BTC: DJ Earworm’s “Blame it on the Pop”

DJ Earworm’s 2008 edition of “United State of Pop” was one of the most disturbing, oddly pretty things I’d heard in ages. The pitch-perfect mashup maestro continues his yearly tradition of crafting silk purses from a score-and-five sow’s ears with his 2009 offering:

“United State of Pop 2009 (Blame It on the Pop)” by DJ Earworm. A Mashup of the Top 25 Hits of 2009, according to Billboard.

Oddly uplifting, ne? Ariana puts it well: “100% amalgamated poptimism from a keep-your-head-up year… a ribbon of shiny all rightness pulled off the box of meh that was 2009.”

While this edition doesn’t move me on quite the same level as “Viva La Pop” did (that mournful, menacing homogeny!) “Blame it on the Pop” is still a thought-provoking and highly danceable mashup.

Repeating for emphasis: the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. I can’t bring myself to sit all the way through most of these cruddy pop hits ONCE, let alone listen to them on repeat. But I find myself revisiting DJ Earworm’s yearly Billboard mashups over and over again. They are beautiful, and they frighten me.

Download “Blame it on the Pop” here. Full playlist after the jump.

The Black Eyed Peas – BOOM BOOM POW
Lady Gaga – POKER FACE
Lady Gaga Featuring Colby O’Donis – JUST DANCE
The Black Eyed Peas – I GOTTA FEELING
Taylor Swift – LOVE STORY
Jason Mraz – I’M YOURS
Kanye West – HEARTLESS
The All-American Rejects – GIVES YOU HELL
T.I. Featuring Justin Timberlake – DEAD AND GONE
Kings Of Leon – USE SOMEBODY
Keri Hilson Featuring Kanye West & Ne-Yo – KNOCK YOU DOWN
Jamie Foxx Featuring T-Pain – BLAME IT
T.I. Featuring Rihanna – LIVE YOUR LIFE
Soulja Boy Tell ’em Featuring Sammie – KISS ME THRU THE PHONE
Jay Sean Featuring Lil Wayne – DOWN
Miley Cyrus – THE CLIMB
Beyonce – HALO
Katy Perry – HOT N COLD

8 Responses to “BTC: DJ Earworm’s “Blame it on the Pop””

  1. David Forbes Says:

    Interesting. I loved this piece of auditory alchemy as much, maybe more, than last year’s installment. Yet straight-up optimism isn’t what I first got from it. Instead I saw a “living for the weekend” yearning for escape: things suck, but goddamn it there’s gonna be a party. I don’t know whether this is ragged, plucky determination or Pennies from Heaven-style delusion (or both), but in addition to being a much-anticipated pleasure, I think Earworm’s annual mashups may serve as a Rorshach test for the year gone by.

    This time around, the visuals (and Lady Gaga’s use of them) made more of an initial impression on me than the music. I have to wonder if, decades from now, academics will pick over the symbolism of the era’s pop videos with the same fervor they do songs from the Great Depression. Economic upheaval does some funny things to popular culture.

    Rambling thoughts aside, this is an excellent piece of work, and a great way to start off 2010’s BTC.

  2. Mer Says:

    David, I think that’s sort of what Ariana was saying– that it’s “keep your head up” music, literally, from a dog-weary, “meh” time period. But I dunno.

    Rorschach test is spot-on. I wonder what that says about me, then, that I listen to/watch these and feel an intense sense of unease as well as pleasure…

  3. Camilla Says:

    Maybe a reason for the unease-I feel it too-is the fact that supposedly mindless, soulless pop songs perfectly define the zeitgeist of last year. We (no pretentiousness intended) would like to think that our alt music/art/culture is more insightful and aware, so it’s a bit unsettling when it’s a pop mash up that so accurately reflects what 2009 was.

    Just a thought.

  4. Ariana Says:

    > “Instead I saw a “living for the weekend” yearning for escape: things suck, but goddamn it there’s gonna be a party.”

    I called out the escapism in my own write-up, yeah — although getting out is not the *theme* of each of the individual hits, it informs at least one line or chorus in all of them.

    But I think I’d stop short of calling it “living for the weekend” because I think that misses the (intended?) resonance. You could easily say that “Tubthumping” from 1997 was about living for the weekend, too (Pissing the night away, whiskey, vodka, lager, cider) — but that’s not the part that made it a five-year++ pop culture anthem. It’s the “I get knocked down, but I get up again” that I think is what makes it stick.

  5. Nzinga Says:

    it’s actually weird to me how well the songs fit together. It’s really like the sounds are so similar that they are hard to differentiate from each other

  6. Mer Says:

    Exactly. As my friend Ponnie put it: “[it’s] an example of what’s being called the “legofication” of pop music…[songs] so generic and standardized in [their] structure (not to mention pop videos in their imagery) that all the parts are interchangeable. DJ Earworm mashes up the top 25 on the billboard charts for 2008 to illustrate this point.”

  7. D Says:

    Nasal pop glissandos make me retch (like having a Meg Ryan smile rubbing your teeth with tin foil). The craftmanship needed to make this mix is very wow.

  8. Patricia Says:

    I preferred last year’s musically but this one visually. DJ Earworm has some serious mixing skills! [respect]