“129 Cars” Critique – Amy Sullivan

The podcast I chose to listen to and critique was “129 Cars.” Forgive me if this particular post is rather short.

The quality of the recordings was very good, I’d say. I could clearly hear the people talking in the background when one of the salesmen would speak to someone who wasn’t near the microphone.

As someone with an untrained ear, I would say the sound design was very good. I don’t quite know how to answer this question without combining its answer with my previous answer. However, I will add that they could’ve chosen different music tracks to play in the background. Their selections were hit-or-miss, specifically the song played at 24:30. It started out just fine but the inclusion of the sitar completely altered the feel of the moment. I’m not sure if this will make sense but it sounded a little too “hipster” and “independent.” I don’t quite know how to describe it. It would’ve been better if they had used a song that had maybe a saxophone in it.

I was surprised at how the writers could make a story out of something simple as “a used car dealership meeting quota.” That’s actually what drew me to this particular podcast. The name’s obscurity made me curious.

Regarding story structure, it was slow at first but it soon got to a story-esque plot line. As I said previously, I was pleasantly surprised at how the writers managed to pull a story together from such a simple topic featuring the every day lives of used car salesmen. It was very “easy listening,” if that makes sense, and I enjoy those kinds of stories. My most memorable moment in the episode was at 30:00 when one of the salesmen (Scott Froeg?) sold a car that had already been sold because there was no “SOLD” tag on it. Again, it was fascinating how the story writers weaved these events together and invoked drama.

As for the voicing, I hated the main speaker. I believe it was Ira Glass. His voice was just a tad high and squeaky in my opinion. I also didn’t like the sound of the woman’s voice. She’s in Serial, too, and I just don’t enjoy listening to her talk. It’s very soft and mundane. There’s very little drama or emphasis in her voice when she speaks. I found my thoughts occasionally drifting away from the story when both these people would spoke. I thoroughly enjoyed reporter Sean Cole’s deeper voice, though. When he started talking at 22:00, it immediately drew my attention. I can’t explain why, but it did.



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