Does Skrillex or any artist owe it to the fans that they know they have changed? [Opinion]
Imagine you’ve been a fan of an artist for over 10 years. Their breakout songs were all new waves of electro house, dubstep, brostep and catapulted the genre into the mainstream spotlight, and damn it, they even got a Grammy nomination. This artist was the pinnacle of his genre for years, and then their latest song is something completely different. The artist didn’t give heads or mention that their style was changing, but do they even have to?
In this week, Skrillex released two new songs – “Butterflies” with Four Tet and Starrah and “Too Bizarre” with Swae Lee and Siiickbrain. “Butterflies” was a big difference from its original works over a decade ago and was more house / pop, while “Too Bizarre” was more in line with modern pop punk by Machine Gun Kelly, Blackbear, Modsun and others. The answers to the songs were shared; While most appreciate how well they are made at the most technical levels, many people have expressed sadness or frustration that they are unfamiliar styles and not “sound like Skrillex”.
But how does Skrillex sound? If we only relate his “sound” to his earlier works, then these songs don’t sound like him. But would nothing that he technically do sound like him?
Skrillex is not alone in this phenomenon of changing sounds and introducing new influences into a project. We only saw this last month Porter Robinson Drop his second album, Nurture, a much more personal and less heavily electronic album compared to his 2014 Opus Worlds. Calvin Harris went from motion to funk wav bounces; Zedd went from clarity to true colors; Flux Pavilion on his latest album .wav; and let’s not forget the very visceral response to Getter’s last album released in 2018.
All of this is just a small subset of artists who evolved from the sound they started out with. Not all of them met with harsh criticism, but at the same time none of them said, “Hey, by the way, I’m doing something new.” You just did it.
We have seen this happen outside of EDM as well, when we look at artists like Paramore or bring me The Horizon that have evolved over the years. And above all, Poppy has created an entire brand that is unpredictable.
Ultimately, that guilt doesn’t extend to creative endeavors or decisions about what an artist can or can’t do, while an artist owes a certain amount of debt to their fans to get them where they are.
A lot of things have changed in the past year and people have had a lot more time to sit back and consider who they are, what they want to do and where they want to be in the future. If a lot of things hadn’t changed in 2021, this would probably have been the stranger phenomenon.
Stream Skrillex’s two new songs below, and don’t worry about the old ones, celebrate the new and exciting.