Womp Womp: Our Issues with Dubstep

October 12, 2011 110 comments

* Note: This is a combination Raj/Nah_Rez post so essentially you can call it a Nah_Raj post

Being a late 80s baby, I have seen a lot of interesting changes in general cultural trends, particularly in music. In the 90s, there was the boy-band phase. In the early 2000s, you could not listen to the radio for fifteen minutes without hearing an Eminem or Destiny’s Child song. But now, there is a new wave that could singlehandedly ruin the entire music industry. Yes, folks – I am talking about Dubstep. I admit to being guilty for posting a few songs of that genre on this site but this doesn’t mean that I am not aware of the harm that it’s causing to these kids. Not to mention that it isn’t that hard to create a dubstep song. Don’t believe me? Look at the countless amount of remixes (shown later) and I’m sure with a keyboard and some YouTube tutorials, you could become the next artist on Pretty Light’s label.

I think I should take this moment to say we are aware that there is a wide range of style within the Dubstep genre. I personally, am by NO MEANS an expert in the category but I have given it a decent chance to try and understand the draw. There are definitely artists that I like, however they are typically UK artists who are now grouped into the post Dubstep category, even though their production is more “classic” Dubstep. So the style we are going to focus on right now is the shit that can be described as unbearable, laughable and sometimes downright upsetting. I think in most cases the focus will be on what has become known as “BROSTEP.”

Proceed with caution.

Issue #1: The Classics Get Ruined

Exhibit A

Exhibit B

Some songs should not be fucked with, covers are acceptable–covers generally demonstrate appreciation for an artist, but the Dubstep remixes of these two classics is basically an assault on the original. How can a DJ say they respect Jimi Hendrix or the Beatles when all they are doing is drowning out the instrumentals and vocals that led them to the immortal status they have today? The number of views and likes on these videos is straight up alarming to me, as is the sheer quantity of Dubstep remixes of legendary tracks. I used Rolling Stone’s 100 Greatest Artists of All Time as a reference and out of the top 10, only 2 (Little Richard and Chuck Berry) did not return any immediate results in a Youtube search. This music is supposed to, if anything, serve as a reminder to kids today of a glorified time in the history of music, when the number of talented musicians and songwriters is almost overwhelming to think about. If the classics are being puked up by these people and this is what kids are listening to, they are missing the essence of some of the greatest musical acts the world will probably ever see.

For real though. What are these DJs thinking when they take these tracks and add in annoying screeching sounds? Do they think they are making it better? Sorry to break it to ya but they are only making it worse. Way worse. Not every single song needs to be remixed – which brings me to my next point…

Issue #2: A lot of the remixes are completely unnecessary

Big Sean – Too Fake (King Dub Remix)

Why did this song need to be remixed again? The reason why I say again is because Xaphoon sampled the band Hockey and put his own electro spin on the track which ended up on the infamous Finally Famous 3 Mixtape. Whoever the Kings Dub Remixers are, they took the cool parts out of the songs and instead added in some repetitive wubs which make me want to fall asleep each time I hear it. However, listening to some of this sleepy dubstep is way better than being pooped on…which brings me to my next point.

Pst: One more example before we go on

Issue #2.5: Some of it sounds like actual shit

Exhibit B: The whole thing

I mean…these songs pretty much explain themselves, I hope you enjoyed a good laugh out of these two tracks. Clearly they are both terrible and the “DJs” who made them will never see any sort of success in the music industry. Although it does highlight the influence of Youtube as a platform in today’s music scene because they are definitely being heard. You would think the music of these lesser known, most likely high school aged n00bs, would be difficult to find but these songs are not deep within the pages of Youtube, trust me we did not feel the need to look that hard.

That Justice remix is disappointing too because it  sounds good starting out. Then I feel like I’m getting pooped on, like how I felt when watching that South Park episode. How can peeps possibly argue with this?

Issue #3: Lack of Originality

(Actual search results for Rolling the Deep dubstep remix and Ellie Goulding dubstep remix)

Music is supposed to be about self expression, how can a “DJ” feel like they’re doing something creative when they’re making the 3766567545th remix to “Rolling in the Deep” or an Ellie Goulding song. Do these people really think, “Oh well this person’s remix his person’s remix got <3's on hypem, maybe if I do one too I'll get some attention?" Or is it more like, "Gosh I'm really feeling the urge to do something great to that one Adele song, there's just so much room for improvement,"? When will it end? Seriously. I’m not saying people shouldn’t feel free to remix songs they like; however, if someone really wanted to get noticed I hope they would have the sense to add their wobbles to tracks that haven’t been done over a thousand times. But hey, what do I know? I’m just a person constantly skipping over Dubstep remixes.

Issue #4: Live Shows…

Exhibit A: Rusko @ Identity (Noblesville, IN)

Exhibit B: Skrillex @ Electric Forest

Raj: I have been to plenty of EDM shows now, so I feel like I have a valid opinion on this subject. The two examples above are perfect representations, and I happened to be present at both of those sets. Lets start with Rusko – all you are doing is pressing play on your turntables and jumping around like you’re playing DDR. Nothing else! At least when you go to shows like Girl Talk or Pretty Lights, you know you will get different variations of songs because they sequence it all live on stage. Well, GT hasn’t changed his show in the last three years but, then again, at least he is doing the beat-matching and such. Skrillex, on the other hand…

…looks like he should be standing front row at an Avenged Sevenfold concert instead of yelling on his microphone in front of a festival crowd. At EF, I looked around in amazement to see everyone being sucked in the bullshit that was going on during his whole show. Not to mention he was talking on the mic more than he was “playing” music. It’s bullshit. It’s upsetting. It’s taking the art of live shows away. People should be spending money on musicians who practice for hours on end when touring on the roads, not “musicians” who create obnoxious, screechy “music” on their laptop with bootleg software. I’m sorry for offending anyone who loves Skrillex (there are a lot now) but he is main reason why I wanted to do an article on the effects of dubstep in the first place.

Nah: I’m gonna take back Raj’s apology to Skrillex fans. I really REALLY hate Skrillex and every song or mix of his that has ever been forced upon my ears (seriously a boy on a plane made me put his headphones in and listen once). Skrillex is probably responsible for my initial aversion to the entire dubstep genre. For that reason, I obviously have not attended a show but after hearing Raj’s experiences I decided to put myself through the torture of watching some videos of the troll. This one is a real winner. See Skrillex smoke a cigarette, take pulls of vodka, fist pump and then fiddle around on the knobs like a toddler to try and convey that he’s actually doing something entertaining. Watching these videos put me in a terrible mood. Has listening to Skrillex led to any murders yet?

How is a concert where the DJ pretty much presses a button or two and dances around like a fool any different than a singer lipsynching during a live show? Ya know what, it’s worse. If the DJ isn’t even using his “instrument” during a live show it’s more comparable to a band getting up on stage and pretending to play their drums and guitars over recorded tracks. I understand that a lot of people are going to these concerts for the “experience” but I can’t wrap my head around the idea of paying money to see an artist who doesn’t even showcase their abilities in a live set.

Issue #5: The Kids Don’t Stand a Chance

“Whooo! I’m fifteen and fucked up off all sorts of drugs!! Everyone give me a high five!!!” – Actual quote from Electric Forest
 
This might be the most sombering reason out of all of them. Bear with me, though. You can’t imagine how hesitant I was to even acknowledge that kid when he ran up to me in Michigan. Then it had me thinking – there has to be thousands, even tens of thousands of kids like him falling into the (mau5)trap every day. I’m not trying to preach like a church organization on a sidewalk here but the fact of the matter is true –  kids are going to start using harder drugs at a younger age and this genre of music is at least partially to blame. Obviously this is dangerous because they don’t know their limits, and the likelihood that they even know where they get it from is frighteningly low in most cases. There is even a startup business that dedicates itself to debunking fraudulent drugs from festival to festival. This is when you know that a) the trend is continuing to grow and b) there are lots of ways that kids can harm themselves if they keep doing this.

CONCLUSION

We think this post, and the current state of Dubstep, or what has evolved into Brostep in America can be summed up best by British Dubstep Extraordinaire, James Blake:

“I think the dubstep that has come over to the US, and certain producers– who I can’t even be bothered naming– have definitely hit upon a sort of frat-boy market where there’s this macho-ism being reflected in the sounds and the way the music makes you feel. And to me, that is a million miles away from where dubstep started. It’s a million miles away from the ethos of it. It’s been influenced so much by electro and rave, into who can make the dirtiest, filthiest bass sound, almost like a pissing competition, and that’s not really necessary. And I just think that largely that is not going to appeal to women. I find that whole side of things to be pretty frustrating, because that is a direct misrepresentation of the sound as far as I’m concerned.”

Blake via Pitchfork
You hear that Skrillex fans? A PISSING CONTEST. End rant. Nah_Raj out. Thanks for reading if you made it this far. Feel free to share your love/hate of dubstep in the comments. We didn’t go over the tragedy that is dubstep samples in rap, any thoughts on that trend?