Admit it: the last time you paid attention to the pop charts, you were doing wheelies on your penny farthing during your job as a chimberly sweep.
Let's talk about the current singles chart. In fact, let's talk about one particular artist in this week's chart: Tiësto.
For me, Tiësto's name is associated with one era of music: millennial trance pop. I'm talking clean-shirted four-to-the-floor melodic house music with big fat chords, cheery basslines and chunky snare fills, all ever so Euro. Think Ferry Corsten, ATB, Armin van Buuren, or William Orbit doing Barber's Adagio For Strings.
His 1999 track Theme From Norefjell is a perfect example. A big synth line, a no-nonsense driving beat, sweeping strings, and no vocals. In all honesty, it could have been produced by anyone.
That's the point of all that post-Chicane / post-Insomnia stuff: just a "pop-trance, pop-trance, pop-trance" rhythm at a merry 140BPM. Good and solid, like a Volvo.
In these modern times, I'd assumed Tiësto was an irrelevance, like VHS rentals, milkmen or smallpox. Dance music is way beyond that basic trance pop stuff, right? These are the days of trap, of mumble rap, of moombahton.
Nope. Turns out, the dancing Dutchman is still going strong.
Not only has he been busy remixing John Legend and Avicii, and teaming up with big hitters like Martin Garrix and Post Malone, he is currently enjoying what might be the biggest hit single of his career. The Business peaked this month at number three in the UK singles chart, and is currently only a few places behind that awful sea shanty thing that's ruined TikTok. Tiësto is *big* right now.
This is starting to sound like one of those hagiography Wikipedia articles, but honestly, this really interests me. It seems weird to have Tiësto in the charts in 2021, because it doesn't follow a standard dance music artist career trajectory. Standard in my mind, anyway.
Take Underworld or Erasure or Orbital as an example. They don't have hits anymore because they now occupy the Old Act Precinct of the dance music world. They'll make money from making soundtracks, or BBC commissions, or selling tour tickets to original fans whose wrinkled bodies could do with a good old dancefloor shuffle every couple of years.
People like them aren't meant to be mixing with the cool chart kids after all these years. That's like going on your first date with the boy from school and dragging your Uncle Kevin along. Jeez, face the other way, Kevin, you creep.
However, unlike my underwear, Tiësto has changed with the times. He doesn't sound like he used to. Instead of being indistinguishable from every other millennial trance track, he now sounds like every other Calvin Harris track. Again, solid, like a Toyota. The Business fits in brilliantly with recent dance music trends, and it's no wonder it's a hit.
And watch out, because all that old trancey pop gubbins could be coming back too. Climbing to number 11 this week is ATB / Topic / A7S with Your Love (9PM). Yes, it's *that* ATB. Yes, it's *that* 9PM track.
So maybe there's not much point in paying attention to the pop charts, because it all comes full circle anyway, like that big old penny farthing wheel. Encore une fois and all that. Either that, or next time you look twenty years later, the hit parade is still full of the same clean-shirted millennial trancers.
You could say that Tiësto (there's a really good joke coming up, so get ready for it) has stood the tiëst of time. Ha ha ha ha. No? You just wait: that joke will be cool in a couple of decades' time.