Loud, over the top and aggressive, dubstep is probably the musical equivalent of Marmite. With big beats and bigger reactions, the intensity of the shows and the passion of the fans is something to be witnessed, yet is misunderstood by most.
One of the first criticisms of dubstep is that it is just noise. The trance/dance build-ups lull dubstep newcomers into a false sense of security. And then the bass drops, and all manners of hell break loose. Bass wobbles and screeches, drums slow to a pounding rhythm, and vocals become crazy and chopped up.
What I think is misunderstood about this is that dubstep is not necessarily all about how it sounds. It’s about the power and it’s about how it makes you feel. That’s why you don’t listen to dubstep quietly. It’s like listening to rap with no vocals; it’s just pointless. Like jazz, just close your eyes and feel the music. Granted you can’t mosh to jazz, but the point still stands…
The moment you feel the bass thunder through your chest your primal side is released. I remember reading a few months ago an article about a study into the effects of pounding/rhythmical bass. It’s thought by some that the attraction of bass is sexual. That the pounding harks back into the animal in our psyche, that mating rituals and such are all based around pounding rhythms to draw a female’s attention. In essence, bass makes you horny.
Second of all, dubstep isn’t just what you hear on the radio. Skrillex, while popularizing the genre, isn’t the be all and end all of dubstep. Skrillex is the product of American influence on dubstep. Original dubstep is pretty chilled, a London movement based on dub-reggae, with bass like you wouldn’t believe. Benga is still a main figure within this movement. I recommend him highly.
Dubstep is influencing the mainstream; whether people like it or not, dubstep and its electro offshoots can be found everywhere in the charts at the moment. From the chunky distorted bass in Alex Clares ‘Too Close’ and Imagine Dragons ‘Radioactive’, to the bass drop in T. Swifts ‘I Knew You Were Trouble’. Not saying that these are dubstep songs, just that the influence is clear. Dubstep has arrived, people.
Slowly, dubstep is becoming accepted. Like any new genre, people need time to adjust. But if Nicki Minaj can make it, dubstep should have no problem.