When pop goes dubstep: Six pop songs propelled by the undeniable whomp of the wobbly bass

Categories: Lists, Poptimystic

britney spears dubstep queen.jpg
Britney loves some bass.
With dubstep's surging (and some might say waning) popularity, it's not surprising to hear explosive dubstep breakdowns bleeding into pop. Turn on Top 40 radio today, and there's a great chance you'll hear dubstep elements borrowed in one form or another to create a hook, verse, chorus or bridge. Below are six pop songs built on dubstep's biggest hallmark, the wobbly bass.

06. Britney Spears - "Freakshow"

Despite the shaved heads and the husbands and the sweatpants, Britney Spears has always been known in the pop world for the progressive sounds in her songs. Her most inventive album was 2007's Blackout, which was released at a time when Ms. Spears was, well, receiving all sorts of publicity for everything but her music. The twelve tracks -- some of the raciest Spears has ever recorded -- are also the most intriguing in her catalogue to date. This one, "Freakshow," was well ahead of its time because of one helluva hook, built around, of all things, a wobbly bass line.

05. Flo Rida - "Good Feeling"

Unlike "Freakshow," Flo Rida's foray into dubstep doesn't happen until the 2:48 mark of his most recent single, "Good Feeling," released earlier this year. Before and after the dubstep breakdown, however, "Good Feeling" sounds just like every other Flo Rida track. Nevertheless, the dubstep influence is undeniable, though it only lasts about half a minute before the rhythm builds back into the chorus, which samples Etta James's "Something's Got a Hold on Me."

04. Britney Spears - "Hold It Against Me"

Spears's second appearance on this list, "Hold It Against Me" is considerably different than "Freakshow." It's more dance- and even house-oriented, and it frankly sounds much more accessible and ready for radio than "Freakshow." Though it doesn't have as much of a dubstep backbone as that track, "Hold It Against Me," released in March 2011, used much of its dubstep breakdown at the bridge to its advantage, taking the song from a Top 40 single to a cut ready for remixing by dubsteppers everywhere. Even more interesting, the video saw Britney fight against Britney during the dubstep bit. You could argue that the sequence was symbolic of the progressive, dance-pop sounds of New Britney fighting for dominance over the more sugary pop sounds of Old Britney.

03. Rihanna - "GFL"

Considered by some to be even more on-trend than Britney Spears, Rihanna jumped on the dubstep bandwagon in 2009 for "G4L," an album track from the darkest of Rihanna albums, Rated R. You can hear elements of the genre in other Rihanna songs, too, especially the reliance of a heavier bass, but nowhere is that clearer than on "G4L," which claims a wobbly bass and a beat all too familiar to the world's dubstep enthusiasts.

02. Martin Solveig, feat. Kele - "Ready 2 Go"

The "Hello" hitmaker, Martin Solveig, has a sound similar to David Guetta's, but not quite as overplayed on the radio yet. Releasing tracks that have a more noticeable bounce to them than any of his previous work, Solveig's 2011 album Smash contains a collection of dance-related influences, all rehashed into a poppier, catchier form. This one, "Ready 2 Go" -- which Solveig released as the followup to "Hello" in Europe -- features Kele Okereke of Bloc Party on vocals and a subtle, seven-second dubstep breakdown at the 1:15 mark.

01. Katy B - "Katy on a Mission"

The most distinctively dubstep track on this list, Katy B's "Katy on a Mission" is a composite of sounds, but the dubstep easily overpowers the pop, dance and subtle ska (at the refrain) vibes. While Katy B hasn't quite taken off yet in the States, she's seen considerable success overseas with this song and others from her debut, On a Mission, which features other dubstep pop and peaked at number two on the Official Charts for the United Kingdom.



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7 comments
antolinocipriani
antolinocipriani

This is completely messed up the way you talked about "Good Feeling" as if it was Flo Rida's creating. His artistic influence on that track was limited to him altering the drum track and putting his voice in it (I would not call it singing). All credit goes to Avicci, who produced the track "Levels," which this track maliciously parodies. The "dubstep influence" comes from the fact that Avicci is a member of the EDM scene, in which dubstep has been influencing similar music such as trance, electronica, and drum and bass (all of which have affected dubstep in the past, including helping create the genre, and still influences it today. I'm ashamed that you don't give credit where credits due. As I listen to the popular music today, the abuse of these overplayed drops and upbeat "basslines", i apologize for contributing to the rise of dubstep and it's aforementioned inclusion into popular culture, which ruins everything it gets it's hands on.

Sid
Sid

After Britney's Hold It Against Me dropped as a single, every other track started featuring dubstep! She sure paves the way!

Joey B
Joey B

Dubstep ruins everything.

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