David Guetta might have changed the entire sound of commercial pop and Deadmau5 may have gotten legions of clubbers to don faux rodent heads. But there's no question that over the past year, the hottest name in electronic dance music is Skrillex, born Sonny Moore.
The polarizing artist has been alternately praised and vilified for his take on dubstep, which, frankly, bears little resemblance to the genre's beginnings.
But while haters are gonna hate, even the most grudgingly puritanical ravers have to admit that this asymmetrically haired dude sorta deserves his due.
So here are ten reasons to not hate Skrillex.
10. Skrillex Is Better Than Screamo
OK, Moore has a well-documented screamo past. And yes, this is funny. The band for which he served as lead singer, From First to Last, specialized in an intense kind of naked angst. It sure seemed like a good idea if you encountered it in your teens and early 20s. But the whole thing's sorta embarrassing now. Any move away from sing-screaming about topics like body dysmorphia and overwrought relationship drama is a step up.
9. He Made It Cool for Kids to Dance Again
Sure, someone from the rock world comes along every five years and "makes it cool for kids to dance again." So what? Skrillex is that pied piper for the so-caled scene-kid generation. Out with the pop-punk bands, in with laptops and raves. This is a good thing 'cause the latter-day Warped Tour acts were sounding pretty stale.
8. Skrillex Can Almost Single-Handedly Revive Careers
We're looking at Korn, specifically. Those who remember Jonathan Davis and company may not see this as a good thing. But when the nu-metal giants wanted to reappear and look relevant, they tapped Skrillex and went dubstep. Sure, they've worked with other producers, like Datsik. But it was the Skrillex brand that snagged the attention of kids who were still in elementary school (or younger) when Korn reached its peak in the late '90s.
7. He's Actually Been Into the Dance Music Scene for Years
Though he got famous in a rock band, Moore grew up attending punk shows and underground dance music parties in his native California. And while Skrillex was his first production project to break out big, the ex-screamo kid had been releasing electronic stuff for years, either under his given name or various aliases like Twipz.
6. The Skrillex Sound Doesn't Suck Like Other Dance Music
As everyone rushes to copy the patented David Guetta urban-pop-dance mash-up sound, most also-ran producers are doing it totally wrong. "Dance music" may rule Top 40 radio currently, but most of it in the airwave wastelands sounds like track rejects from Ibiza and South Beach a decade ago. Skrillex's growing mainstream popularity at least brings a darker, less painfully chipper sound to the proceedings. If anything, it seems more appropriate to our times than pop-dance's willful escapism.
5. His Label, OWSLA, Is Predicting the Future
If Skrillex got a nice hype handout through a cosign from Deadmau5, he's paying it forward with his own label, OWSLA. So far, the imprint has released music from a handful of new interesting names, like Dillon Francis and Porter Robinson.
4. He Can Make a Remix Eclipse the Original Track
Benny Bennassi's "Cinema," a melodic dance track featuring Gary Go, is a nice little love song set to a four-four beat. Skrillex's remix turns it into a completely different beast -- a chopped up slice of madness that combines dubstep 2.0's trademark wobbles and bass-drops with old-school hardcore and acid house flourishes. In this version, the vocals become disembodied and ghostly, floating in a compelling, goosebump-inducing fog. Even the most hard-hearted has to agree that this track is more exciting than Bennassi's original.
3. Oh Yeah, He Won Three Grammys
One of those was, in fact, for that remix discussed above. (The other two were for Best Dance Recording and Best Dance/Electronica Album.) Whether the Grammys "mean anything" or not, enough people took notice of Skrillex's impact to recognize him for it. It's just too bad he got weirdly left out of the dance music segment of the live broadcast.
2. He's a Superstar and He's Relatable
During the last wave of superstar mega-DJs, around the turn of the millennium, many of the biggest names were known for acting like prima donnas, taking private planes and just generally behaving like overblown rock stars. Not so with Skrillex, who still comes off like a regular kid raised on punk, and who, even after his Grammy win, tweeted encouragement to fellow bedroom producers.
1. He's Got People Talking About Electronic Music Again
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If you truly love dance music, is that a bad thing?
Skrillex as part of Ultra Music Festival 2012. Friday, March 23, to Sunday, March 25. Bayfront Park, 301 Biscayne Blvd., Miami. Tickets are sold out. Visit ultramusicfestival.com.