Jennifer Egan’s book A Visit From the Goon Squad contains an entire chapter that is Powerpoint presentation titled “Great Rock and Roll Pauses.” The Powerpoint is made by one of the book’s characters,12 year old Alison Blake. Alison is documenting her older brother Lincoln’s obsession with these musical pauses.

The chapter includes songs like: “Bernadette” by the Four Tops, “Young Americans” by David Bowie, and “Closing Time”  by Semisonic. After reading it I started hearing these little musical pauses everywhere and I started to wonder where Egan got this idea.

This episode tracks this idea from Jennifer Egan to drummer Jacob Slichter (Semisonic) to legendary mixer and producer Bob Clearmountain, to it's original source, as far as we can tell, Karen Glauber.

Why would someone put a pause in the middle of a song? What does it do to us as listeners? Are we being manipulated? Listen above and join the conversation. What are your favorite musical pauses? Tweet @hearpitch and let us know!