POPULAR MUSIC in the more commonsense, could be explained by what mainstream radio is playing, what the charts are dictating, or what weekly music magazines are showing. Yet, it is my experience of a clubnight last Wednesday, that changed that opinion; to truly find what is popular at any given time, it is necessary to see what student club nights are playing.
This week I ended up venturing to a club that offers, what must be the cheapest liquor in London, and one that appeals (naturally) to a crowd of students living on pennies. The music selection throughout the evening was, in general, very poor. I was reminded of that scene in Nick Hornby’s High Fidelity (or perhaps it was just the film adaptation), when Rob was asked for his top five records, and immediately his response was “At home, or in a club?”
Herein lies the problem for the majority of the night; Florence and the Machine, and Noah and the Whale were amongst artists that were played. Two artists I do indeed like, but at home. In a club, they are the last artists I want to listen to. The night picked up when Nero’s remix of The Streets’ “Blinded by the Lights” got played. The pivotal track of the evening, as the DJ proceeded to play a selection of pop-friendly Dubstep, and in particular remixes of recent pop songs.
Dubstep’s popularity progression has spiraled over the past few years, with Dubstep purists debating the exact point that the genre went downhill. Indeed since the exclusion of Grime as the yang to Dubstep’s yin, many argue that the genre lost hope. The turning point is truly only an arbitrary date, for its demise, if you are of the disposition to believe it has had one, is subjective.
The Dubstep that has now popularised student nights, is certainly going to rile the purists. Lost are the days of the underground scene, true sub-bass, and, arguably, the spirit of genre. All that is left is a pop template that will continue to fill Radio 1’s primetime, and simulatenously, the country’s student nights. As long as 2009’s Dubstep producers continue to remix pop classics, much as a wave of electro producers did last year, then the genre will continue to find popularity.
Dubstep has, in the U.K., been popular for years, but its audience now definitely seems to have grown; it would be nice to believe that those who heard Skream’s remix of La Roux this week, will go back and discover his original tracks that helped mold the genre. Unfortunately, as is the nature of casual popular music, and those that listen to it, these originals won’t get heard. Instead they will remain in record collections, whose owners will arduously battle out the catalytic disintegrating point of a genre that they once loved.