Giving Thanks To The Mainstream
"In 2011, Avicii released 'Levels' which launched him into the mainstream." If not for this fact, which the all-knowing Wikipedia so accurately describes, EDM wouldn't have meant much to me. Unlike many of my EDM-vet friends I've never known a time where DJs weren't worshipped and big-room drops weren't Top 40 radio fare. Regardless, EDM and the community surrounding it has remained my truest source of support, creativity and freedom for over three years now. As cringeworthy as it may be to many, I've got Avicii and other larger-than-life crossovers to thank for it.
Dance music became part of my life on the booze-drenched dance floors of college. Like many fellow undergraduate scrubs, I chased the thrills of all the flashing lights, spontaneity and questionable decision-making we felt entitled to. Environments that could be described as nothing short of a literal bro safari became the norm. While there were plenty of memories to be made, it was still easy to feel empty and even anonymous. Here, the crowds surrounding me felt nameless. Although there was fun to be had, I began to wonder if there were greater stories to be told and shared than those found among my classmates.
Despite my conflicting thoughts, one thing was for certain: mainstream selections like "Levels" were the uplifting soundtracks of nights like these. My first realization that EDM was the real one-way ticket to feeling truly alive. My love for the track encouraged me to explore dance music as a gateway to meeting others who lived for that same rush. It wasn't long before I was the eager newcomer decked out in tutus and neon for my first EDM event—hungry for the sense of community I longed for and knew the scene would provide. That was three years ago, and given today's dialogue surrounding "Levels," it's hard to believe that a song now associated with cliché and the scene's mainstream shift introduced me to the positive lifestyle EDM had to offer all along.
I can only hope that I can continue to fight the eye-rolls when an "Animals" or equally predictable rendition of a song is dropped at an event. For every track that squeaks by into the mainstream, it's safe to say that a new and passionate, productive member of the community has been created just like I was back in 2011.
Written by Marisa Okano
Disclaimer: The opinions, beliefs and viewpoints expressed by the author do not necessarily reflect the opinions, beliefs and viewpoints of EDM.com.
Cover photo credit: Rukes