Why I Can't Take "EDM" Seriously

Categories: EDM

Flyers from back in the day, when raves were, like, you don't even know, guys.

There are several reasons for my hatred. First EDM is not an accurate description of the vast variety of electronic music that's widely available. For example, I listen mostly to trip-hop and downtempo, which are chill-out genres not designed for dancing. Why would you call something EDM when it's not really dance music at all?

Second, EDM is a term that's used exclusively in the United States. I think it makes us look a little bit silly and parochial to the international music scene.

Finally -- and this is my own personal bias -- I associate the term "EDM" with...well, bros with frosted hair and wifebeaters who hit the clubs on the weekend so they can drink to excess and mack on scantily clad women. It reminds me of The Jersey Shore's Pauly D and the type of people who would call the shlock that he spins "quality house music." It reminds me of people who go to parties to see, be seen, get high and make out with strangers, not to listen to the music. It's not a term I've ever heard a DJ or promoter use -- it's reserved for people who don't know much (or anything at all) about electronic music but need a quick way to classify it.

What would be better, in my opinion, is to use the terms of each specific genre when talking about that type of music. Techno is techno. House is house. Dubstep is dubstep. Garage is garage. As the genres continue to evolve, I think the parallels with rock become more clear -- first we had rock 'n' roll, and then, as the style of music matured, we had different flavors nestled within that descriptor. Folk rock. Psychedelic rock. Glam rock. Punk rock.

Most people wouldn't describe Metallica as a rock band. Nor would they describe John Mayer as a rock artist. As the style has grown and changed, each sub-genre has become a genre in its own right.

I think that's what's happening to electronic music. But until we reach the point where mass consumers of music media can identify the differences between house and techno, drum-and-bass and dubstep, I'm going to keep on calling it "electronic music."

Because I just can't take EDM seriously.


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