What perspective should I take - journalist, dj, critic, fan, music lover? My personal taste clearly won out and I chose the songs that worked the best on my dancefloor this year with a few personal favorites thrown in. Reading over the list you will notice that I am clearly not "Mr. Trendy Underground" and have an unnatural obsession with Wolfgang Gartner, Wideboys and deadmau5. I also found this year that there were several songs that resonated with me for their lyrical content, either describing my life as it is or as it was. Every song definitely has a distinct memory or feeling attached to it.
What do you get when you cross the reigning king of French stadium house and a member of Destiny's Child? Toss in a melody line similar to "Clocks" by Coldplay and an emotionally uplifting lyric - and you've got "When Love Takes Over" - a major buzz record from Winter Music Conference 2009. Premiered live at Ultra Music Festival, Kelly Rowland sang live during David Guetta's set on the main stage. Yes, this is one of the records that everyone was talking about during 2009 as it topped charts around the world.
Deadmau5, who many refer to as the "King of Beatport," seems to pump out tracks the way most people exhale carbon dioxide. With such a vast amount of tracks to choose from, this cheeky female vocal electro track always seems to be on the top of my DJ playlist. The beat is similar to "Let Me Think About It" and the vocals extol the virtue of why the right girl makes the DJ. Could this track be the 2009 feminist update of Katalina's "DJ Girl?" And yes, whenever I play this track I am up there singing along..
Last year, Leduxe did a mashup of Lady Gaga's "Just Dance" and Wolfgang Gartner's "Frenetica" that I dubbed as best white label of the year. This is almost as brilliant. "Work," Ciara's fourth single from her current album, could be the next "Get Me Bodied" - a song with choreographed dance moves that could break from the club/party scene. Wolfgang Gartner had the sick idea to do an electro mix of Beethoven's "5th Symphony." Both tracks are wonderful on their own - but combined, the result is something truly special. Yes, this bootleg mashup will never get approved or a commercial release but take a listen and enjoy a truly creative mashup.
In Chinese philosophy, Yin and Yang represent complementary opposing forces. As song titles for the team of Wolfgang Gartner and Francis Preve, they represent two energetic electro tracks which build and drop in melodic yet pumping rhythms. Wolfgang, known for his energetic electro tracks, and Francis, who is more on the progressive side, combine forces and show that Texan producers create music that everyone will want to play as well as dance to. With "Yin" hitting #1 on the Beatport Electro House chart, we hope that there are plenty more tracks to come from this talented duo
Dutch superstar producer/dj/"master of hooligan house" Don Diablo teams with Example for just about the sickest track I've heard this year. I admit that ever since I saw Don Diablo spin at Amsterdam Dance Event last year that I've been a fan. I didn't think that you could capture his energy in a video but they've done it. What starts as almost an homage to the snobby club culture parodied in the classic Armand Van Helden/Duane Harden "You Don't Even Know Me" explodes into a manic hyperspeed video reminiscent of Prodigy's "Smack My Bitch Up." If this record doesn't make you move, maybe you should switch over to easy listening. Video is NSFW due to gore, sexual situations and violent content.
Three minutes of bouncing electro madness, that is an easy way to summarize the new jam from the team of Dizzee Rascal and Armand Van Helden. Glitchy noises and techy feedback are just the icing to club smash that is ready for commercial crossover. The video is creatively refreshing - featuring vivid colors, shark heads, blinking eyeballs and fast motion as opposed to the ubiquitous scantily clad females. Dizzee is in rare form with this smart follow up to "Dance Wiv Me" (best experienced in its Niteryders remix.) Its kind of ironic (though unplanned) that we feature an Armand Van Helden track the day after the Space Cowboy track, as not only were both signed to Southern Fried Record, they were also at a peak during the speed garage days.
With vocals from Pendulum singer Rob Swire, lead single "Ghosts n Stuff" leans on the progressive tip with subtle 80s influences sprinkled in. The video led to a discussion where one said that it is pretty simple - "Man becomes ghost, finds that being a ghost isn't much different than being a man except less fun, finds life at a club." I see the video as the followup to the video for deadmau5 & Kaskade "I Rememeber" but from the raver's perspective. The video symbolizes the escapism of club culture that lets one create their own identity. Coming from an artist who leaves the isolation of a studio and performs wearing a bejeweled mousehead, it seems quite appropriate.
A common criticism of tribal house, prevalent in the US club scene, is that after years of bastardization it has regressed into a cliche of pots and pans beats with random divas screaming about dysfunctional relationships.So when an inspirational and uplifting track like "Now" comes along, the standard is definitely set a notch higher. Stepping out of the box by featuring a male vocalist (Papa Joe) and MC (Alan T) and adding a touch of electro to the beats, the production definitely hits the mark.With lyrics like "Go after your dreams" and "From this day forward I live my life," this could be a response to Prop 8 or the rightwing demonization of gay culture.Or an "I Will Survive" for all of us living through these horrible economic times.
With bootlegs and mashups in their DNA, its no surprise that The Young Punx album is an insane combination of electro, rock, 80s grooves, noise, breaks and drum & bass. Their sound is captured perfectly in the track "MASHitUP" which features the vocals of Laura Kidd (known for her underground club anthem "Automatic.") The nearly manic energy of the track and the screech guitar solos are matched only by the psychotic animations in the music video. Combining cartoons and live action, the video features the best use of a cartoon devil head since Devo's "Peek-a-boo."
When you think of Australian pop female singer, its the sisters that normally come to mind - the Minogues and Imbruglias. Known to the mostly for the 1999 hit "Absolutely Everybody," Vanessa Amorosi is a major pop star down under and seems ready to go global with the hit "This is Who I Am." A pop-rock song about empowerment, fighting against personal struggles, and loving yourself, Vanessa sounds like a cross between Pink and Wynonna Judd, able to harness her powerful voice for an insanely moving and emotional song. Just as Almighty turned out "Absolutely Everybody," the Wideboys blew this out of the park. Watch out for this one to explode and launch her as the next global superstar. Has anyone played this song for Tyra or Oprah yet?