Electronic Dance Music (EDM) is very quickly growing in popularity. From UC Davis students, to middle school students, to aspiring DJs who work at Trader Joes (I met one of those), everyone seems to be getting into one type or another of this blossoming genre.
I am not by any means a huge electro-head. That title belongs to my friends who literally can listen to nothing else.
I refer to essentially all fast-paced modern electro as EDM because there are so many DJs and remixes and sub-genres that my attempts to tell them apart have always been futile.
It should be noted that I have never been to a rave. You can label me a “noob” if you want, and many of you reading this are sure to be more knowledgeable of electro culture than myself. However, I am going to discuss EDM to the best of my ability anyway.
To me, it all sounds the same. The genre features sounds that are crazy, spacy, clean, dirty and everything in between. The genre may make you want to jump around for hours straight and lose your mind, or bob your head for an entire two-hour car ride.
I get it — the energy is unmatched. But what else is there to the genre besides energy and cool sounds? That seems to be it. I crave human emotion, personality, individuality. It seems to me that the music goes no deeper than sounding fun, and for me that’s not enough. Maybe I’m listening to the wrong EDM songs, but they all seem to follow the same formula: crazy synth pattern, kick drum-heavy dance beat, build-up, then tons of bass.
I’ll give EDM this: the rhythm can really can blow your mind. But whenever I listen to EDM, I hear only sounds.
Obviously, EDM is not my cup of tea. Swedish House Mafia makes me mad, Tiësto annoys me, but I’ll admit Avicii is not terrible. I do have a point to this rant though: there can be a compromise.
Human emotion does exist in some electro music, and can coexist with the same energy and synth sounds that we all enjoy. Where, you ask? In ’80s electro music.
The band I have in mind is New Order. Their prime was the early ’80s, they are overflowing with relatable, authentic emotion and they make beautiful electronic music.
Even if you do not know it by name, you have probably heard the song “Bizarre Love Triangle.” It’s got an incredibly poppy drum beat, and I don’t believe it possible for a human being not to be energized by the music as the layers develop. The synth and bass go hard. Before you know it, you have your eyes closed imagining yourself in a black light roller rink.
The instrumentals are insanely catchy, and a voice comes in and sings about his messed up love life in an abstract way reminiscent of Bob Dylan. It is actually formatted with real lyrics and real verses. Not to mention they’re well written. And the best part? He is singing over well-produced, energetic electronic music.
Each of their albums is filled with fantastic songs. Some are just instrumentals, but the passion is evident in every single one. I don’t understand why people don’t rage their faces off to songs like “Bizarre Love Triangle” or “Blue Monday,” another New Order classic.
I get that you EDM fans out there love the energy of the genre. I am simply saying that you can get a purer, more original form of that energy with meaningful lyrics and quality sound production.
You never know, perhaps giving ’80s pop a chance could turn you on to a whole new musical experience.
TYLER WEBB will be gettin’ electric all week and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.