Avicii – Silhouettes: an indie crossover hit?
Today, a surprising turn of events took place within the music blog circuit and the EDM community. Renowned Swedish house producer Avicii’s follow-up single to last year’s ubiquitous anthem “Levels” was named ‘Best New Track’ by the governing force in indie music, Pitchfork. With the exception of their recent Skrillex interview, this is the first time Pitchfork has favourably acknowledged “mainstream” electronica.While they were early supporters of electronic artists such as James Blake, SBTRKT, Grimes, and Rustie, up until now, Pitchfork has been quite ignorant towards the more accessible side of EDM. Nowhere on Pitchfork will you find album or track reviews of anything by Deadmau5, Wolfgang Gartner, Porter Robinson, Knife Party, Pretty Lights, Dada Life….the list goes on and on. I find that very surprising considering the wide range of genres that P4k does cover. They have always championed hip-hop, R&B, pop, and more recently metal, along with general ‘indie’. I’ve noticed in recent years that Pitchfork has been attempting to expand their horizons, endorsing a broader range of genres.
When Pitchfork began in 1995, their focus was more on independent rock music. Through the years, they have grown to be recognized as a sort of “indie Bible” or, to put it bluntly, the site that all the hipster kids go to to find out about “obscure” bands so they can claim they knew about them “before they got big”. However, in recent years it has become apparent that the writers at Pitchfork have made an effort to include less of the ‘indie’ and more of the mainstream. For example, Nicki Minaj‘s smash hit “Super Bass” and Beyonce‘s electrifying “Countdown” hold the 4th and 7th place spots on Pitchfork’s Top 100 Tracks of 2011. Yes, they still cover the indie rock and the experimental but lately, it seems that Pitchfork is trying to appeal to a larger audience.
That brings me to Avicii‘s latest anthem “Silhouettes”. The fact that Pitchfork even bothered to review “Silhouettes” (they didn’t review “Levels”) and not to mention, that the writer of the review was Pitchfork founder Ryan Schreiber is evidence that Pitchfork has finally embraced the popular side of EDM. So, what does this mean for the electronic music scene? As Pitchfork continues to monopolize the blogosphere, what is to become of indie, EDM, and us here at Salacious? I’m no psychic but I am going to predict that Pitchfork will continue to cover mainstream electronic music, further blurring the lines between indie and mainstream. Before you know it, all the hipster kids are going to be wearing neon and asking you if you’ve heard of Tim Berg. Alright, that might be a bit extreme but hey, this is 2012 and anything could happen. If my prediction holds true, it’s going to be pretty damn annoying when Pitchfork starts encroaching on Salacious territory. Let’s hope that doesn’t happen though. Seriously Pitchfork, you’re like the Wal-Mart of blogs, leave room for the little guys! On the bright side, this might provoke more people to open their ears to artists like Avicii or Skrillex instead of simply dismissing them as “uncool” or “mainstream”. Really, who could be a better ambassador for EDM than euphoric-house overlord Avicii? As Ryan Schreiber puts it:
“Avicii is one of the few artists from his world whose singles work as well for me in headphones as they do on festival stages, and his knack for balancing pure FM pop hooks with genuinely affecting vocal tracks makes his wide-eyed positivity an easy pill to swallow.”