It was Halloween, and I was visiting a friend at a warm, idyllic southern university. I was standing on a balcony dressed as Crocodile Dundee, more than buzzed, surrounded by costumed peers gyrating to ear-bleedingly loud bro-step in every direction. The scene was so picturesque it could have been an “I’m Shmacked” video — I was smack dab in the middle of a college student’s Eden. Like those sorority T-shirts on football Saturdays, I tried desperately to RAGE RAGE RAGE. And yet, all that resulted was me awkwardly nodding in a sort of half dance, half neck-snapping jig to the loud techno as I frantically scanned the crowd for my friend, all the time clinging to my (very empty) Natty Light like a lifeline.

After a while, I mercifully found myself back at the bar with my friend. He looked at me oddly for a moment, and then blurted out the sentiment that would provoke the creation of this very article almost a year later.

“You can’t Rage, can you?” he asked.

Indignant and proud (and totally bullshitting), I scrambled to defend my Big Ten party school honor.

“Psh, are you kidding? Of course I can Rage! I go to Michigan!” I lamely protested, embarrassed that he had picked up on my obvious discomfort.

The next day, as I flew north of the Mason-Dixon line back to Detroit, I pondered the notion of “Raging.” Why didn’t I enjoy it? As much I hated to admit it, my friend was right — I was not into standing on a balcony holding my beer up high, toasting the Gods of Rage. But I did like partying. Wherein lies the difference?

It got me thinking. What is Raging, anyway? Isn’t it just partying … intensely? Or is there a variable that separates it from regular old partying?

At the time, I couldn’t answer these questions. However, nine months, some hands-on experience, third-party inquiries and a whole lot of marinating later, I’ve finally come up with a few academic conclusions.

I believe that Raging is created by a unique alchemy consisting of the following proportions: 10 percent is being drunker than normal, 30 percent is being in public (never underestimate the power of vanity), 10 percent is the ability to lose touch with one’s self-consciousness due to substances and a whole 50 percent relies on the music.

The answer is in the ratio breakdown: I do not like Rage music, therefore I cannot Rage. Let me elaborate.

Music is the backbone of every party, gathering and social experience — it dictates the mood, generates ambience, rallies sports fans, motivates lazy people, catalyzes pregames. If you aren’t jiving with the playlist, it can suck the life right out of you. Dave Matthews came on at that house party on Greenwood? Rewatching “Game of Thrones” in bed is starting to look pretty good.

There’s a very particular type of music that is the driving force behind Raging. You know the type — louder than God, bass mixed to blow out the tinny speakers, track lasting long enough to finish at least three beers.

Electronic music, dubstep, techno, bass — tomato, tomahto. I don’t claim to know anything substantial about any of these movements (or the laptops — I mean artists — that perform at their shows). This is coming from a bemused observer, not a scholar. But let it be known: I am positively mystified that this kind of music seems to have entranced such a large portion of my generation. When did partying to Biggie and Kanye become eclipsed by bludgeoning techno remixes whose “drops” tell you the exact moment at which it is appropriate to start to Rage?

This music, which I shall hereto from this day on christen “Electro-dub-tech-bass,” baffles me. These songs don’t often contain very many chord changes, bridges, choruses or hooks — in other words, the things that make a song actually musical. Instead, they have an inhuman quality that allows listeners to disengage in order to focus on being inebriated. It’s music without the music. It’s a get-fucked-up-for-free pass that allows for minimal distraction from the task at hand — to go hard. To cop a line from Chief Keef, that’s that shit I don’t like.

Call me conservative, but do you know what I like? Instruments. Discernable lyrics. Evidence that a human may have had a hand in its creation.

Electro-dub-tech-bass is approaching a ubiquity I am powerless to forestall. But for those unable to make a complete escape, there is a simple panacea: Fake it until you make it. Just kidding. One shouldn’t have to expend valuable energy dancing on balconies to electro-dub-tech-bass when other, less muscle-straining options abound.

Let’s get back to our roots, people. Load the party playlists with the forefathers of Rage: 50 Cent, T.I., Ja Rule, OutKast. Dance and sing along (with tracks under five minutes, too!). There’s nothing like that burst of camaraderie when an entire party busts out all the lyrics to “Ignition (Remix)” or “No Scrubs.” In fact, we’re approaching a party artist renaissance thanks to Icona Pop, A$AP Rocky, Meek Mill and Kendrick Lamar. And if that still doesn’t work, HBOGo.com is always a click away.

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