Is Pop Music Becoming EDM?
EDM has blown up since the 2012 boom, and it’s no secret that slowly, but surely, it’s beginning to take over pop radio, as music trends always do. Aside from songs like Calvin Harris’ “Blame” and Alesso and Tove Lo’s “Heroes (We Could Be)” topping the charts and dominating pop radio, dance music has had an apparent influence on 2014’s biggest pop hits. With pop artists and dance music producers collaborating to produce dynamic radio chart toppers, news and media publication The Guardian analyzed the major changes in pop music’s sound and execution over the past year.
In 2014, there was a ton of dance music and dance-influenced tunes that made the pop charts and conquered pop radio. The most interesting part of this year’s EDM takeover was the way it changed the format of a great deal of pop music from chorus-centric to barely having a traditional chorus at all. For example, Coldplay’s “A Sky Full of Stars,” which was produced by the legendary DJ/producer Avicii and focuses on the bridge, or “buildup” as it’s referred to in producer lingo, in which singer Chris Martin repeatedly croons about a sky full of stars before dissolving into a tame drop that, in place of a traditional chorus, shows off Avicii’s productions chops and dance music roots.
Another great example of EDM’s influence on pop this year is Ariana Grande as 2014’s budding pop superstar. Her debut album granted her studio time with Cashmere Cat, Lido, and the legendary pop music producer Max Martin. Grande’s breakout hit “Problem” features a prominent vocal bridge that transitions into a faux “chorus.” Instead of our traditional impression of a vocal chorus, we hear a breakdown with breathy, barely spoken vocals. Her album also features “Break Free,” her second hit, which was produced by Zedd, a pop/dance music crossover producer in his own right. In addition, “Love Me Harder” has an R&B vocal with a hard dance beat behind it. All of these songs are radio hits and showcase heavy EDM influences.
The trend is certainly prominent with Iggy Azalea, pop culture’s favorite hip-hop sweetheart. As hip-hop’s breakout star of this year, Azalea, favors the anti-chorus as well; her second hit, “Black Widow,” features an exciting bridge leading up to the absence of a chorus, instead we hear a thumping, bass-heavy trap interlude.
This pattern could mean a change in the way pop music will be written and produced, and signify the downfall of pop’s holy grail, the vocal hook. As far as dance music is concerned, pop’s acceptance and incorporation of dance-forward beats could pave the way for more dance music artists to conquer the radio. We’ve already seen it happen with songs like David Guetta’s EDM/pop crossover, 'Dangerous', and Calvin Harris’ 'Blame', which broke streaming records.
[H/T: The Guardian]
Written By Rowan Epstein