Artist // VEVO
For as many remixes and collaborations as Kaytranada has created and been a part of, he apparently isn't a big fan of pop-EDM unions.
The producer took to Twitter on Friday night to voice his opinion on the wave of the newly-blended genre and insulted it in the process, writing: "Like straight up, pop stars and edm dj collabs are like boiled chicken with no-seasoning."
"Thanks, now I got the Navy after me. Stop trying to make this a 'me hating on Rihanna' thing, ‘cause I'm not. I did a 'Kiss it Better' remix yall. The pop stars collab with the big edm djs.... MUSICALLY it hasn't evolve[d] since 2011. All I'm saying is that it would've been much cooler to see someone on the come-up collaborating w/ them instead of doing the same thing. Get down with them new and unique thangs, that's all I'm saying. And Boiled chicken is not entirely bad, it just need some seasoning."
In many ways, we see Kaytranada's point, but we also can't deny that pop-EDM fusions have brought us some of the biggest feel-good hits in recent years. Here, REVOLT remembers the ones we love (and, okay, one we don't).
Rihanna feat. Calvin Harris, "We Found Love" (2011)
When this dropped, I remember thinking that it recalled her "Only Girl In The World" hit from the year prior, but only because of its electro synths; "We Found Love" actually felt way different because she'd scaled back on the relentless shouting that populated the former track and sounded more relaxed here, like she was trying to be careful in describing this 'should we-or-shouldn't we' romance—"The way I'm feeling, I just can't deny/ But I've gotta let it go"—because it was fragile. And the beat helped in making it seem like she still recalled it fondly; it was huge house and had a zippy build-up and felt trance-y, in terms of both genre and affect, and just made you so damn happy. Three months after it was released, I tweeted: "please lemme know when i get sick of 'we found love' because i'll prob be going batshit & won't notice." I was right; this still hasn't happened.—Danielle Cheesman
David Guetta feat. Usher, "Without You" (2011)
Daddy Usher was still finding himself in the post-Tameka era. He'd delivered the underwhelming Raymond v. Raymond album, which had some cool songs, sure, but felt like he was chasing a young sound. Then came this collaboration with David Guetta. Lyrically, it's a ballad. Emotionally, it's the plea of a man whose lover has left and thrown his world off-kilter. But musically, it's a dance record. The juxtaposition allowed Usher to take his powerful R&B vocals — and he is one of the best vocalists in the game — and let them soar in a genre that allows for more range than the typical, radio-friendly R&B song.—Driadonna Rowland
Disclosure feat. Sam Smith, "Latch" (2012)
From listen 1 to listen 100, this is a sticky trap of a song. Sam Smith's vocals are husky and seductive, and the lyrics invite you to do bad things: "I feel we're close enough, I wanna lock in your love / I think we're close enough, could I lock in your love, baby?" It's the perfect soundtrack to a hookup. Who can resist?—D.R.
Daft Punk feat. Pharrell and Nile Rodgers, "Get Lucky" (2013)
Retro, futuristic, and timeless all in one. What more could you possibly want in a silky, feel-good summer jam? The electronic stylings of French duo Daft Punk, brush of pop glow from Pharrell Williams, and strings strummed from guitar god Nile Rodgers created the soundtrack for a spinning mirror ball that is still full of twists. Infectious, enjoyable and so full of life, the pairing between these three forces proved to be a match made in pop heaven.—Ralph Bristout
Ariana Grande feat. Zedd, "Break Free" (2014)
I don't know; by the time "Break Free" came out, I may have grown tired of dance's infiltration into mainstream music because something about the song irritated me. It felt too generic, too cheesy. It also felt too loud, and not in an anthemic way, but in the way that makes you want to shush someone. (I credit that to Ariana's vocals which, in other instances, I've totally enjoyed!) But there was also her and Zedd's complete disregard for the English language and grammar—"I only want to die alive." How? "Now that I've become who I really are." What?!—that, as a writer and editor, made my head explode and likely contributed to my secret desire to see the song fall way back down the charts, never to be heard from again.—D.C.
Jack Ü feat. Justin Bieber, "Where Are Ü Now? (2015)
Justin Bieber's redemption tour started with this song. He wrote it initially as a piano ballad, and that intimacy is likely what makes this record connect. The beat was deceptively simple for 'EDM'—so much so that the New York Times did a deep dive into all the moving parts… And then it won a Grammy.—D.R.
David Guetta feat. Nicki Minaj, Bebe Rexha and Afrojack, "Hey Mama" (2015)
When the worlds of hip-hop and EDM clashed last year, the result was a never-ending listening session. Other than its success on the chart, David Guetta, Afrojack and Nicki Minaj’s “Hey Mama” lived on the airwaves, commercials, music video rotations, eardrums and everything in between. But going past the playbacks, the song itself proved a point in breaking down the bubble of the word that separates art: Genre. Best believe that.—R.B.