Don't Stop the Pop
December 28, 2010 7:27 PM   Subscribe

Sorry, mate! Waiting for this is always one of my favorite parts of the end of the year.
fwiw, I'm not sure how I feel about this year's. Of course, it took a while for 2009's to grow on me, too.
posted by estlin at 7:35 PM on December 28, 2010

You know it wouldn't be so easy to create such a seamless mix if 90% of pop music didn't use the same four chords.
posted by Talez at 7:45 PM on December 28, 2010 [1 favorite]

Also: Best of Bootie 2010 is out.
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 7:55 PM on December 28, 2010 [5 favorites]

Four chords? I thought it was down to three.
posted by oneswellfoop at 8:04 PM on December 28, 2010

Off the top of my head, 3 of those songs are 2009. Tik Tok is the most egregious of these, having been released in August 2009, though it did remain popular to the point of saturation to SNL in April 2010, and the Simpsons (shudder) in May 2010.

Lady Gaga's Bad Romance is October 2009. Telephone was released as a single in January 2010, but was from a 2009 album.
posted by explosion at 8:04 PM on December 28, 2010

Woop! Woop! Statistical anomaly in pop music mash-up detected! Oh Metafilter, you never disappoint.

I'm with estlin, I've been looking forward to this for at least the last month. I am eternally boggled that DJ Earworm can take all those songs and turn them into something which manages to be subtly, yet inescapably poignant, as if magically teasing out the sadness in a bunch of otherwise preposterously peppy songs.

Favorite moment: "Ain't got no money in my pocket but/I wanna be a billionaire."

Nicely done, yet again.
posted by ErikaB at 8:08 PM on December 28, 2010 [1 favorite]

Just to tide you over until the '10 version, here's Skillz' '09 Rap Up.
posted by box at 8:14 PM on December 28, 2010 [1 favorite]

On March 6, 2010, Tik Tok was #1, Bad Romance was #2, and Telephone was #8 on the Billboard Top 100.
posted by yeti at 8:24 PM on December 28, 2010

Off the top of my head, 3 of those songs are 2009.

Billboard makes its Top 100 Chart "as measured by airplay and sales data gathered throughout the year", and DJ Earworm just uses that chart to make his mix. So yeah, some of these songs did debut in 2009.
posted by estlin at 8:27 PM on December 28, 2010

Okay, for starters, that BootieParty website is outstanding.

Second, DJ Earworm's end of year mashup is always great, even if I'm not that in touch with the pop world these days.

Third, I find myself constantly reminded that music videos are making a comeback, and this makes me very very happy. I still wish I had a channel streaming them to me rather than having to go dig them up myself, but hey.

Thanks for posting!
posted by hippybear at 8:39 PM on December 28, 2010

I usually like his mashups, but man, this was hard to enjoy. Part of the problem is that so many of the top 25 were produced by the same few people, which makes the whole thing same-y and generic. When I make mix CDs I don't like doing more than 2 songs by the same producer on the entire CD, this has multiple songs by the same producers in 5 minutes:

Dr Luke:

Tik Tok
California Gurls
Teenage Dream

Will I am:
I'mma Be

Alex da Kid:
Love the Way You Lie

Red One:
I Like It
Bad Romance

Just the Way You Are
Nothin On You

With electronic music especially (and almost the entire list is electronic), the producer is the driving force behind the music, and a lot of these guys just have a formula they use over and over again (which, from what I can tell seems to be putting an R&B vocal over an electro house record)

Every one of these sounds in these records was big in dance clubs in the early-mid 2000s. It's been kind of weird to hear sounds that I had though were hardcore and underground get recycled into mainstream radio hits. I guess that means I'm getting old.

That said, I like most of these songs, and it's been fun to see euro-dance edge into the mainstream again, since it's always been my favorite kind of music. The other thing I liked was the Florida Breaks resurgence (Boom Boom Pow and Like a G6 were both songs DJ Icey could have made in the mid 90s in Orlando)

Another act that just blatantly is doing early 2000's ish progressive house with R&B vocals is Stargate, who produced Rihanna - The Only Girl in the World and Ne Yo - Closer
posted by empath at 8:39 PM on December 28, 2010 [9 favorites]

Yep. Earworm picks his songs based upon when they charted, not when they were released. It's a bit less egregious than the Grammy's "Best New Artist" award, which seems completely arbitrary, often to the extreme chagrin of its recipients (a handful of which had been releasing music for decades prior to winning the award)
posted by schmod at 8:40 PM on December 28, 2010

I haven't cared much for the Earworm mixes in the past, but this time I found I liked it more because I actually watched the video first. It does all sound the same, the old fogey said in a curmudgeonly voice, but it's so well-done technically that I could appreciate it without needing to like the components. I'm totally not surprised the bulk of it is a small number of producers.

And thanks whadK for the reminder to snag me some Bootie!
posted by immlass at 8:45 PM on December 28, 2010

I mean compare Ne-Yo - Closer to Solid Sessions - Janiero.

It's not a rip-off of that particular song, just a throw back to that style, there are others, like Jam and Spoon - Stella.

Another song from the 90s that seems to keep getting referenced is Art of Trance - Madagascar. (compare to 2:35 of that to :44 seconds of Calvin Harris - Not Alone or 25 seconds into Dynamite. Not exactly the same thing, but just similar in feel.

In 5 years, reworked dubstep, kuduro, fidget house, and minimal techno are going to be dominating the pop charts, I'm sure.
posted by empath at 8:50 PM on December 28, 2010

a lot of these guys just have a formula they use over and over again (which, from what I can tell seems to be putting an R&B vocal over an electro house record)

I don't remember if it was linked here or not, but within the past week or two I read an article about someone who was kind of being a fly on the wall during a songwriting session by this artist and that producer (I don't remember who exactly).

The way they described the writing of the track, this and that were in a studio and were hanging out having breakfast and reading the paper and websurfing, and someone dropped by with the track (or the beats, or the groove -- I'm unhip and don't know the lingo) that they were supposed to use as the background for the song, which was intended for Artist Y.

Anyway, they put the track on, and just let it play (apparently it was just a loop), and after about an hour they started coming up with melodies and lyrics and such, and by the time the morning was finished, they'd written a full song on top of what was basically an electronica loop.

So yeah, that's pretty much what they're doing. My background having watched singer/songwriter types create chords and lyrics out of thin air has me a bit, um... put off by the idea of writing music that's a series of hooks laid over a hook-laden backing track, as it feels a bit too manufactured to me. But that's how pop music is made these days.
posted by hippybear at 9:15 PM on December 28, 2010

What? No Justin Bieber?

Otherwise, my comment from last year should still suffice (the second half of it anyway).

My point: music in general is in great, great form these days, despite downloading (maybe because of it), despite autotune, despite the ongoing efforts of large and evil corporations to destroy everything that's decent about human culture (usually, unconsciously).

For me, what's utterly remarkable about this Earworm mash-up and the accompanying vid is their complete failure to reflect any of this. It's just four some minutes of really awful, facetious, narcissistic effluent ... and yet I sorta liked it.

Thanks for the compression.

posted by philip-random at 10:03 PM on December 28, 2010

it feels great to live in the future
posted by chinston at 10:03 PM on December 28, 2010

Steve Angello actually recently made a hit club record just throwing a couple of pre-made loops from a $100 sample pack together.

It was kind of a mini-scandal in dance music.
posted by empath at 10:04 PM on December 28, 2010 [2 favorites]

You know, mashups are pretty interesting overall. They play with the tension of expectation and surprise which makes the best music work so well, only they rely on metaknowledge to manipulate that tension, rather than self-generating it. Or rather, the tension is generated within the mashup itself, but it's a tension based on knowledge which exists outside the work itself.

It's like, when the first movement of Beethoven's Fifth Symphony bursts into C Major toward the end, it's completely unexpected, and yet the transition makes complete sense, so that tension is generated in the listener in a pleasant way, because the surprise is musically logical.

A good mashup achieves this, but by playing on the mystery of "how the hell is this going to work", because the listener (generally) approaches the mashup from a point of experience with the works it is derived from.

The effects can be sublime. From this year's Best Of Bootie mix, I personally love the utter weirdness of Knock Out Eileen and Imagine A Jump, but REALLY find I've Got More Than A Feeling from the 2009 mix to play with that tension in an excellent way. (mp3 links)

But Jacko Under Pressure and Come Closer Together are still my two favorites of all time. (Admitting that my exposure to the entire genre is limited, excepting some odd corners here and there.)

I'm so happy for this thread! Thank you!
posted by hippybear at 10:28 PM on December 28, 2010 [4 favorites]

Beethoven's Fifth Symphony

Wolfgang Gartner had a big remix of that this year.
posted by empath at 10:46 PM on December 28, 2010

Oh dear god, it's Hooked On Classics for the New Millennium.

(I keed. It's actually pretty interesting.)
posted by hippybear at 10:52 PM on December 28, 2010

As an unapologetic fan of "Tik Tok," I loved this.
posted by Navelgazer at 11:41 PM on December 28, 2010

I'm just here, being a hater.
posted by BlackLeotardFront at 12:31 AM on December 29, 2010 [1 favorite]

Reminds me of my favorite Bootie mashup of all time: Clockwork's "Office Musik" (Lil Wayne vs. The Office, MP3 link)
posted by aheckler at 2:54 AM on December 29, 2010 [1 favorite]

Well, that confirms my belief that pop these days is more dull, formulaic and interchangeable than it has ever been in my life. They blend together so well, don't they, those "songs"? Like bland, seamless, software-spawned fizz-and-thump noises meandering through the same wholly predictable little shifts, with shiny, glitzy visuals thrown in to try to distract you from how lamentably fucking unimaginative the sounds are.

Depressing. Even more depressing is that 99% of what is laughably called "indie music" these days suffers from the same problem.

Remember when pop was fun and surprising? When you could have "Virginia Plain" and Bowie and James Brown and Dave and Ansell Collins and Deep Purple and Genesis and T Rex and The Bonzos on Top Of The Pops? God, yes, I know I'm an old fart. But it really isn't just because I'm old. All of this stuff on the video.... it's just so fucking plastic and shallow. It's music by numbers. It's cold and dead. It's all skin and no bones; no guts, no heart.

And I still say Lady Gaga's songs sound like Boney M. Especially the inexplicably popular "Bad Romance". Take the fetish video away and what are you left with? Boney fucking M with a noughties production.

Bah. Pop is dead. Good riddance.
posted by Decani at 2:58 AM on December 29, 2010

I need to catch up, I only recognized about 7 songs.
posted by Memo at 5:19 AM on December 29, 2010

The reason these mashups always sound so generic has nothing to do with the quality of the twenty-five songs that go into them (some of which are by Train but many of which are excellent), but with Earworm's method. He takes a lot of care with stitching the vocals together phrase by phrase so that they kind of make sense, but it's as if the way it actually sounds is just an afterthought. The music is lifted mainly from just one of the songs (in this case, California Gurls) and the way the vocal melodies might interact with this music that they weren't intended for, which is the surprise and joy of a mashup, is barely even bothered about. And OK, that's a legitimate way to operate, even if I think it sucks. I'm not saying what he's doing doesn't take skill, I'm just saying it's no wonder the music comes off badly. It's not about the music.
posted by two or three cars parked under the stars at 5:28 AM on December 29, 2010

Ah, yeah, I look forward to the United State of Pop every year, and I dig this year's a lot more than last year's. I love pop music. Actually, I should qualify that: I love the way (some) pop music sounds. The amount of meticulous turd-polishing that goes into the product is incredible, and the result, if nothing else, has impact. It hits hard, it knows when to slow down, it knows when to kick you right in the brain stem.
posted by uncleozzy at 5:52 AM on December 29, 2010

And I still say Lady Gaga's songs sound like Boney M.

You say this like it's a bad thing. Ra-Ra-Rasputin!
posted by immlass at 6:35 AM on December 29, 2010 [3 favorites]

a lot of these guys just have a formula they use over and over again

I'm sorry, but welcome to the world of pop music. Everyone copies formulas, a lot of songs sound the same, and it's been that way ever since Elvis, or probably earlier. I know you may be remembering the days of "Bowie and James Brown and Dave and Ansell Collins and Deep Purple and Genesis and T Rex and The Bonzos on Top Of The Pops" but that's because you're filtering out the heaping mounds of bland shit that was playing at the same time.

Every generation wonders why the music of young people sounds so boring compared to the way they remember their own youth. It's because you were young and you hadn't experienced the dumb rush of pop music before, and now you're watching a new group get suckered into it. Of course, if you let your brain turn off, and/or get kids of your own who listen to it, you can learn to enjoy some of the simple, stupid pleasures of pop music again. But it doesn't have to be all you listen to. I sure hope not.
posted by fungible at 6:41 AM on December 29, 2010 [2 favorites]

Pop is dead.

Long live pop. The big difference between today and say, 1972, is that back then there just wasn't enough unadulterated shiny happy vomit available to build an entire definition of POP around. So even the most resolutely formulaic radio stations had to mix it up. You got David Bowie and Donny Osmond. You got Papa Was a Rolling Stone and Daddy Don't you walk so fast -- one right after the other.

Nowadays, you've just gotta switch the station, or better yet, find a better blog-aggregator.
posted by philip-random at 6:58 AM on December 29, 2010

fungible: I didn't say it was BAD. I love dance music more than anything else, and it's the most formulaic music ever. I think it's good, but it's kind of depressing how similar it all is to each other. One producer having 4 hits in the top 25 with a bunch of different artists all using the same formula is kind of depressing. And it's by-the-numbers production straight out of the KLF's manual, too.
posted by empath at 7:11 AM on December 29, 2010

(though i guess SAW did the same thing in the late 80s with Bananarama, Dead or Alive, etc... )
posted by empath at 7:12 AM on December 29, 2010

He takes a lot of care with stitching the vocals together phrase by phrase so that they kind of make sense, but it's as if the way it actually sounds is just an afterthought.

You've pretty much described mashups in general.
posted by Thorzdad at 10:41 AM on December 29, 2010

I don't think I recognized anyone who wasn't Katy Perry or Lady Gaga, and I only recognized them because of their visual omnipresence (although I'm a bigger fan of Katy Perry's music than I really should admit to publicly).

Which is fine - I'm a 33 year old white dude; pop music isn't really made for me. That being said, I'd totally run a Kickstarter project to hire DJ Earworm to do this for the pop hits of 1993-1998, when popular music was relevant to my interests.
posted by Golfhaus at 8:01 PM on December 29, 2010

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