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Why isn’t electronic dance music as popular in the U.S. as it is in other parts of the world? Do you think the RAVE Act had an impact on the mainstreaming of electronic dance music here? —Mary Morris, Laurel
Artists like the Postal Service, Radiohead, Björk, and Beck have had success in America by integrating electronica and dance elements into their music. And music marketers are looking for any opening: If a dance mix can get a Kelly Clarkson song played in the dance clubs, there will be a dance mix. One reason electronic music isn’t as popular might be that it sounds better in a club than on the radio. Another could be that most electronic music is built on percussion, loops, and beats, while rock/folk/pop/hip-hop is driven by words and personalities. Europe never seemed to get caught up in a “disco is killing live music” mentality like the U.S. did—the July 1979 “Disco Demolition” in Chicago caused a riot. The RAVE Act may have had a lot to do with it, too. Initially targeted at raves, it gave authorities increased power to raid any public gathering, including rock concerts and political rallies. Now the Department of Justice is proposing an expansion of existing federal law that would require adult-networking sites to obtain a photo ID from any consenting adult who posts a sexually explicit photo and allow the attorney general to search those sites’ records without a warrant.
I think this all speaks to the continued rise of conservatism in America. Would grown men look for anonymous sex in public restrooms if there were areas created to address this primal urge? Such places exist in Europe, greatly reducing the likelihood that children could stumble onto awkward adult situations. Repression of the natural course of human behavior is not the best answer. —Bob Mould
Bob Mould DJs at Blowoff in New York City on Sept. 8. Send questions to firstname.lastname@example.org