Here Are 68 Of 2013's Biggest Songs In 5 1/2 Minutes

Originally published on December 31, 2013 7:10 am

At the end of the year, we all look back differently. Daniel Kim, a Vancouver-based part-time composer and DJ (he also works in retail), likes to view the year in pop as a Vitamix would: in tiny pieces. Each year since 2010, he has blended as many of the year's hits as he can into a single nonstop track. Over the 5 1/2 minutes of this year's Pop Danthology, Kim chops up and reorganizes no less than 68 familiar hits into something that's both relentlessly new and nostalgic for the year that's ending.

He tells NPR's Morning Edition that when he's making his mixes, he likes to hear the songs act out a call and response: Hooks and riffs fly by in a blur. Miley gets her bass line tangled with Lorde. Justin Timberlake's "Suit and Tie" tumbles past on a modified dance beat. The Pharrell Williams in Daft Punk's "Get Lucky" croons while the Pharrell Williams in Robin Thicke's "Blurred Lines" yelps ad libs.

It takes a lot of time and planning to create something that emphasizes ephemerality, but for Kim, the rush is the point. "I can't stand music that progresses slowly, entertainment that progresses slowly," he says. "So making a mashup is like putting together this huge, huge puzzle — getting just all the best parts and putting them together in a way that the listener doesn't have to just endure through boring filler parts, but they can get just the best pieces of everything."

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If you are getting ready for New Year's Eve, and you're working on that play list, here's a song to consider. OK, actually 68 songs stitched together into a five minute mix. We're talking about Pop Danthology, an annual music video mash up that goes viral this time of year. The creator, Daniel Kim, and he isn't even a famous DJ. He's a creative jack of all trades from Vancouver, who composes music for commercials, runs a blog and also works part-time in retail.

He's released his MASH ups on YouTube every December since 2010.


GREENE: Last year's version got more than 45 million hits. And as Daniel Kim was putting the finishing touches on this year's mix, his fans started getting impatient.

: When I posted a status update that, OK, I'm running a bit behind in schedule. The same people started swearing at me and using really foul language. It was almost sounded like I was dealing with addicts.

GREENE: Yeah he was. When he posted Pop Danthology a few weeks ago, some of us here at MORNING EDITION were playing it on loop. Just seems like a great song for New Years Eve to dance, and also feel some nostalgia for the year that's ending. We could not pass up a chance to talk to Kim about how he does it.

: I choose several keys to work with. And then I just group up many songs into that one key. And then, I try to see how I can transition from one chunk to the other.


: When I notice that there is some melody in a song that breaks apart, if there's another song where during the pauses of one song they're singing, then I like to put them together so that it creates that call and response kind of effect.


: A lot of planning goes into this 'cause if you don't plan outs something like this, then you'll end up being stuck in a certain key. And you want to transition out but you don't have anymore material to work with.


: I can't stand music that progresses slowly - entertainment that progresses slowly. So making a mash up is like putting together this huge, huge puzzle. Getting just all the best parts and putting them together in a way that the listener doesn't have to just endure through boring filler parts, but they can get just the best pieces of everything.


GREENE: That is producer Daniel Kim. Each December, he releases "Pop Danthology," a year-end music video mash up.

Happy New Year, everybody. It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm David Greene.


And I'm Renee Montagne.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC, "POP DANTHOLOGY") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.