We’ve been counting down our top 50 tracks of 2011, and we’re finally ready to reveal the most important ones: the top 10. 2011 was a year of big room house tracks for sure, but it’s impossible to overlook the different genres that also made a splash. Don’t forget to look back at all the previous tracks to see how we got here, but if you can’t wait any longer, click through for Dancing Astronaut’s Top 10 Tracks of 2011.
10. Skrillex – First of the Year (Equinox) (Original Mix)
Call it brostep, hate on the fans he attracts, make fun of his haircut and screamo persona all you want, but there is no denying that Skrillex’s productions are pristine. By mastering one of the most unique forms of synthesis, Skrillex has carved out a niche all his own. “First of the Year (Equinox)
” is the stand out track on the More Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites EP
and has one of the most memorable drops in the short history of this new, Americanized, dubstep.
A big determinant of a track’s popularity is when it garners support from DJs at all ends of the EDM spectrum despite of the polarizing nature of the genre. If you were in a tent at any of this summer’s festivals when this track dropped then you know full well the sort of energy it evokes.
9. Florence + The Machine – You’ve Got The Love (Mark Knight Remix)
Magical. That’s the only way to describe Mark Knight’s remix of “You’ve Got the Love.” This one popped up in many a DJ set in 2011, and was also paired with Avicii’s “Fade into the Darkness” for a pretty special bootleg.
Here at Dancing Astronaut, however, we prefer the Mark Knight version alone and uninterrupted. Tech house is a genre that values simplicity and structure, and this track’s pulsing bassline, speculative chord progression, and lovely arpeggios make for a true masterpiece. Most Dancing Astronaut favorites make you want to fist pump with everything you’ve got. When “You’ve Got the Love” plays, however, our hands drift inexorably upward, as if they have minds of their own.
Our best experience with “You’ve Got The Love” came during Mark Knight’s glorious performance at Insomniac’s Beyond Wonderland festival. As the track built, then slowly crescendoed, time seemed to slow down, and then, for a brief, perfect moment, everything was still. Like we said: magical.
8. James Blunt – Dangerous (Deniz Koyu & Johan Wedel Remix)
We usually associate James Blunt with slow,
frequently occasionally depressing ballads. So how did a James Blunt song turn into arguably an inexplicably powerful, remarkably uplifting progressive bombshell? It’s simple: Deniz Koyu can do wrong.
The Koyu and Wedel remix of “Dangerous”
is one the feel-good tracks of the year, a wondrous piece of remixing that lifts you both physically and emotionally. When “Dangerous” plays, everyone claps, we make the Dancing Astronaut
face, and mayhem inevitably follows.
7. Avicii – Fade Into Darkness (Original Mix)
What is there to say about “Fade Into Darkness” that hasn’t been said already? Though the original melody was created by the Penguin Cafe Orchestra decades ago, Avicii was able to breathe new life into a simple, hypnotic piano riff and turn it into a progressive house masterpiece. The track was so good that Leona Lewis even thought it was hers — remember that? In the end though, Avicii prevailed (and rightfully so), and there’s a reason why “Collide” is nowhere to be found on this list.
6. Diddy-Dirty Money feat. Skylar Grey – Coming Home (Dirty South Club Mix)
All of the songs on this list can ignite a festival or rock a nightclub. Most feature catchy melodies. But Dirty South’s remix of “Coming Home” is the only one that can be called truly beautiful. From the tick-tock cymbals to the squeaky synth to the perfect piano chords to the massive, thumping drop, every single very element in this track is flawless. Together, they are spectacular.
This was by far the most frequently-played song on the festival circuit in the first half of 2011, and while it may have lost steam as the year wound down, that doesn’t detract from its undeniable brilliance. No matter your musical preferences, the opening moments of “Coming Home” makes you feel something. To us, it’s the feeling of coming up to breathe after you’ve jumped into a body of water from something very, very high.
5. Tim Mason – The Moment (Original Mix)
Yet another testament to Size Matters’ dominance in 2011, at least in our eyes. Tim Mason’s “The Moment” achieved anthem status the
moment second we heard it, and has been a staple of big-room progressive sets ever since. Along with the glorious “Anima,” Tim Mason has proved that he is a producer to be reckoned with.
We like the way “The Moment’s” two primary melodies work against each other. First, there’s the electro-ey, bass-infused opening passage, which establishes the track, then gives way. The euphoric breakdown that follows acts like the inverse of the first section, with the emotive synth distinctly evocative of Swedish House Mafia’s “One.”
4. Bassjackers – Mush, Mush (Original Mix)
One of the tracks of EDC Vegas, “Mush, Mush” features arguably the heaviest bassline of the year. This sensory overload has the power to turn even the most timid of dancefloors into a sweating, heaving mess. When Tiesto dropped it at EDC, the main stage went absolutely insane. While “Mush, Mush” has been wildly succesful all over the world this year, only the best DJs understand how to use this weapon correctly. Sure, it can energize any crowd, but “Mush, Mush” performs best when its used on an already heaving dancefloor, as the pinnacle of a driving set. If this banger is unleashed at the right moment, it sends you spinning over the edge.
3. Swedish House Mafia – Save The World (Original Mix)
“Save The World” didn’t have the best first impression on us. Whether it was the
cheesy symbolic music video
, the general pop-iness of the vocal, or the fact that it didn’t really sound like an SHM song, it just didn’t jive for us at first. However, after hearing it live at countless festivals and in tons of DJ sets, we realized that this was a feelgood track that did exactly what it was designed to do. Oh, and it doesn’t hurt that the trio redeemed itself with a new music video
100x better — just saying.
2. Starkillers, Alex Kenji & Nadia Ali – Pressure (Alesso Remix)
The first time we heard Alesso’s remix of “Pressure,” we knew it would be big. What we didn’t know is that it would set the tone for an amazing year from the guy who made it. Nadia Ali’s voice is the perfect complement to the sweeping synths and piano riffs in this pristine track, and it’s even been picked up by mainstream radio. This is another one of those tracks that showed up in nearly every DJ set this year, and you just can’t listen to it without smiling.
It’s also important to understand that “Pressure” is the definition of “big room” house; that special breed of track that gets infinitely better when it’s pumping out of festival speakers. The da-da-da-da bassline that pops through during the chorus slaps. Hard.
1. Avicii – Levels (Original Mix)
You probably saw this one coming, but Avicii’s “Levels” is undoubtedly the number one track of the year. If you disagree, we don’t much care. First premiered in his Essential Mix
back in 2010, the song was only just released
a few months ago in its official, world-dominating form
. It’s shown up in nearly every single set from every top DJ this year, and its staying power is a testament to its awesomeness. There’s no denying that this is the sort of uplifting EDM track that’s attracting new listeners to the genre in droves, and in general it’s an absolutely pristine track with a vocal that everyone knows the words to. Ohhhh sometimes…
That concludes our top 50 tracks of 2011. Don’t forget to look back at our previous installments to see how we got here, and let us know what you think in the comments!
50-41, 40-31, 30-21, 20-11
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