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Top 5: Albums of my grade nine year, #2 – Skrillex’s “Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites”


Over five installments of this Top 5, our music writer breaks down their top five albums of their grade nine year.

Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites was probably the most formative album of my grade nine days. After listening to the entirety of this EP, I officially drank the dubstep kool-aid, became drawn into the cult of bass, and started my long, dark descent into EDM snobbery.

When I started my music production journey, who did I want to sound like? Skrillex, of course. The growls on this album are ferocious; the drums punch you right in the chest; the pitched vocal chops are alien, haunting and beautiful. I wanted to emulate this EP SO BADLY, and I failed on every level until much much later in my EDM “career.”

The title track awkwardly balances a beautiful vocal chop melody with the signature Skrillex bass growl, two things that once sounded cool together but now just sound kind of sloppy cutting in and out of each other. The sound design is great and all, but the overall cohesiveness of the song suffers as a result of poor structuring.

It’s funny to look back at this album and realize how much better Skrillex was at electro house than he was at dubstep at this point in his discography. Take “Rock and Roll (Will Take You to The Mountain)” for example. God it’s good. It does a much better job of blending the melodic and the cacophonous than “Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites,” creating amazing grooves that I still headbang to. It’s also got a short dubstep beat switch that blew my little pea brain when I first listened to it.

“Kill Everybody” is another classic example of similar musical and generic themes, with haunting Halloween melodies, creepy robot lyrics, and wobbling growls. It’s, unfortunately, a little too teenage-edgy for me to put on a party playlist and not feel embarrassed.

Some songs are just plain bad, though. “Scatta” is a jumbled mess of screeches and basses that’s trying too hard to be metal in its rhythms. Not even the entertaining verses from UK rap group Foreign Beggars can save it. “All I Ask of You” is generic, boring melodic house that fails to stand out against the rest of the track list.

Despite its bleeding teenage edge, this is still the album that started it all. I’ll love it forever because of this.

Andrew McWhinney

Andrew McWhinney is a fifth-year English and political science combined honors student, as well as The Gateway's 2019-20 Editor-in-Chief. He was previously The Gateway's 2018-19 Opinion Editor. An aspiring journalist with too many opinions, he's a big fan of political theory, hip-hop, and being alive.

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