Imagine taking Pac-man noises, adding broken bass noises to them, then extending them for several minutes, and you’ve got Dubstep music.

Like other great musical accomplishments as M.I.A. and the Gallagher brothers, Dubstep is a British creation. Dating back to the late 90’s, Dubstep is defined as “tightly coiled productions with overwhelming bass lines and reverberant drum patterns, clipped samples, and occasional vocals” which basically breaks down into “the musical equivalent of an earthquake”.

"This is great, bro! I can FEEL my apartment collapsing!"

Dubstep found its origins in the always enjoyable UK club scene, which has never produced a bad idea. It was a spin-off of techno music, which was also largely instrumental, electronic-based, and had a large amount of support in cultures who love The Legend of Zelda.

The primary difference in between dubstep and techno is that dubstep is somehow less monotonous yet more droning. It replaces the repetitive nature of techno music with bass. Lots of it. Like, the kind of bass that actually physically hurts. And people LOVE this.

This is after the third resuscitation of the night

Also much like techno music, and even a lot of hip-hop before then, dubstep is written/performed by a man at a computer. The most notable of these today are Skrillex and DeadMau5, the latter of which wears a mouse head, and the former of which might be a girl.

I dunno, just grow a beard or something, dude. Please

There are no instruments involved (most of the time) and therefore there is a constant debate over whether or not dubstep counts as music. Sure, there are such concepts as musical intonation, rhythm, and melody or whatever, but because there are no real instruments, it isn’t considered music.

One such proponent of this idea is Foo Fighter and Nirvana survivor Dave Grohl. who has long been in full support of what he calls “the human element” of music.

Though one could argue that the Foo Fighter's album "In Your Honor" wasn't real music either

The dubstep community (which is totally a thing) was angered by Grohl’s comments and supposed hatred of their music. He therefore explained that he actually does love dubstep, but misses the days before computers fixed every “human element” in music and made every song sound perfect. These comments explained that Grohl actually doesn’t hate electronic music, but rather is just a big fan of screwing up.

Which explains things

However, it’s not as if dubstep DJ’s aren’t working at creating music. They are just using a different medium. Saying that dubstep isn’t music because it was created on a computer is a lot like saying talking on the phone isn’t communication because the person isn’t in front of you. It’s simply a product of an increasingly technologically reliant culture. E-mail isn’t a cop out. It’s just how modern society works. The internet is a useful tool, not a departure from how life is supposed to be.

Dubstep could still easily be defined as music. It’s just music that isn’t created on a traditional instrument, just as people every day are inventing new ways to break from traditional means.


So much like the debates over whether cheerleading is a sport or if Tupac actually is dead, people will always argue over whether dubstep is actual music. Regardless of how people feel about it, the truth is that dubstep is growing in popularity every day, as more and more people remember their fondness for the Pac-man “wakawaka” sound and Nyan Cat. There is an entire culture out there that loves electronic music (and The Legend of Zelda), and their numbers grow daily.

Whether or not dubstep is a fad or a serious art form remains to be seen, but one thing is certain:

Dubstep is here, and it is popular. So while it is here, we might as well learn to accept the guy wearing the mouse head.

"I just want to be loved"

What’s your opinion? Music or no? Fad, or here to stay?

And why does nobody ever doubt that Biggie is dead? They claim Tupac is still around, but NOBODY thinks Biggie survived.


10 thoughts on “Dubstep

  1. Somehow I’ve managed to end up with some enthusiastic dubstep fans as Facebook friends. That’s the only reason I know this…art form exists. When I kept seeing that term show up in my news feed I got curious and Youtubed it. This is what I encountered:

    So…yeah, dubstep is the Google Wave of music: it exists, but I can’t figure out why. Except Google Wave is disappearing and dubstep isn’t.

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