It’s difficult to know where to start when unravelling Marshmello’s year: 2019 has been a string of unique, ambitious, daring and sometimes quite absurd heights. Take the fact that his 2018 hit ‘Happier’ spent an entire year at No.1 in the Billboard Dance Chart — a feat that’s never happened before. Take his in-game concert on Fortnite Battle Royale. Taking place way back in February, it was the first of its kind and a record in gaming history with 10.7 million fans locked in live. That’s not counting those live streaming through Twitch. The scale of this is incredible and means Marshmello — real name Chris Comstock — may well have technically played to more people this year than the whole Top 100 DJs top 10 combined.
Following his Fortnite phenomenon, the Philadelphia artist then proceeded to unleash a range of pop tracks that pursued some interesting and diverse paths. First up was ‘Sell Out’, a riddim-rollicking return to his dubstep roots with Svdden Death. Then came ‘Here With Me’, a cosy guitar-strumming chill piece with Scottish band Chvrches. These were swiftly followed by a sleazy hip-hop jam with Chris Brown and Tyga (‘Light It Up’) and the trappy bumps and grinds of ‘Roll The Dice’ with rappers SOB and RBE. And if that didn’t straddle the mainstream continuum quite enough for you then his summer output most certainly did...
Cue his third album ‘Joytime III’. Released this summer, it launched with his own Beat Fever-style video game Marshmello Dance Music and featured a whole gamut of fellow big room bass-bumping collaborators such as Slushii, Wiwek and Crankdat (to name a few). But what stood out the most was an interesting rock fusion with cult metalcore band A Day To Remember. Breaking the Florida band’s three-year release silence, ‘Rescue Me’ whipped up tens of millions of views within months of release and showed an even broader side to Marshmello’s songwriting abilities...Something he then went on to level up again a month later with a new original track that wasn’t on his album: ‘One Thing Right’, Mello’s debut foray into the world of country music.
In a rare fusion that Avicii famously tested back in 2014 with ‘Wake Me Up’, ‘One Thing Right’ saw him don his double denims and link up with country heartthrob Kane Brown for a classic tale of boy-done-bad-done-good-but-will-probably-do-bad-again-in-future. The balance of country-style vocals and arrangement backed with Mello’s polished EDM proved a success on both sides of the musical canyon, with a No.1 in the Billboard Country chart and successes in various dance charts.
From heavyweight bass to country via rock, rap, trap and chill, musically alone Marshmello has cut an impressive and singular pop path with a range that — on paper — shouldn’t work, but is clearly incredibly popular. Beyond the music things get even more absurd; in October he bizarrely won the coveted WWE Smackdown 24/7 belt and was champion for all of about 20 minutes, and he appeared in Adult Swim’s animated series Robot Chicken in actual marshmallow form.
Like we said; unique, ambitious, daring, sometimes quite absurd… But really quite impressive, whichever side of the electronic musical canyon you stand.
What changes have you made this year to be more environmentally friendly?
“Giant paper straws.”
What’s your guilty pleasure?