To Dubstep Or Not To Dubstep

This week’s Selection: Pretty Lights’ A Color Map of the Sun.


Here’s my thing about Pretty Lights — often when I listen to his stuff I am absolutely blown away by the dynamic, intricate, and overall beautiful Art that is his music. However, the rest of the time (when I am not blown away) I find that I am just not into what he lays down. The problem is that Pretty Lights’ music is fairly evenly divided between super thick, decadently delicious instrumental hiphop beats and heavily dubstep-influenced (if not outright dubstep) songs.

Before sitting down with A Color Map of the Sun, the two Pretty Lights albums I knew best were the two-disc Filling Up the City Skies, and Taking Up Your Precious Time. Filling Up the City Skies is basically split between sweet hiphop grooves that I love and mechanistic dubstep that I just can’t get into, while Taking Up Your Precious Time is the main reason I consider myself a Pretty Lights fan. There is just about no dubstep influence to be seen on the album, and every single song is incredible. I could go on and on about how much I love Taking Up Your Precious Time, but this, sadly, is not the blog post for that. The point of my bringing up these older albums is that when I was embarking upon A Color Map of the Sun I was filled with a fair amount of trepidation, because I had no idea if what awaited me was going to be to my liking. I was really hoping for another album like Taking Up Your Precious Time, but it seems that Pretty Lights is moving in a more dubstep-focused direction. There are plenty of things I like on A Color Map of the Sun, as it is made up of an interesting mix of different styles, but overall it is more dubstep-influenced than I can get behind.

For example, track 3, “Let’s Get Busy”, has a killer rhythm made up of heavy drums and a sweet piano background, but the  grinding dubstep-y sounds that come in and out throughout the song prevent me from really getting into it.

Just to be clear, I have nothing against dubstep, it simply isn’t my cup of tea. However, considering how talented Pretty Lights is I’m sure he is as good at dubstep-esque music as he is at hiphop, so if dubstep is your thing then by all means don’t be put off by my negative attitude towards the style. Track 10 on A Color Map of the Sun, “Prophet” is probably my least favorite of the album because of how entirely dubstep it is, but if dubstep is your thing then definitely give it a listen.

To contrast, “Yellow Bird”, track 5, is easily my favorite song on the album because it is totally free from any dubstepyness (plus, y’know, it’s a really fucking sweet song).

The light, airy, trippy-ness of “Yellow Bird” strongly reminds me of DJ Frane, who you might remember me geeking out about several weeks ago.

For all my mixed feelings about A Color Map of the Sun, it is far from a bad album, and is definitely worth a good solid listen, especially if you can groove with the dubstep influence. However, even though this may not be the place for it, what I’m really going to recommend is that you go check out Taking Up Your Precious Time. I could write a post five times the size of this one gushing about how much I love the entire album, but I won’t subject you to that. Instead just trust me on this, you won’t be disappointed.

Check y’all next weekend!

– Zev

One response to “To Dubstep Or Not To Dubstep

  1. Pingback: “Pretty Decent” Not Good Enough | The Indie Blender·

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