As 2012 comes to a close, it's time for all of us to take a look in the mirror and accept the truth: Whether we like it or not, EDM is a major force in music and is here to stay.
We all knew it was coming; anyone who has spent time listening to mainstream radio has heard how house music has become more prevalent in the work of our favorite pop stars. Now DJs are becoming pop stars themselves, and other artists are reaching out to get in on the action.
It's not just pop stars, either. Rap acts, rock bands, and the son of a reggae legend have all dipped their toes into the EDM pool.
Sometimes these EDM experiments are awesome. Sometimes they leave us scratching our heads. Sometimes they're just straight-up trash. Since this may be the last year anyone thinks this kind of thing is weird, let's take a look back at the year that was in EDM crossovers.
Cypress Hill x Rusko The combination of the legends of Latino hip-hop and the bad boy of EDM only sounds weird until you hit play on the EP. Soon you realize that the pairing is not only smart but really good. The men of Cypress aren't strangers to dabbling in genres outside of hip-hop, and their first release with an EDM star was one of the year's great surprises. Here's hoping it's not the last time they come together.
Skrillex x Damian Marley Skrillex may get a bad rap as the guy ruining dubstep, but he connects with the kids. Damian Marley is the son of an icon who isn't afraid to connect with the titans in different genres. Largely avoiding the growls and chaos of his solo work, Skrillex lays down a great track for Damian to do his thing over. It's the perfect collaboration in the sense that it elevates both men: Damian gets to reach out to new fans and Skrillex gets to prove that he's not just the sounds of robots fighting.
Muse, "The Second Law" Eventually an actual multi-member dubstep band is going to exist. They'll write their own songs with their own drops and their own growls. Until then, we have to settle for mainstream rock acts doing their best to make the sound their own. Muse's blend of over-the-top theatricality is a weird fit for dubstep, but "The Second Law" isn't bad, just predictable. It's exactly what you'd think a Muse dubstep song would sound like.
Rihanna, "Jump" Individually, all of the elements of this song are good. Rihanna has always had solid tracks and production. Dubstep is stupid fun to listen to. Ginuwine's "Pony" is a beloved classic. Put them in a blender and the result isn't unpleasant, but might be unnecessary. We know Rihanna likes to repurpose tracks for her own ends, but it wouldn't have hurt to wait until 2016 before giving "Pony" a new EDM look.
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Taylor Swift, "I Knew You Were Trouble" There's no denying that this song is going to become a hit in spite of the fact that it's, at best, pandering and, at worst, phoned in. The idea of Taylor Swift making a track that combines her pop sensibility with the wub of EDM is an interesting one but when the breakdown hits in this song it sounds like "Baby's First Dubstep Track." I know the label is all about maximizing profit, but next go around maybe spend a little bit of extra cash and bring in a real EDM producer to get the job done.