February 12, 2021

deahmau5’s New Song Order


I’m sitting here listening to a new song by deadmau5. If you are unfamiliar with deadmau5, he’s a DJ and electronic dance music (EDM) artist who performs in a mask that kind of looks like Mickey Mouse. He was doing this well before Marshmello was walking around with a giant marshmallow on his head.

One of the things I especially like about deadmau5 is that his music is accessible even when you aren’t dancing. A lot of EDM is fine when you’re out on the dance floor but gets kind of boring when you’re just playing it in the background. deadmau5 is more like 80s techno in this regard. It’s great to dance to but you can just listen to it.

The connection with 80s techno is especially strong in the new tune that just dropped from deadmau5, “Arguru 2k19”. The name refers to his 2007 album, Arguru. “Arguru 2k19” is supposed to be remake of the music on the earlier album. Since it’s a new song, this was my first listen (obviously) yet it sounds so familiar. Like, really familiar. How can that be? To be honest, I’m not as familiar with the mid-2000s version, so it’s not that.

That’s then it hits me. It’s “Blue Monday” by New Order, just reworked. Now, lots of EDM samples 80s music and “Blue Monday” is one of the more sampled tracks from that period. Expect this isn’t a sample. This is the whole main hook! That famous hook that immediately identifies the song. All the other hooks and melodies are in “Arguru 2k19” too. Even more, the rhythm track uses the same bass and gated drums. deadmau5 even drops the bass in the same spots.

I’m all in favor of covers, but this isn’t a cover. This is taking the main elements and beat of a song, making a few stylistic changes, and tacking on a new name. It’s much more than a sample and less than a cover.

Don’t get me wrong, the tune is good. Very good in fact. That’s because it’s someone else’s classic song. I’m not sure how deadmau5 pulled this off without a lawsuit but it annoys me. It seems that deadmau5 should have at least given a nod to New Order in the title, something that would broadcast that this was meant as a cover.

“Blue Monday” is a classic 80s dance song and a precursor to modern EDM. It deserves more respect.