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2007-2017 might just be the greatest decade in dance music history

The last 10 years have been momentous for our culture

  • Words: Joe Muggs | Illustration: Patch Keyes
  • 10 April 2017

We're celebrating the last 10 years of dance and electronic music with the Label Of The Decade poll. Here, Joe Muggs explains why 2007-2017 been so momentous for our culture

These days, it's hard to imagine a single musical revolution as universally transformational as the arrival of rock 'n' roll or acid house. Instead, it seems, the things that change our lives drastically are far more technological and political than cultural. After all, think back to 2007: there was no Instagram, no Whatsapp, no Snapchat, no Spotify. Twitter was an obscure tool used by net geeks and Facebook was just getting popular, while Apple was just launching something it called the iPhone. And nobody suspected that the global recession, Brexit, or the Russians hacking a US election to install a reality TV star as president were around the corner.

Everything that's happened musically in the last decade can sometimes feel like it's come in the wake of the huge shifts that have taken place in the rest of our lives – the myriad sounds and styles that have come and gone can be turbulent, chaotic, and difficult to keep track of. There's not been one generation-defining movement through which we can view the chaos of the times; even the explosion of EDM through the USA and beyond felt less like something new than just an expansion of the commercial club culture that was there all along. Raving is raving is raving, right?

And yet, when you start looking at the big picture, that EDM explosion represented the centre of musical and cultural upheavals as revolutionary as anything in the 20th century. There might not have been a Year Zero, but dance and electronic music culture in its ever-replenishing, ever-diversifying, ever-hungry way has had as much vitality, surprise and joy over the last 10 years as at any time in the past. You could even argue that 2007-2017 is its best decade ever. Just look at the spectacular, ridiculous, glorious, meteoric rise and self-destruction of dubstep, for instance.

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