If you ever sit down and write a list like this of your own (we don’t recommend it unless you like being called names), you will find that it is easier to name the tracks that are higher on the list, but they also become exponentially harder to rank. Everyone can agree what the biggest tracks of the year were, but how can you say which was bigger than the next? In the 50s and 40s, it’s hard to distinguish between the 49th biggest tune and 42nd. But now, as we approach the top 10 tracks of 2011, the ranking becomes much more relevant. Take a look at our list of biases which set the ground rules for how we were going to conduct our ranking system then continue past the break to see our picks for 20 -11.
20. Above & Beyond ft. Richard Bedford – Sun & Moon (Original & Kim Fai Club Mix)
Anyone who has ever experienced Above & Beyond live has described the experience as almost religious — a feeling that can be attributed to the sheer power of tracks like “Sun & Moon.” The raw human emotion in Richard Bedford’s melancholy vocals strikes at the core of what it is to be human. Unlike most of the tracks in our Top 50, “Sun & Moon” avoids aggressive drops and over the top synthesizers for subtle and beautiful melodies. In case the original wasn’t exciting enough for you, the Kim Fai remix keeps the heartfelt vocals intact while changing the slow and deliberate pace of the original into an awesome progressive house tune. If my heart wasn’t cold, dead and black this track might actually make me cry.
19. Tiesto & Hardwell – Zero 76 (Original Mix)
This track was the first big release of the year, and despite its February release date held strong all the way through to the end of 2011. We can praise Tiesto for this one and congratulate him on developing his new sound – but that’d be naive of us. It’s true that Tiesto’s production skills were at work here, but “Zero 76” was more important for Hardwell than it was for Tiesto. It was the moment that this 22 year old phenom really broke through. The sound here is uniquely his and while we have Tiesto to thank for the endorsement and exposure, we have Hardwell to thank for the tune.
18. Calvin Harris – Awooga (Original Mix)
Easily the most played Calvin Harris track since “Flashback.” “Awooga” really set the tone for the summer and finds itself at number 18 due to our previously unspoken “summer bias” — which states that everything sounds better when the weather is warm. From Afrojack and R3hab to Axwell and Thomas Gold this track was played constantly and we never grew tired of it. It’s bouncy synth and playful bass line became the soundtrack to all of the summer festivals. Whenever we think of the summer of 2011, this is the song we will hear.
17. Tommy Trash – The End (Original Mix)
Let us save you some time in the comments section;
“‘The End’ is at 17?!?! Where is (insert song you like better here.) You guys are totally gay for Tommy Trash, you suck.”
Well, guess what? This is where our Dancing Astronaut bias comes into play. We love Tommy Trash and we aren’t going to apologize for it. “The End” is a jilted, synth-heavy, thumper. It’s melody is infectious and incurable (kind of like that inexplicable rash) and it is our favorite electro-house production of 2011.
16. NERO – Promises (Skrillex & NERO Remix)
The Skrillex & NERO remix is so far superior to the original it’s almost unfair. Every time we have seen NERO perform this is the version that they played. That fact alone is all we need to justify featuring it here instead of the original. Skrillex’s sound is heavily present but far less over the top than usual. It’s as if he was subdued by the more conservative and melodic dubstep style of NERO. Featured in sets by many of EDM’s biggest names, “Promises” was one of the most heavily played tracks of 2011 no matter where you were – even if it was under a rock.
15. Benny Benassi feat. Gary Go – Cinema (Laidback Luke & Skrillex Remixes)
Let’s face it, the original mix of “Cinema” would have came and went with little to no recognition had it not been for Laidback Luke and Skrillex remixing the everloving shit out of this one. The lyrics were the sing-a-long anthem of the summer. Whether you heard Luke’s dirty dutch banger or Skrillex’s dubstep masterpiece you can guarantee that every person in the crowd was screaming the words along with Gary Go. We could listen to these tracks for a lifetime, it’s just one of those songs you never grow tired of.
14. Coldplay – Paradise (Fedde Le Grand Remix)
Dear Fedde, stop being so fucking good, it’s unfair to other producers who want to get their tracks on our list.
We even had to cheat just to make some room for other tracks (and so our Top 50 list didn’t look like a Fedde Le Grand discography.) 2011 was the year of the Coldplay remixes, but no one did it better than Fedde. His take on “Paradise” is a show stopper, transforming the slow-paced original into one of the biggest, most energetic tracks of the year.
13. Arty – Around The World (Original Mix)
“Around the World” put Arty on the map in a big way, catapulting this young Russian from trance obscurity into the spotlight. He may be a tiny guy but Arty is officially a juggernaut in EDM. This track is a staple in the Swedish House Mafia catalog and if you’ve seen them in the last year you’ve heard “Around the World.” You know a track is huge when the biggest act on the planet plays it in every one of their sets. Remeber kids, in Soviet Russia, beats play you.
12. Deniz Koyu – Tung! (Original Mix)
“Tung!” was the highlight of Deniz Koyu’s flawless performance in 2011. We literally heard this everywhere, in clubs, at bars, on the bus, in the office, at the dentist. The power of the horns are impossible to deny. Once they blast through the speakers and rattle around in that alcohol- soaked brain of yours it’s impossible to not dance along.
11. Alesso & Sebastian Ingrosso – Calling (Original Mix)
If there was one song that defined Electric Zoo 2011, the Alesso & Ingrosso collaboration “Calling” would have been it. No matter what tent we found ourselves in over the course of 3 days, “Calling’s” stadium ready chord progression found us and drew us in. When Alesso dropped it early on day 3 everyone on Randall’s Island migrated towards the main stage just to see its creator debut it for the first time. That’s the effect “Calling” has, it is an electro-magnet.
Be sure to check back tomorrow for the Top 10 Biggest Tracks of 2011.