When “United State of Pop: Blame it on the Pop” debuted in 2009, DJ Earworm skyrocketed to stardom online. The nearly five-minute mashup from Jordan “DJ Earworm” Roseman used Billboard’s most popular 25 songs of the year to go beyond the bounds of typical viral success on YouTube. It was played on the radio, and found its own spot on top played lists. People became obsessed with Roseman’s unquestionable bop. Two years after his first stab at “United State of Pop” in 2007, Roseman had arrived.
For the next 10 years, Roseman would produce a song at the end of every year that people looked forward to, releasing it on YouTube with a corresponding video mashup. Some years were less polished than others, but Roseman never failed to make songs that slapped.
Nothing ever came close to “Blame it on the Pop,” though, and its 51 million YouTube views.
To mark the end of a decade, Roseman has released two new tracks: a best-of-decade mashup and a traditional end-of-year tribute. Music has changed over the last 10 years, of course. New superstars like Lizzo have emerged, and former main players like the Black Eyed Peas have faded away. Roseman’s own career has skyrocketed; assisting artists like Pink and Queen with mashup projects of their own have helped him turn his viral moment into a full-fledged career. Tracking trends in music, shifts in technological methods and melancholic voices, have also become much easier through Roseman’s compilations.
“At the beginning of the era, it was all this in-the-club, medium-flavored, 120-130 BPM electro-pop, basically,” Roseman told Time’s Raisa Bruner in a new interview. “And that dissolved. Although it’s all slower — it’s slow, mumbly hip-hop — there’s also this reggaeton influence, there’s slow EDM mixed with tropical house towards the end of the decade, and now we’re starting to see a new feeling of novelty. Because hip-hop is dominating that [idea] right now, it’s starting to get a lot sillier.”
Roseman’s emergence as DJ Earworm felt like more than another DJ entering a world where electronic music was moving from niche circles to mainstream dominance. His use of YouTube as a platform to premiere ridiculously catchy songs with equally entertaining videos also spoke to what YouTube was in 2009. Everything was moving online, and people were sharing their art with whomever wanted to find it. Music, a universal language, and musicians, universal icons, made the videos feel that much bigger. Especially for teenagers, who Roseman shouts out in his Time interview, declaring that music is “the soundtrack of their lives,” adding that “the top of the charts is the soundtrack of my life as well.”
If you’re someone who looks forward to a new DJ Earworm track every year — as I have done since 2009 — the only question that matters is whether Roseman will continue to produce. Positive vibes, friends.
“I’m in it for the long haul,” Roseman told Time. “I’ve gone through some peaks and some valleys. But there’s something to be said for persistence, and for not quitting even though the pendulum swings. I know mashups were at a cultural peak right around the turn of last decade. I know they’re not as buzzworthy now. But I think they’re a form that’s here to stay and will be relevant.”
You can read the full Time interview here.