Forget the Grammys, the VMAs, or any day Beyoncé decides to release new music or re-release old music: today is the best day of the year to be a pop music fan. The annual DJ Earworm United State of Pop mix has dropped, so crack out your headphones, switch to full-screen, and obliterate that quickly encroaching Seasonal Affective Disorder with four glittering minutes of mainstream music synthesis from the veteran mash-up creator.
As with prior years, Earworm (aka Jordan Roseman) has compiled the top 25 singles of 2014 into a kind of found-art musical essay. "Do What You Wanna Do" is a markedly more optimistic track than 2013’s "Living The Fantasy," with this year’s chart-toppers imploring us to "shake it off" (Taylor Swift) and "let it go" (Idina Menzel), because we’ve got "one less problem" (Ariana Grande). It’s also far more hip-hop-driven than recent USOP mash-ups, with Jeremih and YG’s ubiquitous "Don’t Tell Em" and Jason Derulo’s "Talk Dirty" figuring prominently in the mix. Roseman released this year’s mix via Billboard, bringing his musical ode to the charts full circle.
Earworm’s mash-ups are always valuable as succinct musical time capsules
Earworm’s mash-ups are always valuable as succinct musical time capsules — his 2009 mix, which is still his most viewed on YouTube, still elicits a strong emotional response for anyone who remembers self-medicating with Lady Gaga and T.I. during that nearly-universally-loathed year. "Do What You Wanna Do" resembles that release in tone and sentiment, but it’s the first time I’ve come away from an Earworm mash-up feeling like pop music missed the mark this year. Other than "Turn Down For What" — which I have no question in my mind was 2014’s Song Of The Year, the only track to truly capture the chaos of 2014 in a way that feels appropriately apocalyptic — none of the chart-toppers Roseman had to choose from feel like they're in any kind of conversation with the events of 2014. In the year of ISIS, Ferguson, and what seemed like a new horrifying sexual abuse case for every day of the year, were we really just listening to "Happy" on repeat?