It's impossible to ignore the fact that EDM spent this year in the spotlight -- and while much of America spent the last twelve months focusing on "the drop," it's not the most important part of the scene by any stretch. We've already given you our rundown of the ten best Denver EDM and dubstep shows of 2012, and it's time for the scene's best songs. After scouring the internet and our own catalogs, bootlegs, remixes, compilations and soundboards, we put together this list of the ten best EDM songs released this year. As usual, let us know your favorites in the comments section.
This young producer hailing from the East Coast made music, got popular nods from some of the biggest names in the industry and instantly began selling out shows. With songs like "Language," it's easy to see why. The uplifting female vocals here contrast with the distorted synths perfectly, giving the track a wide range of emotion.9. Dada Life's "Rolling Stones T-Shirt"
Whether or not you subscribe to the party-anthem style of dance music -- which, it's important to note, is only one panel of the umbrella of EDM -- Dada Life makes happy dancing music. "Rolling Stones T-Shirt" was teased before its release and regarded even then with acclaim from the dance community. But once it came out, it induced all-out mayhem on the dance floor: Bananas, champagne bottles, and Rolling Stones T-shirts began popping up at shows everywhere, making it OK to shop for old rock'n'roll shirts at Goodwill and still party on the dance floor at a rave.
Playing in the world of pitch perfection, Franky Rizardo and Roul and Doors created a perfect mid-mix anthem with "Blackout." Thanks to its being featured by some of the biggest acts in the world at some of the biggest shows (notably, Fedde Le Grand's "Sensation" mix), "Blackout" became an immediate floor-scorcher.7. Alesso & Dirty South's "City Of Dreams (original mix)"
Alesso and Dirty South created a monumental track with "City of Dreams," and it's one that you should be paying attention to. What starts off heavy on electronic sound quickly transitions into a subtle guitar strain with poetic lyrics about being in love and not being able to lose the thought.
Occasionally, the most popular tracks aren't always based on crowd acceptance. Nicky Romero's "Toulouse" exemplifies that notion. With deep synths, Romero takes listeners along with a keyboard-heavy beat, both subtle and lacking in chord variation, before focusing on the pitch of the keys and the song's epic drops.5. Kill Paris' "I'm Free"
Kill Paris seems to be unstoppable in 2012, and the same will apply in 2013 if the producer continues on the path that led him to "I'm Free." The glitchy track features broken vocal samples, breaks that could easily have sixteen bars laid over them and a flowing beat that you never want to end.
It only made sense for Boulder's GRiZ and the now-famous Pretty Lights Music artist Gramatik to collaborate on a perfectly fused jazz/hip-hop beat with organic undertones (Gramatik's guitarist slays this song live.) Once listeners are satisfied with the song's soulful guitar and jazz beat, the breakdown falls into a dirty hole of modulated sounds and distorted blues vocal samples.3. Netsky's "Give and Take"
Belgium-based drum-and-bass prodigy Boris Daenen has yet to create something that doesn't resonate with sweaty club dancers all around the world. "Give and Take" offers a modern approach to what seems to be a forgotten art -- liquid drum and bass. With a sleepy opening, Netsky lets the beat build into an anthemic drop that culminates in a sultry piano line which, if it weren't for the drums layered underneath, could easily be mistaken for recital material.
"The Veldt" probably received more spins by mainstream talent than any other song this year, which says something about the power of Joel Zimmerman's music. Most DJs only teased at the track and let the hook circle through a few times, but the song in its entirety is perfectly structured for easy listening -- or for losing your mind in the middle of 10,000 people.1. Madeon's "Icarus"
If ever there was a time that EDM fans needed a fresh face to follow, Madeon provided just that this year. The 18-year-old producer came swinging out of the gates against all the biggest names in the industry, and instead of fighting this leader of the new wave of teen dance sensations, the scene welcomed him. "Icarus" helped to establish the rising star within the EDM circuit, solidifying his name on bills around the world. Someone should buy the guy a drink, but that might have to wait until 2015 when he's old enough to consume.
For the flip side, read "The ten worst EDM songs of 2012."
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