Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Leading By Example- From Dance to Dubstep

Despite having already come a long way since the ‘disco’ era of the seventies, dance music is a genre that is still constantly evolving, metamorphosing between pop scenes, urban rap, dubstep and various other sub- genres. These changes can be seen frequently in many artists, none more clearly, though, than 29-year old Elliot Gleave, better known to the UK’s music scene as Example, a name wittily derived from his initials, E.G. His latest hits, Changed the Way You Kiss Me and Stay Awake, both debuted at #1 in the UK and instantly topped the country’s summer festival playlist. Fresh from the release of his most recent studio album, Playing in the Shadows, Example is successfully filling the biggest arenas in the country for his November and April UK tours, from London’s O2 to Manchester’s MEN arena. But what is it that has given Example such a high status in a matter of months, when so many artists stay hidden in the shadows for so long?

Elliot Gleave- Example

Example by Portsmouth Point on GroovesharkThe answer lies with how his own sound has changed so dramatically since his last album, Won’t Go Quietly, still a lucrative creation but lacking that desired #1 status its successor achieved. In comparison to the two #1 singles Playing in the Shadows has produced so far, its most successful songs only reached #6 and #3, being the title track Won’t Go Quietly and the euphonious Kickstarts respectively. When comparing the two styles however, it’s noticeable that Won’t Go Quietly was dogged with radio-friendly songs about love and partying, whereas Example’s more recent effort has been filled with darker, uglier themes, songs like Under the Influence and Wrong in the Head, dealing with addiction and ‘stumbling home on my own with no charge on my phone in the East end of London’. The beats and backing tracks have also developed with Example’s lyrical taste, with harder, faster rhythms and club-style instrumentals, the bass lines and drum loops courtesy of renowned dubstep producers like Chase & Status and Nero. Every verse is now a rap and only the most energetic audiences can keep up with the intensity of his voice. Playing in the Shadows remains a dance album, but one that teeters on the edge of dubstep and rap, with just enough pop moments to keep Example’s older, loyal fans sane.

In fact, it seems that dance is slowly handing over to dubstep in the music industry, 2011 marking the first UK #1 spot for a dubstep song, DJ Fresh’s Louder. The introduction of dubstep into the mainstream has transformed music across the world and has forced many artists to change their style to keep up with the latest fashion. For the time being, though, dance remains a primary genre of its own, artists like David Guetta packing stadiums across the globe and Rihanna and Calvin Harris’ recent hit We Found Love topping the charts in no less than 10 countries.

By George Neame

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