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Introducing ChRAGEmas

Daniel Barabasi | Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Christmas carols are something of the far past, a time when our primitive ancestors still plugged away at typewriters. Mariah Carey, you’re no longer all I want for Christmas. Really, it’s time for Christmas to move over. We’re in a new age now: the age of ChRAGEmas (patent pending).

We can thank American DJ Diplo, as well as his Mad Decent label for “A Very Decent Christmas,” for this amazing development. The mix highlights previously released tracks from artists on the label, only now in a more festive spirit. True to the label’s name, the songs blend trap, bounce, moombahton and every other “underrated” dance genre on the table right now.

Yet, Diplo’s release of “A Very Decent Christmas” isn’t the first time an electronic artist worked self-produced music into the festive spirit. Just a few weeks ago, fellow DJ Kaskade released a “Family. Friends. Freaks.” playlist for the holiday season.

So then why does Diplo get to be the founder of ChRAGEmas? Kaskade released calmer mixes of Frank Sinatra and Bing Crosby in order to fit into the soft, festive mood. While Kaskade played the family-friendly card, Diplo understood the true meaning of festive. Festive means party, festive means music, festive means beats that melt your brain. Turn down for presents? Sounds like the stupidest thing, but it took Diplo to show us we can rage on Christmas.

The defining mix takes traditional Christmas beats, such as “Jingle Bells” and “Deck the Halls,” ups the bass, adds a few jolly “Ho, ho, ho’s,” then drops the bass like it’s no one’s business. It’s actually uncanny how readily Christmas music adapts to drops, only further showing that Saint Nicholas actually loves the naughty children of the world. 

The first song off the record, “Turn Up Ye Merry Gentlemen,” sets the mood for Christmas 2.0. The song uses sleigh bells heavily to set the holiday spirit and underlays it with vocals of “Turn Up” and “Ho! Ho! Ho!” when the bass is about to drop. The next defining song “RUDE – OFF 2013” takes a Daft Punk spin on Santa’s reindeer by listing the iconic names, focusing on Rudolph, to the style of “Technologic.” 

The rest of the mixes continue with this musical absurdity, except for Mitch Murder’s “Don’t Let Me Spend Christmas Alone.” I actually don’t understand how this song made it on the album, as it sounds like a traditional Christmas melody propagating love and closeness, only with electronic background music. I’m assuming that Murder will soon be leaving the label for this transgression.

With his “Very Decent Christmas” mix, Diplo continues his crusade to break the EDM brand he often gets lumped under. This is the guy who has Baauer, the artist behind “Harlem Shake,” Riff Raff, allegedly paid in cocaine for performing at a USC party, and Major Lazer, the guy behind “Bubble Butt” on his label. 

Nevertheless, in an interview this year with The Huffington Post, Diplo ripped heavily on EDM. “Dance music is so interchangeable,” he said. “There’s not a lot of face to it. It’s a bunch of Dutch DJs with the same haircut. That’s not going to last very much longer, because kids see that it’s the same s*** every single time.”

ChRAGEmas follows this same theme. With “A Very Decent Christmas,” Diplo blasts preconceptions about what Christmas music sounds like. He argues with his music that we need the basic sounds of Christmas, but this doesn’t mean we need to have a boring Christmas. 

Essentially, why wait until New Year’s if you can rave at ChRAGEmas?

Contact Daniel Barabasi at dbaraba1@nd.edu