Skrillex, as a person, inspires the kind of rage in music-aficionado circles that was once reserved for polka, boy bands, and polka boy bands (you should click on that link there).
But wait. This new song… is actually pretty fucking good. It completely eschews the WUBWUBWUBWUBWUBWUB dubstep sound that Skrillex became so famous for and instead now sounds like the kind of futuristic R&B that is coming out of London. That’s right: Skrillex now sounds not entirely dissimilar to cooler-than-cool Jamie xx.
It’s been clear for a while now that Skrillex himself hates the buzzsaw-bass-synth-WUBWUBWUBWUBWUB sound that he helped popularize. He’s long been a fan of electronic musician Aphex Twin, and once posted a song of his on his Facebook. It was a pretty pedantic move… people post shit to Facebook all the time… yet read the reaction from his fans. They’re so ensconced in the WUBWUBWUBWUBWUB aspect that they can’t seem to appreciate anything else other than that particular type of ADD/everything-all-of-the-time/mainstream-dubstep that Skrillex popularized. Take a look:
Skrillex (real name Sonny Moore, but fuck it, it’s hard calling a grown-ass man ‘Sonny’) has also said in recent interviews how he’s tired of the “Where’s the drop?” fans. What, then, can Skrillex’s own fans make of Skrillex, now that he no longer “sounds like Skrillex” – what happens when a breakthrough artist changes their sound? While the song has only been up on YouTube for a short while his fans’ reactions are certainly mixed. He’s received a lot of positive feedback in the comment section although many detractors are saying he sounds too much like Burial. Yet I was still able to find a sizable portion of “Where’s the drop?” commenters, too, who simply will not go along with Skrillex’s new sound.
Hopefully he’ll continue to develop as an artist. While Skrillex’s name may be synonymous with a particular type of suburban teenager mall-angst – the kind that picked up on his ADD-style sound – it’s important to remember that even the critically lauded Radiohead started out as a 2nd-wave grunge band with one good song. If Skrillex can continue evolving as an artist then he, of all people, could possibly be the person to genuinely bring American electronic dance music up to par with the rest of the world.
He faces an interesting decision: if he stays with his mall-angst ADD brand of dubstep he risks developing as an artist and becoming a self parody forever trapped in some 2010-2012 hellhole, and if he drastically changes his sound he risks losing his fanbase entirely. I honestly hope he chooses the latter. You have to trust your instincts, and if the above song is anything to go by I think he’s completely going in the right direction. Sometimes, amigo, you have to make a big left turn to move forward.