Album Review: Skrillex ‘Bangarang’
Skrillex has developed a reputation, albeit somewhat in jest, for sounding a bit like a dialup modem or a dying hard drive, though his sounds are not particularly different from what is very typical of electronic music and dubstep right now. They are definitely not bad sounds, and it’s likely that this is just the first taste a lot of people have had of this type of music.
Which says a lot, because it really isn’t easy to break through and reach people who have never before experienced what you are doing. Quite an accomplishment, even if the result is to become the butt of a few jokes.
This is not an indication that Skrillex has pioneered a new, more accessible sound, because everything about Bangarang is extremely derivative. He has taken the best bits of what everyone else is doing in EDM and turned it into the perfect introductory course on dubstep.
There is no real attempt at artistry here. Electronic music is so good for creating a mood or an atmosphere, but Skrillex isn’t much for that, and is not much for subtlety. These sounds are meant to move people from a primal place and be a lot of fun, without having a whole lot more to them.
One exception is ‘Summit’, the EP’s closing track, which brings up strong feelings of contemplation and regret. It shows that Skrillex can take more than one approach, but every other song on the EP can be considered virtually interchangeable.
Most of Bangarang’s 7 tracks are exciting and energetic, without falling into the overly frenetic and disjointed pit that many songs do in this genre. They hit very hard, they never let up, and you can’t deny how good this stuff feels. It’s just not all that interesting.
About the only thing which might set Bangarang apart from mediocre dubstep is that Skrillex does appear to have a strong musicality. It’s a strong showing in a certain light, but no less is this a record built primarily upon a very formulaic foundation, and he turns to its tropes without shame.
It’s a bit of a letdown that he brings absolutely nothing new to the table. Electronic music doesn’t have to be soulless.
Skrillex’s craft is top notch, but these tracks don’t have a whole lot going for them outside of being kind of fun to listen to. That’s fine, don’t get me wrong, but it sets Skrillex apart from some other well-known electronic artists in a less than ideal fashion. Normally these guys only become known because they are able to transcend their genre and offer something beyond it. Skrillex does not, but he is very good at playing within its confines.