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.
In the world of overplayed songs, a lot is gained via hindsight. It's easy to say you hate-hate-hate that Pink song when it's tearing up the charts, but by the end of the year its offensiveness may be but a faint, forgivable whisper next to the more lasting legacy of its pop superiors. With that in mind, we here at the Overplayed Song brain trust figure that now is as good a time as any to look back and see which of the monster tracks should truly hold the title of Overplayed Song of the Year. As always, the term "overplayed" isn't merely a measurable statistic of radio play or iTunes downloads, it's also a feeling, a arguable level of saturation into the fabric of popular culture.
In 2012, much like the baby Jesus, three gifts were brought to us from faraway lands: South Korea, Australia, and British Columbia. Which was enduringly brilliant gold, which was the sweet-smelling but cheap frankincense, and which would be better used to embalm dead bodies? We are about to find out!
There are only three reasons to listen to the Billboard Top 10 on a continuous loop for 10 hours:
1. You're 13 years old.
2. You love pop music.
3. You're a masochist.
Options 2 and 3 would apply to me. I'm not the type of masochist who locks himself in a room and blasts these 10 songs on a loop because he has nothing else to do but listen and cry. I'm the type who has the entire music library at his disposal, but decides to spend his long workday blasting the 10 most popular songs in America into his ears. That's me. The songs: