Every year since 2007, DJ Earworm has brought us the United States of Pop for the given year, made of the top 25 hits on the US charts. (2009 was the breakout year that he took it to the next level, though.) DJ Earworm is by no means my favorite mashup artist, that being Girl Talk. (Or bootleg artist. Remember when they were called bootlegs? Remember get your bootleg on, guys? OK, successors exist wev. Le sigh.) But what Girl Talk does is take good songs—well, and some cheesy songs that you suddenly love—and make amazing, full-length immersive album-length experiences. If he has a defect it’s that he’s a cock-tease. He will have you losing your mind for 53 seconds after which the dropped stitch of under-track two is picked up to be the instrumental for a hilariously incomprehensible Weezy rap about how it ain’t his birthday but he got his name on the cake. Which, admittedly, is funny, but sometimes you just want to shake Girl Talk by the shoulders and say, “enough with the art, bitch; make me a song!” Like here, this whole track should just be Radiohead vs Jay-Z. It is superlative. Yet!—the last minute is a riot and could hold its own as a separate track. It would rank #108 vs the first minute’s #1, but still.
DJ Earworm is, by contrast, working with a limited palette of songs that includes Katy Perry. Nonetheless he makes decent tracks out of them! Good, even! (Now I am certain that not even one person will agree with me in comments. Because you are tedious sometimes, despite all your wonderful qualities. But the lurkers will support me in email. Additionally, I must note that DJ Earworm makes just tons of mashups, many of which are excellent songs not created under artificial generic constraint. Check it out.) There may be an underpaid dwarf in the soundbooth who will show up and claim DJ Earworm’s first-born child after this whole straw drossery into argento dorato routine. Here is this year’s outing:
Now, my girls and I have been feeling like 2012 was better. And looking back there were more good tracks on the list to work with, like “Locked Out of Heaven,” “Set Fire to The Rain,” “Starships,” “Carry Me Home” by fun. with Janelle Monáe (and wouldn’t life be easier if it was just all Janelle Monáe? And why is her amazing 2013 album not charting, and yet Taylor Swift’s slender white neck has been spared the executioner’s axe?), “Gangnam Style,” “Call Me Maybe,” “Somebody That I Used to Know.” This year he leaned heavy on Lorde’s “Royals,” which was sensible, and Imagine Dragons, whom I had never listened to before and are adequate, and whom I have warm feelings about now solely because they allowed me to make an off-the-cuff crack to my daughters that has had us weeping for days but as it would be incomprehensible to you I will not relate it here. But I would have gone with way more “Get Lucky” and “Blurred Lines” and Bruno Mars than what we got here. The Miley Cyrus was inevitable, so no issue there really; he did a good job with what he took.
Macklemore. The f#@k? (This is a complaint about the listeners of America, not DJ Earworm.) This is beyond novelty song to…shouldn’t even have been one-hit wonder. Two songs up here in the top 25? Has the fateful day come to pass, that Ice Cube hath prophesied, when “pretty soon rap won’t be nice/No more Ice Cube just Vanilla Ice”? The bong-hit-wonder version “Pot Shop” was hella funny and frankly a better song. I didn’t even know there was a real song until I heard what I thought was the Pot Shop song on the radio in Singapore and thought…surely non (it was “Thrift Shop”)? The true mystery looking at all of the years is that will.i.am and Fergie exist. The Black-Eyed Peas hardcore sucked. Lady. Lumps. Lady lumps, people. Then hits on into infinity, year after year? This is so, so wrong. I think someone may have made a contract with Satan; if only it had been for musical genius rather than just getting high on the US pop charts! I admit the latter is more parsimonious in the service of getting rich off music. Much. Like, maybe, orthogonal to the other proposal. Hm. So, 2012 happened.
Even if you are thinking to yourself at this point, “I guess I’m just not a mashup person,” you still might be! Because there are often artists with beautiful voices who are given crap songs and vile production. Listen to this isolated Whitney Houston vocal—she had an amazing voice! [Have I typed a sentence with a less alluring link, ever? No? You don’t have to listen all the way through. Fine, read my post to the end then, at least. God you are so picky it’s like what even.] Had she herself also been a talented songwriter in addition to having that set of pipes—like, what if she had been writing Prince songs for herself all the time? She would have been genius.
Beyoncé, too, is like this. She has a huge, incredible voice, and seems as if she may have come from another planet of people with superhuman beauty and dancing ability. When she sings “A Change is Gonna Come,” it is gorgeous. No, actually, watch this clip of the Obama’s first dance at the first inauguration ball. I stayed up till a million o’clock to watch this and I cried. Drones and so forth may have drained your eyes since but mine still well up at that point. But actual Beyoncé songs, am I so much with the loving them? That’s why my favorite Beyoncé song is a Tom Petty song, “Free-Falling Boy”. By DJ Earworm. And damn, it used to have a sweet-ass video. Copyright lameness. Although the mentally unbalanced woman who has posted this has done something kind of killer in her way. For real, REALLY for real, listen to this. This is my jam.