Stephen Thompson Stephen Thompson is an editor and reviewer for NPR Music, where he writes the advice column The Good Listener and fusses over comma placement. He is also a frequent panelist on All Songs Considered, and appears every week on Pop Culture Happy Hour.
Washington, DC - May 03, 2016: Stephen Thompson CREDIT: Matt Roth
Stories By

Stephen Thompson

Matt Roth/NPR
Washington, DC - May 03, 2016: Stephen Thompson CREDIT: Matt Roth
Matt Roth/NPR

Stephen Thompson

Writer/Editor, NPR Music

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.

[+] read more[-] less

Story Archive

Lafawndah's Ancestor Boy is on our short list for the best new albums out on March 22. Courtesy of the artist hide caption

toggle caption
Courtesy of the artist

New Music Friday: Our Top 8 Albums Out March 22

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/705700615/705702836" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Lupita Nyong'o stars in Us, Jordan Peele's latest film. Claudette Barius/Universal hide caption

toggle caption
Claudette Barius/Universal

'Us'

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/705606666/705607799" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Sir Babygirl performs at Cheer Up Charlies on March 13, 2019 in Austin, Texas. Lorne Thomson/Redferns/Getty hide caption

toggle caption
Lorne Thomson/Redferns/Getty

Music Discoveries From SXSW 2019

  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/704783236/704797827" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Clockwise from upper left: KOKOKO!, Indigo Sparke, Yola Carter, Tamino, Cimafunk, Silvina Moreno Cimafunk: Hutton Supancic/Getty Images for SXSW/All other photos courtesy of the artists hide caption

toggle caption
Cimafunk: Hutton Supancic/Getty Images for SXSW/All other photos courtesy of the artists

2019 SXSW Wrap-Up: Our Favorite Discoveries And Memorable Moments

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/704593812/704787692" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Danger Mouse (left) and Yeah Yeah Yeahs singer Karen O collaborated on Lux Prima, one of the albums on our short list for the best new releases out March 15. Eliot Lee Hazel/Courtesy of the artist hide caption

toggle caption
Eliot Lee Hazel/Courtesy of the artist

New Music Friday: Our Top 5 Albums Out March 15

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/703585360/703593792" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">