Top 10 Best Dubstep Songs
What is dubstep and who does it best?
Dubstep is a relatively new form of electronic music described as "tightly coiled productions with overwhelming bass lines and reverberant drum patterns, clipped samples, and occasional vocals".
There are those who say it's just noise, but of course, anyone who appreciates dubstep knows those critics just don't understand what they're listening to. Like classical music, knowing something about the genre adds to one's appreciation. You'll only be able to recognize the innovation and skill when you know something about the genre, its artists, and how each offers their own take on the sound of dubstep, from remixes of popular songs to original pieces.
These are my ten favourite dubstep songs, in no particular order. Of course taste is personal, so if your favorites are different, speak up in the comments section below.
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1: Skrillex--Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites
This is probably my favourite dubstep song by my favourite dubstep artist. He mixes genres and both house and electro can be heard throughout his songs. "Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites" is no exception.
For me, the highlight of this song is the vocal drop of "Oh My God!" before the launch into a barrage of wobbling, growling dubstep basses and uplifting house synth-lines.
Listen to "Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites" by Skrillex
This is an emotion-driven dubstep with a melancholic, beautiful intro that leads up to a magnificent drop, sucking you into the dirty wobble bass. The song repeats the phrase "You'll never be mine" and while I usually prefer dubstep without the cheesy, sappy vocals, for some reason they don't bother me in this song and only add to the overall experience, which is both trippy and emotion-filled.
This is for all those critics who consider dubstep to be "just noise".
Video of "Innocence" by Nero
3: Excision and Datsik--Swagga
Excision does awesome things with a sub-woofer in this song. The sub-bass is just as good as the deep, fulfilling wobble bass, if not better. It is a simple dubstep song, showcasing the most important aspect of dubstep, the wobble. However, it does not sound empty, it actually sounds nicely deep, fulfilling, and diverse.
This is a great chill-out dubstep that will amaze at the same time. The wobble is as innovative as it gets.
Listen to "Swagga" by Excision & Datsik
4: Rihanna--Rude Boy (Chrispy Remix)
While I am not a fan of the original of this song at all (just my opinion: I don't like Rihanna,) this remix is pretty decent to say the least. It ascends nicely throughout the song with an original wobble bassline that has a strange yet provocative bird-chirping noise at various intersections of the wobble. Rihanna's vocals complement the dirty dubstep nicely. A great remix of a not-so-great song.
Listen to "Rude Boy" (Chrispy Remix) by Rihanna
5: La Roux--In for the Kill (Skrillex Remix)
Skrillex strikes again, this time with a remix. The original isn't bad, but this remix completely blows it away. Yes, this song has been remixed to death but in my opinion this one is one of the best, with an amazing sense of apprehension and ascension throughout the song and a drop hits you like an anvil falling from the sky.
One of the best dubstep remixes, in my opinion; it truly does not get any better than this.
Listen to Skillex's Remix of La Roux: "In for the Kill"
6: Dizzee Rascal--Bonkers (Doorly Remix)
This is a great remix that sounds fresh and uplifting. I don't particularly like the original (surprise, surprise) but this remix adds a freshness and sharpness to the song with a long, chilled-out intro leading to a quick, sharp wobble bass, and through clever variations in tempo. Dizzee Rascal's vocals improve the song and they are no burden to Doorly; he incorporates them with extreme skill, using vocals to accentuate the song overall, particularly the drop.
Overall, a great remix and a great dubstep song.
Listen to Dizzee Rascal's "Bonkers" (Doorly Remix)
This song is crammed with innovation. The dubstep here is original and really stretches the boundaries of what is perceived as traditional dubstep, just like the music of Skrillex. However, Rusko and Skrillex are completely different, showing the diversity within the genre.
This song shows what can be done with a little imagination. It is a nice laid back chill-out song with a reggae feel. Here, Rusko shows what can be achieved within the genre.
Listen to Jahova by Rusko
8: Skrillex--Kill Everybody (Bare Noize Remix)
This time we have a remix of a Skrillex song. Bare Noize do a great job of making an amazing song even more so. With the creepy vocal "I want to kill everybody in the world" leading up to the extremely varied main bulk of the song, this remix is nothing short of a dubstep masterpiece.
There are those who might argue that this is not pure dubstep. If you want to get caught up in the technicalities of particular genres, fine: this awesome song is influenced predominantly by dubstep, with additional influences from other genres.
Listen and enjoy.
Listen to "Kill Everybody" by Skrillex (Bare Noize Remix)
9: Datsik--Nuke 'Em
"Nuke 'Em" represents the nice, dirty dubstep song in its simplest form. This song takes everything there is about dubstep, strips it down, and delivers a relaxing tune that is as trippy as it gets. The wobble bass is extremely filthy-sounding with nice changes in tempo and a few interesting sounds thrown in every now and again.
This really is a true dubstep song. Sometimes less really is more.
Listen to "Nuke 'Em" by Datsik
10: Nero--Me and You
Ok, so this one isn't quite dubstep, but I had to include it. It's more drum and bass with a dubstep influence and a general air of epicness surrounding it. It contains some nice little wobbles leaving no doubt that there is some dubstep lurking under the surface.
It truly is a great song and so I just had to put it on the list. Just listen and enjoy!
Video: "Me and You" by Nero
15 More Worth Mentioning
I know I said this was a list of the 10 best but really, how could I narrow something like dubstep down to just 10?
Here are some more awesome songs that must be heard. (Okay, okay. This should have been called "25 Best Dubstep Songs". You can either get mad or thank me.)
"Filth" is an immensely dark and moody dubstep song with an intro that is extremely chilling. It breaks into the beat before bringing on the epic wobble. The mood of the song drags you in and then drags you along. It is impossible to tear yourself away from the sheer power and animosity that this song conveys. It gives you a brief moment to catch your breath in a break that is oozing with character and emotion before throwing you into an even heavier drop.
"Filth" is a masterpiece of a track from an immensely talented producer.
Listen to "Filth" by Skream
12: Magnetic Man--I Need Air
This is a really nice dubstep track that does not rely on crazy bass line wobbles, which makes for a nice change. The song is mainly synth and vocal driven. The raw and edgy vocals (by Angela Hunte, who has quite an impressive voice) suit the song well and contrasts nicely with the smooth-flowing synths. The beat is well-constructed and overall the song is incredibly catchy and almost impossible not to dance to.
"I Need Air" is a truly pleasurable experience and a nice change from the usual dubstep.
Listen to "I Need Air" by Magnetic Man
13: Sub Focus--Tidal Wave Featuring Alpines
This song has both raw emotion and raw character. The beauty of the female vocal flows over the listener, really working its way into your core. The raw and energetic power of the synths in the intro add character to that beauty. When it first drops, it drops into a lovely dubstep beat in which the resonance of those synths is elevated. The second drop is drum and bass but nonetheless, this is a great song that combines the two genres.
Video for "Tidal Waves" by Sub Focus (Featuring Alpines)
14: Flux Pavilion--I Can't Stop
The melody in "I Can't Stop" is really outstanding. The strings in the intro instantly set the song up to be a great track and as it fills with emotion, it plops you into a bass-heavy drop that is not only nice and heavy but melodic as well. The song builds in adrenalin until it finally lets you go after two and a half minutes of sheer intensity. The musicianship of the song really shines through due to the complexity of the melodies and how they sit on each other, while also managing not to sound cluttered.
A short but damn sweet song.
Listen to "I Can't Stop" by Flux Pavilion
15: Knife Party--Centipede
"Centipede" is an absolutely sick song. The intro is a throwback to the days of Pendulum (Rob Swire, Knife Party member, was front man of Pendulum in a former life and Pendulum used a similar narrated intro in their song "Blood Sugar").
This is one of those no-holds-barred, throw-everything-at-the-listener type of dubstep songs. The drop after the interesting intro is as heavy as they come, with all manners of wobbles and sound effects. It takes no prisoners but takes the prisoner for one hell of a ride. It is a powerful song with a lot of character.
Listen to "Centipede" by Knife Party
16: Zeds Dead--White Satin
This track by the Canadian duo Zeds Dead is an absolute banger. To the people who say that all dubstep sounds the same, here is a prime example of how it doesn't. The wobbles bring new ideas to the concept of wobble. They sound dirty and gritty while filling the listener with comfort. The vocal is nicely filtered and evokes all kinds of emotions. You might still recognize "Nights in White Satin" by the Moody Blues.
As a whole, the song is an emotional rollercoaster that challenges the critics of dubstep.
Listen to "White Satin" by Zeds Dead
17: La Roux--in for the Kill (Skream Remix)
This is the second remix of La Roux's "In for the Kill" on this list. While Skrillex's version has power in its apprehension and sheer weight, this remix has power in its pure ability to chill out any listener in any situation. The bass pulsates throughout the song nicely, complimenting La Roux's haunting voice. It is brilliant in its simplicity, making great use of the space surrounding each element of the song. It brings you along this emotion-filled journey before throwing you into an unexpected drum and bass drop that is impossible not to move to.
This song should be played to anyone who thinks dubstep is emotionless noise. It's one of the original pioneering remixes of the genre.
Listen to La Roux's "In for the Kill" (Skream Remix)
18: Benga & Coki--Night
The intricate drum beat of "NIght" is truly is a joy to listen to. That, coupled with the haunting lead synth that reverbs mysteriously through the empty space of the track, make this song truly excellent. Once again, a relatively simple song with well-constructed ideas delivers due to the sheer brilliance and execution of those ideas. You really do get the impression of a lonely and dark night so it is aptly named "Night".
Benga and Coki are two heavyweights of the dubstep world, and this song shows why.
Listen to "Night" by Benga & Coki
19: Joy Orbison--Hyph Mngo
When this song first came out, it took the underground dubstep scene by storm, and it's still heralded as one of the finest dubstep tracks ever produced. The percussion has layer upon layer of intricacies that make each listen a new experience. The intro is a beautiful synth accompanied by a haunting female voice that interjects every so often. This builds up to a drop that is powerful, not due to any wobbles or intense bass, but due to the lack of them. The song knows how to use emotion, percussion, and synths to guide the listener through its wonderful soundscape.
This song is to this day one of the most forward-thinking tracks in the genre of dubstep.
Listen to "Hyph Mngo" by Joy Orbison
20: Benga--I Will Never Change
There is nothing better than a dubstep song that layers on the moods. "I Will Never Change" starts out as a dark, ominous track with a subtle hint of mysterious sorrow brought on by the synth. This is completely thrown on its head as the song drops, producing an extremely uplifting wobble. When that synth is brought back in it has a completely new vibe, creating an altogether joyous affair. The second drop slows down the wobble by half, an extremely clever trick which gives the song an extra dimension.
Overall, this is an amazing feel-good dubstep track.
Listen to "I Will Never Change" by Benga
21: Lana Del Rey--Born To Die (Gemini Remix)
This is a great remix of what is already a great song. Lana Del Rey's haunting voice matches Gemini's production perfectly. The intro synth compliments her lyrical ability before giving it space to stand out. After this space the song drops into an amazingly big-scale, epic synth-driven beat. The song is layered with beautiful synths and melodies; however, through it all, Lana Del Rey's voice is not lost.
Her voice is definitely the most powerful aspect of a very powerful song.
Listen to "Born to Die" by Lana Del Rey
22: Doctor P--Sweet Shop
This song is all about contrasts. The intro is a beautiful piano-based house beat that leads into a emotion-filled vocal break. At this point you don't see how this is dubstep, that is until it drops. Alone, the drop in this song is dirty enough, with raw, energetic wobbling basslines, and a moody 2 step beat, and the funky intro makes the drop seem all the more filthy.
"Sweet Shop" is a classic dubstep song that pushes the genre forward.
Listen to "Sweet Shop" by Doctor P
The great thing about Skrillex is that he is consistently good. Here is another great tune from the man who is arguably the most recognizable artist in dubstep. The intro has an edgy vocal over an interesting minimal melody that wastes no time in propelling the listener straight into one of Skrillex's iconic drops. You know what to expect here; pure, unfiltered, filthy goodness. This song has more of an edge than some of his other productions, providing an apprehension in that vocal that elevates to a new level.
Skrillex does it again.
Video: "Bangarang" by Skrillex (Featuring Sirah)
This is a beautiful song with a tantalizing vocal. The song has an air of mystery about it, which is accentuated by the video that portrays some sort of dystopian, futuristic society reminiscent of George Orwell's "1984". The song has a rhythmic, fast-paced beat, giving it a sense of urgency before it drops into the chorus which almost feels like a relief. The wobbling bass in the chorus is a very subtle and nice touch.
This song evokes feelings that are indescribable. Listen to hear what I mean.
Video for "Promises" by Nero
25: Bassnectar--Bass Head
As the title suggests, this song has bass in it. Which is never a bad thing. Particularly in dubstep. It also has a pleasant intro with a nice synth that gives no hint that a bass-heavy roaring monster is about to assault your eardrums. Well, guess what? That is exactly what happens. This song does not hold back on the bass, offering a variety of crazy wobbles.
Expect six minutes of joyfully unrelenting bass.
Listen to "Bass Head" by Bassnectar
...there you have it, the 25 dubstep songs I feel are the best around. Dubstep truly is an art form, one that offers an escape from reality and feels free of the constraints of the world we live in. I hope you enjoyed this list, whether it introduced you to a couple of new songs or perhaps to a whole new genre.
What's next? With the technology available today, you could start mixing yourself and perhaps become the next big name in dubstep. All you'll need is the equipment and the know-how to be a digital deejay.
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