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In my original post about electronic music, I expressed the concern that electronic music fails to be creative (or good) in a number of ways. There is no subgenre of electronic music that characterizes this better than dubstep. Furthermore, I think dubstep fans, being musically ignorant, have confused themselves on what dubstep actually is.

Dubstep means excessive wobble, obnoxious bass drops, and decent samples saturated with bad filtering. The “good dubstep” artists such as Burial really ought to call themselves downtempo, because that’s what they more closely resemble. THIS is dubstep. This isn’t. That the wobble-less music has been labelled dubstep should be considered a mistake. Perhaps, like djent, there was a time when dubstep was all good, but now, it has all gone wrong.

So, what is the problem with dubstep today? The short answer is: WOB WOB WOB WOB WOB WOB WOB. The long answer is that there are too many kids with computers on the scene that don’t know what they’re doing, but do know how to adjust the bass of a track. What you get, instead of a song, is the output of a function generator on repeat. And yet people think this is good. Just when you think someone would have to be brain dead to enjoy pop, dubstep comes along to finally pulverize the music taste of the masses.

Every dubstep song I’ve heard has had the same uninspired components, and anytime I see someone link to a “good” dubstep song, it turns out to be dnb or the aforementioned downtempo-styled song. Once again, I implore readers to listen to music by artists that actually create music. What is the point of listening to this background noise? Why do Americans pick up on the worst facets of the eurotrash electronic scene years after talented artists have moved on? If people like listening to random noise, why don’t they listen to glitch? It is almost as if the entire country has bad taste in music.

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12 thoughts on “I don’t like dubstep even one bit

  1. Im sick of hipster-trash like you ranting on about what your opinion of good music is. What makes you think your taste in music is better than someone else? I call this musical snobbery and its people like you that have it wrong. Music is about expression, not limiting to yourself to one sound. You are the equivalent of a four year old who doesnt want to eat his brussel sprouts because he wants ice cream. Grow up.

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  2. I like the part where you didn’t disagree that dubstep is terrible on all the above counts. I’m not opposed to listening to different sounds – most of my rants have provided numerous good options. If we’re going to compare dubstep to a food, it would be vomit. If you want to look cool and listen to electronic music, listen to someone that actually puts some effort into making a good sound, like Squarepusher.

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  3. It might surprise you that I am not defending dubstep. I agree that the majority of remixes on youtube are utter shite. Terribly produced. What I am against is your negativity and dictating to people what you think is good music and what is not. I myself hate most Indie rock. I find it lifeless and weak. Theres no passion to it. But another person might say the opposite – that its gentle, happy and artistic. Thats why I’m not going to simply denounce the whole genre just because I dont like it. Music is about expression, and connecting with people, changing emotions. It doesnt matter how much effort you put in, how well produced, how synthetic, how obtuse or gentle your music is. If you make just one person happy through your music then in my opinion – you have succeeded as a musician.

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  4. I’d like to think that what I am specifically bashing is music that has no art in it at all. I have been careful to avoid criticizing decent genres just because I don’t like them, and I’ve also made sure to only recommend stuff that is quality, beyond whether or not I enjoy it. I even made the whole rant about objectivity and subjectivity in describing music. I’m not just saying I don’t like dubstep – I’m saying it’s not even good music. It’s not expressive, it’s not emotional, it makes no connections. It isn’t art. Microsoft Sam is dubstep. This is actually going to end up being my classic criticism for any genre I put up here.At the end of the day, you are correct if you believe I am merely complaining, because that is what I am doing. I post stuff here because it pisses me off, and maybe someone on the internet will agree with me.

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  5. To argue I would point you http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JgGIC2_3_B8You cannot say this is not expressive or emotional. However after rereading your article you would probably just call this ‘downtempo’.So the source of your rant is specifically against the so-called ‘brostep’ genre, then again I think you are being short sighted. There are heaps of misses, but there are some hits. Take your poster boy for example, Skrillex.I dont know if you have listened to Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites so here it is http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WSeNSzJ2-JwIs it excessive? Hell yes. Obnoxious? Maybe. But what he has actually managed to do in this song is paint a sonic pictures where these nice sprites and scary monsters do exist. Hes used the harsh, obnoxious dubstep growls to create these ‘scary monster’ characters. Sure its cheesy, but its still art nonetheless. And from experience I can tell you that the synths he has used require alot more effort than just chaining the frequency to LFO. Hes been meticulous and his efforts show through his use of contrast, structure and melody.If you want someone to hate on I would direct exhibit douche A Mt Edenhttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oIEEIif21g4This is a perfect example of someone whos taken a great song and then shat all over it with some stone age beats and brain dead frenquency oscillated bass.And yeah theres alot of this type of shit on the net. But that does not mean to say that there aren’t some decent producers out there doing some amazing things with this new genre. Give it some time. The cream always rises to the top.

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  6. You put a lot of effort into that post, so I will try to address all of it – I actually agree with most of it.Yes, the Spor song you linked is expressive. I have no problems with it, but I don’t call it dubstep. Am I making a sweeping generalization by setting the dubstep bar at “brostep”? Yes. That’s what I meant when I said “people have gotten confused about what dubstep actually is.” When I say dubstep, people think wobble. You can thank brostep for that, and the genre is never turning back. That being the case, it seems better to me to take a song like Spor’s and call it something else, be it darkstep/downtempo/future garage, whatever.I actually checked out Skrillex’s song when writing this article, and it didn’t impress me. In general, I don’t like novelty, and the idea of using the terrible dubstep characteristics to try and tell a story just doesn’t work for making a good song. He tells the story, but so does Fred Durst in Limp Bizkit. Why go to so much effort to do something gimmicky and bad? When I looked at Skrillex, it seemed like he was just pandering.And yes, Mt. Eden is your stereotypical “this song was pretty good until the drop” artist. To wrap things up, I don’t think there is a single good dubstep producer that can be classified as “brostep”. On the other hand, there are plenty of good dubstep producers that AREN’T doing brostep, and I just consider it wrong for me to rope them in with what dubstep has become.

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  7. That’s a fair statement and an interesting parallel which I think deserves some merit. If I was in his shoes I would much rather be remembered for music along the same vein as Burial’s 2006 effort or Massive Attack’s Mezzanine. I think dubstep has the potential to become the new ‘trip hop’ but unfortunately national tastes and greedy executives are always going to dictate what gets served on our musical palates. Instead it has become the new numetal (nunumetal?!? :/).However I do think that dubstep’s half-time beat and inherent weirdness is freeing peoples minds from the constrains of the standard, as you put it “David Guetta house” that has dominated the charts. And at least Skrillex does still produce his own music, samples, synths, etc. He could have just as easily hired a team of 30 to produce an autotuned monstronsity layered over Guetta beats whilst featured equally autotuned soundbytes from Rihanna and Nicki Minaj to achieve even more commercial appeal then he otherwise would have.Unfortunately thats just the way of the world. Anyways I agree with everything else you have said on this forum, especially the state of pop music and I even predicted most of these things back in 2005. My only qualm about you attacking dubstep was that I honestly do feel it has alot more potential then it is currently has. And even if the entire genre does turn to shit, at least its giving those “true artists” in the IDM genre more exposure then they were previously getting.</rant>

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  8. Ok, we cool. What’s funny is that if you look at my last.fm at the top, I actually got into to several of those IDM artists while I was researching this original blog post. For this, I am thankful to bad dubstep. And I’ll probably praise them and rant more in future. I just don’t really have anything to say on this blog when something about the music industry doesn’t piss me off, and I’m pretty content right now.

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    • It’s an academic definition. I’m here to give recommendations and critique, not stand in awe at what qualifies as music.

      Two thoughts looking back on this article, nearly 3 years later:
      1. It was one of my most disrespectful, by far. In recent times, I’ve tried to focus on the positive aspect of music rather than my negative opinions.
      2. Popularized dubstep (or “brostep” as it quickly became known) is even MORE watered down than it was in 2011. The genre is borderline dead, which gives some credence to my suggestion that most people never really enjoyed it to begin with. This is lifestyle music, and they’ve all moved on, and the smart DJs have moved with them to whatever the next big sound in EDM happens to be. It was trap the last time I noticed.

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  9. Seriously??? Look I do know as a fact that you are indeed entitled to your opinion as are many other dubstep listeners (such as myself). I’m only here because none of my friends like the music and I just wanted to see if they were just insane or if other people had the same idea. But dubstep is just music that can make a listener’s experience so fantabulous it can’t even be described in words. Seriously though, just get over it because people are going to love the music whether you like it or not. Nothing you can do about it.

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    • People keep coming back to this blog post, and I do not know how. That said, it is true that you can listen to and enjoy whatever you want. My problem is that I believe there are a lot of electronic genres that are better than dubstep, and that dubstep fans don’t seem to have the patience or the genuine desire for improvement to seek them out. It annoys me.

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