In the electronic and pop music worlds, there are always new, interesting songs that break through in popularity, despite odds against them. This is especially true now that the internet has democratized what we listen to and what then eventually makes it to the radio. For example, Disclosure's "Latch" featuring Sam Smith was first released in early 2012 but didn't become a major hit here in the U.S. until the summer of 2014.
In the club world, there's also a constant recycling of songs. Songs that were hits years ago, became ubiquitous, forgotten about, then resurrected by an artist or producer who samples the tune or steals a verse or remixes it into something new. Right now, you can hear this trend in all the new deep house and nu disco tracks built out of '90s R&B and hip-hop classics.
So, in this monthly list of songs that I like playing right now at gigs, you'll hear remixes and ones that are representative of the current trends in sound design and production. Two years ago, a hit dance track would have a huge, festival ready build-up and drop (think Swedish House Mafia), but this year, its more likely to have a smaller sound, more intimate vocals, jacking house beats, and a huge baseline (think Oliver Heldens, Kiesza, Disclosure, Clean Bandit).
With no further ado, here are the top ten tracks I'm excited about playing this month. Hope you find something you like.
This remix of Whitney Houston's "Love Will Save The Day" uses her a capella perfectly, building the track slowly, creating tension, and adding elements until the chorus finally opens up, brings in the baseline, and the tension peaks and releases. Great track for the dance floor.
Hercules and the Love Affair's new single is remixed to perfection here by Purple Disco Machine. Their first releases were put out on James Murphy's tastemaking DFA Records, but this might be their best written song yet. The remix gives the verses a chunky, rolling baseline and the chorus is a classic '90s house piano breakdown.
Clean Bandit scored a massive hit in the U.S. with "Rather Be" and followed it up with "Real Love." This remix is by far my favorite and was made by Miami producer Henry Krinkle. Incredible job.
(Bonus: check out his outstanding original track, "Stay.")
Miami's recently reformed production duo Discotech (Joe Maz and DJ Konflikt) give this surprise hit by Tove Lo into a perfectly formed, club ready, singalong remix of "Stay High."
"Embrace" by Goldroom is a perfect distillation of his trademark, sundrenched California disco sound. This is an incredible song especially considering it was one of the first original productions he ever released.
The difference between making a great remix and making an original song is huge, and this is an artist that excels at both. I caught his live set last month at Bardot, and it was amazing to watch the entire club dancing and singing along to "Embrace."
Brandy's forgotten hit "Right Here" is given an entirely new life with this deep house remix by Romanian Producer Sllash. The magic of the internet helps us find incredible songs like this one from all over the world, which still blows me away. He uploaded this remix in Romania, and I heard it within hours. The rest of Sllash's productions are just as dope, so be sure to check out the rest of his Soundcloud feed.
For Mary J. Blige's newest album The London Sessions, she spent two months in the city recording with Disclosure, Sam Smith, Emilie Sande, and Jimmy Napes, all contributing songwriting and production work to the album.
The first single, "Right Now" has a slow burning, hypnotizing effect on the listener. It's Blige at her finest and most vulnerable. This remix by UK producer Shadow Child retains the dark, intense emotion of the original but gives it a new tempo and makes it club ready.
This track by newcomer Philip George hit number two on the UK Billboard charts the first week it was out. Taking a vocal sample from Stevie Wonder's classic "My Cherie Amour" and laying the perfect piano melody underneath, it wad an instant hit.
Second City's "I Wanna Feel" was already on my playlist when I found this remix from Abstract and Logic, which immediately replaced the original in my live sets. The vocal and piano work and the drop on this one speak for itself. Just press play.
Oliver Heldens has led the way over the last year, bridging the gap between deep house and the big room styles and scored a few major breakout hits like "Gecko."
"Last All Night," featuring vocalist K. Stewart, is the newest single but this bass heavy version from UK producer Low Steppa is by far my favorite.
That's all until next month. If you want to hear how these tracks sound live, check out this set recorded last month on Christmas Night at Bardot in downtown Miami.
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