By Ryan Jory
2011: quite an interesting year in the music industry. The Red Hot Chili Peppers continued their downward spiral with I’m With You, while alt-rock hero Julian Casablancas took The Strokes to greater heights. Adele completed her hold on the world with her chart-topping hits “Rolling in the Deep” and “Someone Like You.” Lady Gaga continued being intriguingly weird. However, none of these so called remarkable things compare to the effect that electronic music had on the music industry.
It all started in 2009 when David Guetta, French dance-music titan, produced the Black Eyed Peas’ hit song “I Gotta Feeling.” Previously, house, and dance music had been popular, but stayed under the radar of pop radio stations. David Guetta was making dance music that hardly graced the ears of American record labels. Deadmau5, fellow house music producer, was also making his heavy beats and touring America in his lit-up mouse head. Guetta was always more of a main-stream electronic artist, so it was not a huge surprise when he started working with the artists like the Black Eyed Peas and Akon. However, what was surprising was the huge effect this combination of genres had on America.
David Guetta is now flying around in private jets, playing weekly shows at Ibiza, the Spanish night club known to be frequented by celebrities from all over the world. His influence is now heard all over the radio through the dance-pop music of modern artists. One of his newest hits is “Titanium,” popular because of its radio friendly vocals done by Sia. The only other artist to get near Guetta’s fame is Avicii. Avicii has a very similar style, and their combined efforts on “Sunshine” sounds like it could be by either artist. Another electronic group to follow in their footsteps are LMFAO, who released chart smashing hit, “Party Rock Anthem.” LMFAO and David Guetta are part of the electronic movement that is taking over the country.
Way back in 2006, a different genre emerged, brought to life by an artist known as Rusko. Its called dubstep. It originally mimicked the slow rhythm styles of reggae music, but with heavy bass lines. These bass lines can only be described as having a “womp-womp” sound. What I mean is that the bass line oscillates at different speeds. This genre is favored by fans of heavier music as the bass lines are often extremely intense. The intense bass with the slow rhythm creates the need for “head-banging,” similar to heavy rock music. However, this genre has been morphed and changed over the years.
The one artist to truly revolutionize the genre, is Skrillex. Skrillex, previously known as Sonny John Moore, lead singer of metal band From First To Last, is now the face of mainstream dubstep music. His sound only slightly differs from previous dubstep music, but the change has somehow changed everything. It is more aggressive, and incorporates a faster beat to the heavy bass lines, making it easier to dance to. Skrillex combined the slow bass lines of dubstep with the fast dance rhythms of house music. Intensity of dubstep with the dance appeal of house music has become wildly popular. The genre as a whole is still not mainstream, and has yet to be heard on any radio station, but it has grown very quickly.
One of the interesting things about this new genre is how many popular songs have dubstep “remixes.” Artists remix songs all the time, and remixing consists of changing the beat, or adding parts, or combining different songs. But with dubstep, its more of just adding a heavy bass line to the song along with a slow dubstep beat. Almost any song you can think of has been remixed in such a way. Even the 1961 hit “Please Mr. Postman” by the Marvelettes has a very popular remix by dubstep artist Cragga.
The one problem with the rising genres of techno and dubstep is that almost no one over the age of 35 likes it. These genres have such a different sound than any other type of music, that it seems to only attract people who have grown up hearing modern pop music. Pop music over the last decade, while not always as electronically drunken as it is now, has had a noticeable electronic influence. Kids these days love music they can dance to, so modern pop music is basically just electronic music.
As for 2012, I can only assume that electronic music will finish its takeover of the music industry. Rock music is slowly falling behind the bass-bumping tidal wave of pop music. Whether this takeover is a good thing or not, its happening, and theres nothing we can do about it. David Guetta and Avicii will have their private jets while Skrillex will continue to take the hearts of anti-pop music enthusiasts. Pop music itself has already become the usual catchy melodies combined with techno bass grooves. For a techno music fan, this can really be seen as a good thing. What I, and similar fans, have considered good music has now merged with what I’ve always considered terrible music. Pop music has suddenly become a little more listenable.