TFword Review: Skrillex’s Seminal Double Album

After a seven-years-long excruciating wait, the super producer landed two full-scale albums, ‘Quest For Fire’ and ‘Don’t Get Too Close’ in 2023.

There are artists in dance music who do extraordinary things, and then there is Skrillex. He swept the scene when he famously made ‘My Name Is Skrillex’; thirteen years after his statement-making release, he continues to surprise us, creating electronic music storms of devastating sizes every time he delivers new music.

It all began in 2009 when Skrillex (aka Sunny Moore) dropped the ‘Gypsyhook’ EP, which gave us a glimpse into his bass-heavy and glitch-leaning sounds. Then came the big ones, when the pioneering artist tore dance music open with the ‘Scary Monsters And Nice Sprites’ and the iconic ‘My Name Is Skrillex’ EP, which changed how we looked at bass music forever.

Since then, Skrillex has ventured into several strains of EDM and has been one of its chief innovators for over a decade. Along with his seminal material, he runs his OWSLA imprint, home to some of the finest talents on the scene. It’s not just his solo material that he is hailed for; Skrillex has also racked productions for titans like Beyonce, Lady Gaga, Ed Sheeran, Justin Bieber, and Incubus to name a few.

In his groundbreaking catalog, we’d only experienced one studio album, ‘Recess,’ which Skrillex released in 2014. As you would expect from the producer, the album changed the course of bass music for years to come. Then followed a bunch of collaborative work with Diplo, Boys Noize, and many others, but cries for a full-scale Skrillex album have been ringing for a while now.

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The prayers have now been answered, and finally, after close to a decade, we have not one, but two albums from the super producer, called ‘Quest For Fire’ and ‘Don’t Get Too Close.’ Skrillex began the year by teasing his double album, then dropped a few singles, including the heavily-anticipated number with Fred Again.. and Flowdan.

These albums come after what Sonny Moore states was his life’s toughest year. First came ‘Quest For Fire,’ and before we could comprehend the beauty of the first one, Skrillex dropped the second one, ‘Don’t Get Too Close,’ within twenty-four hours of the first. Looking at the magnitude of the release, which the top dogs are stating could be another pivotal moment for EDM, we decided to take a closer look into the double album, tune-by-tune.

The first album, ‘Quest For Fire,’ opens with the bouncy ‘Leave Me Like This’ featuring Bobby Raps. The tune is a subtle opener compared to the first tune of his debut album, ‘ All Is Fair In Love And Brostep.’ However, ‘Leave Me Like This’ is a banger and a half, nonetheless. Next is a heavyweight collaboration with the iconic Missy Elliot called ‘RATATA,’ featuring lyrics from her legendary pop number ‘Work It.’

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‘RATATA’ is followed by ‘Tears,’ a work of three supremely gifted producers in Skrillex, Joker, and Sleepnet from Noisia. It doesn’t get any better than this. ‘Rumble’ featuring Fred Again.. and Flowdan, one of the biggest bass anthems of the year, comes next, followed by ‘Butterflies’ with Starrah and Four Tet, which takes the same peppy route as the album’s opener.

Skrillex then takes us on a deep, tribal, and atmospheric ride with ‘Inhale Exhale’ and ‘Street I Know’ featuring Aluna’s and Kito’s vocals on the former and Eli Keszler’s on the latter. ‘XENA,’ a tune with which Skrillex has rolled back the years through a giant festival-sized drop, features the profound voice of Palestine singer Nai Barghouti before juking it up with ‘BIZZARE,’ a super playful collaboration with Rae Sremmurd’s Swae Lee, Siiickbrain, and Posij. Flowdan makes another appearance on the album alongside PEEKABOO and BEAM with the roaring number ‘Hydrate.’

Heading towards the end of the first album, Skrillex pulls one leaf out of his Jack Ü playbook with ‘Good Space.’ Then comes our only complaint about the album; ‘Supersonic (my existence).’ The mighty collaborative work Skrillex dropped nearly two years ago with Dylan Brady and josh pan makes the cut on the album. It’s silly, but we would have liked to see some fresh Skrillex material rather than a tune that has been on repeat in our playlist for years. Skrillex ends ‘Quest For Fire’ with ‘Still Here’ with Porter Robinson, & Bibi Bourelly. The chord progressions, piano, and crisp drums combine to create some classic Skrillex nostalgia.

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Before we could process one album, Skrillex dropped ‘Don’t Get Too Close’ the very next day to give us a more “album” experience and a move away from ‘Quest For Fire’s pop-leaning tendencies. Here’s what we think of it.

‘Don’t Get Too Close’ begins with Skrillex’s take on liquid drum & bass, followed by ‘Selecta,’ a bouncy, breezy, and infectiously catchy bass house tune featuring BEAM. Yung Lean and Bladee bring their vocals on ‘Ceremony’ and ‘Real Spring’ for two lush and nostalgia-inducing tunes. ‘Don’t Get Too Close’ has a heavy influence of Skrillex’s ability to take heavy bass sounds into a playful territory, and ‘Summertime’ and ‘Bad For Me’ are prime examples of it. ‘3am’ featuring the ultra-talented Anthony Green and Prentiss comes next for another vocal-led delight.

Pop sensation Justin Beiber accompanies Don Toliver on ‘Don’t Go.’ It’s an incredibly underrated tune on the album considering the sheer size of this collaboration. Title track ‘Don’t Get Too Close’ takes on a spiritual expedition before Skrillex heats things up again with another sumptuous drum & bass number with Swae Lee called ‘Mixed Signals,’ followed by the pop-tilting ‘Painting Rainbows’ to close a sensational double release which will have its effect for years to come.

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