'It Feels Like Our World Is Fracturing': DJ Earworm Breaks Down His 2016 Mashup Every year since 2007, the mashup artist has woven the top 25 pop hits of the year into a single track that captures the essence of the year. The title of this year's mashup? "Into Pieces."
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'It Feels Like Our World Is Fracturing': DJ Earworm Breaks Down His 2016 Mashup

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'It Feels Like Our World Is Fracturing': DJ Earworm Breaks Down His 2016 Mashup

'It Feels Like Our World Is Fracturing': DJ Earworm Breaks Down His 2016 Mashup

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DAVID GREENE, HOST:

OK, let's hear what really sounds like a time capsule from the year 2007.

(SOUNDBITE OF DJ EARWORM SONG, "UNITED STATE OF POP 2007")

GREENE: A DJ who goes by the name DJ Earworm took the top 25 songs from that year, wove them together and called the result "United State Of Pop." He's been doing this every year since.

DJ EARWORM: Every single sound you hear comes from one of these 25 songs.

(SOUNDBITE OF DJ EARWORM SONG, "UNITED STATE OF POP 2007")

DJ EARWORM: I'll look up all of the lyrics for all the songs, and I put them on a single document. And I'll sort of scan through the document and try to identify my main thesis.

GREENE: OK, so what about 2016? This year's mix is DJ Earworm's 10th, and he called it "Into Pieces."

(SOUNDBITE OF DJ EARWORM SONG, "INTO PIECES")

GREENE: DJ Earworm says he tries to capture the feel of a year, and he says 2016 was rough.

DJ EARWORM: With our fractured political climate, with, you know, increased tension between police and Black Lives Matter and all sorts of things. We lost so many people that we loved this year.

GREENE: So to pull off "United State of Pop 2016," DJ Earworm sliced and diced vocals from the R&B star The Weeknd in his song "Starboy."

DJ EARWORM: It was just an irresistible way to start.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "STARBOY")

THE WEEKND: (Singing) Made your whole year in a week, too, yeah.

DJ EARWORM: I see the word, year, I always say, oh. And then other lyrics talk about...

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "STARBOY")

THE WEEKND: (Singing) I'm trying to put you in the worst mood.

DJ EARWORM: And so I thought, well, the year actually is what put you in the worst mood.

(SOUNDBITE OF DJ EARWORM SONG, "INTO PIECES")

THE WEEKND: (Singing) The whole year put you in the worst mood.

DJ EARWORM: If the sentences don't exist, I try to build them from the individual phrases and see if I can get something that creates this sentiment so that it goes from darkness into light. You know, it gives you an emotional journey.

(SOUNDBITE OF DJ EARWORM SONG, "INTO PIECES")

DJ EARWORM: I did not want to have a negative message with slow music, so I chose the one upbeat song that was huge this year, which is "This Is What You Came For." And so I took that dance tempo to be a lot of the background to liven the whole thing.

(SOUNDBITE OF DJ EARWORM SONG, "INTO PIECES")

DJ EARWORM: Into pieces - I wanted to have the repetition of that to make it catchy.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "STARBOY")

THE WEEKND: (Singing) Cut that album into skinny pieces.

DJ EARWORM: But also, I liked it because it was about my artistic method. I cut things into pieces. But also, it very much feels like our world is fracturing.

(SOUNDBITE OF DJ EARWORM SONG, "INTO PIECES")

DJ EARWORM: Oh, yeah. That's a dark part.

(SOUNDBITE OF DJ EARWORM SONG, "INTO PIECES")

DJ EARWORM: There was an opportunity to lose the drums for a minute so we can have a little breather before it starts up again, start to build the tension.

(SOUNDBITE OF DJ EARWORM SONG, "INTO PIECES")

DJ EARWORM: So yeah, we end with Lukas Graham in "7 Years." He's talking about his whole life story, and it has a very nostalgic feel. And he ends it with, well, this very sad piano.

(SOUNDBITE OF DJ EARWORM SONG, "INTO PIECES")

DJ EARWORM: All I know - I can't stop. You know, if things are really bad, what can you do? You have to soldier on.

(SOUNDBITE OF DJ EARWORM SONG, "INTO PIECES")

GREENE: DJ Earworm. We hope he never stops doing this. His year-end mash up, "United State Of Pop" is on YouTube. And you heard it here on MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm David Greene.

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