Is EDM Evil?
Despite the prevalence of charitable and noble gestures, Electronic Dance Music has been routinely criticized as corrupting the minds of today’s youth with loud and obnoxious digital music. But do EDM’s perceived downfalls outweigh the good that it has accomplished?
Is EDM Evil?
Written by: Robert Waldeck & Ross Palmer
This week Silk Music released their fifth anniversary collaboration album, a charity piece where 100% of the proceeds will be donated to the worldwide medical group “Doctors Without Borders”. Silk Records is a truly global corporation with headquarters in Russia, US, Israel and Denmark, and they felt it would be only appropriate that the compilation benefit a group with significant global reach.
But do EDM’s perceived downfalls outweigh the good that it has accomplished?
Despite the prevalence of noble gestures such as this, Electronic Dance Music has been routinely criticized as an unstoppable force corrupting the minds of today’s youth with loud and obnoxious digital noise. As EDM has risen popularity, artists and record labels have frequently supported humanitarian efforts, freely putting their time and energy into making a difference. - (Tiesto's Dance (RED) Save's Lives Compilation)
Even as EDM basks in the glow of worldwide recognition, there are still those that question its contributions to society, and many would even go so far as to say that the scene is a detriment to our culture and moral values. Anyone who has played Skrillex for a grandparent can attest to this fact. There has always been a strong backlash against music trends (remember The Beatles), and in turn this backlash has historically always resulted in increased popularity for the art form. To better understand this, we need to explore the origins of not just EDM, but dance and music in the broader sense.
Dancing is widely considered to be an essential aspect of the human experience. For thousands of years, human beings have been gathering together, creating rhythm and melody, and “getting jiggy with it”. Dance brought our ancestors together by forming a common bond amongst individuals within a community. When we became intertwined through rhythm, an unspoken connection was formed, and our differences (at least temporarily) faded away.
If nothing else, dance is a pure celebration of the human experience, and that celebration of our identity has created a community based on bringing others up instead of forcing them down.
“P.L.U.R.” If you don't already know it, is an acronym made famous during the dance music explosion of the 1990s, but arguably it has never rung more true than it does in the EDM community today. In a world divided by hate, where ideals like politics and religion cause rampant warfare and destruction, it's easy to lose sight of the fact that we are all one conscious species. Music, is art; and art is one of the best and only ways of unifying people across the gaps of their experience, enabling them to enjoy each other's presence in Peace, Love, Unity, and Respect.
Historically, the connective power of music was limited by both practical issues (availability of instruments) and societal (concerts and musical education were reserved for only the wealthiest of individuals). One could argue that we still face this problem today -- the best concerts are still far too expensive for the vast majority of humans on the planet -- but we can't deny that the internet has drastically alleviated these restrictions. The human voice has always been a free option for expressing music, feelings, and ideas, but due to the limitations of language, this often became more problematic on a worldwide scale. Today, through the use of the world wide web, music is spread effortlessly to the farthest reaches of the globe. This means that suddenly we can download songs written and recorded in Swedish, and while we may be able to appreciate the voice as an instrument, we cannot enter the intellectual circle of thought represented by the poetry being expressed in the language.
When it hit the world scene, EDM began to form a harmonic bridge between cultures. Hearkening back to the days of classical music, no longer was the importance and meaning of music tied to lyrics or words. Instead thousands upon thousands of sounds were made freely available for manipulation, and an infinite number of new possibilities can be created. This catalog of noise created a new language, from which a universal form of poetry evolved. This poetry can incorporate the human voice, or it can just as easily be an instrumental, anything in between is also considered fair game. Today EDM has the one of the largest worldwide followings as an art form, and it has hosted some of the most extravagant worldwide gatherings for dance and celebration: the aptly named “Love Parade” being a notable one.
This new sense of worldwide community has begun to take hold. Using art to benefit charity work is not a new concept. In the past, however, causal benefit was much more easily observed because the communities were so much smaller. With EDM, artists are frequently and joyfully giving away their time and music to support causes -- the benefits of which they may never observe firsthand.
Two years ago, I personally witnessed twenty well-known US artists give away their tracks for the "Bass From Above" compilation being put together by a small music blog (Subsynthesis), the proceeds of which benefitted the relief efforts in Japan. As far as I know, none of these artists had any tangible relationship to the Japanese. It was clear in their sentiments, however, that they were compelled to do something. Their community had expanded, and part of their community was in need.
The question then becomes: is EDM a force that is destructive to our society, or is it the very thing that will bind us together across religious, racial, and political borders? In any worldwide conflict, you are almost certain to find fans of Armin van Buuren on both sides of the coin. If you are interested in directly contributing to the cause, please read below for more information. If you are unable to contribute now, you will soon be given plentiful opportunities in the future, because P.L.U.R is the nature of music, and community is the reason for EDM's existence.
Doctors Without Borders is a truly humanitarian group. Operating in over 65 countries, DWB is able to to work independently of government and governing organizations because of their uniquely independent fundraising strategy. With over 300 million donors worldwide, DWB is able to provide health care, nutritional aid, and vaccinations for people affected by violence, epidemics, and natural disasters. For over forty years, DWB has been pushing to make the world a happier, healthier, and safer world for us to live in.