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[Music Monday]: EDM In Review

In honor of the arrival of DeadMau5 on Thursday, Music Monday reviews new tracks from Skrillex, Diplo, DJ Snake, and more.
Jul 20, 2015 | 16:03 Mon
Music Monday is a weekly SmartShanghai column, serving up songs from bands living and making music in China (or coming to China, or thinking about coming to China, or whatever). Copyright holders: if you would like your song removed, please contact us here, and we'll honor your request promptly.

While Shanghai still has been an endless overcast lately, we can all rejoice about this past weekend's little too no rain. The newly formed co:motion party crew took a bold move by throwing a new outdoor gig on a local rooftop. Despite several visits from the police it looks like they will be taking it to the returning next month so look out for that family fun outdoor activity. Last weekend was a big one for touring electronic artists coming to Shanghai but my money on the best show was DJ Paypal down at Shelter. The stars were aligned that night and it seemed like nearly everyone in the packed club were going off their tits dancing to the ambiguous Berlin based producer. As his footwork productions are a little challenging for me to listen (nonetheless to dance to) I wasn’t sure what to expect from Paypal but he really did a solid job interweaving old nostalgia RnB jams while keeping the energy up with his signature sped up style. From Goths to Jocks to Skanks the club came together for one of those great Shanghai nights.

This week’s Music Monday is all about the kids. At first I was going to do article on Wednesday’s Linkin Park concert but that’s just me showing my age. The kids don’t want rock -- the kids want EDM. Yes every week we focus on underground electronic gigs or independent rock showcases but let’s face it, you weren’t born listening to Silent Servant or Dead Kennedys. Everyone has pop roots in their youth and EDM is the current genre mass marketed and targeted for tweens, teens, and 20-somethings that never found themselves. In that vein we have one of EDM’s top top sellers in town Deadmau5 at club MYST on Thursday so I thought this would be a good chance to see what’s new in the top of the pops world.

I’ll be reviewing the last Deadmau5 album along with today’s top five Billboard EDM tracks. I was going to review the top 5 EDM albums but oh wait, just like video killed the radio star, EDM killed the album format. My rating format will be in the classic Pizza the Hut scale because let’s face it, EDM is just shit that ate itself to death.

DeadMau5 – While (1<2)

Deadmua5 is one of the easiest to hate DJ / Producers in the current top 100 scene. He wears an obnoxious Mickey Mouse rip-off head piece during sets, drives an outlandish Ferrari, and dates sudo-celebrity women more concerned with re-tweets then substance. That said, his music production is slightly more palatable then the rest of his one trick side-chain bass cronies. More recently, Deadmau5 has tried to become a type of anti-hero in the EDM world by slagging off DJs who adhere to large scale festival promoters' standards of playing other peoples music and no one using live gear. While he is certainly guilty of this himself, two years ago Deadmau5 deleted all the songs off his Soundcloud and uploaded seven piano sonatas in a sort of cleansing ritual.

A year later came his latest album titled While(1<2), which tries to reclaim the album format by making tracks transition smoothly and making an effort to connect the songs together. The biggest problem with Deadmau5 is generally the music company he keeps. But I guess teaming up with shitty pop singers and flash in the pan producers has made him one of the highest paid producers in the world. If you look at any EDM banger, there are always 2–5 artists collaborating. However, on his last album he abandoned that format with a focus on his own productions and two remixed tracks of Nine Inch Nails and How to Destroy Angels. On this massive two–disc, 26–track piece I would say half of the first disc is actually listenable. The layout is well arranged and productions are well balanced between keeping your attention and even getting a little dark at times. However, the second disc totally lost my attention.

It’s funny that Deadmau5 is trying to create his own little revolution against EDM. Just three years ago, he got into a feud with Arcade Fire after they talked shit about the biggest acts at Coachella not playing instruments. Well, looks like he is not defending the EDM cause anymore, for this I’ll give the While(1<2) album a 3 out of 5 Pizza the Hut rating for good effort but still lacking substance.

Deadmau5 - "Avaritia"

Now let's get into the current Billboard EDM Music & Dance Songs charts...

1. Skrillex & Diplo With Justin Bieber – "Where Are U Now"

Wait did I say Deadmau5 is the easiest to hate? Nope, turns out Skrillex and Justin Bieber together takes the cake. Why this track needs both Diplo and Skrillex working together on it just bends my mind into a pretzel. Currently the #1 song in the world, this shit is un-interesting even for pop. Hey Skrillex, Diplo, and Justin Bieber -- at least throw some of that Beyonce work ethic into your music. I wouldn’t be surprised this song was actually ghost written produced by that one dude in Sweden that is rumored to make around 80% of current top 40 EDM. This track gets a blazing half Pizza the Hut.

2. David Guetta Featuring Nicki Minaj, Bebe Rexha & Afrojack – "Hey Mama"

Well the current #2 song in the world seems to take four people to make one pile of shit. That said, I do kind of like David Guetta just because it’s like wait, how did this goofy guy get into the pop scene party? With nearly over 160 millions views on the video, if everyone who watched this gave 1 dollar to the World Wildlife Fund then we could save those motherfucking humpback whales. But instead the whales die and this uninteresting piece of production will live on for another couple weeks. This little diddy gets one Pizza the Hut just because there are like two bars were Nicki Minaj isn’t totally bored out of her mind.

David Guetta Featuring Nicki Minaj, Bebe Rexha & Afrojack - Hey Mama

3. Major Lazer & DJ Snake Featuring M0 – "Lean On"

Wait this track has been viewed 288 million times? Holy fucking shit. Alright if this #3 Billboard hit was playing on the radio while I was going to my job at Subway in my 1996 Honda Civic I might bop my head a bit. This is my first time listening to guest singer MØ who is one of those hey look at my quirky style pop singers. One of the hardest things to watch though is Diplo & Snake together trying to keep a tough guy pose while doing Indian traditional dancing. Just a couple bros on the genghis dawg. Maybe I’m just getting used to this whole pop game because this guy is getting two Pizza the Huts.

Major Lazer & DJ Snake Featuring M0 - Lean On

4. DJ Snake & AlunaGeorge – "You Know You Like It"

Say it ain’t so AlunaGeorge -- only 38 million views? My mom’s video of her slipping on a patch of ice got more hits than this guy. Plus she got a new hip, so hopefully she’ll be shaking to a better piece of pop than this. Production on this song is really weak and in general, zero interest going on. Nothing much to say except the chorus is aight so ya get one Pizza da Hut.

DJ Snake & AlunaGeorge – "You Know You Like It"

5. Zedd Featuring Jon Bellion – "Beautiful Now"

Oh Zedd, I know your song dropped to #5 but don’t steal that beer and pull out a knife on the convenience store. Everything will get better buddy. Are we supposed to believe this pretty princess of EDM has real brooding issues inside that flawless skull? Alright this song has one of those classic EDM hooks where if I was on E at gay club there is a slight chance I would jump up and down before passing out in gutter outside. Man, who writes the lyrics on these things? The song is 95% ba ba ba ba ba ba ba ba your beautiful ba ba ba ba. Alright I’m giving this two Pizza the Huts because of the hook and I just added Zedd to my 10 guys it’s ok to get gay with list. As a bonus, enjoy this “Getting Coffee with EDM Stars” episode Deadmau5 did with Zedd a couple years ago.

Zedd Featuring Jon Bellion – "Beautiful Now"

Deamau5 - Coffee Run! ft. Zedd

Fuck. These are the top five songs in the Pop / EDM world today? I’m going back to Britney bitch.


This column is written by DJ Sacco, who runs Uptown Records, Shanghai's dedicated vinyl shop. Ironically, they don't sell Mp3s or dabble in anything digital, instead they have 7" and 12", EPs and LPs from rock to electronic, rare pressings, DJ equipment and band merchandise. Find them in an old bomb shelter at 115 Pingwu Lu.


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