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.
20. Martin Solveig – The Night Out (Madeon Remix)
PB: Madeon’s releases in 2012 were limited, but they were all fantastic. “The Night Out” original by Martin Solveig is still one of my favorite songs, and one that I feel transcends all genres – anyone can like it. Madeon’s remix is of course driven toward the EDM crowd and for fans like me, it works. If I had to choose between the two, I’d still probably lean toward the original, but Madeon’s remix was still good enough to land at #20 on my list as well.
RM: The original version of “The Night Out” was tremendous but Madeon’s remix may be even better. The track features a funky twist that makes it stand out amongst a crowd of sometimes all too similar EDM tracks and I’m convinced this song has more widespread appeal across multiple genre fanbases than perhaps any track on this list. While Madeon doesn’t release remixes as often as some artists in EDM, he does so with as much quality as anybody.
19. Sander van Doorn (feat. Mayaeni) – Nothing Inside
RM: I first heard this track on a Matisse & Sadko mix earlier this year and I was instantly a huge fan. You’d be hard pressed to find more emotional lyrics and the build up in the beginning is absolutely captivating. Sander has really embraced this track and rightfully so; it’s brilliant. Seeing it live was one of my favorite moments of my time abroad as I had been looking forward to it for months. “Out Of Our Minds With Nothing Inside” followed by the awesome drop from Sander is a sound I don’t think I’ll be able to get out of my head for a very long time. This track missed my top 10 by the narrowest of margins, settling in at #11.
PB: I’m not a huge Sander van Doorn fan, but I am a fan of “Nothing Inside”. While tracks like “Kangaroo” just aren’t very good and hard on the ears in my opinion, “Nothing Inside” has an excellent balance between an emotional hook and iconic drop.
18. Swedish House Mafia – Greyhound
RM: While many people may not realize it at first, Swedish House Mafia really doesn’t have all that many official releases as a group (7 Singles total), but one thing is for sure, when they do release a song its most likely going to be a classic. “Greyhound” is just that as it is an incredibly crafted track that acts perfectly as the intro to their live sets. The build ups go one after the other before one of the best drops of the year to create an extremely captivating track. It really is amazing how much power Swedish House Mafia possesses in the EDM world despite their sporadic tour schedules (until now) and relatively few releases, but tracks like “Greyhound” are perfect examples of just why that is.
PB: As Ryan touches on, “Greyhound” is the perfect song to get a set going with its slow yet inviting start to get you moving. It’s the perfect contrast and table setter to many of their other hits like “One”, “Save the World”, and of course, “Don’t You Worry Child”, among others.
17. Zedd (feat. Matthew Koma) – Spectrum (Original & Arty Remix)
PB: Zedd’s rise in 2012 really began with the release of “Spectrum”, rising to the top of the charts and staying there for quite some time, prior to the release of Clarity. What I love about the track is the balance between a hard hitting intro and melodic chord progression to the chorus. Zedd knows where to draw the line on certain electronic techniques, while relying on trance-like synths to carry the track.
RM: “Spectrum” dominated the EDM scene for a significant portion of the Summer and acted as the poster track for Zedd’s breakout year in 2012. Matthew Koma was a heavily sought after vocalist this year and he did a brilliant job with “Spectrum”, complimenting Zedd’s production perfectly. The 22 year old has become the poster child for electro house and is one of the true rising stars in EDM. I thought Arty’s remix offered an equally commendable progressive take on the track and I may even prefer it to the original.
16. Calvin Harris (feat. Florence Welch) – Sweet Nothing
PB: It took me a little while to warm up to “Sweet Nothing” for whatever reason, but when I did, it really turned in to one of my favorite tracks. Calvin Harris and Florence Welch are an incredible duo and I wish they could put together an entire album together. It’s great to see a song like this help break the barrier between electronic music and mainstream pop.
RM: I was pleasantly surprised when I returned home from Europe and heard “Sweet Nothing” all over the radio. Calvin Harris and Florence Welch is a match made in heaven and it should come as no surprise that together they created one of the top tracks of the year. Calvin has surpassed David Guetta as the premier EDM producer in regards to working with mainstream radio artists in my opinion and as long as collaborations like this continue, I’m sure the quality content will as well.
15. Eric Prydz – Allein
RM: Eric Prydz Presents Pryda was unquestionably the album of the year in my opinion (what else do you expect from an album 7 years in the making?) and “Allein” is undoubtedly the poster track for the album. “Allein” is a steady, melodic track that certainly qualifies as anthem status and is an absolute treat to see live. Prydz closed out with this, “Pjaano”, and “We Are Mirage” when I saw him in July an it may have been my favorite 15 minute stretch I’ve seen live. Allein fell at #7 on my personal list.
PB: Ryan is the biggest fan of Eric Prydz I can think of, and while I definitely like this song, it’s fair to say I don’t quite share Ryan’s affinity for it. It is, however, my favorite original from Prydz as I tend to go hot and cold with him, but don’t get me wrong “Allein” is excellent.
14. M83 – Midnight City (Eric Prydz Private Room Mix)
RM: “Midnight City” took the musical community by storm last year and brought about numerous remixes across multiple genres, but all pale in comparison to Eric Prydz’s Private Room Mix in my opinion. Pyrdz managed to keep most of the original track in tact, speeding it up and highlighting the enchanting bassline and incredible synths to turn an already awesome track into a fit for a club masterpiece. If you had any questions about the merit of this track just ask the Grammy committee what they thought as they found it worthy of a nomination for remix of the year.
PB: Like Ryan said, Prydz’s resistance to make significant changes to the track is what truly made it great. He knows the right parts of the song to push the envelope while recognizing the moments to let the song carry itself. I love when remixes to alternative/indie/pop songs are done right, and Prydz nailed it.
13. The Naked & Famous – Young Blood (Tiesto & Hardwell Remix)
RM: I’ll never understand why this track never experienced the mass popularity I think it rightfully deserves. The vocals, key work, synths, drops, build up, and just about everything are first rate and create a track that serves as a terrific follow up by the duo to their classic track “Zero 76″. The track has all the makings of a terrific addition to any live set and despite its lack of widespread success I’ll continue to laud its merits until I’m blue in the face (I had it at #6 on my list).
PB: Like M83′s “Midnight City”, The Naked and Famous’ “Young Blood” was one of my favorites from that genre, so it only seems fitting that the two landed back-to-back on our countdown in some capacity. Tiesto & Hardwell put together an awesome remix, also letting the song speak mostly for itself. Not as big a fan as Ryan, but still worthy of a top 20 ranking, although it landed at #29 on my list.
12. Sebastian Ingrosso & Tommy Trash – Reload
PB: “Reload” and the subsequent bootleg by Axwell and Alesso mixing it with “Save the World” was one of the best jams and club hits of the year. Ingrosso knows how to create a track that everyone can love and dance to with an iconic string of chords and progression. One of the best songs of the year that appeals to a broad crowd within the EDM community.
RM: Sebastian Ingrosso is the king of creating monstrous tracks through collaborations and “Reload” is yet another example of that. “Reload” may very well be the most melodic release of the year and is the type of track you can easily find stuck in your head for weeks on end. It also just so happens to fit perfectly with “Save The World” to form a brilliant closing track to Swedish House Mafia’s sets on their One Last Tour.
11. NERVO – You’re Gonna Love Again
RM: I’ve said it before but I really, really loved the output from Nervo in 2012, and “You’re Gonna Love Again” topped the list for me. The vocals steal the show but its hard to ignore the progressive chords and encapsulating melody throughout. Nervo probably benefited from the fact that there was speculation Avicii was a collaborating artist on this track originally and that also speaks volume for how top notch the Nervo twins production truly is. “You’re Gonna Love Again” was the song of the summer for me and narrowly missed our top 10.
PB: I really first heard of NERVO from this track way back in January when it was originally leaked that Avicii was on the track as well. Ironically, it turns out that Avicii would more likely advocate for NERVO’s inclusion on his track now than vice versa.
Just ten tracks remain. The best of the year. Check back tomorrow at 5 pm eastern for our top songs of 2012.