“The thing that has been most notable in the past two or three years is the decline of EDM,” says Earworm of the 25 songs he selected for this year’s song. “The ‘United State of Pop’ became this dance track from ’09 to ’12, and then starting last year, there just wasn’t enough in that genre to fully support it, so I went down-tempo. And this year, ‘Timber,’ which was popular in January, is the only popular dance track I’m dealing with. It’s definitely down-tempo, so you have to decide, how is this going to go? How am I going to maintain the energy levels while being true to the sound of the year?”
Earworm continues that 2014 was “dominated by these slow, ponderous songs like ‘Say Something’ and ‘All Of Me,’ and then swaggering hip-hop songs like ‘Turn Down For What,’ ‘Talk Dirty,’ and ‘Black Widow.’ Then you have totally uptempo songs like ‘Happy’ and ‘Shake It Off,’ too. It’s a little bit more diverse, and definitely softer than it’s been.”
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Fashioning a pop song out of R&B ballads like John Legend’s “All Of Me” and offbeat pop-rock tracks like Bastille’s “Pompeii” is no easy task, and Earworm says that crafting the 2014 “United State of Pop” was a more challenging process than usual. He relied on the drums from Jessie J’s “Bang Bang,” the percussion of DJ Snake & Lil Jon’s “Turn Down For What,” the horns from Jason Derulo’s “Talk Dirty” and the piano hooks from A Great Big World’s “Say Something” to help create an instrumental bed that was “much more complex” than in previous years.
“I would love the whole thing to be perfectly blended each time, but it also has to be digestible,” Earworm explains. “Some years, it’s a pretty straightforward instrumental from one source, but this year is the most blended instrumental I’ve been able to achieve yet.”
Earworm says that he used to stay glued to the Internet when the “United State of Pop” would debut online each year, but in 2014, he’ll be too preoccupied to monitor the online feedback. “As soon as this [launch] is over, I’m going to New York, and I’ll be working on some original material which I’m super excited about,” says the mash-up maestro.