This is a special entry as we count down this year’s finest EDM hits of the year. 2011 was packed full of energy with great new albums from names we trust and smashing new singles from fresh faces to the scene.
Enjoy this countdown as you take in a great new year in 2012!
1. ABOVE & BEYOND, RICHARD BEDFORD “SUN & MOON” (ORIGINAL MIX) [ULTRA]
Release Date: 2011-04-17
Jono, Tony and Paavo kicked 2011 off right with their massive, genre blurring single “Sun & Moon”. It is not only an amazing tracking from instrumental all the way to vocals with Richard Bedford, but this single combined with all of the other songs on their album “Group Therapy” have done wonders for the EDM movement. This single is filled with passion and emotion that only A&B know how to convey through their skillful conducting. The heart-wrenching vocals are so well written; definitely poetry at its finest. This powerful track is merely a glimspe at where the EDM genre (trance/progressive house to be specific) can and should aim for.
2. ALY, FILA, JWAYDAN “WE CONTROL THE SUNLIGHT” (ORIGINAL MIX) [FUTURE SOUND OF EGYPT]
Release Date: 2011-07-04
What we have here is simply put, the finest pure vocal trance track of the year. Aly & Fila continue to increase their skill set and advance with the trance world. It definitely doesn’t hurt to have a solid connection with Armin van Buuren via the Armada label. Jwaydan makes an excellent appearance on the single. Her voice is pure bliss while haunting at the same time. After the vocal chorus, the instrumental buildup is then combined with a massive drop. I don’t think you could really come across a much bigger song specifically for a festival than this one for trance fans. Aly & Fila are a DJ duo that will keep rising. Their Future Sounds of Egypt podcast is great as well; make sure to subscribe.
3. AVICII “LEVELS” (ORIGINAL MIX) [LE7ELS]
Release Date: 2011-11-01
Say hello to the hottest DJ on the planet right now, Avicii. Call him what you want; Avicii, Tim Berg, Tom Hangs; it does not matter what alias you use. He just turned 22 this fall and is achieving what most could only dream of. Levels has now gathered somewhat of a cult following around it, being that unfortunately the likes of Flo Rida have copycatted the effort for worthless iTunes play at college bars. It is important to give credit to the genius behind the a capella, soul singer Etta James. The vocals integrated with a genius instrumental do create progressive house magic. This song was a lock down track on most DJs setlists throughout 2011. I think this track only hints at the talent that lies down the road for this young Swede.
4. MAT ZO, ARTY “REBOUND” (ORIGINAL MIX) [ANJUNABEATS]
Release Date: 2011-04-18
Anjunabeats not only captures amazing talent under their massive label, but they do a great job promoting their music. Rebound is the best pure instrumental trance track of 2011. I think it is important to note these two amazing DJs. Mat Zo is 21. Arty is 22. Their age combined is less than that of famed DJ Benny Benassi; that’s ridiculous. The complexity and layering of the track is remarkable. The buildup combined with the looping is effortless. This is what Anjunabeats is all about. You take the best talent in the world and produce the smoothest engineered tracks out there. It is important to note how the track received rave reviews from competitor Armin van Buuren.
5. FEDDE LE GRAND “SO MUCH LOVE” (ORIGINAL MIX) [TOOLROOM RECORDS]
Release Date: 2011-08-26
What an absolutely massive year for Fedde le Grand, yet I feel nobody noticed. This will more than likely be the headline track that everyone remembers from Fedde in 2011, but lets not forget some of his other electro bangers with Control Room, Metrum and Autosave. His remix of Coldplay’s “Paradise” is stellar as well. “So Much Love” is such an uplifting track. It just makes you feel good. The original song “So Much Love To Give” by Thomas Bangalter and DJ Falcon was carefully resculpted under the keen eye of Fedde into a huge summer progressive house hit. This single not only dominated sets but Beatport as well. This was a year of renaissance for Fedde, showing why he’s a top 25 DJ in the world.
6. ARTY “AROUND THE WORLD” (ORIGINAL MIX) [ANJUNABEATS]
Release Date: 2011-07-04
Congratulations young Russian Arty, you’re already on the list twice! “Around the World” literally made the world ask this year: Has progressive house and trance now become one?
7. JOHN O’CALLAGHAN, BETSIE LARKIN “SAVE THIS MOMENT” (GARETH EMERY REMIX)[CAPTIVATING SOUNDS ARMADA]
Release Date: 2011-04-11
Betsie Larkin wins vocalist of the year from this track alone. O’Callaghan combines forces with Emery to rework the original production to create an energetic yet deep track.
8. DIRTY SOUTH, THOMAS GOLD, KATE ELSWORTH “ALIVE” (ORIGINAL MIX) [PHAZING]
Release Date: 2011-07-25
Dirty South teams with German producer Thomas Gold to produce the EDM summer hit of 2011. Huge buildups combined with Elsworth’s sleek vocals make for a sure-fire floor-filler.
9. ARMIN VAN BUUREN, LAURA V “DROWNING” (AVICII REMIX) [ARMIND]
Release Date: 2011-02-25
Van Buuren, the true #1 DJ in the world, finally breaks into the countdown at #8. The rework with Avicii is powerful and helps highlight Laura V to produce a likeable track from the “Mirage” album.
10. SEBASTIAN INGROSSO, ALESSO “CALLING” (ORIGINAL INSTRUMENTAL MIX) [REFUNE RECORDS]
Release Date: 2011-08-31
I’m calling it now but next year Alesso will be this year’s Avicii. Young Swede Alesso teams with Ingrosso from Swedish House Mafia making a track pumped full of caffeine, energy and flow.
11. DIGITALISM “CIRCLES” (ERIC PRYDZ MIX) [PRYDA FRIENDS]
Release Date: 2011-10-24
What can I say other than it is the year of Sweden in the EDM scene. Prydz remixes his own talent, Digitalism, and shows us why he’s the original DJ out of the Kingdom of Sweden.
12. FLORENCE AND THE MACHINE “YOU’VE GOT THE LOVE” (MARK KNIGHT REMIX)[TOOLROOM RECORDS]
Release Date: 2011-06-13
This song absolutely annihilated Beatport this summer. This is a genius combination of raw indie talent from Florence and the Machine melded with Mark Knight’s ingenuity.
13. MARK KNIGHT, TIESTO, DINO “BEAUTIFUL WORLD” (ORIGINAL MIX) [TOOLROOM RECORDS]
Release Date: 2011-03-21
Did I mention other than Anjuanbeats, Toolroom Records dominated the EDM scene in 2011? Tiesto bring his trance prowess to the table with Mark Knight to produce a deep and meaningful hit.
14. GARETH EMERY, ASHLEY WALLBRIDGE “MANSION” (ORIGINAL MIX) [GARUDA]
Release Date: 2011-09-05
“Mansion” is pure trance at its finest. Eerie chords combined with repetitive looping make for a powerful and strong effort by the up and coming Brit DJ.
15. TIESTO “MAXIMAL CRAZY” (ORIGINAL MIX) [MUSICAL FREEDOM]
Release Date: 2011-09-05
Tiesto decides to venture down a new path, going electro house with “Maximal Crazy”. The title is self descriptive; crazy, energetic and euphoric.
16. AFROJACK, DIMITRI VEGAS, LIKE MIKE, NERVO “THE WAY WE SEE THE WORLD” (TOMORROWLAND ANTHEM AFROJACK VOCAL EDIT) [SPINNIN BUNDLES]
Release Date: 2011-09-16
This surely goes down as the biggest group collaboration of the year with Afrojack, Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike and the Aussie girls NERVO. The beat is killer with tight fast-paced production that’s hard hitting to the core.
17. MARKUS SCHULZ, JOCHEN MILLER “ROTUNDA” (ORIGINAL MIX) [COLDHARBOUR RECORDINGS]
Release Date: 2011-05-02
Rotunda makes for a pure Markus Schulz anthem in this effort. Miller & Schulz combine for a high BPM trance track that makes us feel like we’re in the middle of a concert in Eastern Europe.
18. SANDER VAN DOORN “KOKO” (ORIGINAL MIX) [DOORN RECORDS]
Release Date: 2011-04-25
2011 was a breakout year for Van Doorn with his album Eleve11. Koko is easily the most eclectic track of the year, combining pan flutes with pounding synths and beats.
19. MORD FUSTANG “LICK THE RAINBOW” (ORIGINAL MIX) [PLASMAPOOL]
Release Date: 2011-04-11
It’s unbelievable that this kid is 20 years old and is making genre blurring music. This track has a lot of “wobble” and was the lead track for electro house in 2011.
20. MICHAEL CALFAN “RESURRECTION” (AXWELL’S RECUT CLUB VERSION) [AXTONE RECORDS]
Release Date: 2011-11-21
Get out of the way David Guetta, this Frenchman is for real. Calfan hooks up with Swedish House Mafia’s Axwell to make a vibing progressive house hit.