Skrillex Up For a Grammy? Scratch That, Five Grammys?!
WARNING: THIS POST CONTAINS SHITTY DUBSTEP SONGS. PROCEED AT YOUR OWN RISK.
It’s official – dubstep has taken over. I knew this day would come, although I somewhat wished it wouldn’t. I had an innate sense that once this day arrived, I would be hearing dubstep aside from any live setting, for example, on television commercials, on the radio, in the gay clubs and walking down the SMU boulevard during a tailgate. When I used to listen to dubstep (more realistically go see a dubstep show), it was on my terms. There was a very delicate balance.
If you haven’t heard the news, punk-rock emo kid turned dubstep poster child Skrillex is nominated for five Grammys for 2011, including a nomination for best new artist. And he’s laying down a solid mainstream foundation by collaborating with Korn (yes, fucking Korn) on a song for the metal band’s resurgence dubstep album entitled The Path of Totality, due out Dec. 2. Well, maybe I shouldn’t label the album “dubstep” because the band’s lead singer seems to think that was Korn’s style all along.
“We were dubstep before there was dubstep,” Jonathan Davis told Billboard in an article published this week. “Tempos at 140 with half-time drums, huge bassed-out riffs. We used to bring out 120 subwoofers and line them across the whole front of the stage, 60 subs per side. We were all about the bass.”
Alas, the thrill of American dubstep has even veteran metal heads on their knees begging for an “in” to the new “it.” Now let’s not get it twisted, I dig dubstep and I have for a while now. How can you resist the way Bassnectar smears a little wa-wa over The Beatles’ “Strawberry Fields,” or the catchy pop attitude of British producer Rusko? But there is a time and a place for dubstep, and it is not always everywhere.
I recently got to speak with Brooklyn-based electronic producer Eliot Lipp (playing at The Green Elephant on Friday, Dec. 2) about the current musical climate. I asked him why he thought dubstep was becoming so popular and although his answer was not unexpected, it was thoroughly insightful.
“It’s big in the club scene and it’s good to play out in crowds. It’s good in the live setting,” Lipp said over the phone. “The heaviness of the bass in the music and the physical quality … it’s just rowdy. That music gets people pumped up.”
Yes, it makes for a great show, I cannot deny that (I rocked out so hard at the recent Zed’s Dead show my body was sore for days). The hype artists get out of an audience is monstrous, so they all love to play to it. But fact of the matter is that under the surface of dubstep is very little. And after you hear one, two, 15, 100 dubstep sets a year, every one ends up sounding the same.
In my opinion, the maniac vibe of dubstep is intoxicating and sucking the life from diversified electronic artists in the live setting. I don’t want to hear a wave of wobbles followed by a wave of week-week-week-week-week-week-week from producers like Paper Diamond, whose upbeat melodies originally swooned my eardrums. I don’t want to see the ease and sexiness of glitch-hop diffused by an overwhelming urge to bang one’s head.
I need something more. But I guess I should just be grateful Britney Spears’ 2011 so-called dubstep debut “Hold It Agains’t Me” wasn’t nominated for a Grammy – then I’d have a real shit fit. [exit soapbox]