Is Skream's 'Midnight Request Line' the greatest dubstep song ever?

Image for Is Skream's 'Midnight Request Line' the greatest dubstep song ever?

‘The 30 Greatest Dubstep Songs of All Time’ is a topic that was always bound to stir the pot, and US magazine Spin has ably taken on the challenge with a list that’s equal parts agreeably informed and cheekily controversial, tackling the genre on both its polarising ends. Skream is placed next to Skrillex, and Burial spotlighted alongside Kanye West, of all people.

The #1 spot is awarded to Skream’s 2005 prototype classic Midnight Request Line, which Spin singles out as a “game-changer”, and the first anthem to shrug off the sound’s stubborn prior refusal to be pigeonholed and instead, “wear the genre badge proudly. While its gurgling bass is a cauldron brewing under the dark, clean kicks of ’90s garage, the real star of the show is the melody… It was dubstep acting like pop years before pop noticed.”

It’s hard to argue with the tune’s seminal status, and similarly, Benga & Coki’s unmistakable Night, as well as Archangel from Burial’s groundbreaking Untrue album, appropriately take up the next two slots, Spin singling out the latter for inspiring “legions of imitators to try and match producer William Bevan’s skittering, pitch-shifted vocals and stumble-drunk rhythmic feints.”

It’s Spin’s choice for the #5 best dubstep song ever that will ruffle the most feathers, with the genre’s most divisive song ever taking home the accolade; none other than Skrillex’s, Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites. “At 82 million YouTube plays and counting, dubstep’s Godzilla stomp doesn’t get any bigger than this yowling chainsaw rocker from former emocore-scene kid Sonny Moore turned EDM It Boy Skrillex.” His mere presence will grind the gears of many a purist, but for better or worse, the tune marked a pivotal moment in the rapid rise of ‘brostep’.

Elsewhere in the list, there’s a comprehensive catalogue of influential bass producers, and plenty of those anthems that truly did send a rumble through the dubstep landscape. Joy Orbison’s Hyph Mngo is celebrated for ushering in a genre-busting new era; “stealth smash-ups of electronic styles like these are no longer ‘dubstep’ but ‘bass’”. Skream’s remix of La Roux’s In for the Kill is rightfully spotlighted as the point where dubstep embraced pop, long before even Skrillex arrived at the party, “one of contemporary EDM’s most anthemic moments”.

Meanwhile, the cheeky inclusion of Kanye West’s and Jay Z’s Niggas In Paris, on the very tail end of the list at #30, might not be as heretical as you’d assume. The 2011 anthem definitely offered something a little heavier and noisier than what’d been served up in mainstream hip hop in recent years, clearly influenced by the adventurous nature of bass music. “The best beat on the lush Watch the Throne wasn’t necessarily dubstep – just incomprehensible without it… putting a funhouse mirror to dubstep’s defining rhythmic move.” The rap duo of course also sampled Flux Pavilion’s I Can’t Stop on Watch the Throne cut Who Gon Stop Me. Express your approval and/or righteous indignation below.


Comments arrow left

kenzo said on the 25th Jul, 2012

it's actually not a bad list of awesome tunes


Morphee said on the 25th Jul, 2012

Midnight request line is a worthy number 1. Nothing even comes close.


MuchRoughage said on the 25th Jul, 2012

no anti-war dub = invalid list.

also, out in the streets and footcrab don't deserve to be tarred with the dubsteb brush.


Makkaaa said on the 25th Jul, 2012

There are so many hidden gems that compiling a list of greatest dubstep songs is sort of pointless.

Nathan Explosion

Nathan Explosion said on the 25th Jul, 2012

How the fuck can that song win best dubstep song ever?


Ruskhouse said on the 25th Jul, 2012

enlighten us with your preference mr explosion


lawlietskyy said on the 25th Jul, 2012

*waits for skrillex preference* ^^^^^^^^^^^^^


Heist9000 said on the 25th Jul, 2012

Such a non genre... People, plz. We can do better

special ed

special ed said on the 25th Jul, 2012

omg! where's the drop?



Funkedub said on the 25th Jul, 2012

Dubstep is a bloated beast now and some of the folds of fat have hidden a good deal of once what shone through on the younger, slimmer version of dubstep.

It's a nice enough list, but a lot of those tracks could be replaced by superior selections.


angy said on the 25th Jul, 2012

^^You could hang that accusation on any genre that's ever grown popular. "Greatest" is purely subjective at the end of the day, so these lists need to focus on "seminal" and "influential" I guess.


U-Khan said on the 26th Jul, 2012

Toasty - The Knowledge should have been in there..


SANDSHREW said on the 26th Jul, 2012



Funkedub said on the 26th Jul, 2012

The compilers of that list chose "Greatest Dubstep songs of all time" (no less!) as their pitch ... probably their first mistake here.

If the list was of "rock n roll" songs, their equivalent would have inclusions along the lines of Wolfmother, Nickleback, Black Eyed Peas, Linkin Park & Cee Lo.


cheechvda said on the 26th Jul, 2012

^^ Funkedub... Most of the selections do not even mirror that mind numbing comparison you just made.


Funkedub said on the 26th Jul, 2012

They do from my perspective :)


kura said on the 26th Jul, 2012

midnight request line.... my two year old could make better on Garage Band.


Sweave said on the 27th Jul, 2012

if your a fan of midnight request line check out SP:MC & LX One - Hunted soooo much bass!


camlv said on the 30th Jul, 2012

Isn't this about as valid as declaring a colour the greatest colour ever?


Weinertron said on the 30th Jul, 2012

Midnight request line is a fucking tune and started a big ball rolling, but not sure whether OMHB BEST EVER is quite valid.