Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites (song)

"Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites" is a song recorded by the American producer Skrillex. It is the second track from his second extended play, Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites, released on October 22, 2010, through Mau5trap and Big Beat. The song began as a test for the Native Instruments synthesizer FM8 and was the first written for the EP. A dubstep track, critics noted the contrast between the beginning of the song and its drop. In 2012, it was used in multiple media and won the Best Dance Recording category at the 54th Grammy Awards. The song charted in multiple countries and received a double platinum certification in Australia, Sweden, and the United States (RIAA). It has since been named as a highly influential electronic dance music (EDM) and dubstep song.

"Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites"
Song by Skrillex
from the EP Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites
ReleasedOctober 22, 2010
Recorded2010
Genre
Length4:03
Label
Songwriter(s)Sonny Moore
Producer(s)Sonny Moore
Official audio
"Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites" on YouTube

Background and composition

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The name "Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites" was inspired by the David Bowie album Scary Monsters (and Super Creeps) (1980).[1] According to Noisia, "Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites" started being worked on in their vocal booth when Skrillex was staying with them, writing songs together,[2] in May 2010.[3] Noisia said that, after member Nik showed Skrillex the Native Instruments synthesizer FM8, Skrillex created "FM8 Test". This test song would later become "Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites". Skrillex finished its first draft after he went back home.[2] It was the first track written for Skrillex's second extended play (EP) Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites.[4]

"Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites" is a dubstep track in the key of A♯ minor. It has a speed of 140 beats per minute.[5] Kat Bein of Billboard said that the track is "an aural sleight of hand"; though it begins with a high-pitched, "serpentine melody" and "pleasantly fragmented vocal samples", it takes a sharp and surprising turn when the drop occurs at about forty seconds into the track, with "a load of bass bombs sounding like [an] alien invasion".[1] Similarly, Spin described the song as "a slow, disquietingly serene journey up to the top, then the most precipitous of falls, directly down".[6] Jason Schreurs of Alternative Press described the drop as containing "massive breakbeat-breakdowns",[7] while Vice described it as concurrently aggressive and melodic.[8]

Right before the drop, a vocal sample of Rachael Nedrow, also known as "speedstackinggirl", shouting "Yes, oh my gosh!", is used. The sample comes from a video where she speed stacks a set of cups in one of her YouTube videos. Although Nedrow was unaware of its use, she later received royalties.[9] Jon O'Brien of AllMusic said that the sample added a lighter touch to the track amidst its "towering beats and distorted bass".[10]

Release and reception

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In August 2010, when "Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites" was still unreleased, 12th Planet played it in one of his shows.[11] The track was officially released as the second track from Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites on October 22, 2010, through Mau5trap and Big Beat.[7] The EP itself contains remixes by Zedd and Noisia.[12] In a negative review of the EP, Andrew Ryce of Resident Advisor said that the song's hook was comparable to "nails on a chalkboard" and criticized its bass.[13] Skrillex's next EP, More Monsters and Sprites (2011), includes remixes by Dirtyphonics, Phonat, The Juggernaut, and Kaskade.[14] On February 12, 2012, the song won Best Dance Recording at the 54th Grammy Awards.[15] That year, the song was used in multiple media, including in the film Spring Breakers,[1] in an ad for GoPro featuring kayaker Ben Brown,[16] and in the video games Major League Baseball 2K12[17] and Ridge Racer Unbounded.[18]

Chart performance

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In the United States, "Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites" spent fourteen weeks on the Billboard Hot 100, peaking at 69,[1] and also peaked on Billboard's Heatseekers Songs at number 3.[19] It was certified double platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America with 2 million certified units.[20] In Canada, the song received a platinum certification by Music Canada with 80,000 certified sales.[21] In the United Kingdom, the song peaked at 22 on Official Charts Company's UK Dance Singles,[22] receiving a Silver certification by the British Phonographic Industry with 200,000 certified units.[23]

In Australia, it topped the ARIA Charts's Hitseekers[24] and peaked at 56 on their main singles chart.[25] With 140,000 certified sales, it was certified double platinum by the Australian Recording Industry Association.[26] In Sweden, it peaked at 20 on Sverigetopplistan's singles chart[27] and placed 50 on their 2011 year-end chart.[28] It was certified double platinum by the Swedish Recording Industry Association, with 80,000 certified sales.[29] "Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites" appeared in the main charts of France (SNEP)[30] and Norway (VG-lista).[31] Based on streaming figures, the song was certified platinum in Denmark by IFPI Danmark, with 1,800,000 certified units.[32]

Legacy

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"Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites" has been described as a highly influential dubstep and electronic dance music (EDM) song;[1][33][34] Valerie Lee of Billboard said that it helped the EDM industry to grow,[35] while Michaelangelo Matos of Rolling Stone Australia said that it brought dubstep to the mainstream.[36] Vice said that "it practically made 'the drop' a mainstream term".[8] Billboard's Kat Bein described it as "a generational classic"[12] and one of the most important Skrillex recordings.[34] The song also helped popularize Rachael Nedrow, which is sampled in the track.[37]

"Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites" has been ranked in multiple lists. In 2012, Spin ranked it as the fifth greatest dubstep song of all time.[33] In 2014, Pitchfork named it the 186th best song of the decade until then.[38] In 2015, Spin named it the second greatest electronic dance music (EDM) anthem of the first half of the 2010s.[6] In 2016, Kat Bein chose it as the best song in Skrillex's discography at the time.[34] In 2017, Vice ranked it as the best EDM song of all time.[8] In 2019, Billboard staff considered it one of the 100 songs that defined the decade[1] and the ninth greatest dance song of the decade.[35] In 2022, Rolling Stone Australia named it the 64th greatest dance song of all time.[36]

In 2019, a study published in Acta Tropica suggested that playing "Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites" could make Aedes aegypti mosquitoes, which transmit the dengue fever, attack hosts later and less often as well as mate "far less often". The song was chosen because it mixes very high and very low frequencies.[39][40]

Track listing

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Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites EP track
No.TitleLength
2."Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites"4:03

Charts

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Certifications

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Certifications for "Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites"
Region Certification Certified units/sales
Australia (ARIA)[26] 2× Platinum 140,000
Canada (Music Canada)[21] Platinum 80,000*
Sweden (GLF)[29] 2× Platinum 80,000
United Kingdom (BPI)[23] Silver 200,000
United States (RIAA)[20] 2× Platinum 2,000,000
Streaming
Denmark (IFPI Danmark)[32] Platinum 1,800,000

* Sales figures based on certification alone.
Sales+streaming figures based on certification alone.
Streaming-only figures based on certification alone.

References

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  1. ^ a b c d e f Bain, Katie (November 21, 2019). "Songs that defined the decade: Skrillex's 'Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites'". Billboard. Archived from the original on August 18, 2023. Retrieved April 14, 2024.
  2. ^ a b "Noisia interview: Beyond the outer edges". Skiddle. July 4, 2017. Archived from the original on April 21, 2024. Retrieved April 21, 2024.
  3. ^ Dj Aroy. "Noisia – Interview". Actualites Electroniques. Retrieved April 21, 2024.
  4. ^ Sonny John, Moore [@Skrillex] (September 18, 2010). "Ok song #2 for the next Skrillex EP is now donezo! Track list so far: 'Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites' and (the new one) 'Kill Everybody'" (Tweet). Retrieved June 13, 2024 – via Twitter.
  5. ^ "Skrillex – "Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites" (Original Mix) [Big Beat Records]". Beatport. Archived from the original on June 12, 2024. Retrieved June 12, 2024.
  6. ^ a b "These will be the years: The 100 greatest EDM anthems of the '10s". Spin. May 28, 2015. Archived from the original on September 29, 2022. Retrieved April 9, 2024.
  7. ^ a b Schreurs, Jason (November 9, 2010). "Skrillex – Scary Monsters And Nice Sprites EP". Alternative Press. Archived from the original on October 7, 2022. Retrieved June 13, 2024.
  8. ^ a b c "The 101 best EDM songs of all time". Vice. July 12, 2017. Archived from the original on November 22, 2022. Retrieved April 12, 2024.
  9. ^ Cunningham, Hailey. "Cup stacking champ Rachael Nedrow discusses the sport and Skrillex". The Chronicle. Archived from the original on May 21, 2022. Retrieved May 18, 2022.
  10. ^ O'Brien, Jon. "Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites review". AllMusic. Archived from the original on April 11, 2019. Retrieved June 13, 2024.
  11. ^ 12th Planet dropping an unreleased Skrillex 'Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites' at Control (^-^). Skrillex. August 16, 2010. Archived from the original on June 13, 2024. Retrieved June 13, 2024 – via YouTube.
  12. ^ a b Bein, Kat (October 24, 2018). "Skrillex's Scary Monsters & Nice Sprites EP turns 8, exemplifies the peak of a moment". Billboard. Archived from the original on February 5, 2024. Retrieved June 10, 2024.
  13. ^ Ryce, Andrew (November 11, 2010). "Skrillex – Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites". Resident Advisor. Archived from the original on April 25, 2023. Retrieved June 13, 2024.
  14. ^ "More Monsters and Sprites – Skrillex". AllMusic. Archived from the original on April 11, 2019. Retrieved June 13, 2024.
  15. ^ "Grammy Awards 2012: Complete winners and nominees list". The Hollywood Reporter. February 12, 2012. Archived from the original on September 28, 2021. Retrieved June 13, 2024.
  16. ^ Sherburne, Philip (May 8, 2012). "Dubstep selling candy, helping to stop human trafficking". Spin. Archived from the original on December 21, 2020. Retrieved June 13, 2024.
  17. ^ "Check out the Spin-curated soundtrack to Major League Baseball 2K12". Spin. February 16, 2012. Archived from the original on June 12, 2024. Retrieved June 12, 2024.
  18. ^ Hillier, Brenna (March 6, 2012). "Ridge Racer soundtrack features Skrillex, Crystal Method, more". VG247. Archived from the original on June 12, 2024. Retrieved June 12, 2024.
  19. ^ a b "Skrillex Chart History (Heatseekers Songs)". Billboard. Archived from the original on August 18, 2023. Retrieved June 12, 2024.
  20. ^ a b "American single certifications – Skrillex – Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites". Recording Industry Association of America.
  21. ^ a b "Canadian single certifications – Skrillex – Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites". Music Canada.
  22. ^ a b "Official Dance Singles Chart Top 40". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 2024-06-12.
  23. ^ a b "British single certifications – Skrillex – Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved December 23, 2022.
  24. ^ a b "The ARIA Report: Issue 1117" (PDF). Australian Recording Industry Association. July 2011. Archived from the original (PDF) on July 29, 2011. Retrieved June 11, 2024 – via Pandora Web Archive.
  25. ^ a b "The ARIA Report: Issue 1114" (PDF). Australian Recording Industry Association. July 2011. Archived from the original (PDF) on July 29, 2011. Retrieved June 11, 2024 – via Pandora Web Archive.
  26. ^ a b "Oct 2023 Single Accreds" (PDF). Australian Recording Industry Association. Archived (PDF) from the original on February 14, 2024. Retrieved November 30, 2023.
  27. ^ a b "Skrillex – Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites". Singles Top 100. Retrieved 2024-06-12.
  28. ^ a b "Årslista Singlar – År 2011" (in Swedish). Sverigetopplistan. Swedish Recording Industry Association. Archived from the original on October 4, 2013. Retrieved August 6, 2018.
  29. ^ a b "Sverigetopplistan – Skrillex" (in Swedish). Sverigetopplistan. Retrieved December 23, 2022.
  30. ^ a b "Skrillex – Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites" (in French). Les classement single. Retrieved 2024-06-12.
  31. ^ a b "Skrillex – Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites". VG-lista. Retrieved 2024-06-12.
  32. ^ a b "Danish single certifications – Skrillex – Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites". IFPI Danmark.
  33. ^ a b "The 30 greatest dubstep songs of all time". Spin. July 24, 2012. Archived from the original on April 18, 2024. Retrieved April 18, 2024.
  34. ^ a b c Bein, Kat (December 1, 2016). "The 20 best Skrillex songs". Billboard. Archived from the original on July 18, 2023. Retrieved April 14, 2024.
  35. ^ a b "The 60 greatest dance songs of the decade: Staff list". Billboard. November 26, 2019. Archived from the original on May 19, 2022. Retrieved April 14, 2024.
  36. ^ a b Dolan, Jon; Lopez, Julyssa; Matos, Michelangelo; Staffe, Claire (July 25, 2022). "200 greatest dance songs of all time". Rolling Stone Australia. Archived from the original on February 8, 2023. Retrieved April 14, 2024.
  37. ^ Moore, Sam (February 15, 2023). "Skrillex: The influential DJ and producer's story in 10 tracks". NME. Archived from the original on April 18, 2024. Retrieved June 10, 2024.
  38. ^ "The 200 best tracks of the decade so far (2010–2014)". Pitchfork. August 18, 2014. Retrieved June 18, 2024.
  39. ^ Dieng, Hamady; The, Ching Chuin; Satho, Tomomitsu; Miake, Fumio; Wydiamala, Erida; Kassim, Nur Faeza A.; Hashim, Nur Aida; Morales Vargas, Ronald E.; Morales, Noppawan P. (2019). "The electronic song 'Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites' reduces host attack and mating success in the dengue vector Aedes aegypti". Acta Tropica. 194: 93–99. doi:10.1016/j.actatropica.2019.03.027. PMID 30922800.
  40. ^ "Dubstep artist Skrillex could protect against mosquito bites". BBC. April 1, 2019. Archived from the original on July 18, 2023. Retrieved April 1, 2019.
  41. ^ "Skrillex Chart History (Hot 100)". Billboard. Retrieved 2024-06-12.
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