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EDM From the Outside

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This week, my editor suggested I write a review of the new GRiZ album, Ride Waves. Three tracks in and I had only felt one thing: Confusion. I listen to just about every genre, from industrial hip hop to ambient sound scapes. On rare occasions, I even listen to country (very rare occasions). But, I don’t listen to EDM. I don’t go to festivals, and I’ve never seen an electronic artist live. This article is what EDM is to me.

Flashback to my middle school days, the rise of dubstep. Little 7th grade me thought Nero and Adventure Club were the saviors of music. Blasting Skrillex, destroying my iPod Touch speakers, I thought there was no way I could ever listen to anything else.

Then I discovered Childish Gambino, and my EDM wave ended just as quickly as it started.

The introduction to hip hop for me became an exit from EDM. Ever since, I’ve been looking at the EDM world as an outsider, the raves, the outfits, the pure chaos, have all looked like something from a dystopian future world.

courtesy of Time Out

Nobody at my high school listened to anything but the top 20 radio hits, so exposure to this vibrant, rave world was slim at best for me. As a result, I often looked at EDM from a perspective of judgement. The music was weird. The people were weird. It was all so weird.

Having my horizons broadened in college, however, I’ve begun realizing something about EDM culture – yes, it’s weird. But weird isn’t necessarily bad. Weird is just self-expression at its peak, and rave culture is the physical embodiment of that.

A setting where people can dress in a neon green morph suit, wear suits that light up like Tron, or wear nothing at all and have it be completely acceptable, a setting where you get to dance your heart out and where even the strangest stranger can be a friend. This, I now realize, is EDM.

courtesy of Bass Feeds the Soul

EDM is a celebration of personality, a culture of acceptance. Festivals preach peace and kinship, showing that a little bit of fun can go a long way.

People say the love era of the 70s has disappeared with the times, but it still exists in the high-on-life (and ecstacy) mentality of EDM culture.

I have only heard good things talking to EDM fanatics and rave-goers. If there is one thing to describe EDM fans, it is happy. They all enjoy life to the fullest, and I think it has everything to do with the culture.

Listening to the GRiZ album made me confused, and then it made me sad. Sad that I am looking from the outside on a world that promotes peace through dance and self expression, like looking through a window into another dimension. Maybe some day I can become my 7th grade self and join the millions of festival heads, ravers, and EDM junkies in this culture of personality.

Sure, EDM is weird. But everybody is weird. EDM just allows people to showcase that weirdness from a place of acceptance. So, from the outside, EDM is actually pretty cool.

Stream GRiZ’s New Album Below

Daniel Friedland

Journalism Intern at Red Roll
I am a sophomore English student at DePaul University. Previously, I studied Music Business and Recording Technology at University of Wisconsin Oshkosh. My love for music goes beyond just journalism, as I have played the violin since I was 3. When I'm not involved with writing or music, I can be found playing on the DePaul Ultimate frisbee team.
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