[GRAMMY] EDM’s Incredible Latest Stop: 2013
2012 was a huge year for EDM, but nothing could have proved that like the incredible year that was 2013. If, as I detailed last year, 2012 was the year when EDM finally solidified its stance as a genre with wide appeal, 2013 brought high-profile releases from some of the biggest names in the genre – including Daft Punk, Calvin Harris, Kaskade. And these artists went to town on the the charts and in fans' hearts. But no genre is just about established players. It’s also about new blood, and it was also a great year for underground bands like Disclosure, who marched in with the power of a hundred parades, spilling into the mainstream with swirls of neon color.
EDM is a genre with a wide swath of taste, and always testing the boundaries as DJs and producers continue to step out creative limbs while simultaneously holding true to the genre's creative integrity. 2013 wasn’t a stand alone year for such innovation and success, just the latest culmination of such incredible advances and artistic brilliance in electronica and dance music — a stop on the road we’ve been on for years.
Nobody could predicted that Afrojack would be ringing the digital bell at the NASDAQ in honor of EDM conglomerate SFX’s first day of public trading in October, or that dubstep king Skrillex would win another three GRAMMYs, for a career total of six. And while the nightclub origins of this once-underground genre may have been pushed aside in favor of a highly monetized and robustly-colorful festival culture, the clubland legacy of innovation and an obsessive pursuit of newness were still hallmarks of EDM’s most pop(ular) year yet. Here are just a few note-worthy highlights:
A pioneer of EDM who deftly balances sampling and traditional musical abilities, Pretty Lights was nominated for a GRAMMY. The once Belgium mega-festival TomorrowWorld boarded its ship and sailed to Chattahoochee Hills, Georgia--how's that for mainstream! Miami's Ultra Music Festival followed in Coachella's footsteps and expanded to two weekends, and Tim Bergling, better known as Avicii, crossed over into the fashion industry after capturing the attention of Ralph Lauren. Perhaps Kaskade put things in perspective best with his most eloquent reply to a normally reputable publication that painted an unflattering, cliche-filled picture of EDM:
“As far as a music culture goes, EDM is the one will accept the kids on the outliers, the ones who get bullied, the ones who feel like they may not quite fit in. This community is exceptional in its ability to bond all types together.”
And how! EDM has brought together fashion, music, art, young and old, in a bang-up year that left number one hits and surely more GRAMMYs in its way. But, now, we can surely say this isn’t a one-off year for the genre; it's just another year for success. What a good thing that is. With such a stucco-sturdy foundation, I still think it’s time for those who still hold a love-and-hate relationship with electronica music to admit that it pervades their MP3 players and playlists … and has, not just in the last year, but for decades. It just so happens that 2013 was an incredible latest stop for a journey we’ve been on for some time and won't be getting off
anytime soon ever.