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Posted On: 20 July 2016 11:57 am
Updated On: 12 November 2020 01:56 pm

EDM - Three letters that define today's musical era

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'Electronic Dance Music' or simply EDM is a contemporary and revolutionised piece of musical sub-genre generally used in the context of a live mix, where a DJ creates a seamless selection of tracks by segueing from one recording to the next.

You may have switched on the radio or opened a particular music-streaming app only to get greeted by a seemingly incessant collection of catchy beats and heavy thumps with almost no accompanying words in it to sing along with.

Yes, we're done and over with the 90's but this sort of muddled (yet inviting) type of music doesn't indicate any possibility of a holocaust, or even the slightest tendency of dystopia, so to say.

Regardless of how unpleasant it may sound to others especially to those above the age of 40, 'Electronic Dance Music' or simply EDM is slowly becoming the defining representation of the current musical era with pop stars and disk jockeys collaborating to bring some bass to drop for the mad crowd. Not only are these team-ups making waves in the industry, they are also generating some efficient business through this once 'underdog' genre.

With these facts intact, it is not an underestimation that EDM is continuing to pave its way into the hearts of the world's biggest population bracket, those aged 18-34 or in other words, Millennials.

According to a recent survey conducted by the US Census Bureau, the Millennial Generation have already surpassed Baby Boomers as the America's largest living generation. Millennials now number 75.4 million, surpassing the 74.9 million Baby Boomers (ages 51-69). And Generation X (ages 35-50 in 2015) is projected to pass the Boomers in population by 2028.

Truth be told, EDM is getting more and more popular due to its distinct sound besides the undeniable charm it ultimately exudes to attract older generations. Hit songs from the likes of Rihanna are enough to boost a feeble mood, and the enigma doesn't choose its victim. One just unconsciously tap their toes, and make sure that right before that chorus drops, they're already at their feet, swinging those hips, while pretending to be inside a bar full of party-goers with the same level of hype as theirs.

That's the differentiation of EDM from other genres, as pointed out by one of today's most well-known DJs, David Guetta. 'It is downright infectious,' he said during one of his recent interviews. Apart from DJ-ing, Guetta also produces and remixes music for a living. He found his hard-earned love for music in the late 80's at a the tender age of 18.

e5ed7dfacff7318b7e377c93ab2de2fec08c1b76.jpgFamous DJ and record producer David Guetta posing for a photo in one of his gigs.

Joining him in the hall of fames pack are Calvin Harris, Tiesto, Steve Aoki, and their latest recruit, talented Tim Bergling or better known by his stage name 'Avicii.' Together, they crossed oceans to make EDM deserve the popularity it is currently getting.

'Electronic Dance Music is not a new genre. In fact, it's been around for more than three decades already,' reveals Guetta.

From the time techno (often called dance or house music) and hiphop made themselves known, the idea of EDM has always been sidetracked, waiting for the perfect timing to flaunt its unlikeness.

During the 90's, the decade when a variety of pop, rap, and alternative music as well as a plethora of one-hit wonders invade the charts, an undeniable hint of electro music can already be identified.

This is the time when EDM is gradually growing baby fangs and grabbing the attention of the masses. Pop songs from Britney Spears contain danceable feels, Band group Aqua is producing music solely for disco purposes, and even ballads from Boyz II Men are sometimes being remixed to adjust the tempo and it still sounds surprisingly good. Music during the 90's is well-synchronised to suffice the varied taste of the consumers as the events happening that time.

635578418587544712-1241171892_boybands.pngSome of the most popular boybands to dominate the 90's. (Excluding 'The Jonas Brothers' and 'One Direction')

Being a 90's kid myself exposed me to a number of impressions way back when EDM was not yet in full blow. There was this time during childhood that gave me a comprehensive understanding of what it's like to distinguish authentic music from the so-so or mediocre ones, as they call it. As early as 7 years old, my dad has already been going overseas to make a living for me and my two younger siblings. He use to bring me compact disks (CD) of various artists to listen to at home and through those presents, my curiousity later grew to what I refer to now as an 'outlet' of day-to-day emotions. There was Smokey's, Michael Learns To Rock, Eagles, and Air Supply. The mellowness of their music made me the sentimental guy that I am today. Every line from their highly-popular hit songs somehow infect a specific heartstring which later on resonates to huge and unstoppable fan followings.

Then came the late 90's. Boy-bands such as Backstreet Boys, Nsync, A1, and Westlife were all over the place. If there's one perfect adjective to describe their style, it would be 'catchy.' The love songs they perform are not only a joy to the ears, they are also a close reminder of the exact feeling of being in love for the first time. Spice Girls, TLC, Destiny's Child, and S Club 7 also provided refuge for hopeless romantics during that time.

The most recent in memory which somehow freed my contemporaries from the 90's aftermath is probably Black Eyed Peas' quick-paced 'I Got A Feeling.' It was the first one I heard in the longest time which summarises the 80% beat, 20% lyrics equation, a total nod to the major attributes of how EDM should sound like. Then the rest is history.

What followed next are hits obviously surpassing the 50% accompaniment mark. The less words we hear, the more recommendable the music becomes.

Well, at least for them.

maxresdefault.jpgMillenials are polarised when asked whether they like or despise EDM, according to a recent survey.


Not that I'm not in favour of the sudden resurgence of EDM, but I would honestly prefer the thoughtfulness of writing as much lyrics as possible over broad ranges of percussive electronic music being played repeatedly to the point of it sounding superfluous. Yes, we're inside a revolving bubble and any form of metamorphosis that occurs in this never content world gives us the option to either abide or defy but what is the sense of music when the 'literal meaning' gets missing, right?

I believe that EDM got its much-deserved break partly to serve as an alternative once sentimentality feels too much. If not, then it's always available for streaming whenever the mood for partying arises.

Music is still music with or without the use of instruments, but music is not anymore considered one once the liberty of words is taken away. Besides, music is primarily there to express, not to impress.

Regardless of the age bracket you're in, do you think EDM is ruining the kind of music we used to enjoy years back? And if it continues to prosper and dominate the ever-evolving music industry, do you think it is about time to call for a petition to just tone it down for a bit?

Drop that bass and key in your thoughts!