2010 was a year of nonstop dancing for those in love with EDM, with veterans and newcomers alike turning out the most impressive tracks listeners have heard in quite a while. Crunching down a year’s worth of heavy-hitting bangers into a top 25 list was no easy feat, but the best of the best managed to shine through and make our list. Let’s count down the top tracks that made 2010 a breakthrough year for dance music.
Tasadi & Nhato – Time Ticks Away (Original Mix)
Tasadi & Nhato - Time Ticks Away (Original Mix) [Tone Diary]
A monster track from start to finish, Tasadi & Nhato’s (pictured) electro infused trance hit Time Ticks Away kicks off this year’s top 25. This one utilizes the trancey kinetic bassline that has exploded in the past few years, combining it with astounding melodies and a fine attention to detail. It’s tracks like these that are really blurring the lines between genres, something that inevitably will push the creativity of EDM as a whole. Expect these names to really establish themselves in the next year.
Pendulum – Witchcraft (Rob Swire’s Drumstep Remix)
Pendulum - Witchcraft (Rob Swire's Drumstep Remix) [Warner Music]
It’s no surprise that Pendulum is showing their faces on this list. With one of the bigger album releases of the year and remix treatment from literally every direction in the EDM world, this group is on fire. Remixed by their own lead singer, Rob Swire, the drumstep mix of Witchcraft sits comfortably at the 24 spot. This remix wraps a tourniquet around the rocked-out original, and injects it with enough grit and wobble to OD any dance floor. Bipolar if any song ever was, this one starts chill only to reveal it’s true lunatic colors shortly after, and as we’re sure you know, you can never have too much crazy in a Pendulum track.
Kriss-One – Instant Moments (Original Mix)
Kriss-One - Instant Moments (Original Mix) [Spinnin']
It’s not uncommon for someone to claim that a track destroyed at a festival, but few tracks literally do it. As the track that caused the Electric Daisy Carnival crowd to start busting down and jumping fences, Kriss-One’s hit Instant Moments is an undeniable bomb. With a buildup that rivals what was arguably 2009’s hottest electro track, Stickin’, this is not only one of the year’s best tracks, but one of the most underrated and underplayed as well. One of the simpler tracks on the list, this one proves that it takes precision rather than complexity to pack a true punch.
Jaga Jazzist – 220 V/Spektral (FINAL Mix)
Jaga Jazzist - 220 V/Spektral (FINAL Mix) [Ninja Tune]
Probably the most experimental track on the list as well as one of the most emotional, 220 V/Spektral (FINAL Mix) comes in at 22 on this year’s list. The song introduces itself as both soothing and upbeat, but around the 1:30 mark things take a turn for the dark and droopy. What we love so much about this track is that there are two completely opposite tones present in the song. There’s the uplifting and then the menacing, but when the two combine there is musical bliss. This track is here to represent everything that can’t be categorized as simply “house" or “trance;" the nooks and crannies if you will. They’re what makes EDM so expansive, and yet so relatable to well… anyone.
Bassnectar ft. 40 Love – Wildstyle Method (Original Mix)
Bassnectar feat 40 Love - Wildstyle Method (Original Mix) [Amorphous]
If you’ve seen him in 2010 or have heard any of his new releases, you can’t argue that Bassnectar didn’t live up to all of the hype he got last year. His most recent EP sent shockwaves across the web, with Wildstyle Method as its clear masterpiece. This one brings something for the simplest as well as most advanced of musical palettes, infusing hip hop into a dubstep bassline like no other. As one of the more prominent names in the industry today, we have no question that the next Bassnectar content to hit the street will satisfy our hunger. All we wonder is when we will be fed.
Mark Knight & Wolfgang Gartner – Conscindo (Original Mix)
Mark Knight & Wolfgang Gartner - Conscindo (Original Mix) [Toolroom]
We know it’s probably not a good thing to have huge expectations, but when we see juggernauts Mark Knight and Wolfgang Gartner on the same track, we can’t help but expect the world. Simply put, their collaboration track Conscindo delivered. Relying on simple melodies and powerful breakdowns, this is without question the summer anthem we waited for. We can only hope to see more massively talented artists step out of their comfort zone like this. You may be able to make a great drum’n’bass riff, but the truth is that real talent doesn’t have genre boundaries.
Tyler Michaud & Interstate ft. Jessy Greene – Junkie (2010 Mix)
Tyler Michaud & Interstate feat Jessy Greene - Junkie (2010 Mix) [VANDIT]
Trance has been one of the most prominent genres throughout the history of EDM, but nearly twenty years after the genre broke into the scene I’m looking for somebody to reinvent the genre. Enter LA duo Interstate and Tyler Michaud (pictured). Together, this fresh team of US trance heads gives us pure musical and melodic chaos with their beast track Junkie. Taking some cues from the world of psytrance, we really can’t imagine what this track would do to a club dancefloor or outdoor festival. Tyler Michaud has promised some even wackier stuff in the near future, so keep your ears peeled for some more game-changing beats from these guys.
Breakbot – Baby I’m Yours (Siriusmo Remix)
Breakbot - Baby I'm Yours (Siriusmo Remix)
This year’s #18 track, the Siriusmo remix of Baby I’m Yours by Ed Banger label staple Breakbot (pictured), is a chilled out tune with a strong indie flare. The laid back instrumentals work flawlessly with the playful summer vocals, adding a spark of funk rarely seen in DJ sets these days. The array of sounds and rhythms in this track only encourage the fact that these guys are masters of his trade. Siriusmo, as well as a few other names on this list, have fearlessly taken the reigns of the funkified retro sound, catapulting it right back into the realm of mainstream dance music.
Ida Engberg – Owl’s Nest (Original Mix)
Ida Engberg - Owl's Nest (Original Mix) [Truesoul]
To us, tech house is all about how easily a track can suck you into its “groove", and the #17 track on the list here had us groovin’ immediately. Ida Engberg’s Owl’s Nest pounds you with pulsing basslines and thick, yet crisp beats. If you’re able to give this one the attention and decibels that it deserves, you should be getting your swerve on in no time. After rocking a multitude of festivals and clubs worldwide in 2010, there’s no way that Ida Engberg will be slowing down anytime soon.
Moonbeam – The Underwater World (Original Mix)
Moonbeam - The Underwater World (Original Mix) [Moonbeam Digital]
Some tracks find success through big boisterous riffs and wall-shaking energy, but a very select few say screw that, and instead decide to paint a vivid picture for the listener. Russian duo Moonbeam have proven themselves masters of this technique in giving us our #16 track, The Underwater World. The range that this track carries is astonishing. From cooling down a dancefloor with intellectual beats and rhythms, to acting as a soundtrack to an RPG, this track is for anything that tells a story. Check out Moonbeam anytime you can; they’ll hit you with deep, emotional tracks, but also know how to rock the socks off any dancefloor.
Robyn – Indestructible (A-Trak Remix)
Robyn - Indestructible (A-Trak Remix) [Konichiwa]
A-Trak has done a lot of things in his impressive career as a musician, but the one thing that has been constant in all of his work is the level of quality that he brings. After giving us one of the biggest tracks of 2009 with his remix of Heads Will Roll, it’s no surprise to see him on a “Best Of" list again, this time with his remix of Robyn’s current hit Indestructible. Giving it a spin of nu disco and a touch of classical violins, it seems that A-Trak truly loves showing off his range these days. This track doesn’t seem like it’s an electronic artist trying to play with violin sounds, but more like he’s been doing this stuff his entire life. That is why this track makes #15 on this year’s countdown.
Afrojack – Replica (Original Mix)
Afrojack - Replica (Original Mix) [Wall]
If there’s one name that should be expected on any Top 25 list, it would have to be Afrojack. Apparently the pressure of having the entire world staring at you hasn’t gotten to the Dutch phenom as literally every one of his tracks seems to be better than the last. His recent single, Replica, really sums up Afrojack in 2010. Although he still uses the Dutch horns quite often, Afrojack has gone out of his way to make sure he’s not defined by them anymore. A mere element rather than a gimmick these days, he has truly improved his game. Definitely one of the industry’s most innovative and leading producers going into 2011, he’s one of the big names to watch (as if you didn’t already know that).
Style of Eye & Magnus – Antidote (Original Mix)
Style of Eye & Magnus - Antidote (Original Mix) [Horehaus]
Swedish producer Style of Eye (pictured) teamed up with Magnus to bring us Antidote, our #13 track of the year. It’s really hard to put this one into a single genre, but if anything that only adds to both the quality and mystery of the track. It takes true talent to bring us something so wild, yet so orderly, but these two do it with ease. It’s incredibly difficult these days to release something to the public that hasn’t been done before, and the fact that it’s of such quality is absolutely astounding. For the past few years, Style of Eye has been a solid producer, bringing us some of the most original sounding tech-infused house tracks as well as remixes, but this guy has really picked up his game in the past year. Keep your eye on this one, because he’s doing it with true style.
Marcus Schossow pres. Progresia – Sommar (Original Mix)
Marcus Schossow pres. Progresia - Sommar (Original Mix) [Tone Diary]
Over the past few years, Swedish DJ and producer Marcus Schossow has subtly established himself as one of the brightest forces in modern dance music. His tracks often follow the same formula, subtle yet brilliant, which is exactly why his alter ego Progresia’s 2010 release of Sommar clocks in at #12 on this year’s list. With delicate synths and gorgeous melodies, Marcus Schossow shows us in a single track why he’s played out by the biggest artists in the biggest venues around the world. If you love this track as much as we do, don’t miss his weekly radio show Tone Diary, presented on AH.FM and as an iTunes podcast.
Magnetic Man ft. Katy B – Perfect Stranger
Magnetic Man feat Katy B - Perfect Stranger (Original Mix) [Columbia]
No entity has done bigger things for dubstep and drum’n’bass this year than the supergroup known as Magnetic Man. With their biggest hit of the year, Perfect Stranger, the trio managed to push the genre closer to mainstream radio than ever before while still satisfying long-time d’n’b veterans. You really can’t attribute this track to just a trio though, as Katy B really seems to steal the show with her sultry yet warm vocals. Everything about this one just screams hit; it’s tasteful, organized, and energetic. As a group that’s only been public for the second half of 2010, it’s astonishing to see the impact that they’ve had on the community as a whole. We can guarantee their best work is to come, so if you’ve been impressed with Magnetic Man to this point, keep a close eye on them in 2011.
David May ft. Max Urban – Facebook Love (Zedd Remix)
David May feat Max Urban - Facebook Love (Zedd Remix) [Kontor]
A new breed of electro house producers is among us, and leading the pack is German producer Zedd. Representing one of the strongest breakout years in recent memory, his remix of David May’s single Facebook Love is a sophisticated, technical electro beat that you can’t help but be sucked into, and for that reason, sits atop the #10 spot on this year’s list. You’ll have to look past the bit of intended cheese in the breakdowns here, but when you get to the core of the song, jaws will be dropped. With undeniable melodies and some of the most complex beats in the industry today, Zedd’s brand of electro is just begging to go mainstream.
Rusko ft. Amber Coffman – Hold On (Sub Focus Remix)
Rusko feat Amber Coffman - Hold On (Sub Focus Remix) [Mad Decent]
Whether you like it or not, the truth stands that Rusko and Sub Focus on the same track is a match made in heaven. This was proven earlier this year when Sub Focus’s remix of Hold On, a track that had already sent shockwaves around the web, catapulted it to international dominance. The song carries the mainstream pop feel similar to Magnetic Man’s Perfect Stranger, until it sucker punches you in the temple with filth. When you come to, you aren’t really sure what happened, but you know you liked it. From the vocals, to the snares, to the energetic bass, this track is a beast from start to finish, earning its spot at #9 on this year’s list.
Chris Lake & Michael Woods – Domino’s (Original Mix)
Chris Lake & Michael Woods - Domino's (Original Mix) [Mau5trap]
Sometimes when you see artists collaborate on a track it’s obvious that one of them worked wrote the breakdown of the track and the other filled in the rest. Those tracks really seem to come off as more of original mashups of talent rather than a true collaboration. Well 2010 was a wonderful year for the true collaboration, as Chris Lake (pictured) and Michael Woods’ progressive bomb Domino’s is the fourth and final one to meet our list. The four-minute mark gives us one of the most engaging and captivating breakdowns of the year, surrounding the listener in an atmospheric symphony of synths until the track finally drops into a dark, yet uplifting final beat. This is a collaboration done right, folks.
Tim Berg – Seek Bromance (Avicii’s Vocal Extended Mix)
Tim Berg - Seek Bromance (Avicii's Vocal Extended Mix) [Armada]
When Tim Berg’s (i.e. Avicii’s) single Bromance dropped earlier this year, it was clear that the world was 100% on board. Nobody expected the track to get bigger, let alone blow up in the way it did when it was rereleased under Armada as Seek Bromance later in the year, but blow up it did. Adding a vocal track to the house hit not only beefed the track up for listeners, but opened the avenue for one hell of a music video too. While this is definitely some of the young producer’s best work so far, we can’t help but assume the best is yet to come. At only 21 years old, it’s hard to find anybody in the industry that is able to keep up with the pace of success that Avicii has achieved thus far.
Mason – You Are Not Alone (Original Mix)
Mason - You Are Not Alone (Original Mix)
After hearing their 2007 chart topping single Exceeder, we didn’t expect the gripping dark track that is You Are Not Alone from Dutch duo Mason. With a delicate progressive melody that playfully dances around an in-your-face basaline, this song is bursting with character. Released on their own label, the track has gotten tons of attention worldwide, even being featured on a Toolroom collaboration spun by Chris Lake and Tocadisco.
Pendulum – The Island (Madeon Remix)
Pendulum - The Island (Madeon Remix)
It’s not shocking to see that Pendulum is the only name to grace this list twice. What is shocking, however, is the fashion that they’re popping up this time. At the #5 spot, we get the group’s monster hit The Island remixed by French youngster/prodigy Madeon. Giving the track one of the most innovative spins we’ve heard all year, Madeon douses the rock-d’n’b party hit with a vat of retro-disco talent. Disregarding any preconceived notion of what The Island originally sounded like, Madeon truly makes this one his own, even adding a killer dubstep section at the end. Things cycle, and history repeats itself, so expect to see this retro-ey disco sound get even bigger in the coming year.
Spor ft. Tasha Baxter – Overdue
Spor feat Tasha Baxter - Overdue [Lifted]
If there were a “most beautiful" track award, it would definitely go to this year’s #4 song, Overdue, by English native Spor. With some of the techiest drums in the industry layered atop cultural instrumentals that are nothing short of exquisite, you’d be hard-pressed to find a track with the same vision as this. The addition of Tasha Baxter to the track was brilliant, but even moreso was how Spor used her as well as the instrumentals so humbly and sparingly. Spor not only proves that dance music is more than electro synths, a 4/4 time structure, and gritty baselines, but that there really is something for everybody in the deep world of EDM.
We Bang – Smash The Floor (Original Mix)
We Bang - Smash The Floor (Original Mix) [Play Me]
When an artist’s debut track hangs out as Beatport’s top dubstep track for weeks on end, it’s probably a good idea to keep an eye on him. This is the case for California’s freshest dubstep talent, We Bang, and his first single Smash The Floor. With his signature retro synth cocked and ready to go, We Bang easily proves dubstep to be more than crazy wobbles. What I love most about Smash The Floor is that although it hits you with those synths that make you question reality, it is also a song that you’ll have to restrain yourself from dancing to. It’s really the dynamic tempo that takes this song to the next level, as it keeps the listener wondering what is going to come next.
Groove Armada – History (Grum Remix)
Groove Armada - History (Grum Remix) [OM]
One of the biggest splashes in the scene this year came from UK talent Grum. His debut album released in May defined his sound as deliberate, laid back, and enchanted, but it wasn’t until his remix of Groove Armada’s History that his sound truly found its place. The result is not only a cool, 80’s driven dancefloor hit, but #2 on this year’s countdown. The track is driven by its emotive vocals; even played quietly you can feel that the singer is really belting it out with all he’s got. If one person were responsible for the resurgence of the 80s club sound in 2010, it is without a doubt our boy Grum. It’s modern yet retro, reminiscent yet fresh, and most importantly, high quality music.
iSquare – Hey Sexy Lady (Skrillex Remix)
iSquare - Hey Sexy Lady (Skrillex Remix) [Bad Boy]
Here we are at numero uno, and is anybody really surprised that it’s from 2010’s EDM poster-boy, Skrillex? His remix of iSquare’s Hey Sexy Lady is one of the most recent installments to his discography and shows that each and every release from this guy just gets better. As an artist that prides himself on showing range, Hey Sexy Lady serves as the perfect example to summarize a year of Skrillex releases. From the signature vocals to the vivid don’t-give-a-f*ck factor, this one is pure Skrillex, and as filthy as it may be at times, it still takes pride in using uplifting dance melodies throughout. This one is a killer in every sense of the word, so sit back, turn the volume way up, and ruin the relationship with your neighbors while you rock out to the biggest dance track of 2010!