Tuesday, January 3, 2012

We Found Pop in a Techno Place - 2011 in Review

By Techno School, Vertigo Shtick contributor and dance/electronic correspondent 
It's always funny to see where you find yourself on December 31. This time last year I was visiting friends on the East Coast, waiting to get back to LA and praying with all my might that 2011 would serve me as well as the latter half of 2010 had. For the first time in a long time, things were looking up, like I'd finally turned a corner that I'd been searching for over the past decade. I wanted things to stay just as they were; you couldn't have paid me to move out of California. And just look at what happened. There's snow falling outside my apartment's window right now. Ain't no snow falling in LA: that I know for a fact.

Techno/pop crossover Diplo

There have been a lot of exciting turns in my life this year, one of which being that I get to share my love of music with the world on Vertigo Shtick. I get to share the exciting things I'm hearing over the radio waves with you guys. And the most exciting thing I've noticed so far is that techno is starting to take the stage, in a big way, thanks to the pop crowd.

A friend and I were cruising toward the beach earlier this year when we heard Jennifer Lopez's comeback single, “On the Floor,” play on the radio. My first reaction was “WTF J-Lo is still alive?” and my second, “Wow, this song is heavy on the techno! Listen to that beat!”

Yeah,” my friend replied, “when someone's career needed saving, they used to come out with a hip-hop single. Now the thing to do is release a techno song.”


And then it kept on going. Bits and pieces of techno springing up like Electric Daisies in the springtime. A dubstep bridge in Britney's “Hold it Against Me.” Electro beats woven into the background of major radio hits like “Give Me Everything” and “Tonight (I'm Fuckin' You).” David Guetta's increasing fame. Daft Punk getting tapped to co-produce the soundtrack to Tron: Legacy. That techno interlude to Flo Rida's “Good Feeling.” Rihanna teaming up with Calvin Harris for an incredibly seamless pop-techno collaboration with “We Found Love.” The reboot of Beavis and Butthead has even featured music videos by deadmau5 and Skrillex. And the wave just keeps building. LMFAO, Diplo, Afrojack...these were all names well known among the techno crowd, and now the top 40 followers know them, too.

Techno is nothing new. Hell, I'm riding the second wave of this genre—the 1990s heyday of the rave scene is long gone. What started this year, and what I think will continue into 2012, is techno's long-awaited entrance into the mainstream. The beginning of songs by artists like Katy Perry and Benny Benassi being played on the same radio stations, topping the charts together. Electronic music spreading beyond the raves and drawing in fans from completely new crowds. Rap fans becoming techno fans. Hip hop fans becoming techno fans. Country fans becoming... well, maybe not. Like I always say, baby steps.

Baby steps. 

For a unique, insightful and personal look at life, love and techno music, follow Techno School on Twitter (@itstechnoschool) and visit the blog.

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