There is no doubt 2011 was a defining year for house music–it was the year that the genre grew to its most popular state in its history. There were many DJs and producers that upped in the ante in sound and scope this year, and here at LessThan3 we have narrowed down the competition to a list of the 15 tracks that defined house music in 2011.
Chris Lake & Nelski – Colours (Original Mix)
Chris Lake & Nelski - Colours (Original Mix) [Rising]
Our Top House Tracks of 2011 kicks off with perhaps the chart’s funkiest offering–Chris Lake and Nelski’s oft-underrated Colours. Sexy vocals ride on top of a minimal beat and are eventually met by a big-room grind–sound fonts that make this track a perfect marriage between the small club and the big arena.
Gregori Klosman & Tristan Garner – Bounce (Original Mix)
Gregori Klosman & Tristan Garner - Bounce (Original Mix) [Xtra Life]
Both Gregori Klosman (pictured) and Tristan Garner had big years in 2011. Gregori’s rise to fame was particularly meteoric after his smash hits Jaws and Mutfakta with Chuckie tore up dancefloors worldwide. Bounce is quite the appropriate name for our #14 track that features the pair, as the bubbling tribal beats will likely make you bounce, jump, wiggle and wobble, whether you’re sitting or standing. Check out this video they made in support of the release if you’re in need of a good laugh.
Avicii – Fade Into Darkness (Vocal Club Mix)
Avicii - Fade Into Darkness (Vocal Club Mix)
2011 was The Year of Avicii as far as house music was concerned. With a mindblowing 33-spot leap on the DJ Mag Top 100 that landed the young Swede at 6th overall, it seemed that everyone was getting on board the Avicii train. His first appearance on our chart comes in the form of massive vocal hit Fade Into Darkness. Originally released as an instrumental track called Penguin which became quite popular in its own right, the song later received a vocal makeover and a worldwide smash was born.
Alex Metric & Steve Angello – Open Your Eyes (Original Mix)
Alex Metric & Steve Angello - Open Your Eyes (Original Mix) [Positiva]
When the quickly evolving Alex Metric (pictured) paired up with big room titan Steve Angello of the Swedish House Mafia, interesting things were sure to ensue. Open Your Eyes is a seven-minute house opus that runs the gamut from unique breakbeat rhythms and ambient electronica to electro and piano house. A truly remarkable track to sit and listen to from start to end, Open Your Eyes may be the most unique composition on this chart.
Adele – Set Fire to the Rain (Thomas Gold Remix)
Adele - Set Fire to the Rain (Thomas Gold Remix)
Adele was by far the most remixed pop artist of 2011, and it’s no wonder–her hit single Rolling in the Deep became the biggest multiformat crossover of the last two decades, being played on everything from Latin to country radio. However, German house DJ Thomas Gold really brought the remixers to their knees when his snare-laden, larger-than-life rework of Set Fire to the Rain rolled out of his studio. A breathtaking piano breakdown with Adele’s smooth vocals and haunting lyrics leads into an enormous, symphonic drop that received major support from both house and trance DJs alike.
Axwell – Heart Is King (Original Mix)
Axwell - Heart Is King (Original Mix) [Axtone]
Another member of SHM appears in our #10 spot, and that man would be Axwell. The sheer energy in Heart Is King is derived from its rapidly changing chords and the fluttering repetitive note patterns present in the majority of the track, making it an easy one to recognize in a set (or the set going on in the next tent over). With sounds like this in his solo tracks, it is a safe bet that Axwell may be the musical maven in the SHM triumvirate.
Florence + The Machine – You’ve Got the Love (Mark Knight Remix)
Florence + The Machine - You've Got the Love (Mark Knight Remix) [Toolroom]
Mark Knight’s remix of You’ve Got the Love by Florence + The Machine was a remix with a purpose. The track was released on Knight’s Toolroom Records and all proceeds from the sale of the track went to benefit victims of the devastating earthquake that hit Japan earlier this year. That must have been a lot of proceeds, too; the track became wildly popular and was (and still is) a “go-to" track in numerous house DJs’ sets. Knight’s classic sharp synth sounds work perfectly with the warm vocals of Florence Welch, and with the cause behind the track, the lyrics gave this particular remix its own special meaning.
Swedish House Mafia ft. John Martin – Save the World (Tonight) (Extended Mix)
Swedish House Mafia feat John Martin - Save the World (Tonight) (Extended Mix) [Virgin]
If you listen to electronic music at all, you heard the vocal to Save the World by the Swedish House Mafia somewhere. The original itself became a huge international crossover hit, and it was remixed so many times that almost every genre of EDM was touched in some way by John Martin’s anthemic vocals. With the success of this track, their upcoming sold out gig at Madison Square Garden, or their booming Masquerade Motel franchise, the trio has the house music scene in a chokehold.
Duck Sauce – Big Bad Wolf (Original Mix)
Duck Sauce - Big Bad Wolf (Original Mix) [Big Beat]
We all knew it wouldn’t be long til the duo of A-Trak and Armand van Helden reunited under their Duck Sauce moniker to try and one-up the giddy playfulness of Barbra Streisand, and they certainly succeeded with their new smash Big Bad Wolf. With a percolating bassline, comical wolf howls, and an even more comical video (NSFW), this track was destined for the top, and that is exactly where it has ended up, with more remixes by top names popping up daily.
Diddy Dirty Money – Coming Home (Dirty South Remix)
Diddy Dirty Money - Coming Home (Dirty South Remix) [Interscope]
Diddy and his Dirty Money outfit have been among the pop acts that have embraced EDM the most over the past year. When the famous rapper showed up on the Ultra mainstage with Erick Morillo at the decks to perform the Dirty South remix of Coming Home, the lines between what is mainstream and what isn’t blurred just a bit more. Dirty South’s remake became just as popular in the dance community as the original did on mainstream radio, and eventually made its way into most any club or party situation imaginable.
Starkillers & Nadia Ali – Pressure (Alesso Remix)
Starkillers & Alex Kenji feat Nadia Ali - Pressure (Alesso Remix) [Spinnin']
The guy known as Alesso started out as a protégé of Sebastian Ingrosso, and quickly rose to fame in a move that would arguably make him 2011’s best new house artist. With uplifting melodies and stadium-filling synths, Alesso made his way into the hearts of house music fans through his hits Calling and his remix of Pressure, which just cracked the Top 5 on our chart. Glitchy piano house is the name of the game here, with Nadia Ali’s sultry vocals gliding smoothly across the instrumentation.
Michael Woods – First Aid (Original Mix)
Michael Woods - First Aid (Original Mix) [Diffused]
Michael Woods is the king of long, dramatic buildups, and we just can’t get enough of them. First Aid utilized what was perhaps his most majestic buildup yet, with plucky synths moving through beautiful chord progressions into a wall of monstrous synths that eventually lands in a big-room, electro influenced drop that set crowds ablaze in 2011. Also worth mentioning is the spectacular mashup crafted by Kaskade that combined First Aid with the vocals on Kaskade’s classic collaboration with Deadmau5, Move for Me.
Arty – Around The World (Original Mix)
Arty - Around the World (Original Mix) [Anjunabeats]
2011 was perhaps the first year when it was truly debatable whether a track should be on a house chart or a trance chart, given the multiple crossover hits between the two genres that led to the creation of a new genre term–“trouse." Well, if there’s a prince of trouse right now, it would have to be none other than Russia’s Arty, whose 52-spot leap to #25 on the DJ Mag Top 100 was the biggest leap of the year. This is unsurprising given that he has won over dedicated fans from both sides of the now-crumbling fence between trance and house. #3 pick Around the World is a high-energy, uplifting testament to the blurring lines between genres and the continuing evolution of electronic dance music–something that we at LessThan3 very much support.
Green Velvet – Flash (Nicky Romero Remix)
Green Velvet - Flash (Nicky Romero Remix) [Relief]
Nicky Romero exploded onto the house scene this year in such a big way that David Guetta hailed him as the “breakthrough DJ/producer of the year." His biggest hit in 2011 was his remix of Green Velvet classic Flash. Arguably dropped more than any other track at this year’s Ultra Music Festival, one almost couldn’t turn a corner at a massive this year without hearing those rolling snares ringing out from somewhere, or Green Velvet’s unmistakable voice saying “Cameras ready, prepare to flash" right before the onslaught of the drop. The #2 spot is more than well-deserved for this newcomer.
Avicii – Levels (Original Mix)
Avicii - Levels (Original Mix)
If 2011 belonged to anyone in house music, it was Avicii. The only artist to show up on here twice as the same act, the 21 year-old entered the realm of international superstardom this year with a bevy of tracks, the most popular of which is our #1 house track of 2011, Levels. With a sparkly buildup and uplifting drop and vocal, the Swedish wunderkind made his way straight to the heart of house music fans with this enormous anthem of 2011. Stay tuned for a remix release, which is rumored to include Skrillex and Cazzette.
Click here to buy the top 10 tracks on this chart as a package on Beatport!
Click here to buy the top 10 tracks on this chart as a package on Beatport!