Do you like early Christmas presents? What about the prospect of overdosing on exquisite melody and mercenary hookcraft? If you answered "yes" to both questions, you're probably already familiar with DJ Earworm's annual "United State of Pop" mashup. The producer born Jordan Roseman boils down a few dozen of the year's biggest pop hits and spins the resulting syrup into an enjoyable, coherent song all its own; recent entries in the series like "Living the Fantasy" and "Do What You Wanna Do" have turned out just as memorable as their many constituent parts.
Billboard premiered Roseman's newest creation, "50 Shades of Pop," earlier this afternoon, and he's exploring new terrain with this year's summative track. I can't remember one of his mashups ever sounding this slinky; "50 Shades of Pop" isn't quite a bedroom jam, but no one would blink twice if you played it late in a party when everyone's coupling up and scurrying into dark corners. Roseman also managed to double the number of songs thrown into this year's mashup, throwing in 50 hits where he used to throw in 25. It's a testament to his skill that anyone can get through something this dense without springing a toothache or fainting.
You can apply a pop nerd's rule of thumb to these mashups
Roseman's mashups also typically allow for the application of a pop nerd rule of thumb: the songs he puts in prominent positions (or that jump out most readily) are the ones that stood above all of the year's other smashes. You might hear something different in "50 Shades of Pop," but I keep picking out songs like "Can't Feel My Face," "Where Are Ü Now," "Hello," and "Love Me Like You Do." That's a big part of the fun of "United State of Pop": it gives you another reason to reflect on, and talk about, the year's most successful music with your friends.
"I try to get a feel of what is in the zeitgeist," Roseman told Billboard. "Music has been going through a softer phase than it was a few years ago so there's that return of adult contemporary. That's maybe represented by the Ellie Goulding track, it's very lush and soft. And then there's sort of retro, uptempo dance stuff, and that's represented by The Weeknd['s] track."