When news came of Skrillex dropping two albums within the calendar year, hype was real, but we never knew when the release date was. Then, the second album became more of a topic of conversation once the announcement came of a release date for Quest For Fire, with some believing he’d pull something akin to Future, who dropped HNDRXX and Future within a week of each other. His second album, Don’t Get Too Close, was released the following day, and unlike the former, it brings depth beyond its more approachable textures that sift between EDM and Dance-Pop. It radiates via potent production, occasionally poignant delivery of thematic inflections, and melodic bliss. It drives a different path, where catchiness comes from the vocal performance underlying the synths to keep you engaged, as opposed to the enigmatic and archaically fantastic production, leaving you engaged on Quest For Fire. Unlike it, Don’t Get Too Close is blissful consistency that continues to shape Skrillex’s artistry beyond being known for making dubstep too BRO; it has some more standard tracks that fit the flow but aren’t as captivating as others.
Quest For Fire builds dynamic intensity within the pores of its percussion notes. A type of intensity that your typical club flair couldn’t capture the energy amassing from the hard-gripping percussion that you’ll just want to mosh instead of relaxing to some crisp melodies that fit a wider audience without thinking lesser of its listener. Quest For Fire is like a rave, a fantastic time, and uncontrollable. Don’t Get Too Close is like having your moment under blue lights, sometimes neon, and vibing more loosely to the sounds instead of grooving chaotically. Quest For Fire has a few danceable moments, like “Butterflies,” “Ratata,” and “Leave Me Like This,” but beneath that aesthetic, the percussion loomed over the synths and bass; it becomes more defined through its individuality. It kept the album centered on a resounding sonic theme, while Don’t Get Too Close does so with its approach to delivering the vocal melodies and keeping its tones consistent. The individual performances wane, some shine, and some hit the nail perfectly while acquiescing with the production fluidly.
As its main defining contrast, Don’t Get Too Close lets the drums act like a balancing beam that keeps the other instruments afloat as they guide performances, like on “Painting Rainbows,” with frequent collaborator Bibi Bourelly, which shifts vocal styles in song. Skrillex, however, can’t help himself with the drums, but he beautifully incorporates more bombast with the cheeky sequencing from tracks two to five. But within that drum-loaded track three (“Selecta”) and five (“Real Spring”), BEAM and Bladee add excellent complementary vocals to counteract the insane and wicked-great beat drops, which come from equally great melodic-driven drum patterns. Don’t Get Too Close takes influence from Dance/Pop/Trap overture; we see a finite balance that keeps it on a steady, consistent path of harmonious bliss. It’s an antithesis to the more bombastic and lucratively detailed range within its sonic construction. Though some tracks wane because the production doesn’t take an extra leap, it blends with its rich atmosphere.
“Summertime” with Kid Cudi or “Don’t Go” with Justin Beiber and Don Tolliver are the two that don’t land well. They don’t have the same bravado as tracks like “Selecta” or “Mixed Signals,” taking unique directions, which leaves some production feeling more typical. The former delivers a satisfactory vocal performance, but it can’t save it from some bare flairs of its EDM synths guiding through mundane drum beats, but they supplement it with some catchiness. The latter has brought more R&B elements, relaying bland melodies from the two artists. It doesn’t have the slight sazón in “Bad For Me” with Corbin and Chief Keef or the melodically driven jungle-electronica of “Way Back” with PinkPantheress and Trippie Redd. Like them, Don’t Get Too Close has featured artists bringing multi-dimensional bliss within their vocal performances, especially BEAM, Bladee, and Yung Lean, who naturally shine on the production, creating these powerful performances.
More so, unlike the first release, Skrillex and Swae Lee deliver an atmospherically vibrant performance, boasting my enjoyment of this more. It’s swift but richly ingraining a vibe that hits you like a calm spring night beneath the stars with a joint and noise-canceling headphones. It has a clear direction sonically, and it’s better for it. It keeps you focused on a vibe without taking too many distinct heel turns with the production. Its construction is more homogenous, comparatively, but rich creativity gives it new dimensions that shape it beyond your typical EDM and at least has more identity than a posh pop hit from Zedd. It’s on par with Quest For Fire in terms of delivering to fit an aesthetic narrative, but it is just a little tighter.