S-Town: The Podcast You Should Be Listening To

Ever since Serial burst onto the podcast scene in 2014, we can’t get enough of podcasts. The latest series sweeping the nation’s ears is S-Town, and here’s why we think you should switch from Spotify to S-Town on your weekly commute…

The story of Hae Min Lee and Adnan Syed filled my ears on my Spanish holiday in 2014. As I lay by the pool, drinking in the sunshine, I was completely sucked into this gripping story of unsolved murders, lies, and a small town rocked by the murder of a high school student. As well as being into this real-life murder case, I realised that podcasts are the bomb, and a seriously underrated form of story telling.

When I heard colleagues and friends quietly discussing the newest podcast on the block, S-Town, I finally turned off ‘Lemonade’ (which yes I have had on repeat since it came out) and tuned into a new world – and let me tell you, it did not disappoint.

We don’t like spoilers here at Chapter W, so this is a hard one to discuss in detail, but in essence the podcast is hosted by producer Brian Reed, who was contacted by a man from Alabama named John B. McLemore, asking him to investigate a murder case in his hometown (which he fondly refers to as Shit Town, hence the title), and the corruption in the police force there. What follows is a whirlwind of mystery, tragedy and a focus on an eccentric man living in a world that perhaps wasn’t quite suited to him.

The focus of the podcast is John, who at times hardly seems to be real in this new digital age, a caricature of an unconventional man born and raised in the deep South, full of strange and wonderful character traits that make you warm to him. S-Town peels back the layers to this complicated man, and with every episode you find yourself growing protective and almost desperately sad for him. The podcast mixes this profiling with mystery, family resentment, and of course crime, leaving you binge listening to the series (which I completed in 48 hours).

7 episodes, at around 45-60 minutes each, and from the moment the words hit your ear drum you’re hooked. Podcasts can take you on journeys that I feel audio books lack, they offer more depth and sincerity than the reading aloud of your favourite novel, and the medium is one that is certainly on the rise in recent months. Utilise the podcast, turn off Spotify, stop refreshing Instagram and allow yourself to be immersed in a different world – whether that’s a true crime podcast, your favourite radio show, or a Ted Talk, your brain will thank you for it.

S-Town is currently available to download for free via the iTunes podcast library, or you can listen online here . Trust us when we say you won’t regret it.

Let us know your thoughts on S-Town by tweeting us @ChapterW__

Louisa Davies

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