It’s inevitable that countdowns will always spark controversy, that’s just the nature of the beast. Some tracks will be snubbed, some overlooked, and some ranked higher than you may have expected. We’ve already gone over our ranking criteria at length but despite our own self-imposed guidelines, 2012 proved to be more difficult to rank than years past. With the EDM explosion officially in full swing throughout the year, the sheer number of releases was mind numbing, and — consequently — nearly impossible to rank. There has been no greater challenge for the editors at Dancing Astronaut than creating the list of the Biggest Tracks of 2012.
20. Dada Life – Kick Out the Epic Motherfucker (Original Mix)
Dada Life released their debut album The Rules of Dada this year, placing them in the group of producers attempting to create entirely original albums in 2012. The Swedish duo may not have crafted as cohesive of an output as producers like Zedd or Deadmau5, but the two still created 11 noteworthy bangers. “Kick Out the Epic Motherfucker” was a highlight from the LP, starting off with raging guitar riffs and pulsing kick drums.
19. Knife Party – Rage Valley (Original Mix)
The electro dubstep duo formed from the iconic electronic rock band Pendulum have always tickled our ears with their hard-hitting style. This year the two unveiled their most well-crafted EP yet, and the title track “Rage Valley” took dance floors by storm. The track incorporates Rob Swire and Gareth McGrillen’s love affair with suspenseful electro builds and plunging bass drops making for one of 2012’s biggest dubstep bangers.
18. Steve Aoki – Ladi Dadi (Tommy Trash Remix)
Steve Aoki’s debut album Wonderland was on heavy rotation all year long since its release in January. “Ladi Dadi” the second single from the LP, was a sultry house production with gritty dubstep chords in its original form, but Aoki released a remix package with even more power. Tommy Trash’s remix of the tune adds his signature escalating synths and electro-driven drops, while allowing Wynter Gordon’s vocals to shine through.
17. Qulinez – Troll (Original Mix)
Qulinez broke out onto the dance music scene with their track “Troll” this year after getting discovered by Steve Angello and signed to the Size imprint. Since then Alexander Lager and Johannes Gustafsson have aligned themselves with some of the biggest names in house music, helping foster even more success. “Troll” starts of with melodic chords before the duo go in with pulsating synths and drawn-out snares forming an instant club-ready house production.
16. Hard Rock Sofa – Quasar (Original Mix)
After receiving plays in Madison Square Garden and at Roseland Ballroom by Swedish House Mafia, Hard Rock Sofa’s “Quasar” proved to be one of this year’s top progressive house productions. The track starts off with a quiet build before it turns into one of the hardest hitting house drops of the year, giving Hard Rock Sofa some serious credit to start 2012. “Quasar” seemed to be just the start for the Russian duo who have continued to make waves in 2012 after releasing the track via Axwell’s imprint Axtone.
15. Calvin Harris ft. Florence Welch – Sweet Nothing (The Remixes)
2012 can be described as nothing short of a massive year for Calvin Harris. The Scottish producer released his third studio album 18 Months and claimed a spot in America’s mainstream with songs like “We Found Love,” “Let’s Go,” and of course “Sweet Nothing.” The remix package that followed the release of the original “Sweet Nothing” featuring seductive vocals from Florence Welch included reworks from Diplo & Grandtheft, Tiesto, Burns, Dirtyloud and Qulinez.
14. Deniz Koyu – Bong (Original Mix)
Deniz Koyu has received nods from some of progressive house music’s biggest names, including Fredde Le Grand and Sebastian Ingrosso, and was listed as MTV’s ‘EDM Rookies To Watch’ this year. Starting 2012 off with massive remixes, Koyu made a name for himself before he unleashed “Bong” at EDC Las Vegas. A follow-up to his 2011 hit “Tung” Koyu begins “Bong” in typical form with a horn melody before adding diving basslines.
13. Afrojack ft. Shermanology – Can’t Stop Me (Original Mix)
Each year Afrojack continues to gain momentum and 2012 was no different. He started the year off in a big way with “Can’t Stop Me” featuring Shermanology. The track fell somewhere between electro house and mainstream dance pop, making for another effortless crossover for the dance music juggernaut. The soft yet bubbling beat became an instant big-room production that was heard around the world.
12. Otto Knows – Million Voices (Original Mix)
“Million Voices” established Otto Knows as one of dance music’s up-and-comers after receiving praise on Pete Tong’s BBC Radio 1 show. Otto premiered the track on Sebastian Ingrosso’s Refune Radio– after being signed to Ingrosso’s imprint– and the track quickly gained recognition. “Million Voices” is a melodic house output driven by subtle synths and child-like vocals, officially labeling Otto as one to watch.
11. Swedish House Mafia feat. John Martin – Don’t You Worry Child (Original Mix)
After the announcement of their final tour, “Don’t You Worry Child” was dubbed the Swedish House Mafia’s farewell track. The heartfelt production, featuring vocals from John Martin, who was also the vocalist on “Save the World”, became the sound of the possible end of over 10 years of production from the world-renowned trio. Although Steve Angello, Sebastian Ingrosso and Axwell plan to continue to make music, it is unclear if the announcement means the trio will stop their collaborative efforts. What is clear however is that “Don’t You Worry Child’s” presence on the dance music airwaves will continue well into 2013.