Your Guide to the Best Podcasts

Podcast recommendations for the avid listener

When life gets busy, podcasts are key. A good podcast can make a hefty commute exciting, or a mundane lunch hour at your desk more interesting. With the internet making self-publishing infinitely easier for everyone, there are tons of podcasts pouring in from all corners of the Web.

We’ve narrowed it down to a list of some of the most popular podcasts of 2017, and broke it down into seven categories: True Crime, Comedy, Politics, Music, Love/sex/life, Educational, and Good Conversations. Check it out below, and drop your podcast recommendations in the comments.
 
True Crime/Investigative

Criminal

Co-created and hosted by Phoebe Judge, Criminal is a crime podcast that visits a new story every episode. Judge does an excellent job at guiding her listeners through every story, each one exploring a person or persons that either committed a crime, were wronged by another party’s crime, or, as the podcast’s site describes, got “caught somewhere in the middle.” It’s incredibly intriguing and since every episode tells a new story, it’s great for someone who needs to switch it up once in a while.


 

In the Dark

The first season of In the Dark is narrated by Madeleine Baran, who walks you through her own investigation of the abduction of Minnesota’s Jacob Wetterling. The question of law enforcement’s ability to truly solve a crime is brought to life throughout this podcast as Baran tells the story of a case that was botched a major child abduction case. Season two is currently in the works, and we’re excited for it.



 

S-Town

S-Town is produced by the same people that brought you Serial and This American Life. In 2012, the show’s producers were asked to investigate an alleged murder in Woodstock, Alabama. S-Town’s host and investigator, Brian Reed, traveled to the town to do exactly that, and the story takes a decidedly different turn shortly thereafter.


 

Reveal

Reveal was created by an American non-profit investigative journalism organization called The Centre for Investigative Reporting. Their podcast is one of many media outlets offered on their website, which includes a public radio program and very informative social media profiles. Reveal deals with a new investigation in every podcast that is explored by reputable journalists that are part of TCIR.



 

Who Killed Alberta Williams

This podcast is produced by CBC. Host Connie Walker explores the death and alleged murder of 24-year-old Alberta Williams, who was found dead along the Highway of Tears near Prince Rupert, B.C.in 1989. The series spreads over eight episodes that run anywhere from 30 minutes to just under an hour.



 
Comedy

My Dad Wrote A Porno

This podcast is literally what the title describes. This guy’s dad wrote an erotic novel, so he and his friends created a podcast where they read the novel out loud and hilariously dissect each element. The son of the porno-writer is named Jamie Morton, and he’s joined by BBC Radio 1’s Alice Levine and his friend James Cooper.


 

2 Dope Queens

Hosted by Phoebe Robinson and Jessica Williams, 2 Dope Queens is one of the highest recommended podcasts of 2017. Robinson and Williams bring comedians onto their show to talk about life, sex, race, romance, and anything and everything in between. Just to give you a taste, some episode titles include Vagina Dentata, Which Nicolas Cage Would You Bone?, Mom Jokes with Kevin Bacon, Ass Wednesday, and White People Love Coyotes.

A post shared by 2 Dope Queens (@2dopequeens) on


 

#GoodMuslimBadMuslim

This monthly podcast started out as a hashtag and quickly developed into a full-blown critically acclaimed podcast series. #GoodMuslimBadMuslim is hosted by the hilarious Tanzila “Taz” Ahmed and Zahra Noorbakhsh, who strike up conversations about the American Muslim female experience.

A post shared by Bitch Media (@bitchmedia) on


 

How did this get made?

“Have you ever seen a movie so bad that it’s amazing?” is the selling line for this podcast. Hosted by Paul Scheer, June Diane Raphael and Jason Mantzoukas, this podcast basically follows a group of friends both ripping apart and celebrating ridiculous films. Whether you’re a cinephile or someone who doesn’t know what a cult classic is, you’ll find this podcast entertaining.


 

Guys We F****d

Guys We F*****d is hosted and produced by comedy duo Corinne Fisher and Krystyna Hutchinson. Fisher and Hutchinson interview men they’ve slept with, as well as other comedians and those involved in the sex industry. If that doesn’t sound entertaining as hell I don’t know what does.


 
Politics

Pod Save America

Described as a “no-bullshit conversation about politics,” Pod Save America is hosted by Jon Favreau, Jon Lovett, Dan Pfeiffer and Tommy Vietor. If you want to get into the grit of American politics and everything Trump is doing in an entertaining and informative way, this podcast is for you.


 

Canadaland

Canadaland was created and is hosted by Canadian journalist Jesse Brown. Brown does much of his journalistic work throughout this podcast. He’s most known for his investigative work for the Toronto Star on the Jian Ghomeshi case back in 2014.


 

Presidential

Presidential ran for 44 episodes leading up to 2016’s Election Day. The podcast, which was hosted by Lillian Cunningham, dives into the life of each American president.


 
Music

Song Exploder

Song Exploder is currently one of the top-rated music podcasts. Produced and edited by host and creator Hrishikesh Hirway, this podcast sees musicians dissect their own songs and explain the making of each one piece-by-piece.


 

Mogul: The Life And Death Of Chris Lighty

Hosted by Reggie Ossé, also known as Combat Jack and host of The Combat Jack Show, Mogul is a six-episode series that explores the life and death of hip-hop music executive Chris Lighty. This is an exceptionally grabbing podcast about the compelling life of a prominent music figure, but also the mysterious death that followed — Lighty died in 2012 of a self-inflicted gunshot wound, though the events leading up to his death remain a mystery.


 

Dissect — A Serialized Music Podcast

The first season of Dissect focused solely on Kendrick Lamar’s To Pimp A Butterfly. In 20 short episodes, this podcast literally dissects this album song for song, and it’s great. Season 2 has already been announced and will premiere August 1, though the topic in question remains undisclosed.

Discover the hidden meanings in Kendrick Lamar's To Pimp a Butterfly, dissected over 20 episodes. An iTunes "Best of 2016" podcast.

Posted by Dissect – A Serialized Music Podcast on Wednesday, February 22, 2017

 
Love/Sex/Life

Love Me

Love Me is a CBC podcast about “the messiness of human connection.” Through the telling of real personal stories in combination with creative fiction, Love Me explores life’s deepest human connections.



 

Death, Sex + Money

Hosted by Anna Sale, Death, Sex + Money asks those personal questions that you’re either embarrassed to ask or want to avoid. This podcast gets deep down into the grittiness of the human life and heart, and all that comes in between.


 
Good Conversations

The Joe Rogan Experience

Joe Rogan’s podcast covers anything and everything in conversations with comedians, actors, MMA instructors, musicians, authors, artists, pornstars, and more. You never know what kind of conversation you’re going to get with this podcast, which makes it worth the listen. This entertaining and critically acclaimed podcast has been running for years and also has a videocast for those who just can’t get enough of Rogan’s interviews.


 

Spirits

Spirits is a bi-weekly podcast hosted by Amanda McLoughlin and Julia Schifini. If you’re interested in mythology but looking for something a little more entertaining than a monotone history podcast, Spirits is perfect. This series is basically two people getting together for drinks and talking about myths, legends, and lore. Every episode is a new topic (with exception to two-episode specials), and topics include Greek mythology, urban legends, monster lore, mermaids, and Egyptian afterlife.


 

The Brain Candy Podcast

This podcast is hosted by Sarah Rice and Susie Meister from MTV’s reality tv series The Challenge. For pop culture loving listeners, this podcast is perfect for you. Meister and Rice tend to keep a good balance of seriousness and laughter while navigating through pop culture topics, such as reality tv. If you’re a fan of The Challenge or Real World, sometimes the two hosts spill behind-the-scenes secrets and stories that will give you a whole new perspective on reality tv.


 

The Hilarious World of Depression

The Hilarious World of Depression is a show about clinical depression, yet the conversations are funny, real, and moving. Hosted by John Moe, Moe interviews comedians about their depression and other mental illnesses, using laughter to have relevant conversations and combat the stigma against mental health.


 
Learn Something New

Sawbones: A Marital Tour of Misguided Medicine

This weekly podcast digs deep into medical history and pulls up the grossest and most obscene ways that we tried to heal people back in the day. If blood makes you squeamish, you should probably steer clear, otherwise this is a really informative and unique history podcast that makes for a good road trip listen.



 

The Daily

I recommend this podcast to anyone who finds staying on top of current events overwhelming. This New York Times podcast is hosted by Michael Barbaro and condenses daily news into 20 minute episodes. A new episode is released every weekday, from Monday to Friday each week.



 

99% Invisible

99% Invisible explores the things in life that tend to go unnoticed, such as architecture and design behind everyday structures, the history of things like revolving doors, and the character and history behind big cities. You’re bound to learn something new in every episode.


 

Myths and Legends

Hosted by Jason Weiser, Myths and Legends started out as a side project that was recorded in Weiser’s car or on his lunch break at work, and has evolved into an acclaimed podcast series. In each episode, Weiser recites stories from myths, legends, and folklore and discusses the story’s origins. His episodes include everything from Chinese folklore and Greek mythology, to vampires, werewolves, and Beowulf. He even has a series of episodes dedicated to Disney stories, as well as stories by the Brothers Grimm.



 

The Way I Heard It

The Way I Heard It is a “short mysteries for the curious mind with a short attention span.” Each episode covers a the true story behind common celebrities, places, and things, in anywhere from pop culture and history to politics.


 

Is this Transphobic?

Is this Transphobic? features transgender and nonbinary guests and contributors discussing pop culture media and whether or not certain films and other media are transphobic. This podcast is highly informative, and provides in-depth and entertaining discussions about mainstream TV shows and movies such as South Park, The Danish Girl, Power Puff Girls, Star Trek, and The Rocky Horror Picture Show.


 

Feature photo courtesy 2 Dope Queens via Facebook.