WJHU BLOG

COLUMN: The New Frontier is No Longer New: Electronic



It is a tradition within US popular culture that when a new genre of music emerges a few things will happen:

1.The new sound will be the sole purview of select subcultures (raves, hippies, clubs, coffee shops, ethnic groups, etc.)

2. It will emerge to broader awareness through the popular media of the time (radio, internet, etc.) and be greeted with a chorus of post-menopausal "THAT ISNT MUSIC". 

3. It will become accepted as a genre of music and permeate mainstream music culture (MTV, Billboard ranking, etc.)

4. Other genres of music will begin to draw on stylistic elements of the new sound. (Which at this point isn't quite new). 

5. It will be gutted by commercial interests and used in movie soundtracks and advertisements. 

   

    My dear trap heads, wub wubs, and DJ masterminds: electronic music has reached Stage 5. We have reached the promised land. We are now officially part of the mainstream; our music is popular, available commercially, used in other genres of music, and used to sell people stupid things. Though there has certainly been ill associated with this rocketing success, overall, I think we can still celebrate the exposure and success electronic music has had in the past few years. 
     Electronic music, which just a decade ago was mostly limited to clubs and underground subcultures, has had a long journey to the top. The emergence of dubstep and house music with the advent of YouTube in 2005 helped increase awareness of electronic music within the more general internet using populace. Songs passed around by channels such as UKFDubstep and HouseMusic reached hundreds of thousands of people, something at this point unparalleled by any other media for all electronic music artists. Then, with the emergence of recognizable songs came a generation of DJs with enough popular clout to become recognizable names.

     The Swedish House Mafias, Flux Pavilions, and Tiestos of the electronic subculture were created through this explosion in internet popularity. With this increase in exposure, and the existence of figures in the movement to memorize and follow, electronic music began to permeate the mainstream airwaves. You could now hear Electro House or Dubstep blaring on the Hot 100 radio stations as Skrillex and SHM became household names. With this new mainstream popularity, much of the criticism typically heard from geriatrics questioning the legitimacy of the new type of music fell silent. The next step then was thematic elements from electronic music being integrated with other types of popular music in the great melting pot of sound. Groups like The Black Eyed Peas, primarily known within a different genre (pop/rap), debuted songs with strong thematic elements borrowed from Dubstep and Trap music in the late 2000s. The Black Eyed Peas album The E.N.D, (2009) coopted a very electronic soundscape with rap lyrics laid over it; the tremendous success of the album (28 weeks on the Billboard Top 10) created what some might consider the first Top 10 Hit showcasing the then new influence of "electronic" in popular music.  With this permeation into other genres, electronic music began to expand to audiences that had never sought it out specifically. Electronic DJs began to have more and more popular global tours, and the electronic world entered the next decade with record breaking attendance at music festivals and concerts.

    In the 2010s, electronic music crossed the Rubicon, firmly solidifying its place in popular culture with its crass commercialization. This development represents the full integration of electronic music into US capitalism. In 2013, The Great Gatsby featured electronic music drawing inspiration from acid house and trap on its soundtrack. This major motion picture received wide criticism for the anachronistic inclusion of electronic music in a movie set in the 1920s; nonetheless, it exposed millions of people worldwide to electronic music, and represented the coopting of this once “underground genre” by major movie studios to appeal to mass audiences. Today, in 2015 we can see Martin Garrix and Tiesto, two of the biggest names in electronic music, in commercials for 7 Up soda. The new sound is no longer new; it has been fully swallowed and utilized by United States pop culture. The new guys have made it, but what now?


By Marko Lazović on Oct. 28, 2015, 11:05 p.m.

#music #electronic #genre #house #culture #dubstep #pop #trap