It's December, and 'tis the season for year-end lists, best-of playlists, and of course, DJ Earworm's annual United State of Pop mash-up. If you want a quick answer to "what it all meant," it's hard to do better than Earworm's five-minute time capsules of the pop sphere. Last year, I talked to the San Francisco-based DJ (a.k.a. Jordan Roseman) about the process of curating and melding 12 months of the best (and worst) of mainstream music, and how 2012 was overall more melodic and optimistic than the apocalypse pop of 2010 and 2011. But this year, the clouds rolled back in: "It's a little darker-themed, I think," he told Billboard.
Jordan Roseman, a.k.a. DJ Earworm, posted his first mash-up of Billboard's Top 25 songs on YouTube in 2007, in what was at the time a one-off experiment to see how many songs he could fit together in one track. Five years later, his annual "United State of Pop" mix is a year-end viral staple, with millions of viewers checking in to see the year in pop music reflected through his dense, hyperactive musical lens. Each mix becomes its own song, a barometer of the national mood, and a pop-culture time capsule as narrated by the likes of Katy Perry, Taylor Swift, and Bruno Mars.
This weekend Earworm premiered his 2012 mash-up, "Shine Brighter" (embed at bottom). I spoke to him on the phone from his studio in San Francisco in mid-November, when he was still hard at work bringing it all together.