their always-angelic melodies to let Mitch reflect on his boyfriend-search thus far. “I’ve been looking high and low for a man who’s just right,” Mitch confesses in his perfectly-sensual voice, over the song’s pop synth instrumental. The campiness of the interlude – and of the song in general – is the epitome of what makes the duo’s debut album, Future Friends, the album that queer music needed in 2017. Give Mitch more interludes in 2019, please! – Matt Gehring