Skrillex, best new artist? Our critic and YouTube think so

In this weekend’s Sunday Style section, music critic Chris Richards makes the case that Skrillex, the dubstep electronic musician who makes songs that sound somewhat like a vomiting robot, is this year’s primary candidate for best new artist at the Grammy Awards.


View Photo Gallery: Sonny Moore, a.k.a Skrillex, is the new face of electronic dance music — a genre that has never been more popular.

Skrillex isn’t just popular for making dubstep accessible and bringing back the rave scene. His music is so loved and hated in equal measure that he’s given new fodder to a genre of viral video: The reaction video, where people describe their first impressions of hearing something for the first time. Because Skrillex’s music is so foreign to members of the older generation, one of the most popular reaction videos showed a 90 year old man trying to understand it. “Is that a guitar making that noise?” asks one Grandpa Al.

Teenagers’ reactions, of course, are far less bewildered. The Tumblr Dubstep Reactions (contains strong language) collects quotations about how powerful dubstep can be. “Every time I listen to this song Tyrannosauruses crash through my wall shooting lazer [sic] beams from their mouths” said one fan. “Makes me wanna punch a volcano,” said another. Even some older fans find it strangely danceable :

Skrillex reaction videos don’t even have to come from actual reactions to the music. One YouTube user mixed footage of “Seinfeld’” Kramer driving and dancing with a Skrillex track, and he appears to lose his mind right as Skrillex drops the beat.

As for music critic Chris Richards’ reaction, it’s a positive one: “This music is elegant against all odds. It’s the New York Giants’ defensive line doing ‘Swan Lake.’ It’s digital flatulence made mysteriously anthemic. It’s cartoonish, puerile, indulgent, impatient, bombastic — all precisely folded into the shape of pop.” Read his review of Skrillex’s EP “Bangarang” here.

Maura Judkis covers culture, food, and the arts for the Weekend section and Going Out Guide.

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