As of late, both CNN and The Guardian have contemplated the idea that Americans are an inherently dumb nation of people. On October 1, 2013, the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) released results of a two-year study in which thousands of adults in 23 countries were tested for competency in literacy, basic math, and technology. At or near the bottom in all three categories, the failings of the United States were placed on display for the world to see. However, at a recent Zedd-headlined show in Chicago, ignorant (and possibly boorish) EDM fanatics showcased America’s apparently rampant issue with ignorance in a far less intellectual display. In Americans knowing nothing, and apparently showing no desire to learn, could our nation’s willful display of ignorance be the first (of many) death knells for EDM?
The night of partying in Chicago attempted to build energy through a classic notion of what a proper night of dance should embody. Classixx’s funky disco grooves setting the tone for Zedd‘s own pop-dance explosiveness makes sense. However, Classixx were booed offstage. In these EDM fanatics in the middle of America not being receptive to an established global tradition of what makes a quality night of dance a quality night of dance, it may not just speak to an aberrant night at the #PLURNT party.
Facts and figures clearly show that this is an era of tremendous flux in the music industry. Beyonce puts out 17 videos and 14 tracks without warning, rap and rock are on a commercial death watch, and cheap to produce and (in being singles-driven) easy to spread EDM has taken control. Because of factors that are, at present, out of anyone’s control, we’re turning music fans into hungry cannibals. More music is being given away than is being sold, and thus free access to music is at an all-time high. From these facts, its possible to extrapolate the idea that maybe Zedd and his management team) was wrong to present a traditional night of dance for his crowd. This crowd, remember, cannibalizes music, and if given mounds of metaphorical chaff with the promise of wheat to come, should be expected to grow hungry and impatient. However, aside from playing “Clarity” on repeat for three hours (tremendous “fuck you” ideas, actually), there are very few ways to satiate a crowd in this environment.
As well, this situation makes me ask the question of what exactly I (and others) are doing here writing these columns, obsessively pouring through hours upon hours of the history of dance music, and generally attempting to create the foundation for a new generation of dance fanatics to understand the history of dance music culture? By booing Classixx (who, if by using traditional dance definitions, and understanding the natures of what Zedd create, are probably the best of all possible openers) people are literally throwing their own feces at the house that many would ideally love to build, and, well, that’s not okay.
If you’re going to throw feces at this house then it’s only right that as an inhabitant of this house, that I fire back with some facts of where this is likely headed. Two times in the past forty years dance music culture made significant gains in the global mainstream and came to America to die at the hands of our own inherent stupidity. Our desire as Americans to actively want to know nothing, yet demand everything turned dance’s expansive notions into insipid three minute and 30 second pop moments. A life-affirming culture able to supersede all intellectual and social barriers turned into sch ridiculous things as a radio DJ singing with a duck, the Village People making tons of money off thinly veiled gay innuendos, and later songs about Barbie dolls and square-dancing. If that’s where you want all of this to go, then that’s okay. All I ask is that you stop reading, go pre-game hard, and show up at the club just in time for the headliner’s biggest hit song.
However, if you don’t want this fun you’re clearly having with EDM to end, then take a second and do something clearly totally un-American: get educated. George Clinton once said, “free your mind and your ass will follow.” In accepting the depth and breadth of what constitutes dance, I assure you, the party will NEVER stop. As long as the music industry can’t turn giant profits, thus leading to pushing singles and (relatively) cheap to produce EDM, dance’s run on top could last FOREVER. Sadly though, it seems as though Americans have absolutely no intention whatsoever of listening to me (or anyone else). Booing Classixx sounds like the beginning of the end. Cue the square-dancing ducks and Barbie dolls. If this party’s going to end, it needs to be as absurd as possible. EDM really doesn’t need to end like that, and there’s no reason why I have to write a column like this, too. America is so dumb. That is unfortunate.