It’s been an incredible year in the world of electronic music as it continues to gain prominence in the United States and throughout the world. Since starting Belligerent Bulldog over the summer, Ryan Martin and Preston Barclay have been bringing you their top HOUSE / EDM tracks every month and it only seemed natural to collaborate on a Top 50 for the entire year. With different tastes, there were inherently disagreements, but we are pleased with the final list as a worthwhile summary of the views of the entire community. Naturally, we wish more quality tracks could receive the praise they deserve, but only 50 songs can call themselves the best of 2012.
So without further adieu, we present to you the beginning of our rundown, with the bottom top of our top 50, tracks 50-41 of 2012.
50. Showtek & Justin Prime – Cannonball
RM: If anyone ever has a question of what it means for a song to be fit for festival and big room audiences, simply point them towards “Cannonball”. The track features masterful buildups and absolutely monstrous drops. There are few songs that possess the ability to get me going better than “Cannonball”, especially in a concert setting.
PB: “Cannonball” is definitely a track to pump your fist to with a heavy drop. At the same time though, it features an attractive progressive buildup, and although not really my forte, Showtek and Justin Prime’s track is a good way to start the countdown.
49. David Guetta, NERVO & Daddy’s Groove – In My Head
PB: David Guetta and NERVO are huge names and they put together an awesome track that was firmly in my top 50 for the year. I always love the vocals from NERVO, and the beat plays to their strengths. An underrated track overshadowed by several others such as “Every Chance We Get We Run” on the reboot of Guetta’s Nothing But The Beat, it simply fell through the cracks a little bit in my view.
RM: Nervo never dissapoints on the vocals that’s for sure, and anytime you put them in the studio with a legend like David Guetta, excellence is expected. In my opinion this track fell short of that but was solid nevertheless. “In My Head” is one of those tracks that is entertaining while you listen to, but I wouldn’t lose any sleep over if I never heard it again in my opinion.
48. Deadmau5 (feat. Gerard Way) – Professional Griefers
PB: With “Professional Griefers” along with several others that contended for (or are in) the top 50, deadmau5′s < album title goes here > was one of the top electronic albums of the year. Although harder hitting than most of Joel Zimmerman’s tracks (but with the same resonating bass we expect from the Canadian), I love the attitude, and My Chemical Romance’s Gerard Way is perfect on it. I’m a huge deadmau5 fan and I had “Professional Griefers” a lot higher on my personal list, but it’s not everyone’s cup of tea.
RM: Deadmau5 music is really all over the place, and not being an enthusiast, I really don’t know what to make of him. I love tracks like “The Veldt” and “Raise Your Weapon” but I’m one of the people that Preston refers to as his music “not being their cup of tea” and “Professional Grievers” just doesn’t do much for me. I’m excited to see him live at Ultra this year however and maybe I’ll be able to form a more concrete opinion at that time.
47. Armin van Buuren – We Are Here to Make Some Noise
RM: Speaking of tracks that get an audience going, “We Are Here to Make Some Noise” is yet another track that fits the bill perfectly. I was fortunate enough to see 15 minutes or so of Armin live back in May at EDC NYC and “We Are Here to Make Some Noise” was one of the tracks he played in that span and the crowd reaction was one of the best I’ve ever seen. While the track is more progressive than a typical Armin, track he masters it nevertheless. Seeing a full Armin set live is at the top of my EDM bucket list at this point.
PB: Armin van Buuren is the king of trance, but it’s refreshing to see him go a different route with “We Are Here to Make Some Noise”. The track refrains from going over the top (not that I would expect that from AVB) and serves as a solid fist-pumping anthem.
46. Cazzette – Beam Me Up (Kill Mode)
PB: Featuring a sci-fi, District 9-esque video, Cazzette kills it on “Beam Me Up”, the leading single off their Eject dual disc album premiere. Known to many originally as “Kill Mode” without lyrics, the vocals add an excellent element to the song and I hope this track launches the Swedish duo into the American mainstream, as the song has a very American feel to it, if that makes any sense.
RM: “Beam Me Up” is a solid song which features a nice balance between enlightening vocals and fast paced beats that is always a solid listen. However, the best part of this track might just be the video, A+ in that category in my opinion.
45. Keane – Sovereign Light Cafe (Afrojack Remix)
RM: Ever since I heard this track in September I’ve been a huge fan and I eagerly anticipated its official release all the way up until Christmas Eve. The track highlights Afrojack’s versatility brilliantly as he balances progressive tracks with more hard hitting ones, with “Sovereign Light Cafe” appealing to more progressive audiences. Keane’s vocals made an EDM remix a no brainer and I’m glad Afrojack took the honor because he did a brilliant job.
PB: Released on Christmas Eve, Afrojack’s remix to Keane’s “Sovereign Light Cafe” is the most recently released track to be featured in the top 50. I love the buildup to the chorus, but the drop gives me a little pause. Overall though, the song is really solid – I love remixes to alternative/pop artists like Keane, Miike Snow, Ellie Goulding, and many others, hopefully we see even more in 2013.
44. Example (prod. by Alesso) – Queen Of Your Dreams
PB: Off Example’s Evolution Of Man, including “Queen Of Your Dreams” in the top 50 may be a little controversial since it’s more of a pop song, but you cannot simply ignore Alesso’s production on the track. I’ve always been a big Example fan and Alesso’s my favorite producer now and together they put together a tremendous track. I love the Baba O’Riley-esque intro and various rock and electronic collaborative concepts throughout.
RM: “Queen Of Your Dreams” is a feel good track that features an awesome combination between a great vocalist (Example) and DJ (Alesso). It’ll be interesting to see if more DJs begin to go the pure production route rather than song making route as Alesso did here and Swedish House Mafia did with “Euphoria” earlier in the year. Definitely something to look out for moving forward.
43. The Aston Shuffle vs. Tommy Trash – Sunrise (Won’t Get Lost)
RM: I first heard this track in Axwell’s set from Electric Zoo and it qualified as one of those “wait, play that song back again” moments for me. The combination of the endearing vocals and enchanting build ups get me every time and the track certainly qualifies as one of my favorites of the year.
PB: “Sunrise (Won’t Get Lost)” was huge in the electronic community, rising all the way to the top of Beatport in late October and early November. Tommy Trash had an unbelievable year and although I don’t share as strong an affinity to this track as others, it’s inclusion is certainly legitimate.
42. Miike Snow – Devil’s Work (Dirty South Remix)
RM: This track features perhaps the most remixed artist in EDM (Miike Snow) with perhaps the top remix artist around (Dirty South), so it should come as no surprise that the track is an instant classic. The track isn’t the most upbeat or enchanting song you’ll hear which makes it an odd target for an electronic remix but Dirty South crafts the track masterfully, encapsulating the original elements of the track while bringing his own progressive touch as well.
PB: I foreshadowed the inclusion of a Miike Snow track a little earlier and I really like Dirty South’s take on their song “Devil’s Work”, even though it didn’t crack my personal top 50 (just goes to show how deep and difficult the year was). What I liked most about the track was Dirty South’s ability to harness the dark elements of the song and emphasize it in a hard hitting drop.
41. Afrojack (feat. Shermanology) – Can’t Stop Me (Now) (Original & Kryder & Tom Staar Remix)
PB: As popular as this song was in the electronic music community all year, I’m actually surprised to see it this low on the countdown, which again, just goes to show what kind of year it was for EDM. In addition to the original, I actually liked the Kryder & Tom Staar remix better, which was a very different take on the anthem.
RM: Afrojack was certainly one of the more successful artists in EDM in 2012 and “Can’t Stop Me Now” dominated radio stations and my Itunes library alike in the beginning part of the year. Shermanology is a perfect addition to Afrojack’s production and the track is top notch. With that said I agree with Preston in that the Kryder and Tom Staar Remix is even better. Yet another track that was featured in Axwell’s Electric Zoo set, the remix features a truly unique sound and take on the hit that I found refreshing and quite brilliant.
Stay tuned for tracks 40-31 later today.