Watch: Andy Samberg Nails EDM’s Play-Button Culture in SNL Digital Short
Andy Samberg summed up the entirety of what's wrong with EDM's play-button culture in hilariously spot-on fashion on this week's Saturday Night Live. SNL's Digital Shorts have been on ice since creators Andy Samberg, Jorma Taccone, and Akiva Schaffer left the show years ago, but the dynamic trio returned for Samberg's season-finale hosting gig on the show, with spectacular results.
In the clip below, Samberg plays "Davvincii," with an absolutely perfect imitation of overhyped and overpaid DJs, their mind-numbingly formulaic buildups and breakdowns, and the inevitable drop that elicits the same mind-melting hysteria from the crowd every single time. Add a little Jenga, some head-bursting death and an ungodly terrible wig, and you've got yourself Digital Short gold:
What makes the skit so damned hilarious is how dead-on it is. Samberg may as well have been DJ Falcon from our 2013 Treasure Island festival experience. For the entirety of his hour-long Treasure Island set, Falcon drank a beer while casually touching a laptop every 2-4 minutes – and the crowd went completely apeshit the entire time, screaming orgasmically at every predictable bass drop. Atoms For Peace, among the only live bands on the bill, played a crushingly awesome set four hours later to the same crowd, who by then were painfully subdued and disconnected to the point of forgetting a band was even onstage.
The Digital Short hits with particular strength, because while a significant number of legitimate artists are pushing the boundaries of EDM, the majority of popular dance music in American culture now caters specifically to Generation Pfizer. The legion of youth, awash in pharmaceutical behavioral correction/enhancement, possess a spectrum of sensory stimuli so blown out that their only recourse is to savor the disconnecting consciousness-purgatory buzz of endlessly repeated beats blasting from an iTunes playlist and out through the monitors. That day at Treasure Island, I watched no less than a dozen people running in place in the crowd. Just fucking running. In place.
This isn't about rock n' roll being dead or irrelevant, or the same stupid rut hip-hop lyricism has been stuck in for far too long. This is a tectonic shift of value for performance authenticity in music, encouraged and accelerated by a new generation of evolved recreational chemicals.
Andy Samberg said it all, hilariously, on Saturday night.