The end of the year is here and that means you’re being bombarded with top songs of the year list from your favorite dance music/ music websites. Most of these lists go one of two ways (or a sneaky combination of the two). Either A. they take an unabashed look at the “top” songs in terms of popularity and play time or B. they go super hipster on you and list songs that are, while far from bad, aren’t particularly well known, or they list tunes from genres such as deep house/tech/techno/garage, genres that are far and away more popular in the rest of the world than in the U.S. Most lists are a mix of these paths. They attempt to quell the mainstream, while at the same time garnering street credibility with the keyboard hero “purists” that lie to you about not knowing that Avicii put out an album this year. Well, we decided to do something a little different.
With this list, we decided to just poll our large stable of writers, period. List us your top 20 tracks of the year in order. #1 earns twenty points, #2 earns 19 points, etc. From this, we crafted a list that is based purely on points earned. We, the editors, had zero say about the rankings of this list. Our writers not only based it off their own opinion, but also the opinion of the EDM community at large – we all make fun of “Animals”, but it makes sense that it is in the top 5. It was a huge hit and easily one of the biggest tracks of the year, regardless of your opinion on its parent sub genre. This list is heavily mainstream-leaning, and that’s okay. These are the tracks that powered your 2013 in the American dance music scene (for a more independent ranking, check out our top 10 in house music list). Anyways, let’s get on with it. Spots 50-21 are simply listed out, while the top 20 tracks get to be qualified as to why they earned their high spots.
50. Above & Beyond – Mariana Trench
49. Arty – Grand Finale
48. Jeremy Olander Vs Kent – Petroleum
47. Dash Berlin – Jar Of Hearts
46. The M Machine – Ghosts In The Machine
45. Green Velvet – Bigger Than Prince (Martinez Brothers Remix)
44. James Blake – Retrograde
43. Disclosure – When A Fire Starts To Burn
42. Tube & Berger – Imprint of Pleasure
41. Tritonal – Now Or Never
40. Dog Blood – Middle Finger
39. ilan Bluestone & Jerome Isma-ae – Under My Skin
38. Diplo & GTA – Boy Oh Boy
37. Dimiti Vegas & Like Mike & Moguai – Mammoth
36. Hot Natured – Reverse Skydiving
35. Knife Party – LRAD
34. Disclosure – White Noise
33. Zedd Ft. Haley Williams – Stay the Night
32. Maor Levi – Holding On
31. Andrew Bayer – Need Your Love (Club Mix)
32. Above & Beyond – Walter White
31. Purple Disco Machine – My House
30. BT – Skylarking
29. Breach – Jack
28. Calvin Harris – Thinking About You
27. Alesso & Calvin Harris – Under Control
26. Audien Feat. Ruby Prophet – Circles
25. Tiesto – Take Me
24. Cash Cash – Take Me Home
23. Sebastian Ingrosso & Tommy Trash – Reload
22. Kaskade & Project 46 – Last Chance
21. Disclosure – Latch
20. Will Sparks – Ah Yeah!
Our top 20 starts off with a song that may not be everyones cup of tea, but it is without a doubt one of the biggest tunes of festival season, and rightfully on a “top” list. “Ah Yeah” is one of the quintessential big room house/ festival bangers in 2013.
19. Dusky – Careless (Original Mix)
Dance.Floor.Fire. Dusky’s “Careless” is one of the biggest tunes of the year from one of the hottest acts in the game right now. Dusky had a huge year, with their hands being all over Anjunadeep 05, along with the release of their Careless EP. Sitting pretty at #43 on RA’s Top 100 list this year, 2014 is going to be the year of Dusky.
18. Daft Punk – Get Lucky ft Pharell
The fact that “Get Lucky” made a top 20 list is not interesting at all. This was a great song off of an amazing album. In general, the negative critical reviews of RAM stemmed from your typical “EDM know-it-all” who was probably expecting some crazy phat beats. Dawg. Well, Random Access Memories was anything but that. What it was was a collection of quality music that was way too overhyped, a fault that lies completely with the astronomical growth of dance music in America in the past twenty four months.
17. Pryda – Lycka
It would be a shame for Eric Prydz to not be somewhere in our top 20. Alas, here he is with “Lycka.” The Zane Lowe show cut here is particularly interesting because the commentator hits the Eric Prydz description on the head. His progressive take on big room is scathingly hot right now, and his mastery of elements in his tracks is nearly unmatched. Prydz’ 2013 had him going from strength to strength with not only “Lycka,” but also “Rotanda,” “Layers,” and “F.A.T.”
16. Mat Zo – Lucid Dreams
Undoubtedly one of the strongest tracks off of Damage Control, “Lucid Dreams” is a quality tune all around. That makes two tracks for Mat Zo in our top 20, and that’s definitely an ode to the strong year he has had. The Anjuna all star owns one of the best albums of the year, along with a slew of remixes that went off in terms of popularity. 2013 was unquestionably the breakout year for Matan Zahar and “Lucid Dreams” was a big catalyst for that.
15. Dillon Francis Ft. Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs – Without You
After perusing these poll results, we were pleasantly surprised with this track’s spot. It is a prime example of a producer stepping outside of his comfort zone in terms of style and turning in a fantastic effort nonetheless. Dillon Francis was all over the place in 2013, and not just with his music. Infusing some of the influence of DJ Hanzel, Dillon went in a different direction with T.E.E.D for “Without You,” and it is just pure quality from one of the games top personalities. While deep house this is not, we are curious to see if this, in combination with Dillon’s latest monicker of DJ Hanzel, will lead to more minimal, traditional productions in 2014.
14. Lana Del Rey vs Cedric Gervais – Summertime Sadness (Remix)
We’re in the point of the list where the argument for why a track is here should be obvious. This “Summertime Sadness” remix was the premier re-work of Lana Del Rey’s hit track and made the Vegas rounds heavily this summer.
13. Adventure Club Ft. Yuna – Gold
Adventure Club’s “Gold” features the traditional Adventure Club sound that they’re so well known for, and it is basically the only track on their most recent EP that followed that formula, to the dismay of some fans. There’s plenty to like in “Gold,” however, and its combination of haunting vocals, powerful, dubbed-out bass lines form a high quality offering from everyone’s favorite Canadian pair.
12. Audien – Wayfarer
The Bangalorean air was blasted wide open when Above & Beyond opened with the massive “Wayfarer” for its ABGT 001 set in India last year. And for good reason, as this track is a beauty. The nu-trance sound that Audien has proven to be a master of shines in “Wayfarer,” and its ability to transport the listener into its owns world is unbelievable. One of the best Anjunabeats releases of 2013, and from its youngest star at that. Audien nabs two spots in our top 12, go figure.
11. Seven Lions with Myon and Shane 54 – Strangers (Feat. Tove Lo)
This was one of the most hyped tracks of the summer and for good reason. A monstrous collaboration, “Strangers” was a perfect melding of Seven Lions’ dubbed-out trance style with MS54’s more prog/nu-trance vibes. The vocals are beautiful, the builds are euphoric, and it is without a doubt one of the best collaborations of styles we’ve seen all year.
10. Krewella – Alive
Krewella gets a lot of flack in the dance music community from the trolls, and most of it is fairly unwarranted. While their brand of music isn’t particularly everyones cup of tea, it’s hard to argue that “Alive” was absolutely massive in 2013. Everyone was playing it, remixing it, mashing it, what have you. It stands as one of the biggest tunes of the year and therefore in our top 10. Krewella is also slowly becoming the global icon for our scene, whatever your opinion on them is, it is near impossible to keep them out of a top 50 list in EDM at this point.
9. Fatboy Slim, Riva Starr & Beardyman – Eat, Sleep, Rave, Repeat
Eat, Sleep, Rave, Repeat was everywhere and was remixed to death by huge names. The original is where it’s at though. The sampling is legendary, the story behind it (true or not) even more so, and the tune is classic, acid house-tinged, dance floor fire, courtesy of one of the premier legends in the scene. I’m just ravin.
8. Audien – Leaving You
We at EDMTunes really like Audien. All of us. And that’s why this song is this high up. We were all bumping it a ton right from the get go. It’s a bit more poppy than what Audien released earlier in the year (looking at the absolutely gorgeous “Wayfarer”), but it still features that signature Audien sound mixed in with Michael S.’s incredibly catchy vocals. A quality tune from the Anjunabeats-repping youngster.
7. Armin van Buuren feat. Trevor Guthrie – This Is What It Feels Like
Many would argue that this wasn’t even the best track off of Intense. Other will say this is so far from normal Armin that it’s somehow bad or less worthy. And while both of these are technically true to some extent, this is a high quality, pop-laden tune that absolutely dominated the community back when it was released on Intense and as a single. It coming in somewhere in the top 10 for the year makes a ton of sense. Still featuring Armin’s euphoria-inducing synthesizer play, this is a high quality tune that was stuck in our heads for months.
6. Madeon – Technicolor
This song hasn’t been getting that much recognition in “tops” lists this year, and we’re not sure why. It’s a high quality track from a brilliant producer. Of course, Madeon, wasn’t exactly grabbing at the spotlight in 2013, and perhaps that lead to this song flying a little lower than expected. However, it didn’t get past our writers apparently, as it sits just outside the top 5 on our list. Employing Madeon’s signature style of bubbly electro, “Technicolor” is as strong a track as any other offering this year.
5. Alesso Vs OneRepublic – If I Lose Myself (Alesso Remix)
This song was played just as often as “Animals,” and it’s why it’s this high up. It’s a pretty quality tune from Alesso, no doubt. He had a huge 2013 and this was his biggest track of the year.
4. Martin Garrix – Animals (Original Mix)
MOTHA F*CKIN ANIMALS. Hehehehe.
3. Mat Zo & Porter Robinson – Easy
This track barely made it on here because it was pretty big in 2012. However, its May 2013 official release technically qualifies it for this list. And hey, it’s a great tune, so, there you go. Making a re-appearance on Mat Zo’s amazing Damage Control definitely helped it by bringing it back to the forefront of discussions.
2. Kaskade – Atmosphere
We were a tad surprised this track made it all the way into #2. It’s a great track, and the title track of one of our collective favorite albums of the year. It definitely deserves to be on this list, however, as it is a soulful track, and particularly interesting due to Kaskade personally singing on it – something he has had never done on one of his tracks before.
1. Avicii – Wake Me Up
Well, well, well. Here we are. “Wake Me Up” was a top song for many this year – and that seems to be the governing opinion of the staff as well. And honestly, it makes sense. Let’s take a critical look at reality with regards to Avicii. The vast majority of criticism for Tim Bergling and “Wake Me Up” most definitely stems from unjustified bandwagoning of a majority of EDM fans onto the the “Avicii is the worst thing ever, no matter what he does, how do I know, I just do, I know everything” wagon. Fact is, True was a quality album that delivered a slight twist on a mainstream genre of dance music. Was it everyone’s favorite? No, far from it. But “Wake Me Up” was being overplayed everywhere this summer, from America to Europe – and it probably wasn’t because everyone hated it.
So what did we glean from this list? First off, that on a website that is geared towards bringing you the best and biggest in EDM (hence our name), large players such as Avicii and Martin Garrix and Kaskade and Krewella ruled the list. Their commercial and mainstream success is a big reason why the entirety of the genre, and its subsequent sub-genres, are gaining popularity, and this list honors that. Dusky made an appearance, and they are the sole torch bearers for the deep house genre (fear not, we have an independent top 10 list for dat deeper house, and you can find it here).
What can we expect in 2014? Well, next year, acts like Dusky will dominate this list – that’s the prediction for 2014. The more traditional house genres that dominate the scene outside of the U.S will be the main beneficiaries of “EDM” in 2014, and we think this list will definitely shift to reflect that. Mainstream dance music will almost assuredly evolve away from the simplicity of big room house, as the overwhelming critical response from this summer was “Yes, this is fun at a festival, and this sound is undoubtedly fun to dance to, but if we hear one more one-note, tribal bass line/ air horn heavy track we’re going to lose it.”