Hi, I'm Drew, and Welcome to #trendwatch, where I, an adult professional writer, will talk about trends. But not trends like cargo pants and Heelys (even though they are totally relevant and totally awesome). They were trends long, long ago, when we were young and free, before social media made everything irrelevant before everything it even existed. No, friends, we're talking about the here and now. And not just any old trends, compadre. I have created this space to talk about the most important trends in the most important sphere of culture: dance music. So strap some glowsticks on your dicks and inject some weapons-grade ketamine into your eyeballs, motherfuckers, because we're about to embrace infinity.
In the past few months, capitalism has caught up to EDM in an unprecedented way. EDM, or "Electronic Dance Music" for all you parents out there, has become embraced by a silent majority of normal people and bros, and record companies have taken it upon themselves to appeal to bland, unoriginal listeners in the most aggressive manner possible. If you look at the numbers, the only two genres of music that make lots of money are pop country and EDM. So, before you could say "Supply Side Economics," somebody thought to combine the two. Often, things designed to appeal to the highest number of people are either completely terrible, completely amazing, or completely both. Here are three examples of this brave new world in Country-EDM, or as we at THUMP have dubbed it, COUNTREDM.
Pitbull feat. Ke$ha - "Timber"
Time has proven a few immutable truths about humanity: Justice is a myth stored in the popular consciousness, humans are descended from monkeys, and Pitbull contains not a single ounce of shame within his Cuban bones. He's teamed up with the walking herpes sore that is his former tour-mate Ke$ha for "Timber," which might be the best song of all time. It starts out with a harmonica line ripped straight from some Rust Belt bar band and spot-welds it to a four-on-the-floor beat while Pitbull bellows sweet nothings. Listen to it five times in a row, and whatever hat you're wearing will transmogrify into a glow-in-the-dark cowboy hat, and you'll be naked, giving a lap dance to a sheriff. This song is retarded, but wait until you're drunk tonight and this song comes on in a bar. You're gonna shit your pants with joy, trust me.
True story: When I went to YouTube to watch this song's music video, there was a commercial for Ralph Lauren jeans playing before the video proper. The song soundtracking the commercial? MOTHERFUCKING "WAKE ME UP" BY AVICII AND ALOE BLACC. That really tells you all you need to know, but if you want more of all you need to know, this might be even more cold, calculated, and crassly commercial than "Timber," because Ke$ha is offensive to squares, and there is nothing about this song that could ever piss someone off. This video starts with two kids in a weird There Will Be Blood-esque town, and ends with them finding an Avicii concert because obviously. Avicii seems like the sort of Ken Doll who'd be really flirty and personable on OKCupid, and then you'd go get frozen yogurt and it would be all awkward and then he'd message you three days afterwards angrily demanding to know why you hadn't texted him yet. He's also European, and Europeans don't know shit about country music, so this song feels disingenuous.Miley Cyrus feat. Nelly - "4x4"
Miley Cyrus' Bangerz is not a good album, but it is a really great arbitrary item through which the insane earning potential of Miley's transformation into "Drunk Rihanna" can be monetized. "4x4" is a COUNTREDM song featuring both an accordion and Nelly, which feels like a shitty joke from a David Letterman Top Ten list but is actually just a real thing. This song is significant because it symbolizes Nelly's unlikely transformation into a signifier of "Country," and also because Miley Cyrus rap-sings, "Drivin' so fast 'bout to piss on myself," not once but TWICE. This song pales in comparison to Nelly's other recent forays into country music, "Hey Porsche" and the remix to Florida Georgia Line's "Cruise," songs so objectively perfect that they might actually represent the absolute midpoint of all sound. "4x4," on the other hand, is about as appealing as a shit-flavored e-cigarette.
Thus concludes our first edition of #trendwatch. Tune in next week, when we launch an in-depth investigation into the wild world of Eastern European Brony-trap raves. - @drewmillard