To EDM or Not to EDM?

edmEDM started becoming really popular a few years ago, and now it seems like upbeat dance remixes are everywhere. I dismissed the genre immediately, but I made a deal with Catherine from Never Stationary: I would give EDM a chance if she did the same for one of my favorite things, and we’d both write our reactions.


(Catherine)

On the outside, I am just a lone individual wrapped in a thick winter coat, on my way to class. Inside my furry mushroom-shaped hood, however, a dance party is raging in my head.

In my opinion, the innovative and constantly evolving style of EDM is appropriate for most occasions.

It is optimal work music, because the focus does not often fall on the lyrics, but the beat, which keeps my body awake and my mind moving.

It is great dance party music; its nuanced and complex history alludes to a rave lifestyle.

It is NOT enjoyable when you’re on your period, or fighting a headache or sickness. On days like those, you’ll only want to listen to some Sufjan Stevens.

I might even listen to it when I’m sleeping. There is, afterall, a chillstep subgenre that perfectly sets the mood for you to slowly drift off to sleep.

EDM is my stereotype-breaking anthem. It is the theme song to my shock factor. As an individual often assumed to listen to pop, I like to roll up next to a car with the bass turned all the way up, my car bumpin’ and cruisin’ along the road, and I want the person in the adjacent car to expect anyone except someone like me sitting there.

Then, I want them to see me, turnin’ the F up in the driver’s seat.

Yes, I like to explore. I like to listen to mixes of different types of music, whether it be classical and dubstep, or a trap remix of a poem, or an electronic mashup of a speech.

EDM is such a broad category of music that spans different genres and styles. The best part is that it remains fluid and undefined, the epitome of musical innovation. Remixes are at the forefront of a 21st century musical movement. Whether it be in the form of trap sirens or the wubwubwub of a radical subwoofer, there is ALWAYS a time and place for EDM.


(Sabina)

Repetitive, loud, remix, instrumental, digital, overproduced, raves.

Those are the words that neighbor EDM in my brain’s word-categorization system. None of them are exactly positive adjectives, but they aren’t overtly negative either.

Most of my exposure to EDM was, well, non-exposure. One of my high school friends started Club Wub for students to appreciate the genre and a few of my college friends last year were obsessed with trap, but beyond hearing a few of their favorite jams on repeat, I had no framework for the style.

I opened up my mind and my ears to Catherine’s EDM recommendations, but I kept putting off writing my reaction. I simply didn’t know how to begin.

I’ve never felt about anything the way I feel about EDM.

dropNot in a good way. Not in a bad way. I feel so mixed and uncertain at my own reaction that I can’t even describe an opinion (and I’m known for my strong opinions).

I can only really state indisputable truths about EDM. Remixes are common, although sometimes the original melody is prominent (like in the Flume remix of Lorde’s Tennis Court) and sometimes it hides behind synthetic noises or repetitions of truncated lyrics and beats.

On the one hand, I find its often-staccato nature and unnatural “instrumentals” jarring. The rapid succession of repeated sounds alerts my brain’s fix-it-now urge to kick in, like when a DVD starts skipping and suddenly you become the most impatient person in the world. I can’t stand how random sets of high-pitched notes randomly play over an already disorganized array of sounds. They don’t add anything to the song, they just annoy me.

On the other hand, the cadence of EDM is a strangely calming pattern. You can hear the buildup happening as it approaches the drop, when there’s a sudden yet effortless shift in beat. It’s the perfect genre for mindless activities, like walking to class, when you can focus on the actual stylistic elements, but it also serves as a subtle, constant backdrop to activities that require more brainpower, like studying.

I can’t say that an overly positive feeling replaced my former hesitation towards EDM, but I gave it a chance. It’s still repetitive, loud, remixed, instrumental, digital, and overproduced, but now EDM has a new neighbor: appreciation.

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7 thoughts on “To EDM or Not to EDM?

  1. I get what you said about your mixed opinion. It seemed like some of what you said contradicted itself. I didn’t know EDM was a thing but maybe it’s something I would like for when I’m running or out for a walk. Anything to make me move faster.

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    • Exactly, my feelings about it are really contradictory! I also think it’d make good running music, since it can be really fast paced. I would probably get annoyed by the repetition in both the music & the exercise though–I need one or the other to engage my mind a bit.

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