By Dalton Carver
What’s the easiest way to tell if a music artist is successful?
Apparently, it’s by how many people on the Internet claim to hate them. Sonny Moore, aka Skrillex, has garnered quite a bit of attention with his foray into electronic music, and not all of it has been positive. With his latest release, “Recess,” I’m starting to see where these negative attitudes are directed toward. It’s not for Moore’s lack of trying, though.
Now common knowledge, Moore comes from a post-hardcore rock background. He was originally the frontman in the band, From First to Last. He left the band to create his alter-ego of Skrillex, now one of the most mainstream names in the electronic dance music industry.
Categorizing Moore’s music is impossible without utilizing the Internet. Skrillex’s variety of electronic music has often been labeled as “brostep,” which has a mostly negative connotation in the EDM community. To most listeners, it’s just regular ol’ dubstep, as ridiculous as that sounds. However, “Recess” is more tame than Moore’s previous releases.
“Recess” suffers from having a decent album beginning and gradually shifting into songs that I forget I’m even listening to. The first four songs had me bobbing my head to the beat, but that’s about it. However, by the fifth song, I was struggling not to hit the ‘Skip’ button. “Coast Is Clear” features Chance the Rapper, which is a cool collaboration. However, the track itself sounds like the Cee Lo Green, hot tub-themed song on American Dad. In other words, it sounds like a joke.
Moore’s not trying to place as many sounds and deviations in one song, which is good. However, the sounds he uses don’t tickle my EDM fancy. There just wasn’t much to get excited about. A few drops were decent, like the hollow-tube-sounding one on the “Recess” single, but it’s nothing that hasn’t been done better or more creatively.
The first song, “All Is Fair In Love and Brostep” wasn’t a bad start to the album. I also appreciated how he’s not taking the negativity behind the brostep branding seriously. Another song I enjoyed was “Stranger,” expectedly at the beginning of the album. It was more “chill” than what Moore normally does, but it worked.
There isn’t a lot of similarity between “Recess” and “Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites,” aside from the high-pitched, sprite voice making reappearances on some tracks. If you listened to both albums without knowing the artist, it’d be difficult to determine that Skrillex was behind both creations.
I was disappointed with Skrillex’s effort this time around. It’s not as exciting as his first release and probably won’t be as popular as “Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites.” I assume many of the songs will be recycled as remix fodder, which I hope make the songs a bit better to listen to. It’s nice to see him trying other things, though. If anything, this album proves that Skrillex can make songs that don’t just have a million sounds thrown together. The next album needs to prove that he can make those songs sound good.
Dalton Carver is a junior majoring in communication. You can email him at Dalton.Carver@sckans.edu or tweet him @Dalty_James.