Krewella – “Get Wet”

Image via Columbia Records
Image via Columbia Records

Chicago’s Krewella have finally arrived with the release of their major label debut album, Get Wet. In the same way that Blink-182 once galvanized a generation of party-hardy youngings and pissed off and worried their parents with their raunchy, if not at times cringe-worthy angst-ridden brand of pop punk music, Krewella’s Get Wet no doubt fulfills the same void that Blink did – albeit with a face full of bass.  But is it more than just a raunchy soundtrack – is it more than insanely infectious pop music?  Compare the record with any number of recent top 40 hits or critical pop darlings like Daft Punk‘s “Get Lucky” or Macklemore & Ryan Lewis’ “Thrift Shop” and there’s clearly a distinct difference in attitude and tone deeper then musical style or genre.  With Krewella, there’s a primal if not animalistic sense of unbridled emotion reminiscent of the hard rock heyday or recent bands like Paramore; something that current pop music, like Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Call Me Maybe” lacks.  With that said, in a time where the dance music’s power as a pop culture force is in question, Krewella’s debut album is not only the most aggressive pop record in years, but a timeless record and a cultural milestone for dance music, cementing the legitimacy of the EDM age.

What makes Krewella so special? Frame Get Wet against its contemporaries and it’s an example of post-modern music. Philosopher Jonathan Kramer theorized in his essay “The Nature and Origins of Musical Postmodernism” that post-modern music is not a product of historical period or a even particular style, but an “attitude” as it relates to “modern” (re: pop) music.  In simpler terms, it has an emotion and attitude that current pop music just doesn’t have.  And there’s no question that “attitude” permeates throughout the record’s entirety, through not only the vocals, but the drum work and bass.  Tracks like “Dancing With The Devil,” their collaboration with former Blink-182 drummer Travis Barker, exudes a raw aggression as the analog rock drums are juxtaposed against snarling electro Skrillified-’tude. “We Go Down” uses militarized trap percussion and still packs a punishing punch with primal monster dubstep growls that would have been impossible for top 40 not that long ago. t’s the album’s roots in electronic dance music, more specifically dubstep and bass music, that elucidates this post-modern attitude with dubstep growls, big drops, and absolutely electric energy.Even their take on the big room house sound, “We Are One” takes on a warrior-like, tribal energy reminiscent of other big room bombs like Knife Party‘s “LRAD” or Carnage & Tony Junior‘s “Michael Jordan” with it’s own added vocal twist courtesy of the sisters.

Detractors will ignore any potential for deeper substance by pointing out the lyrics.  And on the surface, they’d be right as Krewella’s lyrics come across as simply teenage pop fair about “living for the night,” but it’s actually much more poetic then that.  In a world where teens and young adults communicate in l33t speak and use #hashtags and memes to convey complex emotions, Da Vinci’s sentiments have never been more relevant, “simplicity is the highest form of sophistication” – and as such, the lyrics are minimally challenging and in short phrases. The alyrical breakdowns coupled with almost meme and hashtag-inspired hooks like the repeat of “Live For The Night” makes for something insanely catchy, and something that’ll no doubt resonate with people, in the same funny way that Rich Homie Quan’s “Type Of Way” has polarized the hip-hop world.  It’s so simple and easy to remember that it’s almost too marketable and enjoyable to the point where it’s poetic-ness is being taken for granted and is being misinterpreted as cheesy, trite vocals.  The lyrics, in concert with the actual music carry an emotional weight that other pop music just doesn’t have. An emotional weight, a deeper artistic expression, that reflects the sentiments generation who has grown up with the sounds of machine guns and explosions filling the news.

Even the Adventure Club-esque melodic dubstep anthem “Human” exemplifies this as the track starts with acoustic guitar before morphing into tsunami-sized bass summoning the angst of a generation mired in a social media mess. The tracks all have this anthemic, or as New York Times said, “megaclub trance” side that coupled with the bass, makes for hits in the club, and soon, on the charts.  The album isn’t perfect by any means, but it does have a fair share of bangers and anthems that could very well stand the test of time as throngs neophyte ravers girls and boys cling to this record as their gateway into the world of bass.

Perhaps deeper then just pop music, Krewella has delivered a record, down to the Pompeii-esque inspired artwork that’ll resonate with a generation – a generation brought up in a post-9/11 world inundated with end-of-days and consistent fear for their country’s future that could parallel the fall of Rome.  With that said, it’s no wonder in a world where we’re constantly that our generation wants to live it up while we can. Throw in a overly sexualized and hedonistic mainstream media and a growing penchant for hooking up (or as Krewella eloquently says, “getting wet”) and you have the makings of generation’s sexual and cultural eruption, and the catalyst for global artistic revolution.  It’s the sort of album that will get people talking and help keep our scene growing, and as such will inspire more and more people.  Again this album isn’t perfect, but there’s no doubt that this album is a stellar debut for a trio tasked with representing EDM to the masses.

With that said, Krewella’s album comes at a time when dance music’s social acceptance and legitimacy has been question as universities shut down concerts and the talk surround Molly continues.  So even if the mustachioed hipsters would rather that a James Blake album be the pop darling, despite its shortcomings and perhaps overly explicit themes, Krewella’s Get Wet, is the important record that dance music needs right now.  As such Get Wet is a timeless record and culturally significant pop and EDM record whether we like it or not.  To paraphrase The Dark Knight, Krewella might not be the hero we want, but they’re the hero EDM needs as it’s a step in legitimizing EDM as a global music and pop culture.