I listen to a lot of podcasts. If you follow me on Instagram or Twitter, you may have seen where I shared my most recent podcast playlist. I have been trying to listen to all the new audio fiction podcast that came out this year, and some older ones I’ve meant to try out. I love listening to new podcasts, but I also really enjoy going back and starting from the beginning. Have you figured out this article? That’s right; I’m going to share a list of podcasts that I can’t help but revisit multiple times. Now, I am only going to include the 5 podcasts that were in my relistening marathon. There are at least 15 more that I will periodically go back and listen to from the beginning.
Can I do a relisten list without including one of my obsessions? the answer is no. On a Dark, Cold Night by Kristen Zaza, she has an incredible voice and is also a very talented storyteller. Her stories tend to stick with the audience long after it’s over. One that I find myself thinking about is Episode 3: “The Head of the Table”. It is about an elderly woman throwing a massive party and inviting her whole village, but the only ones to attend her party are long dead. When I first listened to this episode, I was sobbing by the end. It made me think of my grandmother moving into a home. I took care of her for six years for her not to be placed into one, and my greatest fear was for her to be sitting alone, waiting for someone to visit her. So to have the entire town ditches this old woman in the story after they took her money and prepared the feast hurt, but it is offset by the joy of her having all of her old friends, family, and lovers come back from the dead to attend her party. I still get choked up by this story, and that isn’t the only episode with a story that ends with me sobbing. Zaza is incredibly talented at creating stories that will leave her audience drowning in a sea of emotions. If you are all caught up with On a Dark, Cold Night, or haven’t listened to it yet, why not start from the beginning? I promise, you Zaza with captivate you with her voice, her storytelling, and her haunting melodies.
There is a specific moment in Wolf 359 that always leaves me needing a break after listening to it. Episode 41: “Memoria” is where the audience finds out why Hera glitches. It blows me away that season 1 and 2 of Wolf 359 lulls the audience into believing that their heart won’t be torn to shreds. But they go all out in season 3 and 4. In episode 41, we explore Hera’s memories and discover that she is full of doubt. Now, as someone who constantly struggles with impostor syndrome, this episode hit me hard. Maxwell is trying to get Hera to reboot, but there is something in her programming that is getting in the way. It is revealed that every time Hera glitches it’s because she has a line of code reading “I can’t do this. I’m not good enough.” I have to share that when I first started Wolf 359, I thought that it was going to be a lighthearted sci-fi comedy podcast about an inept communications officer on a malfunctioning space station. I was not prepared to be attacked by this episode. As I said before, I constantly struggle with impostor syndrome. I have moments where I ask myself “who do you think you are to share your thoughts about anything. You aren’t good enough.” Like us, Hera isn’t able to have this voice erased; she has to confront it. This episode revealed how strong Hera is, and that even though we have this voice constantly telling us that we can’t do something and that we aren’t good enough. We should shove that voice out of our way because we are more than our doubts…. I would (and have) relisten to Wolf 359 just for the buildup to this episode. BUT that isn’t the only reason, there are so many moments in this podcast that will leave you speechless, so why not go back and listen to Wolf 359 beginning at episode 1?
Look, I don’t only relisten to podcasts that pump me full of so much angst that I question if I’ve somehow swapped places with my teenage self. I also enjoy relistening to podcasts like Alba Salix Royal Physician. This podcast is always on my list of “Let’s go back and start this series over again,” and yes, I have one. What I like about Alba Salix and the spin-off series The Axe & Crown, is that it isn’t just a series of fantasy hijinks, but also a commentary on social issues. Thankfully, despite touching upon themes like racism, classism, and sexism, Alba Salix maintains a fun feel to the podcast. This is thanks to the combination of a very talented cast and the truly beautiful sound design. I never knew how much went into designing a scene until I began listening to Eli McIlveen’s sound design breakdowns. This podcast is a force of good that will always have a place in my playlists.
Jordan Cobb is many things, extremely talented, a criminal, a beautiful soul, and a being that feeds off of the tears of her audience; and I adore her for being all of those things. Janus Descending deserves to be revisited for so many reasons, and not simply because you need a good cry now and then. If you are terrified of revisiting Janus Descending, you should be, but you should also take the dive. While it won’t hurt any less than the first time you listened, you will be able to truly appreciate how the sound design, voice acting, and the opposing perspectives enhance the feelings of terror, hopelessness, and isolation. It’s a bit like watching Baskin, you’ll question the choices that led you down this path, but for some inexplicable reason (that shouldn’t be examined too closely), you’ll be glad that you did it.
Please note: I shouldn’t be held responsible for the feels you may experience.
Before you start asking, “Alex, who hurt you? This list is full of podcasts that make you cry!” The Far Meridian is more hopeful than it is sad. It’s not hard to make me cry; I’ll get teary from watching a commercial (damn anti-drug lonely grandma commercial). The Far Meridian is about taking back the control of your life. Peri struggles with mental illness and all that comes with it. She has to learn how to cope with things. Is she perfect, hell no, but that’s life. You have to take it one step at a time, and not give up whenever you have to take steps back. I think that anyone can relate to Peri in some way, we are all just out here trying our best. The Far Meridian delivers a message of hope. Despite how terrible things may be going, you shouldn’t just give up.
Featured Image is by Markus Spiske
I hope you have enjoyed this list and have decided to go back and relisten to some of your favorite audio fiction podcasts. I had so many more I wanted to add, but I had to click publish at some point. If you have one that you love to go back an relisten to, tell me about it in the comments below!