Tag Archives: calvin harris

What’s the Deal with EDM?

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Every single time I listen to EDM music, from house to trance, my dad declares, “That’s not music.” And every single time he says that, I wonder how people can consider EDM to not be real music. Trust me, I’ve tried to play DJ with those free downloads you can get on the Internet and by watching YouTube videos of people who think they can DJ, and it’s hard. Maybe it was because I was using free downloads and amateur YouTube videos, but it was hard, and it goes to show that not everyone can do it. EDM is not new, but its recent impact and following is huge.

Here’s a few things that I could see may affect people’s misunderstanding of EDM:

1. The teenagers who don’t know what EDM is and just see it as a reason to try illicit drugs and jump up and down. On October 12, 2013, I went to see Kaskade for the second time, the first being at Lollapalooza in 2012. I love seeing Kaskade live – the energy he gives off while performing just shows that he really wants to be there, that if he could, he would perform forever. However, I went into the concert knowing that I wanted to see him, but that it was all ages and I would have to deal with a lot of people who weren’t really there to see that energy in play. When the show started, my sister and I, 20 years old and 23 years old respectively, were both sober and found ourselves behind a group of 20 or so preteens. I kid you not these kids had not even hit puberty. At no point during Kaskade’s show were these kids paying attention to Kaskade. I witnessed them as they passed around a full bottle of Bacardi that had clearly been stolen from the venue bar, whip out a bag of Molly and wave it around to show everyone they were “cool enough” to take it, and make out with every person of the opposite sex in their group. They had NO IDEA who Kaskade even was; I know this because when the opening act started to perform, they all argued whether or not he was “Cascada” and had to whip out their smartphones to find a picture of Kaskade’s face. I get it – you’re fourteen years old and this music and atmosphere is the new trend, but maybe that’s why older generations can’t understand what EDM means to us. There’s so many people that are just jumping on the bandwagon and not understanding the true meaning of EDM. EDM is not just some fad that’s going in and out; EDM is to my generation what MTV was to my parent’s generation – it’s our passion.

2. There’s a lot of popular remixes.  A lot of the reason that I first started listening to EDM was because I liked the remixes of the songs I already listened to. I liked that I was getting a way to listen to the same song, but still have it be different. I liked that it was bringing back older songs in a new way. A lot of people argue that DJs take music that isn’t theirs and just remix it. But how come we accept Flo Rida as an artist, but not DJs? When was the last time Flo Rida released a song that didn’t have some hint of someone else’s material in it? He’s “sampled” Etta James, Infinity Ink, Bingo Players, Dead or Alive, Eiffel 65, and so much more; he doesn’t even give credit where credit is due. When you buy a DJs remix on iTunes (I can only speak for legal practices of purchasing music), the “artist” listed is the artist that originally created the song. The best way to sum up why remixes are OK is with a quote from Kaskade (have we figured out that he’s my favorite EDM artist yet?): “Music is not disposable, people. We can twist it, sample it, mash it and experience it in endless ways. Open up.”

But here’s why I love EDM, why and how EDM is making an impact, and why you should jump on the bandwagon (for the right reasons):

1. Dance music has always been around; we’re just morphing it into our dance music. I remember when I was living in Texas (so keep in mind I’m like 7-10 years old), my mom and I would always listen to the “gay radio station” whenever we were in the car. That’s how I learned who Daft Punk was, who Basement Jaxx was, who Benny Benassi was, and who Who Da Funk was. I’ve been listening to EDM since I was seven years old and I embrace the way it’s changed. All music changes – our minds are only capable of deciphering so many different sounds so why not explore all those sounds?

2. Anyone can become a DJ… just like anyone can become a journalist. In the age of Internet, the line between professional journalism and amateur journalism has been blurred, but we still get to choose which source we like, which source we trust. Why can’t the same be said of music? Anyone can become a rockstar, a singer, a dancer – but we choose to only point out that anyone can be a DJ because it’s “so easy”? I’ve tried. It’s not easy… not that I ever wanted to be a touring DJ artist – I’ll stick to my dream of owning a restaurant. The only reason people are choosing to point out that anyone can be a DJ is because they want to find reasons to shut down the EDM movement. The only reason you hear about more up and coming DJs than other types of musicians is because they are more passionate about their music – because they want their music to be heard by everyone. And so what if it’s easier for a DJ to make it than other types of musicians – we still get to choose who we like, who we trust.

3. EDM is making a huge economic impact. As Pasquale Rotella, Insomniac CEO responsible for Electric Daisy Carnival, stated this past month, EDC Chicago brought in an estimated $26.1 million in to the Chicago area economy. I don’t know about you, but having money brought into our economy right now sounds pretty good. Big cities and states embrace the festivals: Chicago has Perry’s Stage at Lollapalooza, Spring Awakening Music Festival, Wavefront Music Festival, and North Coast Music Festival; Miami has Ultra Music Festival; Michigan has Electric Forest; New York has Electric Zoo; California originally had Electric Daisy Carnival, but it has since expanded nationally; Texas has plenty; Georgia has plenty. These massive festivals bring tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands of people together… and in the process, bring money to the local and state governments.

So, yes, EDM has seen a huge increase in popularity within the past couple of years, picking up a huge following. The thing that people who are anti-EDM don’t understand is that EDM is more than the commercialized market they see thrown in their face everyday – in advertisements, in political campaigns, etc. – it’s a movement that a lot of us are proud to be a part of. I love that for the past two hours I’ve been sitting at my desk listening to Kaskade, Calvin Harris, Krewella, Alesso, Nervo, and more without getting bored. I love that on my calendar I have listed four different concerts in Chicago that I know I won’t get to go to (because there’s a little thing called school and “poor college kid”) but that I still pretend I get to be a part of. I think the reason I most love EDM is because the artists love their fans – they’re most dedicated to their fans. Don’t get me wrong … I’ll always love Katy Perry … but I don’t think she’ll ever interact with her fans as much as EDM artists. I don’t see her playing hangman in the middle of the day on Twitter, putting up truth or dare videos on YouTube, or giving away free music just in the hopes that fans will spread the word in exchange.

Don’t judge the movement, join the movement. And if you still can’t agree with that – Nicki Minaj exists, so why can’t EDM?

Spring Awakening Giveaway… Stay Tuned.

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So, unfortunately there’s these concepts that go by the name of a job and poor college kids. Therefore, it pains me to say that since I have a job and poor college kid friends, I won’t be making it to Spring Awakening this year despite making sure I was at my computer the second tickets went on sale and posted hundreds of social media posts about how excited I was to go to the festival. However, that doesn’t mean that I don’t want to help out other poor college kids have the chance to attend the festival. So, I’m going have a ticket giveaway and let someone else go in my place. As soon as I work out the legalities of it, I’ll post the details. Seriously, though, I fully understand not being able to attend the most anticipated concerts and festivals of your year simply because you can’t afford it or your friends can’t afford it, so I promise to make it “no purchase necessary” to enter. Be sure to LIKE WTF Music Review on Facebook so you don’t miss the announcement! In the meantime, let’s address some of the fantastic DJs appearing at Spring Awakening this year and mourn in my loss of not being able to attend.

1. Calvin Harris

Luckily, I was able to crawl through the mud at Lollapalooza last summer and see Calvin Harris, so it’s not the end of the world, but it also really is because he’s my favorite. And on top of it, he just released 18 Months so it would have been like a whole second show. The best part about Calvin Harris is that he doesn’t play his own original tracks – he remixes each and every one so it’s not just listening to some DJ push play on stage. And I mean, it’s not like he’s hard on the eyes or anything.

2. ATB

I’ve been listening to ATB since I was just a little pre-teen living in Arlington, Texas and my mom would drive around listening to the “Gay Radio Station.” I haven’t kept up to date with them so recently so I can’t say they were at the top of my list of acts to see, but I’m sure they would have been great.

3. Bingo Players

If you’re listening to this song and thinking “Oh my god, Flo Rida,” I seriously want you to exit this webpage as fast as you possibly. If you’re listening to this song and dancing because you love it so much, you’ll understand how upset I am that first, I missed Bingo Players when they came to Madison last fall, and two, that I’m missing Bingo Players when they come to Chicago this summer. I just can’t get it right.

4. Dirty South

Alright, so luckily I get to see Alesso this Saturday night, so at least I might get to hear the song that made me fall in love with Dirty South, but then again, I’m also not entirely sure who to give full credit to for “City of Dreams.”

5. Krewella

I won’t get too upset about missing Krewella at Spring Awakening… until I realize that I’ll probably also miss seeing them in Madison on May 2. Seriously, I just need like one friend to attend that concert with me and I’ll feel like one fraction better about missing Spring Awakening. I’m accepting applications for concert-attending friend now.

6. Nero

You know, I was really looking forward to giving the Nero crowd a second chance after leaving in fear of my life at Lollapalooza last year. I mean, I was really upset at myself for leaving in the middle of their show last summer so when I saw they were coming to Spring Awakening, my reaction was relief… until now when I realize I can’t go and it’s like “lol at my life.”

7. Nervo

Lol. Kidding. That’s a joke. I’m not missing Nervo. There’s no way. Realistically, however, I will end up missing Nervo. I’m just going to prepare myself for a letdown now. Nervo is definitely the show I was looking most forward to at Spring Awakening though so whoever gets to enjoy them, you’re in for a real treat, and I’m extremely jealous.

8. Nicky Romero

Notice how the song I chose to feature on this post includes Nervo? Yeah. That excited. Anyway, Nicky Romero is another that I’m truly upset about missing. I’m sure he’ll come back to Chicago soon though – there will be other times, hopefully.

9. Porter Robinson

While Porter Robinson is fantastic live, I can’t say I’m too upset about missing him because I’ve seen him twice: once before Tiesto in Madison and once at Lollapalooza. He is really good though. Again, there’s nothing truly sensational about his performance, but he still puts on a good show that keeps you dancing through its entirety.

10. Zedd

If Nervo and Zedd were conveniently there on the same day or night when I wasn’t working and had a magical friend with money and interest in the same music as me, life would be perfect. Honestly, I didn’t really know who Zedd was until the first time I used my Shazam app and discovered “Spectrum.” I fell in love. Then, he released his debut album, Clarity, and I became obsessed. First, he’s funny. Second, he makes amazing music. Third, he’s adorable. Fourth, I was really hoping we could lock eyes at Spring Awakening and run away together. I guess that won’t be happening though.

So, that’s my ideal Spring Awakening lineup. There’s definitely more than 10 DJs that I want to see, but those are the 10 that I’m extremely upset that I’m missing. I guess when I bought my tickets a few months ago, I didn’t really think about the fact that you shouldn’t buy tickets to a 3-day festival alone and assume that someone else will conveniently also purchase 3-day tickets to the same festival when you don’t really have any friends who have the same passion for EDM as you do. So, as long as I can’t get sued for giving away my Spring Awakening tickets, I plan on giving them to you – a reader and a music lover. Stay tuned to WTF Music Review on Facebook (LIKE THE PAGE – this is how bloggers get followers, they bribe them, duh).

Dance Party Friday: DJs From Mars

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For the first couple months of listening to this mash-up, I could only find the version on YouTube from a Spanish YouTube channel that only referred to the artist as “Amazing” and something about “vogliamo auguravi” but my 5 years of sitting in Spanish class and only participating when I was forced to isn’t really helping me translate anything. So, today when I finally put some effort into discovering the real artist of the song, I decided it should also get some more exposure. 

Anyway, the mash-up sums up 2012 in music and it’s like… really good. It covers all the genres, it covers all the hits (good and bad). It mashes them in a way that you can’t even tell that it would ever be 26 different songs. Drink to it. Dance to it. Just listen.

Songs:

0:13 Calvin Harris – Feel So Close 0:25 Carly Rae Jepsen – Call Me Maybe 0:29 Zedd Ft Foxes – Clarity 0:34 Calvin Harris Ft. Neyo – Let’s Go 0:38 Flo Rida Ft Sia – Wild Ones 0:44 David Guetta Ft Sia – She Wolf 0:52 Maroon 5 Ft Wiz Kalifa – Payphone 1:02 Flo Rida – Whistle 1:11 Ivan Gough & Feenixpawl Ft. Georgi Kay – In My Mind (Axwell Remix) 1:26 Coldplay & Rihanna – Princess Of China 1:32 David Guetta & Chris Brown – I Can Only Imagine 1:37 Will I Am & Britney Spears – Scream And Shout 1:40 Skrillex – Bangarang 1:41 Martin Solveig – Night Out 1:46 No Doubt – Sittle Down 1:54 Sean Paul – She Doesn’t Mine 2:01 : The Wanted – I’m Glad You 2:04 Skrillex Ft Damian Marley – Make It Bun Dem 2:08 Madonna – Give Me All Your Lovin(Ft Mia & Nicki Minaj) 2:16 Dada Life – Feed The Dada 2:25 Psy – Gangnam Style 2:27 LMFAO – Party Rockin 2:31 Quilinez – Troll 2:34 Deadmau5 & Gerard Way – Personal Griefers 2:42 Nicky Romero – Toulouse 2:55 Alicia Keys – This Girl’s On Fire

Calvin Harris new album, 18 Months, video preview

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Calvin Harris new album 18 Months due out October 30th

18 Months on iTunes: http://smarturl.it/CH18MonthsDLX

The track listing for 18 MONTHS is:
1. Green Valley
2. Bounce (feat. Kelis) (***)
3. Feel So Close (***)
4. We Found Love (feat. Rihanna) (***)
5. We’ll Be Coming Back (feat. Example) (***)
6. Mansion
7. Iron w/ Nicky Romero
8. I Need Your Love (feat. Ellie Goulding) (***)
9. Drinking From The Bottle (feat. Tinie Tempah)
10. Sweet Nothing (feat. Florence Welch) (***)
11. School
12. Here 2 China w/ Dillon Francis (feat. Dizzee Rascal)
13. Let’s Go (feat. Ne-Yo) (***)
14. Awooga
15. Thinking About You (feat. Ayah)

(***) = Available Now

Calvin Harris’s latest single “Sweet Nothing” with Florence Welch

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So, I won’t completely admit to downloading this song on September 20th when it first hit YouTube, but I will say that prior to the early release today, my iTunes play count was up to 78 plays. This song taunted me too much to not give it an early listen; I mean, they started advertising “Sweet Nothing” all over Facebook in July. You can’t combine two of my favorite things – Calvin Harris and Florence Welch – and expect me to remain completely legal.

For those of you who are just hearing “Sweet Nothing” today, I both applaud you, and welcome you to one of the best collaborations of the year. It’s not even just Florence’s voice that attached me to this song; without Calvin Harris, the goddess herself couldn’t even complete this tune. In fact, it isn’t even until the chorus of the song that Flo’s power flies out of her vocals. Throughout the song, Harris’s beats are the heart and center of the song. There’s literally never a dull moment in the song: Calvin keeps pushing the beats, building suspense all the way up until the chorus.

The fifth official single from his album, 18 Months, due out October 30th, “Sweet Nothing” has got to be some of Calvin Harris’s best work. Even without Flo, the beats themselves could have made for a fantastic dance song; we were just lucky we got Flo’s vocals added.

Download here!

Ellie Goulding’s new album, Halcyon, out October 9th, 2012

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Article first published as Music Review: Ellie Goulding – Halcyon on Blogcritics.

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With her hit single, “Lights,” Ellie Goulding made a name for herself, and the United States quickly fell in love with her. Her name was plastered everywhere as “Lights” became one of the most covered songs of the year, being remixed by DJs such as Kap Slap, Max Gordon, and the most popular, Bassnectar. Since “Lights,” Ellie Goulding has had many other hits to keep her popularity including “Starry Eyed” and her cover of Elton John’s “Your Song.” Now, over a year past the release date for her first album, Lights, Goulding is releasing her second album, Halcyon, on October 9, and listeners can expect that same amazing sound they are familiar with.

Halcyon is full of electronic sounds, beautiful harmonies, and amazing vocals. It’s hard to choose the must-listen songs because, in all honesty, every song is a must-listen. The first single from Halcyon, “Anything Could Happen,” features a very upbeat sound, which is especially apparent in the chorus, where the electronic rhythm takes over. In addition, the broad range of vocal levels that Goulding expresses is partnered with exceptional harmonies. “Anything Could Happen” does a great job for setting the stage for many of the songs on the album such as “Hanging On,” “Figure 8,” and “Don’t Say a Word.”

People might most be familiar with “Hanging On” from the single that Goulding partnered with Tinie Tempah on, which can be found on the deluxe edition of the album; however, the version on Halcyon is just as amazing. The song starts with an increasing electronic beat accompanied by high-pitch vocals. When the beat drops at the chorus, the music seems to overcome the vocals before leveling out and finding equilibrium. Unlike anticipated, the beat does not remain constant throughout the song, but instead becomes heavier toward the end of the song.

“Figure 8” starts off suspenseful, beginning as if the vocals are stirring up the beat – they almost resemble a chant. Then, the chorus picks up the overall feel of the song with a very strong piano beat lingering in the background, as if someone was pounding the keys with all of his or her might. However, what brings about that familiar Goulding sound is the calm and steady electronic beat that builds up throughout the entire song, from beginning to end.

Another song with a very suspenseful beginning is “Don’t Say a Word.” The song starts off with a very slow beginning: a haunting feel that allows us to hear the range of Goulding’s vocals. The song gives us a feel for the deeper, darker side of Goulding’s sound. Ultimately, “Don’t Say A Word” moves into a very electronic beat, similar to “Figure 8,” while still maintaining the vocals that are unique to it.

On another note, Halcyon also features songs on a completely different spectrum. “My Blood” is an absolute must-listen. At the start of the song, for the first verse, the vocals almost do not even resemble Goulding; it definitely provides a new, unexpected sound from her. No fear, however, because the chorus is the same familiar voice that we expect from her. In addition, the song features extremely fantastic harmony and piano accompaniment. I’m not sure why, but this song truly makes me want to dance in the rain.

A personal favorite, “Explosions” really confuses you because you expect something completely different due to the title of the song, but instead you’re surprised in a good way. This song has so much going on and so much packed into four minutes. “Explosions” features a very choir-like sounding harmony, strings rather than an electric beat, a piano that joins the strings with a very fast paced and repetitive sound, and finally percussion that joins in with a very steady and soft beat. The background music almost seems to tell a story, truly expressing the meaning of the song.

Finally, the title song, “Halcyon,” features a calm, steady beginning beat with speedy lyrics and beautiful harmonies. Then, the chorus begins, truly separating itself from the rest of the song. What also stands out is the post-chorus sound, which is filled with fade-ins and fade-outs that just bring more attention to her amazing vocals.

Overall, Halcyon will just continue to make fans fall in love with Ellie Goulding. She maintains her unique vocals throughout the entire album. In addition, she continues to show her electronic side while introducing a new, deeper side of her vocals. Simply put, Halcyon is a must-listen album.

Lollapalooza 2012: Recap

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Warning that none of these videos are mine considering I broke my phone in the middle of Day 2…

Day 1: Physical Fights

To be honest, I spent minimal amounts of time at Lollapalooza on day one: partially because I had to work that morning, but also because when you start a fight, it’s time to walk away. Also, in reality, if the guy hadn’t been tripping on every drug he could find in his medicine cabinet that morning, my shove to the gut would have felt like a pat on the back since I lack the ability to pick up a 5lb weight. On another note, in my short time there, I started with Porter Robinson. Now, according to my Tiesto ticket stub from September, I have apparently seen Porter Robinson before. However, I would say Lolla was the first time I actually listened or paid attention to him. He puts on a good show, but I wouldn’t say there’s really anything to set him apart and make him extremely unique. Then there’s Nero… why in my sane and completely sober mind I thought it would be a smart idea to work my way to the second row of a Nero concert at a massive festival, I will never understand. To all Nero fans: you scare the living Hell out of me. However, Nero was fantastic. Definitely different than Porter Robinson, but simply awesome. My only complaint with the concerts themselves is the fact that they were in the daytime because my personal favorite part is the lights show. And yes, I realize the point of Lolla is an all-day festival. My first day of Lolla ended there as I walked out covered in an unhealthy amount of other people’s sweat, praying that I had no open wounds in which diseases could have spread.

Day 2: Evacuation

You know what’s not fun? Being on the train on the way to Lollapalooza and having your friend receive a phone call telling you that the festival is being evacuated and not to come. Once I heard that, I cursed Mother Nature and decided if there was not a torrential downpour, someone would probably be injured at the expense of my anger. Thankfully the festival opened back up at 6pm – although I didn’t mind the extra two hours to eat everything in my kitchen. I started at Calvin Harris – my most anticipated concert of the weekend. After fighting my way up about 150 rows, dancing and getting covered in about three inches of mud, and losing everyone I was with, I made it to the front section to enjoy my favorite Scottish DJ. I fell in love with the music itself” the beats, the lights, the bass. However, Calvin, I get that you’ve publicly announced you’ll “no longer be singing” so you can “focus on producing,” but COME ON, at least let me enjoy some pre-recordings of your extremely orgasmic voice. I definitely would have preferred to hear some more vocals. Afterwards, I headed to Avicii – and yes, I actually made it to the concert this time (oh, memories). Avicii, as always, sounded fantastic, looked exceptional, and put on a memorable show. But really… the reason his show is so memorable is because it’s the exact same setlist as every other show he puts on – just more condensed. However, it was still a blast and ended in me being offered a job as a zumba instructor. After Avicii, the night ended because I needed to find a lake – or sprinklers – to wash my mud-covered body. Never did find that lake…

Day 3: Sweet, Sweet Bliss.

Lollapalooza day three was by far the best day of the entire festival if you exclude the first group I saw: The DumDum Girls?? Honestly I now understand why no one goes to the festival before 3pm… the early bands are just repulsive. Never. Again. While waiting for Florence + the Machine (round three) to go on stage, I did catch J. Cole’s show. For never hearing his music before in my life, the concert was pretty decent and the crowd was pretty tame, but it’s just not my kind of music. However, Florence + the Machine definitely is and they were just as amazing at Lollapalooza as they were the first two times I saw them. I would definitely say that Florence Welch did a much better job interacting with the audience than any other artist I saw at the festival did. As with every concert, she involved the crowd in both “Raise It Up” and “Dog Days are Over.” At one point, she stepped off the stage to run through the separated sections of the grass. She spun, she sang, she resembled a goddess… seriously, my love for her just grows everyday. After Florence, I tried my best to catch a portion of Miike Snow, but after seeing the size of the crowd, it just was not worth it since I wanted to see Kaskade close out the festival so badly. And did he ever. By far the best light show of any EDM artist I’ve ever seen – and I’ve gone to one too many concerts in my life. You could just tell that he was enjoying putting on the show as much as every person in the crowd was enjoying being there. My only complaint with Kaskade’s show was that it had to end. He even came on stage 15 minutes early so that he could play longer, but at 10pm it had to end… stupid Chicago curfew.

So that’s my Lolla recap. And I’m really starting to realize that in 3 days of concert going, I managed to only see approximately seven shows… what was I doing?