Justin Bieber

Coachella Band Preview: Zedd

In 1 month today we will be on the brink of Coachella 2019. Campers will be coming in. Hotels will be filled. That anticipation of another year of Coachella will fill the air. It will be similar to Christmas Eve with one exception: Coachella lasts 2 days longer than Christmas. I guess you can say that for any highly anticipated music festival, but trust me, Coachella is a special place in the festival world. That being said, there’s only 4 more weeks to learn the tunes of your favorite Coachella acts before they’re performed live on the Polo fields. This year I haven’t been as stoked for many of the electronic artists as I was last year. Most of the electronic acts I’m excited for this year fall on that indie electronic spectrum and are bands, not DJs. However, I decided there is one electronic DJ I’d like to see this year and that’s Zedd.

Anton Zaslavski, better known as Zedd, is an electronic DJ and producer. While growing up, he received formal training on instruments such as piano and drums and was part of a band. He got inspired to start making electronic music because of French electronic duo Justice. He first entered the EDM scene around 2010. He released two tracks on the website Beatport which included an original song and a remix of Skrillex’s “Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites”. After that he began remixing songs of well-known artists such as Justin Bieber, Lady Gaga, and the Black Eyed Peas.

In 2012 Zedd signed with Interscope Records and released his debut album Clarity. The album included the hit singles “Spectrum” featuring Matthew Koma and “Clarity” featuring Foxes. “Clarity” has since gone on to receive Platinum status. Zedd also received a Grammy for “Clarity” for Best Dance Recording. In the following years, Zedd went on his first headlining tour and sold out venues across 5 continents worldwide. He also released several more singles like “Stay the Night” and “Find You” in addition to producing songs for the likes of Lady Gaga on her 2013 album Artpop.

Zedd’s second album True Colors was released in May 2015. In the lead up to the album release, Zedd released the single “I Want to Know You” featuring Selena Gomez and the single “Beautiful Now” featuring Jon Bellion. Zedd embarked on his second world tour in 2015. Since then, he has released singles routinely. Some of those singles include hits like “Starving” feautring Hailee Steinfeld and Grey, “Stay” with Alessia Cara, and one of 2018’s biggest hits “The Middle” featuring Maren Morris and Grey. Zedd hasn’t released an album in 4 years, making him due for one soon.

Zedd plays a house/electro house style of electronic music. He draws influence from classical, dubstep, and progressive house music as well. At this point though, Zedd’s music can even be considered pop because his hits have become pretty mainstream. In fact, there’s a bunch of electronic artists that fit that category too since electronic music has risen in popularity in recent years.

I usually write about how I became a fan of the artist I’m previewing, where I first heard them, or some sort of story about them, but honestly I’m not a huge fan of Zedd. I just know a lot of his songs because many of them are very mainstream. I will say “The Middle” became a guilty pleasure of mine last spring and “Starving” was another guilty pleasure in late 2016. It was actually one of my favorite songs to play on guitar for a while. I know Zedd’s music well enough that if I were to pick any electronic DJ to see this year, it would be him. I think his set will be fun to be at and it’s sure to have a huge draw as well.

Zedd plays Sunday at Coachella 2019. This year will mark his 4th Coachella appearance. In 2012 and 2014, Zedd played at the Sahara Tent. In 2016, Zedd was the Outdoor Stage headliner on Saturday night. If Zedd isn’t the Outdoor headliner again, he most definitely will be playing the Coachella Main Stage right before Ariana Grande. In fact, we might even get a Zedd and Ariana collab during one of their sets since they did team up on Ariana’s “Break Free” in 2014. You might already know a ton of Zedd’s music, but in case you didn’t, here’s what to listen to in preparation for his Coachella 2019 set:

  1. The Middle
  2. Clarity
  3. Starving
  4. Happy Now
  5. Stay
  6. I Want You to Know
  7. 365
  8. Lost In Japan Remix (originally by Shawn Mendes)
  9. Spectrum
  10. Beautiful Now

 

 

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Why Are There No New Christmas Songs?

Christmas time is unique in that it’s the only time of year with designated songs describing the season. I mean I guess you can make a case for Halloween songs, but when it comes to Christmas songs, they can’t really compete. Christmas music is played way more frequently. The thing about Christmas music though is that every year radio stations, stores, malls, and other entities play the same songs on repeat. Unlike music in general, you don’t often hear new songs when it comes to Christmas ones. But why?

It’s not that new songs aren’t being created. Every year there’s probably several new Christmas songs, but apparently it’s difficult to make one popular to the masses. More often you’ll hear modern artists covering traditional Christmas music rather than creating new songs. In fact, the most recent successful Christmas song came out 22 years ago. It was Mariah Carey’s “All I Want For Christmas Is You”. Most of you know the song too. It’s now a holiday staple. You can make an argument for others though. *NSYNC’s “Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays” came out in 1998. Then there’s Britney Spears’s “My Only Wish” which was released in 1995.You might hear the *NSYNC song throughout the holidays, but it’s rare to hear the Britney one. Mariah still beats them both.

There’s been a couple of artists who have tried to put out a modern Christmas song in more recent years like Justin Bieber, Taylor Swift, Lady Gaga, Rihanna, Ariana Grande, and Meghan Trainor. I bet you didn’t know that unless you’re a huge fan of a particular artist because none of their songs were that successful. I honestly don’t know what their holiday songs are called or how they go. Do you? That’s enough proof to show their lack of success.

I had a few Christmas songs that I listened to during high school and college that were original songs. Those songs weren’t by bands or artists you’d hear on mainstream radio though. A lot of the songs had sad themes too, which aren’t people’s favorite thing to listen to around the holidays (take “Christmas Shoes” for example). One of my favorites was “Forget December” by Something Corporate. The songs was released in 2003 as part of the album A Santa Cause: It’s a Punk Rock Christmas, an album that was released to benefit The Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation in which punk bands created original holiday songs or recorded covers of Christmas classics. The first volume was released in 2003 and a second was released in 2006 to benefit a different charity (Cure Autism Now). A decent portion of those songs were on my Christmas playlist over the years.

Now whether it’s lack of Christmas spirit, a desire for something new, or a combo of both reasons, I don’t listen to Christmas music if I don’t have to (because when you go shopping near the holidays you’re bound to hear it). I haven’t for the last 4-5 years. I haven’t been excited to hear it either, even my old favorite songs. I think the reason for that is because I don’t listen to the same bands that I listened to in high school and college. In general Christmas and its music isn’t as exciting anymore, but especially since modern Christmas music really isn’t a thing. We’re mostly still listening to music that came out decades ago.

Last year, LCD Soundsystem released an original Christmas song, “Christmas Will Break Your Heart”. I listened to it, but I wished it was more upbeat like the songs “Dance Yrself Clean” or “Daft Punk Is Playing At My House”. It sounded more like “New York I Love You But You’re Bringing Me Down” and I just wasn’t feeling it at the time (I do like the song “New York I Love You….” though). I listened to it again last month and I liked it a little better probably due to my renewed love of LCD. That’s the only band I can think of that I like that released an original Christmas song in the past few years.

If more indie pop/rock bands released some Christmas songs, I might actually find a renewed taste for Christmas music. It would also be pretty sweet if an electronic artist did one too. I can imagine that would create an energetic Christmas vibe. I doubt any of those songs would make it to mainstream listeners though (not that I’d be complaining) so take that as you will.

Maybe one of the closest things to a Christmas song I’ve enjoyed in the last 4-5 years was a combination of a classic Christmas song and a modern day hit that debuted on the TV show The Real O’Neals last Tuesday. They performed O Holy Night and mashed it with Sia’s “The Greatest”. It was the coolest Christmas related musical piece I’ve heard in a while. It blended an old religious holiday ballad and a newly released non-Christmas single perfectly. It got me so hyped last week when they cut into the carol and started singing Sia. I’ve been promoting it ever since and I wish they recorded a full version.

Something like that gives me hope that maybe soon enough we’ll have more modern Christmas songs so we can stop listening to Burl Ives, Bing Crosby, or even Mariah Carey. I know many people may not want to, but I’ve never been part of the majority. Here’s a few newer-ish original Christmas songs to listen to if you’re looking for something more modern:

  1. Forget December -Something Corporate (2003)
  2. Yule Shoot Your Eye Out -Fall Out Boy (2003)
  3. I Won’t Be Home For Christmas -Blink-182 (2003)
  4. This Time of Year -The Mighty Mighty Bosstones (2003)
  5. Icicles -Punchline (2003)
  6. City Trucks -Paper Route (2006)
  7. My Christmas List -Simple Plan (2001)
  8. Right Where You Want Me To Be -A Day to Remember (2010)
  9. Christmas Will Break Your Heart -LCD Soundsystem (2015)
  10. Not Giving In -Rediscover (2006)
  11. The Christmas Song -Owl City (2008)
  12. Christmas Gifts -Foxes (2009)
  13. Merry Christmas, Kiss My Ass -All Time Low (2011)
  14. The Lights and Buzz -Jack’s Mannequin (2005)
  15. Merry Frickin’ Christmas -Frickin’ A (2004)

Also here is the O Holy Night/Sia Mashup from The Real O’Neals.