For the past six Decembers, DJ Earworm has dropped The United State of Pop, his annual mashup of 25 of the year's biggest pop songs. The much-anticipated seventh edition arrived today, but without much of a bang.
Earworm said it without really saying it: 2014's big hits kind of sucked.
"The thing that has been most notable in the past two or three years is the decline of EDM," he told Billboard, "The 'United State of Pop' became this dance track from '09 to '12, and then starting last year, there just wasn't enough in that genre to fully support it, so I went down-tempo."
It's probably not fair to compare every one of these to 2009 or 2010, when we were still enjoying peak levels of Lady Gaga. There's only so much poor Earworm could have done with this year's raw material: "All About That Bass," Maroon 5, three Iggy Azalea tracks, and that terrible Canadian reggae song you already forgot about. (Indeed, every generation gets the Counting Crows it deserves.)
Hey, at least we had "Shake It Off."
Maybe there's something to the theory that upbeat dance music thrives when the economy is at its shittiest, and with the Great Recession came some great pop tunes. Or maybe everything exciting in music this year happened in hip hop, under the narrow radar of Billboard's Top 10. Just a couple of wild guesses.