Always Forward. Never Straight.

One of my facebook friends recently updated his status with some kind of rant about the whole EDM vs Electronic Music debate. I didn't realize there was a large controversy about this, but I suppose if I can infer what the debate is about without knowing much context, this is something I've possibly thought about before. I guess the argument goes that "EDM" is American-bred crappy rave music that has gone absolutely crazy in the states and "Electronic Music" comes from anywhere else in the world (but mostly the UK) and is given a free pass to awesome.

Now don't get me wrong, I know the history of house and disco music and I know that stuff is alllllll based in the US from decades ago. I also know there are a TON of great American bedroom producers/beatmakers doing amazing stuff in all walks of electronic genres. BUT, in general, the rest of the world has been doing electronic music in the mainstream waaaaay longer and better than America has. If I turned on the radio in the UK vs the US, 98 out of 100 times UK radio is playing more evolved electronic music. That's just a fact (and a very telling statement about US radio overall). Not saying that can't change, but at this point in time, it feels hard to argue.


Now I certainly don't hate EDM in the states, but I've always felt pretty alienated and turned off by the tacky dress and behavior of EDM kids (and adults, mind you). See Reference A, as case in point. Keep in mind that I've never been a "raver" and will never call myself one. Nor am I claiming to be above the stupid "LOOK AT ME" music culture bullshit (I was definitely a textbook scenester in my high school days). But I think this gets at the heart of the unspoken problem in the original debate. Cultures. And more specifically cultures inspired by music. It's impossibly hard to separate people's perception of EDM as music (which btw, wtf is that??) and EDM as a culture. To me, America has mistakenly birthed EDM as a culture tied to a specific type of music and that culture has a host of negative stereotypes. Not saying that rave culture in other parts of the world is any more appealing.

Now if we really wanted to debate the quality of the music, I feel like everyone should just shut up and stop talking. What I love about the average electronic music listener is how openminded we are. We don't give a shit about genres and labels - we'll listen to just about anything and give it an honest try to see if there's something to appreciate! The thing we always forget is that for a lot of people, music is a reflection of who they are and their relationship to life. And we should remember that before insulting people's taste in sound.

So I guess if I were to pick side on the debate it'd be "Electronic Music," but only because EDM is inexplicably tied to a culture I don't understand and I prefer using "Electronic Music" as a proxy term for music made using electronic machines in any part of the world. However, above this parochial debate, I just want to point out how much the internet has progressed and diversified electronic music even further than any other genre under the sun. Electronic music is constantly shifting, blending, and reinventing itself into the next fractured subgenre, never settling into one trend for too long. It's kind of the perfect representation of the saying: Always forward. Never straight.

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Meet the Author

Hi, I am Julie.
Sometimes Jules Juke.
This is where I ramble, reflect, and refocus.