First off, I want to link back to the original post in this series just in case people forgot about it. I was really really bad about following through with this idea, which is irony because I’ve spent a good majority of this summer listening to the music I was originally planning to write about. But that’s enough intro let’s jump into Eiffel 65’s Europop.
Over Spring Break earlier this year, I was in an antiques shop and I saw this crummy looking jewel case sitting on a shelf with a few other CDs, which didn’t interest me. But, when I picked this one up and saw the title of the first song (“Blue (Da Ba Dee)”), and made a mental note to pick it the next time I was in this shop. A couple months later during summer vacation me and friend ended up in the same antiques shop; I bought the CD and we proceeded to listen to it on the way back to his house.
Right here I should give some context about the group Eiffel 65 and maybe explain why I waited to pick up this questionable looking CD from an antiques store with a slightly too surly owner. But nope, that’s not going to happen. I am just going to try and recapture the joy of listening to his CD for the first time.
I was 7 or 8, when this CD came out, but I remember the song “Blue (Da Ba Dee)” as well as any other song from that period of time (it was competing against the Pokemon rap for a personal Best New Music). And my friend had similar memories, so that song was expectedly enjoyable even though both of us were surprised to hear the verses on the song were not just unintelligible nonsense words.
The next song “Heaven” is beyond my vocabulary to describe, but to try my best I’d have to say it’s some political, anti-capitalist Europop song with some awful auto-tune. So, obviously to some college kids it was hilarious. Not to make any political statements (ha), but I’m usually pretty wary of politics and music coming together in such overt ways and THIS EIFFEL 65 SONG has not changed that thought.
Next Up: “DUB IN LIFE”. I THOUGHT MY HEART WAS GOING TO EXPLODE BECAUSE I WAS FIST PUMPING LIKE WAS IT THE JERSEY SHORE DESPITE ACTUALLY JUST BEING OUTSIDE OF DOWNTOWN CHARLOTTE (THE REAL CLUB)
I guess it would be a good thing to say that these songs don’t really feature singing, as much as it is some Europeans talking through vocal effects about nonsensical things. “Living in a Bubble” is probably about “Living in a Bubble”, but the strings are the only thing me and my friend cared about, because as he pointed out it is totally “Proto-‘Call Me Maybe’”.
We skipped past “Move Your Body” after a minute or so, because it is the same as “Dub in Life”, but that doesn’t mean you should skip in as you listen along with this post, which I hope everyone is doing!
“My Console”, I thought would be about technology but it was actually just some Jock Jams sounding shit about Playstation games. Do not get it confused though. Love at First Sight still happened when the chorus began: “TEKKEN 3 METAL GEAR SOLID RESIDENT EVIL GRAND TURISOMO OMEGA BOOST BLOODY ROAR”
A few of the next songs got skipped over, because we were getting closer to my friend’s house and we had to prioritize what we were going to spend our time listening to. This meant quality of their song title was the ultimate deciding factor. Thus “Silicon World” was chosen and surprisingly or maybe not all that surprising, the song turned out to be some kind of love song about a silicon girl and the world of silicon. Kraftwerk what have your wrought.
We are about three minutes from his house at this point, so we skip “Hyperlink [Deep Down]”—a tragedy that I wish we could take back—and went straight to “Europop”. At this point “Dubstep” has crossed over into word that no longer means anything that it used to, not unlike “Techno” and “House” or even “Europop”, as I use it as a catch all for overly synthy pop music. But, even the originators of “Dubstep” have to laugh, as for me and my friend both first thought of “Dubstep” with “Europop“‘s wobbly bass sounds. It’s not actually Dubstep, but that’s no fun so I’ll call it the “First Original Dubstep” song.
As we turn into his neighborhood, Europop blessed us with an amazing final track: “Blue (Da Ba Dee) [Extended Mix]”.
PRAISE RAINBOW TECHNO JESUS
“Praising the Radio Songs”, Part 4
Back in Time - Pitbull
A Pitbull video full of beautiful women, product placement, and black shades on his face in dimly lit rooms! I won’t list how many different Pitbull videos this could be, but at a certain point you have to just embrace how willing the dude is to jump on any pop song that needs so rapping (he’s a more motivated Flo Rida!). But, this one is a bit more unique than most of the EDM tracks that Pitbull has been on the last few years, and I’m not talking about the tacked-on dubstep breakdown at the end.
This song has been out for a little while, but I just heard it on the radio, and honestly thought it was a Fatboy Slim song (more specifically his hit “The Rockafellar Skank”). “Back in Time” samples Mickey & Slylvia 1950s hit “Love is Strange”, which is something of a lost art, as rap and electronic music moved away from big samples (the Kanye Wests of the world excluded) entering the 2000s. Pitbull’s rapping is probably even more boring than normal, and the dubstep breakdown at the end is bad enough I’m mentioning it again here. But, the ear-to-ear grin on my face, when I first heard the song was able to withstand those low points, as the song veers towards the “Electronica” end of the spectrum more than “EDM”. Because, as much as I love the 4/4 thump of 2010s pop radio, not all (blanket term of electronic music) needs to follow the same sonic blueprint, especially when the sound of Prodigy and Fatboy Slim didn’t get score a high number of hits in the United States at least (Electronica was no Guetta).
Youtube comments from DJ Q’s “Brandy and Coke”.
One 18 year-old’s “Post-Dubstep” is some 26 year-old’s “UK Garage” is some 14 year-old’s “Pre-Dubstep”.
DUBSTEP! Rihanna with her album Rated R can take credit as one the first US pop star to really have some strong Dubstep influence in their music. Since then, Britney Spears released a pretty good dubstep influenced pop album last year in Femme Fataleand all of the stuff that has happened on this chart has lead to Dubstep being the next big thing people are stumbling over themselves to cover. Last year, I wrote about the slight dubstepiness of “On the Floor” by Jennifer Lopez, and here is a quick update on that idea looking at “Love You Like a Love Song”, “You Da One”, and some general ideas on the Skrillex.
“Love You Like A Love Song” by Selena Gomez is hard to exactly figure out how popular the song truly is, as it came out last summer, but it took some time for it to gain a moderate amount of radio buzz. So, maybe it took some time for the rest of the world to appreciate the bass oddness instead of finding it off putting. It’s a love song about love songs and with an odd pairing of some of the glossiest vocals I’ve heard in a pop song in recent memory with over active bass sounds. But, considering how loose the definition of dubstep has gotten in the last few years that is still enough for music writers (this one included) to say that there is dubstep influence in the song and one of the better ones with roots in pop music to get that distinction.
Dubstep went from something so under-covered in music circles, I’d bet a year ago most music critics would have been asking “What is a Skrillex?” while mocking those people who were saying “Who is Arcade Fire?” after their Grammy victory. But, where we stand now, dubstep is the music of the young people that must be covered. So, great writers are now wrestling with the music of Skrillex and other more American based Dubstep producers, whose names are usually never mentioned in Dubstep articles, because Skrillex serves to be the head of this second electronic music revolution and conveniently the only one most writers can name.
Not to be too crabby, but when I first heard Skrillex more than a year and half ago I thought he was garbage, so seeing people stumbling over themselves to praise the man is strange to say the least. Which accounts for the name of this article, because early on Dubstep pieces would characterize it as music for bros to mosh out and go crazy to, which while not untrue as people started to pay more attention to the music, it became obvious this was music both genders equally enjoyed. Also, for all of the Grammy nominations and sold out shows that Skrillex will play, the way that dubstep is entering the mainstream is through female artists, who take some dubstep elements are work them into their music far better than Skrillex and his peers (Flux Pavilion, Zeds Dead, Nero, and a the UKF group if you want some other examples of this stuff).
“You Da One” is a weird Rihanna single still trying to find another life to eventually top the charts like so many of her songs have already. Yet, focusing on bass drops in dubstep, quickly loses the fact the drums of most dubstep songs have an instantly recognizable slowed up lurch compared to other more bland four on the floor pound of most pop songs on the radio today. That is the most notable dubstepish part of “You Da One”, as while the bass is noticeable the drum pattern is what gives the anticipation of a bass drop eventually happening, even if it doesn’t really happen. I don’t really enjoy too many Skrillex or Rusko (supposed originator of this Bro-step style) dubstep songs that are heavy on bass drop and not much else, but considering they are probably the reason a songs like “You Da One” or “Love You Like A Love Song” were even considered for a major label means I will begrudgingly accept their place in the world.
Still, listening to the title track, which is as enjoyably overwhelming as everything Skrillex does, does make us wonder why this is the stuff that crossed over and gave dubstep chart ubiquity and not the more “palatable” and sedate James Blake and Jamie Woon version of the form.
Paul Lester, from a Guardian article highlighting the young talent known as Skrillex.
Okay, yeah that 2000+ word piece on “Dubstep” is going to happen. Also, pop critics shouldn’t be too surprising when more dance friendly music is ruling the charts over coffee table music.
I know virtually nothing about dubstep, to be honest. It’s not really my sort of thing. I’m more into melodic music. That’s why I love drum ’n bass. Dubstep’s about the beats and the bass, which is great but not what I do.
As mood music, Webster Hall pumped in dubstep. “That’s how you know white people are around,” said an artist’s manager, curious in seeing Hoodie perform. The electro-static was broken by one Waka Flocka song, “Hard in the Paint,” which went mostly ignored. One of the black guys danced; a group of co-eds bent their fingers into gang signs, giggling. A muscled-up bro mouthed words, some of them seemingly to a different song.
—Jeff Rosenthal, from his review for the Village Voice of a Hoodie Allen show. I will try to not keep posting all his live reviews, but they discuss rap music and broader music trends so well.