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A decade of electronic dance music

Electronic dance music (EDM) has changed significantly over the years, with modern EDM artists rising to popularity in the early 2010s. With the start of 2024, its a good time to reflect on the classics that dropped just 10 years ago.
Paula Gonzalez
Electronic dance music (EDM) has changed significantly over the years, with modern EDM artists rising to popularity in the early 2010s. With the start of 2024, it’s a good time to reflect on the classics that dropped just 10 years ago.

With another year under this hectic decade’s belt, a throwback to iconic music is in session. Focusing on the world of electronic dance music (EDM), 2024 marks one decade since the release of several staple albums from up and coming artists who run the stage today. In homage to their early origins and to what this year may bring for the music genre, here are five throwback EDM albums that seized the scene back in 2014.

“Worlds” – Porter Robinson
“Worlds ” was Porter Robinson’s debut album, and it had a divergent effect on the tone of EDM. The 12-track album transforms from slower tempos into profound synth-pop reveries, and the ideal experience can be summed up by one word: beautiful. “Worlds” hits all the highs and lows with a vulnerability previously unknown from the usual “rise and drop” heard in EDM. One of its highlights comes from the second track, “Sad Machine,” in which Robinson paired his own vocals with Vocaloid software and elegantly brought humans and machines together in a way that made the actual song feel sentient.

“True: (Avicii by Avicii)” – Avicii
“True: (Avicii by Avicii)” is the remixed predecessor to “True ,” which is now a fundamental album in the realm of EDM. The original album caused a massive stir upon its release in 2013 since it took an entirely new direction from the club mixes DJ Tim Bergling (Avicii) was prone to producing. Remixed or not, “True” was Avicii’s exploration of musical authenticity and sound. While the first album challenged the confines of club mixes with influences of country, nu metal and gospel, “True: (Avicii by Avicii)” instead merged those genres, finessing an album the DJ ruminated about for years. Although the world lost Avicii in 2018, his sound still continues to pioneer EDM today.

“Recess” – Skrillex
There’s no other way to describe Sonny Moore’s (Skrillex) music other than fun. There is nothing less to expect from the dubstep king who formally introduced “the drop” to mainstream pop culture through his extended play (EP) album. Skrillex’s debut album, “Recess,” is a memorable display of just what he is capable of. The album is a dizzying tour across the sonic palette of what global dance music was like at the time the album was released. From The Ragga Twins opening the album with “All is Fair in Love and Bro Step” to K-pop stars CL and G-Dragon featuring “Dirty Vibe” to Chance the Rapper dropping a verse on the drum ‘n’ bass track “Coast is Clear ,” there’s no dull moment.

“Somewhere Else” – Zeds Dead
Another unique duo, is known for their consistent hard-hitting signature: Zeds Dead. Blending a selection of genres, including hip-hop, jungle, house and bass, there’s always something satisfying to expect. “Somewhere Else ” is filled with collaborations, except in two jittery and breakbeat-driven tracks: “Hadouken ” and “Bustamove”. This album in particular plays with Zeds Dead’s hard sound through a fusion of contemporary dance music styles and elements of rap and pop. The album’s most popular track is “Collapse ” featuring Memorecks. It instills a chillingly inspirational drop worthy of a few replays.

“Motion” – Calvin Harris
Lots of familiar favorites from the early 2000’s era come from this album. In “Motion ,” Calvin Harris collaborates with pop artists Gwen Stefani, Ellie Goulding, John Newman and more. Perhaps the most recognized track from the album is “Summer,” still widely regarded as one of his top five songs. Other duly recognized tracks include Goulding’s “Outside,” Newman’s “Blame ” and “Under Control,” a track Harris and Alesso created. Overall, “Motions” is a nostalgic blend of this century’s pop styles with club music.

Whilst five albums is still too small to represent all the former classics, they do share a wide breadth of variety, which is everything the EDM genre expands on. It’s unknown still, as to what these EDM giants have in store for this year, but their evolving sound is worth a look into. Whether it be this year or the next, there’s always an upcoming legend ready to seize the stage again, inviting new listeners to explore the depths of the continuing genre.

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About the Contributor
Paula Gonzalez, Writer
"See, in my line of work you got to keep repeating things over and over and over again for the truth to sink in, to kind of catapult the propaganda." - George W. Bush

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