What does Rolling Stone’s top 20 EDM album list say about the genre?

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Is Rolling Stone’s 20 Best EDM and Electronic albums of 2017 an ill considered attempt to showcase obscurity for obscurity’s sake or an apt proclamation concerning the current status of electronic music?

The list at hand has sparked collective controversy among the EDM community due to its off-kilter inclusion of some of electronic music’s most remote auteurs — and an apparent exclusion of some of the mainstream’s most prominent producers.

While some feel the list misses out on some of 2017’s key artists, the analysis begs relevant questions regarding the dissemination of electronic music over the past few years, as well as the increasingly ambiguous boundaries between genres.  After all, what exactly defines “EDM” in the first place?

Rolling Stone’s exclusion of any major EDM pop stars — read: The Chainsmokers, Odesza, Galantis — marks a prodigious shift from their inclusion of electronic pop music in years past via Flume & Kygo in 2016 and Disclosure & Jack Ü in 2015. In fact, the closest 2017’s list came to showcasing pop music was through UK grime superstar Stormzy and Long Beach’s own Vince Staples on their respective albums Gang Signs & Prayer and Big Fish Theory, neither of which can accurately be described as pop.

Furthermore, while both Stormzy and Vince Staples utilize electronic elements in their tracks, is it accurate to classify these albums as EDM or even “electronic?”

Have the constructs of electronic music completely collapsed, or has the umbrella-esque genre simply become defined by the technicalities of digital production? The inclusion of “niche” artists could be a way of acknowledging EDM’s infiltration into contemporary pop and the jarring effects that move has had on the way that listeners contextualize electronic music as a whole.

One could go so far as to gesture that EDM and electronic music are entirely distinct entities. While everyone knows EDM is technically defined as “Electronic Dance Music” the genre is applied liberally and without any real distinction.

Though it would be easy to get upset at perceived “snubs” for the mainstream or even mid-range artists operating in the EDM-relative space, Rolling Stone’s decision to include albums within any and every degree of electronic music’s diverse range of styles is a testament to the genre’s versatility, and, perhaps its saving grace: its ambiguity.

EDM is more fluid than most would care to believe, and for many, contextualization of the genre depends entirely on their own experience with it.

The exclusion of such massive albums as Chainsmoker’s Memories…Do Not Open and Galantis’ The Aviary can’t be an accident. While it throws the article’s titling into question, the logic is solid.  For starters, the former failed to garner support from even the most devout EDM enthusiasts. Barring the exception of an outstanding album in Calvin Harris’ Funk Wav Bounces Vol. 1, Rolling Stone’s decision to prohibit EDM pop stars from its list seems entirely justified considering the apparent lack of authenticity among EDM pop in 2017.

Though Harris’ record is an obvious standout, it seems that the efforts of most major artists in this space are becomingly increasingly uninspired. Once a genre that challenged notions of what electronic music can be, popular EDM now seems devoid of any risk takers among its mainstream sect. So goes for any of its notable sub-genres that have been beaten beyond death—future house, we’re looking at you.

While Rolling Stone may have benefited from including the more innovative album releases this year from artists like Emancipator, Floating Points, Barclay Crenshaw, Amelie LensJamie Jones, Kelela, Perc, or Yaeji to name a few, the coveted spots are not infinite, and their current standings do help shed a stark light on EDM’s lack of audacity over the last year.

As the genre bubbles into mainstream consciousness, it has yet to exit its immature, money-grabbing mindset, rewarding chintzy efforts to gain streams while forsaking the same genre-bending behavior that has consistently defined electronic music. After all, if it’s not easy to define, it can’t easily fit on Billboard charts.

EDM, as a genre, is nearly impossible to characterize formally and the music that comprises any of electronic music’s myriad sub-genres can reflect a multitude of various styles and sects in just one track: after all, the inherent genius in electronic music lies both in its malleability and its unique ability to evade easy definition.

Some may deem such rankings as unnecessarily obscure but, despite missing out on a few key albums, Rolling Stone’s Top 20 EDM List stands as a relevant statement about the genres current state.


Chainsmokers Make Racist Comment in Promo Video for Ultra China

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Alex Pall, one half of the illustrious Chainsmokers, made an awkwardly racist comment during an interview this weekend before the duo’s trip to China for Ultra China. The video is now deleted, but not before some cringe worthy screenshots were shared of the closed captioning of Alex answering a question regarding his dog and touring.

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Shaun Frank releases hilarious Chainsmokers tour recap video

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After his run on The Chainsmokers‘ Memories Do Not Open tour, Shaun Frank has released an eccentric recap video full of behind the scenes footage and special effects, all courtesy of his video editor, Clay. Inspired by The Chainsmokers’ own out of this world recap videos, Shaun Frank knew his video needed to be bigger and more extreme. With possibly the highest table jumps and craziest pyrotechnics the EDM world has ever seen, the artist is pushing the limits of what it even means to be a DJ.

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Nicky Romero remixes The Chainsmokers’ ‘Young’ [Free Download]

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Nicky Romero has now put his own spin own The Chainsmokers‘ “Young.” Romero’s take on the tune turns the lyric-heavy song into something traditionally Nicky — an undeniably progressive house vibe.

In a scene overwhelmingly saturated in future remixes, it’s nice to see a pioneer stick to his roots and update one of 2017’s biggest tracks.

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Billboard removes The Chainsmokers’ ‘Closer’ from the Hot 100 chart

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The Chainsmokers‘ pop mega-hit “Closer” dominated plays on radio and streaming services for months. However, despite remaining at #39 on the Billboard Hot 100, the song will no longer stay on the chart.

The track has been manually removed by Billboard in an effort to facilitate new songs into their listings. A Billboard rule states that if a song drops below the top 25 of the Hot 100 after 52 weeks, it will be removed. Unsurprisingly, one of the best examples of this is also a Chainsmokers song. “Don’t Let Me Down” spent exactly one year on the charts before peculiarly dropping off. Whether Billboard’s staff secretly hates The Chainsmokers or are just sticklers for rules, there is no denying the duo’s distinct ability to make chart-topping hits.

H/T: Your EDM

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The Chainsmokers share six-track remix pack for ‘Honest’

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Almost four months have passed since The Chainsmokers released their debut studio album, Memories…Do Not Open, and things have been quiet — at least musically — in the Alex and Drew camp. The EDM frat boys’ ascent into commercial pop stardom has earned them a 61-week domination of the Billboard Top Ten, a Grammy for ‘Best Dance Music Recording,’ and a sold-out headlining North American tour.

While on that tour, the guys began to notice how well their poppy piano ballad, “Honest,” was being received by fans. What better move, then, than to release an official collection of their favorite remixes for the track, which is out today, August 4th.

From Lifelike’s taunting, disco-induced rendition to Rootkit’s seething, downtempo re-boot, the “Honest” Remixes feature many intriguing subtleties that highlight the emotional lyrics of Alex Pall. Perhaps most interesting on the pack is the speedy bpm of Gil Glaze’s remix against the slowed-down pace of Malibou & UNKWN’s brassy version. The pack also features club-ready remixes from the likes of Tritonal and SAVI.

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The Chainsmokers Fall From Billboard’s Hot 100 Top 10 After 61 Weeks

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With their success over the past 2 years, The Chainsmokers were quickly breaking records for Billboard’s hot songs chart. After reaching the #2 position for most consecutive weeks in the Top 10 on Billboard’s Hot 100, The Chainsmokers aimed to break Katy Perry’s 69-week streak. Unfortunately, as The Chainsmokers got ‘closer,’ they failed to fully

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The Chainsmokers Ft. Jhené Aiko – Wake Up Alone (Triarchy Remix)

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Triarchy has remixed the Chainsmokers, Wake Up Alone featuring Jhené Aiko, transforming this song into a beautiful future bass track. Triarchy brought the vocals to the forefront of the song on top of tropical percussion. After the build, the song burst into a wavy modulated drop that brings Flume or Lois the Child to mind.

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Best Up and Coming Artists 6/14

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Damn EDM Sauce, back at it again with all that dope, never before heard music! (I want to sincerely apologize for my dad jokes in advance, you’ll be reading quite a few of them on these weekly posts) Back to the point though, we are back with another week of wild and crazy tunes from some

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The Chainsmokers Receive Their First Diamond Record in Canada

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The Chainsmokers continue to show no signs of slowing down anytime soon. When The Chainsmokers released their hit single “Closer” with Halsey back on July 29, 2016, no one expected just how big this track would be. “Closer” has become one of the most popular pop records in recent music history in Canada by achieving

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