He bastardized what was known as dubstep. He has taken the intelligent, nuanced music of artists such as Burial, James Blake and even the xx only to create an ‘American’ version of dubstep that holds little to none of the same strength and soul that defined what was originally known as dubstep.
Perhaps this argument places too much weight on the purity of dubstep as a genre. If Skrillex was not known as ‘a dubstep pioneer,’ would I feel the need to argue why Skrillex is not the pioneering artist some have labeled him?
The answer is yes, I would still feel the same. Skrillex (much more than other breakthrough artists in recent memory) sounds entirely of the moment. The reason I eventually veered away from hardcore as a genre is because I came to understand that hardcore will never have a timeless sound. This makes it forgettable. I find very little satisfaction spending time on music and art that is here today, gone tomorrow and that is what Skrillex represents.
Skrillex is nominated for Best New Artist at this year’s Grammys. Along with The Band Perry, a band I have never heard of; Bon Iver, who put out a sophomore record not nearly as good as his debut (so much for new!); J. Cole, who put out a very mediocre mixtape (in 2010); and Nicki Minaj who put out a very radio friendly and mostly disposable album.
I do not anticipate Skrillex’s music will inspire others to craft better, more timeless and personal music. He is not a pioneer. Interest in his music will wane and he will be known as ‘that guy with the bass drops’ making music that sounds entirely as his music sounds currently. It is disposable.
On top of all this, the goal of the Grammy’s Best New Artist category should be to identify the new artist with the highest potential for long-term success and ability to continually grow and develop into a lasting artist. Skrillex this is not. Admittedly, this year, Skrillex has had a larger impact on music than any other artist in the Best New Artist category. For that reason, I think he is the most deserving of the award, however, I will not be supporting his career.
P.S. In case you were wondering, my pick for Best New Artist of 2011 would be A$AP Rocky.
P.P.S. The only category I have any interest in is best rap album. Kanye should win that by a landslide.
UPDATE : 11/09/12
I can’t believe I wrote this. I don’t particularly like Skrillex’s music but I support the guy. He does his thing. He’s an original. I don’t like new dubstep but what this movement means is that many people will be influenced to get involved with music in some way. They might pick up an instrument or add more electronic elements to their work. Maybe Skrillex influences the guy who creates the next big thing in music. The world needs more originals.