For this Throwback Thursday, we decided to take a trip down memory lane and share with you some of our guilty pleasures. Now, what makes these tracks “guilty pleasures” rather than timeless pieces is that, while we still enjoy them (although we may not want to admit it), they aren’t timeless in the sense that they could be incorporated in DJ mixes years after to the release date and fit perfectly. Their sound signatures function as time-stamps, instantly bringing the listener back to the year in which the song was released.
However, just because a track is “so 2012”, that does not mean that it isn’t good. Although some of these songs may be played out, or mainstream, they were in vogue during some of Dance Music’s more “specific” trends, but their composition set them apart from the rest of the fad and made them trend-setters.
So let’s get down to it, here is our list of guilty pleasures.
Benny Benassi - Satisfaction
Benny Bennassi’s ‘Satisfaction’ was the quintessential dance track for ages. This track has been played out in almost every dance club in the world, you can still hear this track in bars in Columbia, South Carolina, or in clubs in Madrid, Spain. Everyone has heard this song, and it still stands possibly the most recognizable Electro synth-riff of all time.
Gareth Emery, Above & Beyond, OceanLab - On A Good Day (Metropolis)
The power behind this song is incomparable. This track almost shouldn’t even be on this list, because it is, in fact, timeless. But I had to include it because we never talk about Trance; never even really listen to Trance, to be honest. When trying to show my fellow class-mates while attending school in South Carolina what Dance music was all about, their reaction to this song is one that I will never forget. There was bewilderment in their eyes as they tried to process how they were being touched by a track that would typically be considered “soft” or “girly” in the South.
It wasn’t enough to turn them all into ravers, but as I continued to show them examples they just wanted more ‘On A Good Day’. “Nah man, show me something with that soul! You know, like ‘Metropolis’! Something that’s got that groove, where you can tell it meant something”
La Roux - In For The Kill (Skrillex Remix)
Ok, I went back and forth about a million times on whether or not I should include this track on this list, but hear me out. This is the first track that Skrillex made that got wide-spread critical acclaim; I was never into screamo and all that, but I imagine his first band was just alright, and his complextro My Name Is Skrillex EP was ok at best. Running away from home at 16 to become a Rock Star, Sonny’s goal was always to become famous -- and this became painfully obvious after his remix of ‘In For The Kill’.
Honestly, this track was great. It set one of the biggest trends in American electronic music, and launched him into the spotlight as well as this aggressive, robotic, Dubstep sound. The vocal glitching was revolutionary, the sound design was great, the writing was super on-point; this track had one of the dirtiest switchups of it’s time! He found something that worked.
Now, the reason why we are “skrillex-haters”, is because we are thoroughly disappointed in him. The quality of each release after this one declined almost linearly. He start simplifying and regurgitating this track until all of his productions were nothing more than an onslaught of random noises. It seems as though he never wanted to be an artist, just a star. In our eyes, he never lived up to his potential. That being said, you can’t knock the track that gave him the opportunity to become one.
Nero - Guilt (DallasK Remix)
This track was one of the biggest Electro-House tracks I can remember. While there were certainly tons of tracks at the time that could have been argued to be bigger/better/whatever than this remix, as time went on the longevity of this song is unparalleled. The writing, energy, and melodic progression sets this one apart from the pack.
Bob Sinclair - World, Hold On
We had to put the music video for this one because it did such an amazing job of capturing the pure love and innocence conveyed in this song. Bob Sinclair’s ‘World, Hold On’ from 2006 was one my favorite songs as a middle schooler, and it still hits me right in the feels every time. The whistle melody, uplifting lyrics, ethereal pad-work, and pumping bass-line will put a pep in anyone’s step. This is classic Dance music, before the EDM explosion changed everything.
Rusko - Hold On ft Amber Coffman (Sub Focus Remix)
This track had me running to stages at festivals so I could get down to it when it dropped. During the Drumstep movement of 2011, this track reigned supreme. Sub Focus utterly slaughtered Rusko’s ‘Hold On’ with this remix, employing a reecey, flux pavilion influenced bass-line that modulates flawlessly.
MSTRKRFT - Heartbreaker (Wolfgang Gartner Remix)
The chorus on this track has gotten the cops called on us. There’s just no way that we could listen to this song without turning it all the way up and belting out John Legend’s lyrics as loud as we could, regardless of context. Wolfgang knows how to produce, let’s not get it twisted, the man created this alias anonymously after developing his career as a Deep House DJ/Producer. So he wasn’t a flash in the pan, or a bedroom DJ turned superstar, he was a Dance musician that recognized that the culture was shifting and people wanted to rage.
Eric Prydz remix of Depeche Mode’ ‘Personal Jesus’ is an incomprehensibly epic Progressive track from 2011 that is the quintessential peak-time, festival track. The breakdown, use of the vocals, and the massive croaking synth punctuating the rhthym in conjunction with the bass-line, all play their part in crafting a track that will fill 100k people with ecstasy.
Deadmau5 - HR 8938 Cephei
Deadmau5 has tarnished many people’s opinions of him by becoming the most opinionated man in the electronic music industry. He speaks the truth (most of the time), but he does so with his crass, crabby demeanor that has turned off many people from his music. While I can understand that, I cannot understand how people forget about his body of work. HR 8938 Cephei was my post-rave tradition due to it’s enchanting melody, relaxed atmosphere, meticulous composition, and soothing bass-line; it was the perfect way to comfortably make the long drive back home with my ears ringing and my soul craving more music, but nothing too hectic.
Kaskade & Deadmau5 - Move For Me
The mau5 is on this list twice! And it’s because this collab with Kaskade is especially nice. Another pre-EDM classic, this Dance track from 2008 is sexy, smooth, and progressive. Cementing Kaskade’s status as a top-tier producing, and thrusting deadmau5 into the spotlight, ‘Move For Me’ is a must have track for anyone who considers themselves a Dance music aficionado.