The annual DJ Earworm mashup is always my favorite kind of year-in-review reflection piece, in part because I love music but also because it is such an interesting way to see how the past and present coalesce. To make a mashup of so many songs coherent, you have to find a unifying theme and subject, and by mixing the most popular music it gives us an idea of what people were really connecting with this past year and what they were feeling in the moment. Yet because music takes so long to produce, many of these songs were written the year prior, which makes such a mashup a reflection of the past that extends further than a year in pictures or top ten lists. It always seems like we are chasing the future during this time of year, but the past continues to inform our lives, and I like how these mashup types remind us of that continuity.
And given that he was able to pick out the theme of "World Go Boom" it got me thinking what it is about fear and hope about the future that is so present in so many of these upbeat songs. "Give me everything tonight- can't promise tomorrow, but I can give you tonight." "We found love in a hopeless place." Even the Party Rockers song has a post apocalyptic type video. Is it because of economic depression? Is it the whole Mayan calendar thing? Are we all just really obsessed with zombies, post apocalyptic Hunger Games like dystopias, and vampires? Or maybe this just always happens at the turn of the century that we all start to obsess about change, possibilty and the unknown moreso than usual. Mary Shelley published Frankenstein in 1818. HG Wells and Jules Verne wrote some incredible science fiction novels in the turn of the 20th century. Maybe there is just something about the first couple decades of century where we haven't yet convinced ourselves that the world isn't ending on a round number.
Whatever it is, it is really interesting to see how people react to change and most interesting to see how hope and fear are wrapped up together so tightly in so many of the songs. And given that this past year has been a banner year of transition for me, I can't say that I don't appreciate the soundtrack to remember all this change. Between moving countries again, new adorable baby wasian nephews, selling the house I have lived in for 25 years, the parents packing up shop and moving to the Philippines for good- Hell even the Catholic Church changed the masses, and today I saw the plans for a redesign for a local mall that hasn't changed for over 20 years- everything in my life feels like it is changing. And that is not a bad thing, but I am a creature of habit, so it helps to have songs that shake off that fear of the unknown, that limbo, and keep moving forward.
Which is a long winded way of saying, here's a bouncy mix of popular 2011 songs (and one from 2010 about 2012) to help move you into the new year: Keep the Lights On Til the World Ends.
May 2012 be better than 2011. Here's hoping the world doesn't end, but even if it does, at least we all have each other until the end. Happy New Year.