Tag Archives: Wake Me Up!

Fall Into Dance: The Autumn’s Entertaining Electronic Hits

As pop radio transitions into a land of alternative crossovers and less of the 70’s soul throwback sound we’ve heard as of late, a lot of dance acts and DJs who haven’t quite made a name yet outside of the clubs are still holding their genre’s ground at the format. There’s Zedd and his breakout hit, “Clarity”, featuring Foxes. It’s one of four songs that gives Interscope Records a hold on the entire top 4 on the airwaves. Then, we have the surging “Wake Me Up!” by Avicii and Aloe Blacc, already top ten on iTunes and moving towards that top spot. Further down the chart, there are songs from Armin Van Buuren and Krewella, and now, it’s time to add some more names into the mix. Both singles are at radio on the same date at the end of the month, and they’ve got the beat to beat those other beats:

EDM gone sky high.

EDM gone sky high.

KASKADE – “Atmosphere”
Release Date: August 26 (CHR radio) / Ultra Records

Just like the waterfall in his name, the sudden rush of EDM acts at the pop format has got this guy wanting in too. Born Ryan Raddon just outside of Chicago, he became a club DJ at age 24 in Salt Lake City and pursued his own career as a producer and writer shortly afterwards. His first album, It’s Me, It’s You, came out in 2003 and two years later, he scored his only #1 (so far) on the Dance/Club Play chart, “Everything”. A total of seven of his songs have reached the 50-position list. Though he’s been appearing on this survey for nearly a decade to varying degrees of success, as well as remixing versions of songs that became major singles on the radio, he, himself, has never had a mainstream hit to call his own. Last year, he was credited as a featured artist on the Neon Trees single, “Lessons In Love (All Day, All Night)”, but it never managed to take off completely. Thus, “Atmosphere” will be the DJ’s true introduction to a wider audience. Much like Calvin Harris‘s “Feel So Close”, Kaskade is the one singing on this rather than featuring an additional vocalist. It worked for Harris, giving his first big hit in the U.S.; why can’t it work for Mr. Raddon? At age 42, he may not have a lot of time left to secure a big airplay and sales hit (although look at David Guetta still making it at age 45), but with an accessible and catchy song that starts out slow and then pops with a pulsating punch, I see a winner in this one. Look out for it in the next few months.

Locked and looking for a hit.

Locked and looking for a hit.

SEBASTIAN INGROSSO, TOMMY TRASH & JOHN MARTIN – “Reload”
Release Date: August 26 (CHR radio) / Astralwerks and Capitol Records

Their names aren’t the most recognizable of the bunch, but put together their collective talents and they may be household names by the end of the year. Ingrosso was one-third of the group Swedish House Mafia, who split up earlier this year after what was their biggest international single, “Don’t You Worry Child”. It topped many charts and went to #6 on the Hot 100. The vocal on “Child” was done by Martin, and the singer also appears on this track. Then, there’s Tommy Trash, an Australian DJ and producer who is relatively unknown here in the U.S., save for on the club circuit. “Reload” was originally an instrumental track by just Ingrosso and Trash at over six minutes in length that became a minor single in Belgium last year, but with the mix they concocted with Martin, it ultimately charted much better. After placing at #3 in the United Kingdom and #1 in Scotland, it finally arrives here and at mainstream radio. It’s another great dance track with a little more of an edge that packs synthesizers and drums into a heavy beat. Martin’s vocals are once again unmistakable on this one; he’s such an emotive vocalist that I could easily see him taking on other genres. Like “Child”, “Reload” has a bit on an inspirational message, about not giving up in the face of fears and trouble and gaining the strength to pick yourself back up to try again. So, Ingrosso and Martin will try, try again for another hit, while adding on Trash on a single that’s far from disposable.

Which song will you be shaking it out to next season? Comment below or click on the “Get Social!” tab to connect with PGTC on social media.

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Wake Up Call: The Reemergence Of Countrified Dance

Where did you come from? Where did you go?

Where did you come from? Where did you go?

One of the newest songs to make onto the dance scene this summer is a bit of a surprise to those who know some previous material by Swedish DJ and EDM artist Avicii. His latest single features a vocal by California-born soul singer Aloe Blacc, best known for a song called “I Need A Dollar”. It never made it to the United States, but it went to #2 in the United Kingdom in the summer of 2011 and was generally big in Europe. Well, the two appear together on a new song entitled “Wake Me Up!”, which is already #1 on iTunes in Australia, Sweden, The Netherlands and four other countries, with a top ten placing in many others. However, it’s not strictly a soul record or a dance anthem, it’s a… folk meets house thingamajigger? I guess that’s the best way to describe it even if it’s not the clearest.

“Wake” begins as a guitar-driven track with Blacc delivering his verse, which leads into a steady handclap beat about 40 seconds in, only to transition into a full-out dance song a quarter of the way in. Yet, there’s a simplicity about it as it returns to its original arrangement, and even when you’re ready to rage when the energy of the song kicks in, that portion doesn’t seem as layered or as overbearing as a normal dance song on the radio or in the club. It’s actually pretty likable and will certainly appeal to a broader audience than who the two appeal to individually. So, what gives? With its huge popularity out of the gate, including a decent ranking in the United States, could we be seeing a successful new period mixing the two polar opposite genres? It could very well happen.

Combining the dance and country genres isn’t a new concept, but it doesn’t exactly come around that often, and when it does, the results are somewhat mixed. Country legend Dolly Parton did disco once – a song she recorded called “Baby I’m Burning” was a minor hit in 1979. In early 1980, Joyce Cobb just missed the top 40 with a song I quite like, “Dig The Gold”, which became the first disco song to prominently use a fiddle line. (You first hear it around the 1:05 mark.) Remember when The KLF and Tammy Wynette provided us with one of the oddest collaborations in music history? “Justified And Ancient” was even bigger, going to #11 on the Hot 100 in 1992. Then, of course, there was the novelty single “Cotton Eye Joe” by the Swedish band Rednex, which I still encounter at bar/bat mitzvahs, reunions, weddings, etc. The fiddle-full floorfiller was an international smash in 1995, though it only got to #25 here. Say it ain’t so, “Joe”. (I still know the dance routine. No, there will not be video to back that up.)

There are some holes that I’ve missed along the way, but that brief history shows why this fusion of two distinct styles doesn’t even have a name. It’s so scattered about that anybody could give it something and it would catch on. It also shows that “Wake Me Up!” is a totally different case; there are no country acts involved, each genre has an equal place in the composition and it’s not meant for consumption as a novelty song. So, wipe that slate clean, because this is a new beginning for everyone involved, and it’s beginning to pick up rather quickly.

With the rise in folk music in the mainstream consciousness thanks to acts like Mumford & Sons, Phillip Phillips and The Lumineers, among others, it makes sense that it would continue to influence acts and producers creating new material. That being said, no one could have expected this to come out of either act. While the song has its dissenters on both sides of the musical spectrum, reaction seems to be fairly positive, and the early signs of good download numbers in our neck of the woods likely means that the transition onto radio and other outlets may be easier than I’m thinking. At the same time, Blacc has never cracked the U.S. market and Avicii has had some minor chartings on a few radio formats without a true breakthrough. That could change later this year, and if it blows up like it has been internationally, this movement won’t be over for some time. Stay tuned… and don’t fiddle around in the meantime.

How do you feel about this new sound from Avicii and Aloe Blacc? Are you a fan? Do you think that country and folk has a place in dance music? Let me know! Comment below or find me on Twitter: @AdamFSoybel.

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