Blue-eyed brostep: the next big thing?

If you own a television, chances are high you’ve heard British crooner Alex Clare’s hit “Too Close,” and chances are slightly lower but still favorable that you’ve crafted an opinion on Clare’s fairly groundbreaking fusion of soul and contemporary dubstep. It’s drawn a good amount of attention, and deservedly so.

Clare didn’t exactly concoct the hitmaking recipe himself. Fellow Brit James Blake essentially followed the same formula last year on his debut, self-titled masterpiece, but whereas Blake contrasted bleak and spacious instrumentals with his fragile voice, Clare takes the easier road by unabashedly smashing two disparate styles of music together and praying for peanut butter and jelly. It’s a less risky proposition, considering how voraciously music listeners have consumed anything with wobble bass (ugh) and how desperate we are for a truly great male singer. Clare isn’t him, but his voice does approach the threshold that Adele, Florence Welsh, Amy Winehouse, and Ida Maria crossed for all of womankind in the last decade.

The song itself is halfway intriguing. The drop during the first chorus should undoubtedly stun new listeners, but it hardly holds any replay value after the first listen. Clare’s vocal power is really the song’s best asset and what raises the track far beyond gimmickry, to a point where it seems blue-eyed brostep could be a major player on top 40 charts for the next few years.

The styles don’t mesh on paper, but just as any house tracks require vocals to break the charts, brostep may need the same support for lasting success. If Clare’s first crack at this newfound genre indicates anything, it’s that audiences are more willing to be mesmerized through the antennae than record execs believe. The possibilities of blue-eyed brostep do not enthrall me like electro swing or rapgaze, but I do appreciate the willingness of artists to branch out of predetermined comfort zones, even when they water down what more accomplished artists have already done.

 

 

 

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