Skrillex is back once again, cutting down his gap between album releases from eight years to one day. With this newest effort, “Don’t Get Too Close,” he opts for a more straightforward, poppy sound, contrasting the dark dubstep stylings of his last release, “Quest for Fire.”
The opening track, “Don’t Leave Me Like This,” acts as a companion piece to “Leave Me Like This,” the first song on “Quest for Fire.” Bobby Raps serves up the same catchy vocal melody and lyrics, but this time around, the instrumental’s tone is lighter and more ethereal. It’s quite pretty; however, at less than two minutes in length, it doesn’t leave much of an impact.
Unfortunately, the same can be said to describe almost every track here. On “Quest for Fire,” tracks fluctuated in quality from great to just alright. This album is more consistent, containing no great songs.
Skrillex plays it safe to a fault. His knack for unique sound design is all but gone. There is also a clear lack of creativity throughout. Numerous tracks such as “Summertime” and “Don’t Go” have basic, cookie cutter trap beats. Yes, they’re harmless and inoffensive, functioning as decent background music, but that’s not what makes good art. Even the songs that dip into different musical styles, such as “Way Back,” feel incredibly standard. They simply exist.
Like his prior album, “Don’t Get Too Close” features a diverse array of guests and collaborators. Most seem to be operating at the bare minimum though, failing to provide memorable performances or well-written lyrics. While Swedish rapper Yung Lean’s fast-paced flows fit well on “Ceremony’s” garage beat, Bladee’s refrains tank the energy of the track. Bladee redeems himself in “Real Spring,” but the song’s lifeless drums leave it sounding mechanical and stale.
If it isn’t clear, this album’s biggest sin is that it’s boring. Kid Cudi phones in the chorus and bridge that make up the entirety of the just alright “Summertime.” Meanwhile, Chief Keef’s autotuned vocal inflections attempt to revive “Bad For Me”’s beat that sounds like every Tyga song.
At least the title track is somewhat interesting, offering a bit of a different sonic palette with some much-needed ambience. Skrillex even sings on the track himself. It’s easily the song with the most substance and emotion on the project, but that’s not saying much. When it comes to this album though, if it’s not one aspect of a song that’s off, it’s another. Skrillex and Bibi Bourelly’s vocal melodies on the track are awkward to the point of being distracting.
Between the two projects Skrillex dropped, it is clear that “Don’t Get Too Close” is meant to be the less serious release of the two. There is nothing wrong with making music just for the purpose of enjoyment. An album does not need to be innovative, have substance or even contain good lyrics as long as it’s fun, but Skrillex failed on that end. Despite its relatively short runtime of only 34 minutes, listening to this album front to back is a struggle.
If Skrillex had not dropped “Quest for Fire” one day before this project, I would have thought all his creativity had disappeared. This album is insignificant.