With The Grammys nearing, just less than one month away, the presence of EDM — both in awards and in music culture — is again in the spotlight. In an article published by Medium, The Grammys examine the youth-driven genre ahead of its inevitable impact on the big night next month.
Major players have received attention for genre-crossing; see Justin Bieber in the Best Dance Recording. Also up for that prestigous gold is Kendrick Lamar, as featured on Flying Lotus’s “Never Catch Me.” However, the chemistry between those two doesn’t end there, and Kendrick, who’s earned 11 nominations, has electronic adaptation to thank for his double-digit nod.
Look no further than album of the year, where the rapper’s latest album To Pimp A Butterfly is the front runner. Butterfly was a surprising, experimental follow-up from one of hip-hop’s most respected MCs — and it was at the hands of Flying Lotus and a jazz-meets-electro approach that resulted in its critical acclaim.
As The Grammys point out, dance music has existed and evolved throughout the 70’s, then 80’s, and onwards; yet they question its longevity. A fair question, and one often posed thanks to the unprecedented volume of music from a genre, technology and social media-obsessed youth.
“But as millions of fans flood the scene, veterans and purists grapple with the commercialization of a once rare sound and culture. Critics have called EDM artless music made to cash in on a trend and attract the lowest common denominator of fans.”
Noting critical backlash and the ability to commercialize on a trend, a valid point is made, but the genre itself is not to blame. Technology has opened the floodgates on music, and EDM is the first distinct musical culture to be born and raised in the social media era. It may be true that in result, there’s a massive heap of musical content floating around the web and even being officially released; but that hasn’t watered down the art of dance or electronic music, and hasn’t effected the trusted producer’s ability to put out proud products. The 58th annual Grammys is your clear-cut evidence of that.
Joining Justin Bieber’s debut and Kendrick’s collaboration in the category for Best Dance Recording are The Chemical Brothers, with”Go” and Galantis with “Runaway (U & I)” — both well-received, high-quality tunes of 2015 that are in many ways polar opposites. On one end it’s your veteran electronic musicians, on the other it’s your young, millennial-attracting EDM group. The same technological climate you can blame for lower entry barriers is to thank for the diverse yet meaningful group of nominations.
Nominated for Best Dance/Electronic Album is Caribou, The Chemical Brothers, Disclosure, Jamie xx, and Skrillex & Diplo.
The 2016 Grammy Awards will broadcast live on CBS on February 15th with host LL Cool J and performers Kendrick Lamar, Adele, The Weeknd and more to be announced.