EDM Criticism - Music Theory

Hello DiS community! :slight_smile:

I’m just learning to play music. And as of music theory, I’m only starting the learning curve too.

There is one thing I’ve noticed though: mainstream EDM, for me, sounds so dumbed downed nowadays.
The same build ups, bass drops, always the same little scream that hops on right before the bass drop.

And I can’t help but wonder: why am I more attracted to more ‘‘complex music’’? Aphex Twins? Even Daft Punk, heck, sounds more complex. Or rock bands such as Black Keys and Radiohead (to stay in the mainstream and not diving too deep) have something more than guys like Avicii, Calvin Harris and the likes.
But I’m such a newbie I can’t really grasp where the complexity lies technically. If you guys have any sources or information yourself, feed me here! :smiley:

I don’t want to sound like that hipster EDM hater. I am just truly intrigued as to why it sounds so simple and stupid, for me…

The Rat

just listen to autechre.


( Thanks for the music by the way :slight_smile: )

My problem is not finding great underground electronic music it’s mostly about putting the finger on what makes me dislike mainstream EDM :disappointed:

This early draft of a chapter from Haruki Murakami’s A Wild Sheep Chase needs some work


i dont even know if this joke makes sense


lifes too short to worry about what you don’t like, focus on what you do.
And listen to autechre.

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Focusing on what I dislike let’s me see if it’s only about hating mainstream or if mainstream really is extremely simplistic. :slight_smile:

You’ve got a nerve to be asking a favour.


You have got a lot of nerve to act the way that you do


Mainstream is not simplistic, look at ABBA.

You answer your own question by referring to the predictability and monotony of the music you don’t like.

Just use it as a spur to go out and discover music you do like that is not predictable or monotonous. It’s so easy these days to explore and keep exploring until you find something that really excites and satisfies you.

Something like this takes some of the tropes you refer to but does something compelling and enormously moving with them

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The black keys are shite


The dumbest thing about EDM was the need to ever put that superfluous letter on the front of what has always just been “dance music”.

The only time an E was successfully added to dance music was the early 80s - now THAT worked.


This is it. The answer is in the question really.

EDM is a bit like McDonalds food, in the sense that it’s easy to hate from this sort of perspective, but is actually precision engineered to give you exactly what you want. Just think how many people are trying to make this ‘simplistic’ music and not connecting with anyone, and then think about how much refinement and effort must actually go into making something that can inspire mass euphoria in rooms full of people.

Obviously you don’t have to like it, but learning music theory should, ideally, broaden your horizons - think about the textures, the tension and release, the use of dynamics. I’d rather listen to I’m So Into You on repeat than A Moon Shaped Pool, and I’ve always been a Radiohead obsessive, for example.


The whole purpose of this thread is to elaborate on the reasons for you to hate a particular group/genre.

Elaborate? :slight_smile:

Yet I will still appreciate extremely monotonous and repetitive electronic music! I don’t know why it bothers me so much when it comes to mainstream EDM :smile:

I think it’s just the predictablity and lack of subtlety. I really don’t mind listening to EDM at a club or something if I’m pilled up. It’s not ideal but it works. But I could never imagine going out of the way to listen to it. It’s just really over the top and every track is just a slight variation of a single formula

Anyway always found this video interesting: https://youtu.be/71HQt7KZEtY

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I love repetition if it is done right. This, for instance,mis brilliant

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Same here! But why do we find it brilliant and why is it done right in this case is my real dilemma. I guess I’ll have to learn more about music theory to understand, one day ! :slight_smile: