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Following a public vote of over 500,000 zoomers, Oxford English Dictionary has announced ‘play harder’ as its Word Of The Year for 2023.
It follows a spike in roughly 10,500% of Google searches for the term following Teletech resident Charlie Sparks’s Boiler Room appearance.
Play harder term is used by clubgoers who aren’t satisfied with anything other than a pounding kickdrum at a minimum of 160 BPM, and often voice their displeasure by shouting at the DJ booth or making unsubtle hand gestures.
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The announcement lands nine months earlier than usual, a decision reportedly fuelled by a group of happy hardcore fans gathering outside the Oxford University Press, shouting “play harder” and “play faster” in the direction of its front gate.
Speaking at special event to announce the president of the Oxford Dictionary’s executive council, Suze ‘XTC’ Dent said: “Play harder being chosen as Oxford’s Dictionary’s Word of the Year really speaks to the cultural zeitgeist in dance music’s 2023 world.
“As the world struggled with endless downtempo and ambient mixes during the COVID-19 pandemic lockdowns, people have been wanting it full steam ahead from doors on their nights out,” she continued. “And not just that – they aren’t afraid to ask for it.”
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“It’s impossible now to go to a club without seeing someone going up to the DJ and asking: ‘Do you have any ragga tech?’ or ‘Where’s the speedcore garage?’
“We normally announce the Word of The Year in December, but due to the speed that dance music now moves at, we felt compelled to bring this forward by eight months. We will now be announcing words of the year quicker than ever before, with perhaps another 45 coming in the next hour.”
The news has been welcomed by members of the clubbing community. A spokesperson for Hardstyle, a conglomerate of hardcore heads and ‘90s vintage fashion upcyclists told Mixmag: “Yes. Turn it up, pull that pitch fader down.
“Hardcore will never die. Sleep is for the weak. We like it fast paced to the face – play harder forever.”
Arthur Faaster is Mixmag’s hard techno correspondent
Written by: Tim Hopkins