We’ve gone over the biggest artists, albums, and tracks of 2012, but our end of the year roundup really wouldn’t be complete unless we talked about our own favorites from this year. These are the songs that made us feel, gave us chills, made us party, and made us cry. You’d probably find these tracks with high play counts in our music libraries and dripping with nostalgia if you make us talk about them further.
Coldplay & Rihanna – Princess of China (Andre Sobota Remix)
Immediately after I heard Andre Sobota’s remix of “Princess of China,” I knew I had found another song to enter my sacred vault of all-time favorite tracks. The crisp percussions, delicate drum work, and rapturous vocals lull the listener into a state of bliss. For me, music has always only ever been about feelings and no other song this year has drawn out similar emotions.
Julio Bashmore – Au Seve
I only very recently began my descent down the deep/tech house rabbit hole, but this is one of the songs that helped ease the transition and move me along in my conversion. For audiophiles trying to enter the unground but who, like me, don’t always “get” some of its outputs, Julio Bashmore’s “Au Seve” is a good starting point.
Gregor Salto – Azumba (Original Mix)
Gregor Salto’s “Azumba” might be one of the most overlooked songs of the year. It received play from numerous DJs on both festival grounds (including the mainstage) and smaller venues. No matter where it was played the reaction was always the same — feet stomping insanity. Each time I hear the drums build and monkey chattering my mood is instantly lifted and I’m filled with energy.
Monkey Safari – Hi Life (Cheeky Bold Cover)
A few months back, I showed up to a DJ set about two hours too early and some random house DJ threw this on to a completely empty room. I’ve never walked up to a DJ booth to ask for a song ID before hearing this, but I had to know. I really like a lot of what I hear from Monkey Safari, but their cover of Cheeky Bold’s “Hi Life” blew me out of the water — I still feel like I want to cry tears of joy every time I listen to it.
John Talabot feat. Pional – Destiny
I knew one of my favorite tracks of the year would be something off John Talabot’s absolutely incredible Fin, but narrowing it down was certainly hard. “Destiny” is simple but heartbreakingly good — it gives me butterflies and a pit in my stomach in one fell swoop. Minor chords have never served me so well.
Danny Daze & Young Edits – Million
Early this year, this one was inescapable. I was drawn to it as an admitted Aaliyah fan, but the booty from Danny Daze and Young Edits drives this track to supernatural depths. If Danny Daze wasn’t known for his bass lines before, there’s no way he could be ignored after “Million.”
Gotye – Somebody That I Used To Know (Tiesto Remix)
Already one of the biggest tracks of the year globally, Tiesto took Gotye’s radio-crusher by storm with a big room remix, making the famed vocals translatable into the festival world. Fresh off his Club Life Volume 2 album, Tiesto’s remix leads the pack of Gotye remixes that we’ve heard at nearly every show in 2012.
The Joy Formidable – A Heavy Abacus (Qulinez Remix)
Qulinez shook the scene with their Size debut “Troll,” but released their biggest track of the year this summer — their remix of The joy Formidable’s “A Heavy Abacus.” The track picked up steam after Tiesto debuted it at Ultra Music Festival, and it became a summer anthem once released the following month.
John Dahlback – Zeus (Original Mix)
John Dahlback released too many tracks to count in 2012, but from the moment I heard Sander van Doorn drop “Zeus” at Electric Zoo, I knew I had found my favorite. “Zeus” is Dahlback on his A-game, pulling out all the weapons in his electro arsenal for the most provoking hook of the year.
Pachanga Boys – Time
Pachanga Boys’s “Time” makes me feel like I’m literally lost in a time warp. Its endurings qualities give off a heavenly vibe — as if you’re floating on a cloud. Lee Burridge played it during his Burning Man 2012 sunrise set and the vibe was beyond compare.
Alt-J – Something Good (Tong & Rogers Remix)
A track that went largely unnoticed this year was Pete Tong and studio partner Paul Rogers’ remix to Alt J’s “Something Good.” The pair breathed rhythmic life into the soothing and poignant folk vocals from the band’s lead singer, Joe Newman. The remix is a downright progressive house masterpiece; just as I’d expect from two blokes that have been around as long as Tong and Rogers.
Hot Chip – Flutes (Sasha Remix)
Sasha’s remix to Hot Chip’s “Flutes” is exactly what a remix should entail. It’s a completely new track, borrowing elements from the original. What’s great about Sasha is his ability to stay true to his sound but adapt to the modernization of electronic music as a whole. “Flutes” has been on replay more so than any track I’ve downloaded all year, and it’s the legend’s progressive house mastery to hold accountable.
Velvetine – The Great Divide (Seven Lions Remix)
While his remixes of “Cosmic Love” and “Still With Me” were close seconds, Seven Lions‘ remix of Velvetine’s “The Great Divide” was undoubtedly my favorite dubstep release of the year. I’ve spent countless nights getting lost in its seductive, otherworldly atmosphere. The word visceral doesn’t even begin to describe it.
Passion Pit – Take a Walk (The M Machine Remix)
Though I was endlessly enchanted with the M Machine‘s “Shadow in the Rose Garden,” their remix of “Take a Walk” continues to blow me away. Reworking Passion Pit’s well-known single, the M Machine created a masterful moombahton remix, complete with emphatic, larger-than-life synths. It just might be my favorite moombahton track ever produced.
Pryda – Sunburst
Choosing one song off Pryda is a difficult task, as the whole album is nothing short of spectacular; but if I had to choose one, I would pick “Sunburst.” Something about the track just makes me picture an intro scene to a movie where I’m standing behind the decks DJ’ing for a crowd of thousands. The camera pans, the song picks up, the crowd is at my disposal. Thanks for the imagery, Prydz.
Lee Foss & MK ft. Anabel Englund – Electricity (Original Mix)
If Anabel Englund’s sultry vocals and Lee Foss‘s sensual bass lines on “Electricity” don’t make you weak in the knees I’d immediately call a doctor to check to make sure you still have a pulse. From the moment the Hot Creations original starts, it oozes sexuality. It may have been overshadowed by the other Hot Creations anthem, “Benediction” but “Electricity” is as equally entrancing and dance floor friendly.
Jessie Ware – Running (Disclosure Remix)
Stop being an asshole, start listening to Disclosure. UK Garage prodigies Disclosure’s take on “Running” was one of those tracks I couldn’t help but play on repeat. Resplendent in 90s dance nirvana, Disclosure’s hollowed out bass line and haphazard pops and clicks worked in perfect harmony to create a track that was created for the inevitable revival of those roller rink parties you went to as a kid.
Sometimes I like to imagine that “Rave Weapon’s” chorus, “Why after all this time?” is really just Alex asking why he isn’t headlining festivals yet. The guy is supremely talented, and “Rave Weapon” is one of his most solid outings to date. An overlooked song from one of my favorite producers, “Rave Weapon” is a must have for anyone who yearns for the days of groovy electro funk.
Destiny’s Child – “Say My Name” (Cyril Hahn Remix)
I first caught this track on Star Slinger’s Jet Jam Mixtape #2 and I haven’t stopped listening to the effortlessly melodic beat since. Cyril Hahn gives life to back to my childhood with his remix of the “Say My Name” giving it dark airy makeover with pitched-down vocals. Many attempt to recreate the classic tracks of Destiny’s Child but few can produce quality interpretations, as Hahn did here.
Rusko – “Somebody to Love” (Skream Remix)
Rusko‘s already infectious “Somebody to Love” got a remix from Skream early this year, and whenever I need to get ready for a night on the town this is my go-to track. The kick-drum driven revamp is met by plunging basslines before the dubstep OG speeds up the tempo making a tune another stunning dance production from the producer.
MONSTA – “Holdin’ On”
The single off Monsta‘s debut self-titled EP, “Holdin’ On” was one of the tracks that gave hope to the bass heavy genre of dubstep. The vocally-driven production layers collapsing instrumentals while incorporating enough bass to declare it dubstep, making a beautiful production powered with soul.
Knife Party – “Sleaze”
Off of Knife Party‘s 2nd EP, this moombah inspired track gets me to break it down any day of the week. The vocal chant gets the crowd going before an epic drop brings them to their knees. This was easily my favorite track of the EP ‘Rage Valley’
Missing this song in the top 50 was one of our biggest overlooks. This track immediately brings uplifting progressive house/ trance to the masses. It was played in tons of sets and still never got old.
A very progressive track from two hard hitting artists, “Lightspeed” is the perfect track to carry a break in a set because it still hits hard but with a fun and lively beat. If you need to ease someone into harder music, this is definitely a start.
Jack Ü’s collaboration with Kai, off their debut album gets a shifty house remix at the hands of LA-based duo Foreign & Domestic. An unofficial but officially bad ass bootleg from the Ghetto-tech project, the pair twist “Mind” into a funk-driven monster that bends and warps with a G house bounce. A cross-pollination of rock-solid sound design and West Coast-inspired drum work, the mysterious pair place another impressive remix into their catalog that includes a wealth of shifty bootlegs and official work for Steve Aoki’s Dim Mak.
The Chainsmokers sense of humor and charisma is exactly what launched the career of Drew and Alex. Or Alex and Drew, whomever’s hair looks better on any given day. The two lampooned nightlife with “#SELFIE” but it was always their talent for reworking indie music that really kept the boys on the map. Now ditching the remix distinction, the New York natives enlist Great Good Fine OK to create an indie meets dancefloor gem all their own. While the club-ready blares may have disappeared, the duo’s sense of humor certainly hasn’t. Watch as the practically inseparable duo get their rocks off in the strangest of ways in the official music video for “Let You Go.”