Popstars, please step away from the dubstep!
MSN Music's Tina Hart is less than pleased with Bieber's attempt at dubstep
So, new Bieber material has come out this week and the two tracks in question have borrowed the big bassy elements of dubstep that used to be part of the armoury of cool underground DJ types in London - not any more though as it seems every bleedin’ popstar is jumping on the dubstep bandwagon these days.
Whether it be stealing cool individual parts known to the dubstep genre like slowing things down to 70 BPM, off-key beats, cranking up the reverb, bass drops or just borrowing the whole dubstep package, it seems that Euro dance is so 2010.
In 2011 dubstep made its breakthrough, and now in 2012 it is the style du jour with even the most high-profile popstars getting involved in the womp womp wobble wobble [that’s my rubbish attempt at scribing a dubstep-like sound pattern btw].
There’s been talk of Cheryl’s chums will.i.am and Girls Alouder Sarah Harding ‘going dubstep’ on their forthcoming solo material
Most recently, tweeny bopper Justin Bieber has pinched some wobbly bass bits for his Minaj collabo Beauty And A Beat that leaked this week. Plus, he’s got another song that’s just been released and currently riding high in the US charts called As Long As You Love Me (not to be confused with the Backstreet Boys track) that is technically a dubstep track due to its overall composition – it might not be that bad, but it still doesn’t do the genre any justice.
I’ve had a sneaky pre-release listen lady-of-the-moment (and current midweek singles chart No.1) Cheryl’s album A Million Lights that’s out later this month, and she’s gone for a bit of bass in your face on there too.
If you’ve been following her on Twitter you’d know that though as she quite literally gave that away in late February tweeting: “Bass in my face, put the bass in my face, put the bass in my face, put the bass in my face…” in the midst of recording the album.
There’s been talk of Cheryl’s chums will.i.am and Girls Alouder Sarah Harding ‘going dubstep’ on their forthcoming solo material too… the less said about that, the better.
One of my biggest ‘WTF?!’ reactions to mainstream acts going dubstep happened last week. I heard some face-melting bass coming out of the speakers of my publisher’s computer and after asking him ‘What on earth was that?’ (bearing in mind he likes mostly guitar music) he replied ‘That’s Muse’s new album’ and my ‘Woah…WTF?!’ moment emerged.
It’s a surprising departure from what you’d expect from the band and is pretty hardcore, so keep your ear out for that one…
It’s arguably the best use of dubstep in a mainstream song this year, if ever – the epicality level is off the scale
Whilst popstars have gone dubstep, dubstep has kind of produced some popstars as well…
So as others follow the dubstep trend, record labels have obvs been a bit smart and looked to the originators in an attempt to accumulate some ‘cool points’.
Acts that have gone from underground to mainstream with big crossover success include DJ Fresh and Nero, who got the first Official UK Singles Chart dubstep No. 1s with Louder and Promises respectively.
Well-known scenesters Benga of Magnetic Man fame, Sub Focus and Flux Pavilion have recently signed a big solo deals – Flux P even had one of his instrumentals featured on the Jay-Z/Kanye West Watch the Throne album, now if that isn’t an indication of crossover success…
One guy that has most definitely got it right at the moment is Alex Clare – the vocalist on the mega-track that is Too Close. It’s arguably the best use of dubstep in a mainstream song this year, if ever – the epicality level is off the scale and the bass drop is just sublime. Separately, there’s a cool remix of Coldplay’s Paradise knocking about on one of my favourite mainstream radio stations at the moment.
I love pop music but it does have a knack for killing the vibe of a good previously-niche genre
As with all popularised underground sounds, dubstep will be murdered by pop music.
Some dalliances with the genre might be quite good, some will be bad but mostly they will be darned ugly.
I love pop music but it does have a knack for killing the vibe of a good previously-niche genre, don’t you think?! I cringe at the thought of a dubstep week on X Factor this year *cringe face*
Yes, everyone should have a good ‘proper’ dubstep remix in their singles bundles. No, not every top 10 album artist should dip their toe in the dubstep pool for dodgy, half-arsed genre-blending single releases, in fact most of them shouldn’t… ever. I think I might hang around some of the record labels with a megaphone shouting ‘POPSTARS, PLEASE STEP AWAY FROM THE DUBSTEP!’
Who do you reckon is actually pulling this ‘popstep’ thing off? A select few? No one? Anyone?
Tina Hart is a journalist for many publications including MSN and Music Week News.
Follow Tina on Twitter @TinieTinah
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