Full disclosure: it took me a long time to finish this review.
It’s not because I didn’t get to it until now, and it’s definitely not because I wasn’t listening to the album.
It’s because Skrillex’s new album demanded extra attention.
Instead of tossing up a review for the sake of tossing up a review, I let the album sink in a little bit. Because if one thing was for certain about Sonny Moore’s new EP before he even released it, it’s that it was going to get ‘mixed’ reviews. Judging by previously groundbreaking albums like Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites and Bangarang, the jury was still hung over Recess.
But after a long, brutal wait for the king of bro-step’s newest compilation, our verdict is in.
And the verdict is ‘epic.’
Deep, ferocious and reggae-influenced, Recess is quite different from anything before. Aside from the fact that every bass-screeching melody is completely free of category, this album is an experiment gone terribly right.
No genre, no agenda, and no fillers.
Not only does ‘Recess’ include tracks from King Skrillex himself, but features a few of the hottest names in music (not just ‘Electronic Dance Music’).
A collaboration with world-renowned producer, Diplo. A guest-appearance from rising Chicago hip-hop artist, Chance the Rapper. And the most intriguing of all, the song’s imminent smash-hit, ‘Recess,‘ which incorporates the talents of two completely separate musical masterminds in Kill the Noise and rap MC Fatman Scoop.
While Recess certainly doesn’t produce the same jaw-dropping, eye-opening reaction that Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites did, it does solidify the notion that Sonny Moore is one of the most brilliant, versatile producers in all of music.
I’m not kidding.
From hip-hop to grime, to rebellious and down-to-earth, the many faces of Skrillex are powerfully revealed in each of the 11 tracks on his latest EP.
In order to summarize our own feelings towards this late, great masterpiece – here’s our power ranking of every song on Recess.
11. Try It Out (Neon Mix) ft. Alvin Risk
I’m a huge Alvin Risk fan. But this “Neon Mix” of Try It Out just seems very bland and undecided. In recent years, anything done by Skrillex and Alvin Risk has been money.
Not so much here.
10. Fire Away
Intriguing, but confusing. It’s tough to tell what Skrillex wanted this song to be. His unmistakeable, angelic vocal chops don’t cut to the soul here like they do for other tracks. But if nothing else – this song certainly speaks to the range of his production capabilities.
I think this is the melodic translation of the Alien logo used as the cover art for Recess (which is, according to Rolling Stone, based on his heavy usage of the alien emoji).Nothing to run home to Mom and Dad about, but definitely not one to overlook.
8. Coast is Clear ft. Chance The Rapper
Can I ask a question, can you keep a secret?
Sorry I had to, that line is great. And although it’s not really up to my normal taste in tunes, that almost makes this track that much more appealing. Skrillex casually incorporates a new sound with one of the hottest rappers in the game. This disco-influenced, hip-hop beat might take you some time to appreciate it – but every time I do, I like it a little bit more.
7. Dirty Vibe ft. Diplo
Per usual for any Diplo production, this one took a long time to grow on me. But when Skrillex plays the ‘twerk’ card as well as he did here, you gotta give him some credit.
6. Doompy Poomp ft. Mishka
Catchy and intriguing, but it’s tough to take a song too seriously when it’s called Doompy Poomp.
5. All Is Fair In Love And Brostep ft. The Ragga Twins
Zomboy got pissed about this song.
4. Recess ft. Kill The Noise & Fatman Scoop
Your local schoolyard’s summer anthem.
3. Ragga Bomb ft. The Ragga Twins
I know Sonny hates when people dissect his music, but whatever he does at 1:26 is mind-blowing. Call it a hook, call it a haunted hallway synth, I call it musical adrenaline.
And, they made a crazy music video for it.
2. FucK That
This song has steadily climbed on the list – reaching the extremely coveted position of No. 2 on these power rankings. As I’ve been debating and deciphering, this song became the one to beat. Thanks to Skrillex, now we know what happens when you mix a little of that ‘future bass’ with a tribute to throwback British dub step.
1. Ease My Mind
In my opinion, the best vocals ever produced by Sonny Moore. No song on the album creates a better visual than this one does, and there’s a good chance you’ll see the lighters come out when Skrillex puts this one over the loud speakers at Lollapalooza (for like Elton John ‘Candle In The Wind’ shit, not to like smoke shit).
And when the raggae melody drops in during the second chorus, you can expect to see grown men cry as well.
Absolutely legendary track, on an even more legendary album.
In honor of what we like to call ‘the boom’ (that magical moment in spring when everyone begins acting-a-fool because they realize summer isn’t that far away anymore) – we’ve put together another edition of ‘Musical Adrenaline’ for your audio entertainment.
Like craft beers, the temperature, and your general outlook on life – workout routines change by the season. Every new one brings a different running environment, and of course – every new season demands a fresh playlist.
So, put the shitty winter behind you. And more importantly, stop talking to me about it in the elevator. Your breath smells like old cheese mixed with burnt rubber, and I have no interest in becoming your friend. Seriously, why do people feel so obliged to make conversation in the elevator? Like, come on dude – I’m reading the tag on the bottom of my sweater – does it really seem like I want to talk?
Put on your sneakers, download these songs, and go break a sweat.
Summer is coming.
10. Porter Robinson – ‘Sea of Voices’
I always like to get my run started with something slow. And this track off of Porter’s new album is pretty ideal.
9. Jaytech – ‘Megastructure’
One of many songs from Anjunabeats that I’ve utilized for ‘physical health’ purposes over the last few weeks. And ‘waking up way too fucking early’ purposes.
8. Vicetone – ‘White Lies’
The latest single from Vicetone. These Dutch up-and-comers still continue to find their way onto every list we throw together. Although this doesn’t quite hit the spot like their ‘Clarity’ remix (I don’t know if anything will) – it certainly does the trick.
7. Calvin Harris – ‘Summer’
Need I say more?
6. Bastille – Pompeii (Audien Remix)
‘Hindsight’ (Audien’s newest single) and ‘Circles’ were both true contenders. But Audien’s rendition of Bastille’s smash-hit was unprecedented. It’s definitely the best spin on ‘Pompeii’ (there’s been many), and maybe the best remix of the year so far.
5. Avicii – ‘Liar Liar’ (Avicii by Avicii Remix)
1 of the 2 songs included from Avicii’s upcoming (self) remix EP (True, Avicii by Avicii). I won’t go on about how brilliant Tim Bergling’s latest project is, I’ll just let you hear for yourself. ‘Liar Liar’ was my least favorite song on the original True album.
4. Ilan Bluestone – ‘Waves Of LA’ & ‘Elysian’
I included Ilan’s entire new mini-EP for two reasons:
1. The individual links weren’t available.
2. I couldn’t decide between ‘Elysian’ and ‘Waves of LA’.
Oh what the hell, this imminent trance sensation deserves the extra attention. This is Ilan Bluestone’s remix of ‘Fire, Fire, Fire’ – and it has single handedly given me numerous stomach cramps and back aches over the last few months. Give it some time to pick up.
After the 2-minute mark you’ll be running on air.
2. Avicii – ‘You Make Me’ (Avicii Remix)
You just can’t go wrong with the 80’s.
1. Kaskade – ‘Atmosphere’
And of course, I always save the best for last. This is a beat I’ve been playing on repeat all month long. And frankly, Kaskade’s masterpiece is one of the most captivating melodies that mankind has ever created. Seriously…I’m not kidding.