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.
30. Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike – Tomorrow Changed Today (Tomorrowland 2012 Anthem)
PB: Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike’s anthem to this year’s Tomorrowland festival was phenomenal, in my opinion. This is just a classic song that puts a smile on your face with its excellent build up and drop, and the intro video to Tomorrowland only intensified that. I liked it so much that I might even have it higher than last year’s anthem, “The Way We See The World” with NERVO and Afrojack, and that was a great song I still listen to today.
RM: While not the most original track, “Tomorrow Changed Today” was a perfect choice to be the anthem for Tomorrowland in my opinion. Its a steady, uplifiting track that certainly sets the mood for one of the best EDM festivals in the entire world. While it didn’t crack my top 50 its certainly a solid track.
29. Michael Woods (feat. Polina & Sheldon) – Goodbye
PB: For whatever reason, Michael Woods’ “Goodbye” really worked for me, and was my favorite song for a good month or so at the end of August into September, eventually landing as my #10 track for the entire year. It probably reached its pinnacle with me when seeing Woods perform it live in Ibiza, which was one of the best times I’ve ever had (the whole show that is).
RM: “Goodbye” was a track that didn’t blow me away when I first listened to it, but over time grew on me and developed into a consistent play on my ITunes. Original Mixes have been few and far between from Michael Woods recently so “Goodbye” was a pleasant surprise and is quite different from the type of tracks Woods has produced in the past. It didn’t crack my top 50 so Preston was definitely higher on it than I was, but still a nice addition to the top 50.
28. M-3ox (feat. Heidrun) – Beating Of My Heart (Matisse & Sadko Remix)
RM: Matisse & Sadko really killed it with this remix in my opinion. “Beating Of My Heart” is an awesomely crafted track with uplifting synths that create an altogether euphoric track. It’s certainly one of my favorite tracks to hear live where it is often complimented with “Sweet Disposistion” to create a combination that is pure gold. Overall, one of the feel good tracks of the year that I find myself singing along to time and time again.
PB: To echo Ryan, Matisse & Sadko’s remix to “Beating Of My Heart” was excellent and perhaps underrated given its lack of big name appeal. Purists love it and it is a worthy inclusion in the middle of our top 50.
27. Steve Aoki (feat. Wynter Gordon) – Ladi Dadi (Tommy Trash Remix)
RM: Speaking of tracks that are great to see live, there are few better in my opinion than Tommy Trash’s remix to “Ladi Dadi”. When I was making this list I rediscovered how much I love this song as it was released all the way back in January, and have been listening to it non stop for a few weeks now. The synths and melody give this track an awesome vibe and it was firmly cemented in my top 10. One of the very best of the year in my opinion.
PB: Outside of his incredible “Pursuit of Happiness” remix, I’m just not a fan of Steve Aoki and this track just didn’t wow me. At the same time, I go hot and cold on Tommy Trash mixes and there are many similarities to his remix of “Sunrise (Won’t Get Lost)” here. Overall, I just didn’t get the vibe Ryan got from it.
26. NERVO & Hook N Sling – Reason
RM: The Nervo twins developed into 2 of my favorite DJs in EDM this year with a few top notch releases, “Reason” being one of my favorites. If I ever need a track to put me in a good mood I usually look no further than “Reason” as the top notch vocals, choppy chords, and uplifting synths create an all together awesome track. “Reason” was in my personal top 15 and I’ll continue to play it for a long time.
PB: Although behind “Like Home”, “You’re Gonna Love Again”, and “In My Head” in terms of NERVO releases in my personal top 50, “Reason” is still a track that definitely deserves a spot in the middle of our countdown. With the usual vocals from NERVO along with solid production, “Reason” is just a great song.
25. NERVO & Nicky Romero – Like Home
PB: One of my top tracks of the year, I absolutely love “Like Home”. As I’ve mentioned numerous times with NERVO, the vocals are top notch, but the beat and drops are unbelievable, allowing the track to sit firmly at #8 on my personal top 50.
RM: “Like Home” is the definition of a typical Nervo track and there is nothing wrong with that. The catchy lyrics, extended build ups, and overall festival vibe create yet another top notch track from the Aussie twins. Nervo continues to team up with some of the top DJs in EDM and Nicky Romero was a great recruit for this track. However, I always laugh when I think about how Nervo told the crowd in Barcelona it was their first time playing this track ever, especially because I had seen it online and heard it in their Electric Zoo set a month earlier.
24. Mat Zo & Porter Robinson – Easy
PB: Different from your typical house club banger, “Easy” is one of the more uplifting tracks of the year and overall top tracks, rising to #12 on my top 50 despite just being released this month. I’ve called it “Language 2.0″ after Porter Robinson’s hit (stay tuned) and actually prefer it to that track.
RM: “Easy” is one of the more universally catchy tracks of the year with exhilarating production and vocals from rising star Porter Robinson and Mat Zo who has a promising future himself. Bonus points awarded for the awesome back story of how this was originally a Mat Zo original that Porter fell in love with causing Zo to suggest they start from scratch and make it a collaboration. The final product confirms that Mat Zo made the right choice as “Easy” is certainly one of the jams of the year.
23. Avicii – Silhouettes (Original & Ralph Lauren Denim Supply Mix)
PB: Between the original and Ralph Lauren Denim Supply mix of “Silhouettes”, Avicii made it an emphasis to create a different song from his 2011 smash hit “Levels”, which everyone and their mother – literally – knows by now. I think it’s a very unique song that features an iconic string of chords as it hits the chorus. Overall though, a down year from Avicii.
RM: After ascending to the top of the common fan’s DJ rankings in 2011, Avicii had a comparatively quiet 2012, but “Silhouettes” was certainly his crowned jewel of 2012 in my opinion, despite the fact that the song was featured in sets well before its May release. Avicii really got fed up with his label as “that guy who made Levels” and has been making a concerted effort to diversify his releases to prove his talent behind the decks which has been called into question by many and “Silhouettes” is certainly a different kind of release from the Swede. It’s certainly one of the more laid back tracks on the list but I was nevertheless a big fan of “Silhouettes”, preferring the original to the Ralph Lauren Denim Supply Mix, which I wasn’t a big fan of.
22. Burns – Lies (Otto Knows Remix)
RM: I’ve been Otto Knows’ remix to “Lies” biggest advocate since I saw a video of him playing it in Australia in July. Like so many other songs on this list the vocals are tremendous and in my opinion one of the tops of the year. The violin sounding melody and infectious build ups make this track one of the best remixes to date as well. The fact that Burns himself plays the Otto Knows remix over his own version in his live sets tells you everything you need to know about how tremendous this track really is.
PB: It took me awhile to warm up to this song, which is surprising given my love for instrumentals on top of vocals like the one’s featured in “Lies”, but it ultimately proved to me its worth for the top 50. At times, I think it can get a little repetitive, and the introduction is annoying long, but when the song gets going, it’s great.
21. Madeon – The City
RM: I feel like a broken record at this point but “The City” is yet another uplifting track (EDM as a whole is uplifting really) which features one of the lighter releases from the French DJ. Madeon doesn’t release original tracks very often but when he does you can bet on it being top notch and “The City” is just that.
PB: At one point, “The City” was one of my most played tracks, and I even preferred it to “Finale” (again, stay tuned) for awhile. Its release surprised me, just shortly on the heels of “Finale” and while it would have been advantageous for Madeon to spread out his releases, I’m certainly not complaining.
Later today we will have the latter portion of the top 20, tracks 20-11.