Posted by Christopher Will on 03/20 at 12:51 AM
When you hear the phrase “Top 40 radio,” what’s the first thing that comes to mind (OTHER than Adele)? Probably dance music, and for good reason. With mainstream recognition of electronic dance music (EDM) skyrocketing over the past few years, it is clear that America wants to dance its problems away. Thus, the public is turning its attention to those artists who swath their music in house, dubstep, and electro to tend to its needs. One need only check the Billboard Hot 100 for proof. DJs and producers like Skrillex, David Guetta, Calvin Harris, and Avicii currently reign supreme, maintaining steadfast positions in the top 40 and beyond with their club-ready singles. With so many diverse and unique EDM artists in the mainstream spotlight, it’s hard to imagine anyone else breaking into the public eye. We have David Guetta’s ubiquitous electro-house, Calvin Harris’ minimalist, icy dance-pop, Martin Solveig’s alternative rock inspired house, Skrillex’s dark, aggressive dubstep, The Cataracs’ sexually charged video-gamestyle electro, Avicii’s iconic sampling and more. How could there be any more room for creativity? Enter Madeon, the 17-year-old French electro-pop prodigy.
What makes Madeon different from the likes of today’s biggest dance kings? What makes him a prime candidate for American radio? It’s the way he mixes trance, house, pop, and nu-disco, creating funky, optimistic, infectious dance music crossing the lines between Owl City and Daft Punk. His remixes are near flawless, maintaining the power of the original songs while simultaneously crafting a completely new, fun perspective on the records.
His adaptations of Pendulum’s “The Island”, and Deadmau5’s “Raise Your Weapon” are half as long as their respective originals, but just as powerful. He tweaks “The Island” from a cookie-cutter club track to a crunchy, retro electro-house remix, giving the Pendulum version some much needed innovation. “Raise Your Weapon” is a much more drastic change, discarding the brooding trance and dubstep in favor of aggressive house, completely warping the overall sound and feel of Deadmau5’s work. The bitter break-up lyrics become a celebration of battle, and Greta Svabo Bech sounds determined and ready for war over the twang and snarl of Madeon’s disco.
Madeon has tackled many other profound hits, and two of his best remixes are of Alphabeat’s “DJ (I Could Be Dancing)” and, believe it or not, The Killers’ “Smile Like You Mean It.” He takes the 90’s euro-dance of “DJ” and mashes it with his own funky production, covering the span of over four decades worth of club music in just a little under four minutes. The vibrant, cheerful track shines even brighter under the skillful synthesizers of the teenage wonder, and is a perfect summer song for road trips and sunny days. Remixing one of the greatest rock bands of the 21st century is a daunting task, but Madeon takes on “Smile Like You Mean It” with astounding grace and poise. The Killers’ original is a tragic and beautiful piece of indie-rock - a nostalgic look on lost youth and love. Madeon replaces some of the sadness with sanguinity, and though the wistfulness is still there, he makes Brandon Flowers’ telling songwriting seem more appreciated and less gloomy.
Madeon has also composed some originals of his own, the most recent being the track “Icarus.” “Icarus” is a spacious mix of ethereal trance and funky house, completely instrumental but just as gripping as any of his other works. Since its release in February it has peaked at #22 on the UK Singles chart, and with its polish and brawn, it’s easy to see why. The record is sure-fire proof that Madeon has a complete mastery of EDM, and is soon to become one of the genre’s chief producers.
But perhaps Madeon’s most outstanding musical accomplishment isn’t his remixes or his originals. It’s his mega-mashup “Pop Culture,” a culmination of 39 different pop songs compacted into one mind-blowing and joyous track, so seamlessly spliced together that it’s actually incredibly original in its unoriginality. “Pop Culture” features samples from The Killers, Nero, One Republic, Lady Gaga, Gorillaz, Daft Punk, Ke$ha, Katy Perry, Martin Solveig, Madonna, and countless others, and is guaranteed to get you up and dancing before you even realize you left your seat. With “Pop Culture,” Madeon successfully surpasses anything David Guetta, Skrillex, and anyone in between has accomplished, and the track itself is relevant enough to take its place in the American charts (it is called “Pop Culture”, after all). EDM is in good hands, and Madeon is guaranteed to reinvent the genre for good, and for the better.
Check out Madeon on Facebook, Twitter and Soundcloud, and purchase “Icarus” here. Also look out for his future works and remixes, including his remix of Martin Solveig’s “The Night Out”, which is slated for release in the near future.
Author: Christopher Will
Bio: Christopher Will is a junior studying Communications and English at Penn State. He enjoys scouring the internet for the latest pop music news and gossip, and loves sharing new music with his friends and peers. Some of his favorite artists include Breathe Carolina, Fun., Childish Gambino, Gotye, Yellowcard, and Robyn.
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