You’ll be hard pushed to find many popular songs nowadays that don’t contain at least a few instances of electronically-created melodies. Electronic music is everywhere, though in some places more than others. It has risen to prominence in the USA fairly recently but elsewhere has been appreciated for a very long time. Below is a short list of some electronic music albums that are definitely worth a bit of your time and your listening ear.
4 x 4 = 12 – Deadmau5
You cannot claim to be knowledgeable or even a fan of dance music without at least being aware of Deadmau5 and his contribution to electronic dance music. Far from the harsh tones of what idiots today call “dubstep” (or perhaps it still is dubstep but has evolved into something uglier; I don’t know), Deadmau5 is all about mixing it up with progressive house-like structures combined with hard-hitting beats, some great melodies, and wobbly electro style. There’s something innately funky about the main melody in Animal Rights, which is a blend of simple, driving beat, glitch-like synth sounds, and vocoder-style wah-ing of the melody. True progressive style is also shown in the track Raise Your Weapon, which begins as a gentle piano-driven vocal piece and develops into a true progressive house/standard house track.
Cheese – Stromae
As a relatively unknown artist in these here parts, Stromae isn’t exactly on everyone’s playlist but Cheese is an album that is full of unique sound and some extremely top-class tunes that will be enjoyed by anyone that likes electronic music. His French-language vocals aren’t for everyone, but the melancholic chorus in Peace or Violence as well as the stabby synths are reminiscent of 90s dance tracks whilst maintaining high production values, resulting in a tight sound. Alors on Danse is the most popular track from the album with its characteristic 3-note main melody played with an unusual double-reeded instrument (most likely).
Hold Your Colour – Pendulum
Though the band’s style is technically Drum and Bass, Pendulum are one of the few that actually aren’t restricted to purely electronic sounds. In fact, their full ensemble consists of a live band supported by DJ and electronic peripherals, but this was such a great album that it had to be included here anyway. For many, Pendulum are the gateway band that led them to exploring other Drum and Bass artists: this is most definitely true for me. Slam, Fasten Your Seatbelt, and Tarantula were all massive hits because they are simply massive tunes, no matter what the Drum and Bass purists will tell you. Their unbelievable blend of pure melodic brilliance and heavy drum and bass tempo make Pendulum one of the pioneers of popular “drum and bass”, with this album being the proponent of this expansion in popularity.
† – Justice
I often look at Justice as a slightly heavier and more attacking version of Daft Punk. Their style is more akin to wobbly electro than Daft Punk’s more funk-driven roots. Track Waters of Nazareth is a pretty dirty affair with some grungy synths, with intermittent melodic outbursts interjecting the music , typifying the Justice style. Genesis is the clear winner of the album, however, and is probably one of Justice’s most well-known tunes.
Discovery – Daft Punk
Daft Punk are a must when discussing electronic music since they are highly influential, and their Discovery album is a sublime lesson of how to incorporate electronic styling into funk and other genres. They can be cheesy at times but this is more often than not a parody of 70’s style. Digital Love is a perfect example of the pop style mixed with electronically-tampered vocals, underpinned with some extremely good song writing and unforgettable melodies. Aerodynamic breaks down into some incredible guitar-tapping brilliance and Harder Better Faster Stronger really speaks for itself.