Music is one form of art that connects with us all. It can hit us at emotional levels, entertain us, wow us, and even speak to us. Therefore, music is perhaps the most subjective form of entertainment and art on the planet as two people would, at least, have slight differences in music tastes. So when I discuss why I love the genre, Electronic Dance Music (EDM), I want to emphasize that I do not think it is the best music genre or better than any other genre. It is, simply, a genre I enjoy the most, along with pop, as fast-paced music appeals to me the most.
Before I discuss why I love EDM, I will first explain my background in music.
For the first 18 years of my life, I had little access to popular music as my family mainly listened to country music and never listened to the radio. The rare access I had was through soundtracks in sports video games such as Madden and MVP Baseball. This changed late in high school when my best friend introduced me to the band, One Direction, in 2016. I absolutely loved them to the point where I became obsessed with their music. This also established my foundation for pop music going forward. As they split up, my friend introduced me to more pop music in the next few years, which I enjoyed. It also helped that streaming services, Apple Music and Spotify were becoming popular around this time.
In 2018, my freshman year of college, my new best friend introduced me to EDM and my love for that genre exploded from there. It is one of my three most listened to genres along with pop and alternative music. My three all-time favorite songs are EDM, and the Norwegian DJ, Kygo, is my favorite musical artist. The last thing I want to clarify is just about every song of EDM I enjoy features vocals.
The three biggest reasons I love EDM are the use of vocals, the build-ups and the verses. My three all-time favorite songs, “Scars” by Alesso (featuring Ryan Tedder), “High on Life” by Martin Garrix (featuring Bonn) and “Kids in Love” by Kygo (featuring The Night Game), emphasize these aspects.
Vocals have always been my most important criteria when it comes to songs. Even if the music is strong, vocals that do not work for me can ruin my enjoyment of a song. The EDM songs that nail the vocals are not only most of my favorite songs vocally, but my favorite songs in general. DJs can edit and mix vocals to not only make them sound better but also flow better with the music. This perfection is made possible by electronically mixing the vocals and the impact is felt through listening to these pieces.
There is no better example of this than the rock band OneRepublic and lead singer Ryan Tedder.
OneRepublic is one of my favorite bands with many great tracks produced over the past 13 years. Tedder is my favorite vocalist in music and EDM allows his vocals to shine even more than his own band. He has worked with DJs such as Alesso, David Guetta, Zedd, Sebastian Ingrosso and Kygo and all these songs are incredible to listen to.
My favorite piece with Tedder in EDM is “Scars” by Alesso. Tedder’s voice sounds breathtaking, but what makes this song my third-favorite of all-time is the way his powerful voice flows with the fast-paced music. This harmony created by Alesso creates a stunning musical experience that thrills me every time I blast it.
Adding on to the vocals, the build-up in the songs make the musical experience even stronger. Whenever its movies, TV shows or sports, I am entertained by suspense. For music, this is also the case. EDM is the genre of music that builds the most suspense for me as in a typical EDM song, there is a verse that builds up the music toward a beat. Then, the beat drops into a musical chorus.
It is this build-up that contributes to my love of EDM when executed well. “High on Life”, by Martin Garrix, is this concept but much crazier and better. Instead of using one, long, build-up verse toward the main musical chorus, he uses four. Combined with Bonn’s breathtaking vocals and stellar music, all four verses are tremendous. When the main musical chorus kicks in, it is a jubilant feeling, adding to the terrific energy I get from listening to the piece.
However, an EDM song is not complete without its chorus.
Kygo is the best DJ at this as most of his music involves him playing the piano. Kygo is a pianist that mixes the chords with electronic elements, making his musical verses and choruses that much more beautiful.
In his track, “Kids in Love,” all three elements that make EDM great are emphasized, especially the verses. During the build-up to the main beat, he starts off with a piano melody after a strong vocal transition. The melody, on top of the bassline, is heavenly. Then, he adds in a second piano chord, creating a euphoric bliss. The line at the beat drop, “we were Kids in Love” is the cherry on top of my favorite musical part of all-time.
While I enjoy songs from many different musical genres, EDM holds a special place in my heart. It provides many of my favorite vocal parts in music, the build-ups entertain me, and the musical pieces are amazing.
If you have not gotten into EDM, I would recommend at least checking out the three songs mentioned above to see if EDM is a genre you could enjoy.