Dancing Astronaut’s 50 Biggest Songs of 2015
Dancing Astronaut's 50 Biggest Songs of 2015
In our DJ-driven culture, the record is king. A single song has the ability to change the trajectory of one’s entire career. It doesn’t matter if it took three hours or three years to create: if it captures the listener, it’s done its job.
To celebrate the tracks which ruled the past year, we’ve ranked our 50 Biggest Songs of 2015. This is not a list of the Best Tracks of the Year per se, but rather an analysis of which songs had the biggest overall impact. We’ve taken things into account such as the number of times we heard it in DJ sets, the longevity of the track, and the amount of times it’s been streamed or purchased. Beyond this, we’ve done our best to touch on everything from underground dance music to mainstream EDM in a (hopefully) more democratized approach.
50. Damian Lazarus - Vermillion
Crosstown Rebels wizard Damian Lazarus released his album Messages From The Other Side in 2015, from his mystic side project, Damian Lazarus & The Ancient Moons. The lead single was “Vermillion,” a vocal centric offering featuring soul-folk songwriter Moses Sumney. As typical of his style, Lazarus crafted an ethnic-inspired beat with plenty of worldly percussion to carry the tune forward. The song proved the biggest offering of the year from the Crosstown Rebels boss, gaining further traction thanks to a well-received remix by &ME.
49. SNBRN - Raindrops
LA-based SNBRN exposed the world to deeper shades of house music in 2014 with his G-House flavored remixes. Making the transition from bedroom producer to influential artist, SNBRN kicked off 2015 in a massive fashion with the release of his first original, “Raindrops”, via the esteemed Ultra Records. Teaming up with Estonian songstress Kerli, the sunset house commander continued his trend of gut-punching basslines whilst exploring a more melodic side with the crossover single.
48. Justin Martin & Ardalan - Function feat. PartyPatty
Justin Martin & Ardalan’s “Function” became the definitive Dirtybird anthem of the year. Taken from the Dirtybird 10 compilation, the collaboration soon took on a life of its own, dominating the charts and appearing in countless house and techno sets around the world. The seemingly ubiquitous tune was inescapable at times, resurfacing in festival and club settings alike throughout the year. The track ultimately proved a tipping point for both tastemaker Justin Martin and rising producer Ardalan, pushing them and Dirtybird them into a new space of visibility. When Justin Martin eventually reworked it into a acid-friendly “VIP,” the track had already achieved widespread acclaim.
47. Jonas Rathsman - Wolfsbane
Jonas Rathsman had a hell of a year, embodied most potently by his 2015 anthem, “Wolsfbane.” The track served as the inaugural release for Disclosure’s new imprint Method White, while also being named Pete Tong’s Essential New Tune upon release. An elegant house song driven by snappy percussion and the juxtaposition of brooding and hopeful tones, Rathsman’s single became a bonafide staple of underground sets across the globe.
46. Frankey & Sandrino - Acamar
While Sandrino & Frankey are still up-and-comers, the Berlin duo burgeoned tremendously in 2015 after releasing their Acamar EP via Innervisions. The EP’s titular track gained significant momentum long before its June release, finding support in a variety of leading dance acts including Lee Burridge, Tale of Us, and Dixon. Reminiscent of Matthew Dekay and Lee Burridge’s “Lost In A Moment,” Sandrino & Frankey fuse vigorous hi-hats and eerie piano chords to make “Acamar” one of the catchiest club warming tracks of the year.
45. Alesso - Cool feat. Roy English
Originally debuted by Pete Tong, Alesso’s “Cool” confirmed the precedent set forth by the Swedish producer’s preceding work, swiftly placing him among EDM’s crossover kings. Bolstered by Roy English’s vocal contributions, the track earned instant radio-ready appeal. With official remixes delivered by CRNKN, Autograf and A-Trak, “Cool” made for one of the most accessible pop/house fusions of the year.
44. Boys Noize & Pilo - Cerebral
To celebrate the ten year anniversary of Boysnoize Records, Boys Noize released Strictly Raw, Volume 1, a full length album showcasing the visceral music that defines his label. While the album featured a series of mind-altering originals and high profile collaborations, no song better exemplified the Alex Ridha’s musical dogma than his collaboration with BNR tyro Pilo. Slick, simple, and sinister, “Cerebral” takes listeners to the darkest corner of the warehouse, and is incontestably one of 2015’s heaviest songs.
43. The Prodigy - Nasty (Spor Remix)
Before there was Feed Me, there was Spor: Jon Gooch’s revered drum ‘n’ bass project. While in recent years the UK producer has turned his attention almost exclusively to his newer alias, in 2015, Gooch delivered a new Spor album and Essential Mix. Prior to any of this, however, was an official remix of The Prodigy’s “Nasty.” While The Prodigy’s single was met with ambivalent reviews, there’s no questioning the response Spor’s official remix received. Incorporating the shredding synths from the original, Jon upped the intensity tenfold with a vicious drum ‘n’ bass beat. He once again proved his sound design abilities are on a level of their own with plenty of insane bass patches and fills that pushed “Nasty” to new heights.
42. Valentino Khan - Deep Down Low
Valentino Khan has been a Mad Decent and OWSLA favorite for several years now, but had yet to achieve true breakthrough status until “Deep Down Low.” With an impressive catalogue of trap and moombahton under his belt, Khan struck gold this year with his biggest track yet. Finding its way into mainstage and underground sets across the world, the inimitably simple “Deep Down Low” is proof that less can absolutely be more.
41. Above & Beyond - We're All We Need
If there’s one thing you can count on Above & Beyond for, it’s consistency. The group’s fourth studio album, We Are All We Need, arrived in 2015, bringing a host of new singles along with it. One of the standout tracks was “We’re All We Need,” written in collaboration with long-time A&B vocalist Zoë Johnston. Ultimately, the group felt the track embodied their message so well that they decided to name their album after it. The song captures the emotions of the album with ease, poignantly touching on nostalgia, compassion, and beauty in one swift composition.
40. Maceo Plex - Solar Detroit
It seemed like everything Maceo Plex touched in 2015 was an instant success. While his Conjure EP series made serious headway, it was ultimately his album’s lead single, “Solar Detroit,” which received the most acclaim. The nearly nine-minute tune finds Maceo Plex at his best, delivering immaculate techno with an emotional edge. The song quickly found its way into nearly every main-room techno set, while also becoming a signature staple of Maceo Plex’s own performances.
39. Chemical Brothers - Go (Claude VonStroke Remix)
The Chemical Brothers’ triumphant return in 2015 was encapsulated by their new album Born in the Echoes, which, aside from landing on our Top Ten Albums of 2015, delivered enticing lead single, “Go.” Featuring the lyrical talent of Q-Tip from A Tribe Called Quest, the song revived the quirky, big beat familiarity of the epochal ‘90s dance act. The track was further bolstered by a huge remix from Dirtybird boss Claude VonStroke, garnering the single a receptive new audience in the house and techno world.
38. Bakermat - Teach Me (MK remix)
Bakermat‘s first big hit was “One Day (Vandaag),” which sampled Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech. Earlier this year, on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, he released MK‘s remix of his single “Teach Me.” The original song samples Grammy Award-winning gospel singer Shirley Caesar’s “Teach Me Master,” featuring her powerful vocals prominently throughout the track. MK wisely declined to alter them in any significant way. Ultimately, MK let his signature tones take over the track, crafting a brave and rewarding rework that allows the two versions to be distinctly different — but similarly amazing – songs.
37. Ephwurd & Jauz - Rock the Party
Though he has publicly refuted the notion of being pigeonholed to a certain genre, Jauz has largely gained popularity from his accomplishments in two distinct genres: bassline house and raucous, dubstep-inspired bass music. Sam Vogel’s collaboration with Ephwurd on “Rock The Party” undeniably fell into the latter category. The Spinnin Records single achieved massive success this summer due to its masterful marriage of bass and main stage house motifs, garnering widespread support from a variety of artists ranging from Zeds Dead to Tiësto.
36. Tchami - After Life
2015 was the year of Future House, and sitting at the helm of its movement was Parisian producer Martin Bresso, better known as Tchami. Inspired by equal parts deep house sultriness and electro house energy, Tchami’s seminal single of the year was “After Life.” Melding vocalist Stacy Barthe’s wistful croons with scintillating synth patterns, “After Life” catalyzed a slew of high profile remixes and set the stage for a very futuristic year.
35. Louis The Child - It's Strange
A few months back, Chicago duo Louis The Child released “It’s Strange,” a collaboration with K.Flay, on budding LA tastemaker imprint Next Wave. Aside from landing on the official FIFA 2016 soundtrack, the song proceeded to take on a life of its own when it received an endorsement from Taylor Swift. The pleasant future bass track has amassed millions of plays since then, only to go on to receive a colossal remix package featuring no less than 20 new renditions.
34. Galantis - Peanut Butter Jelly
First premiered at Ultra Music Festival, fans took an immediate liking to Galantis‘ “Peanut Butter Jelly.” The foot tapping, disco-tinged record ultimately served as a clear standout on the duo’s debut album, Pharmacy. Containing elements of Christian Karlsson and Linus Eklöw’s signature crescendos, manipulated vocals and anthemic choruses, the track found mass appeal while toning down the club characteristics found in records like “Runaway” and “You.”
33. Porter Robinson - Flicker (Mat Zo Remix)
If “Easy” proved anything, it’s that Mat Zo and Porter Robinson are a match made in heaven. Earlier this year, Mat Zo’s long-awaited remix of Porter’s “Flicker” finally saw its release on the Worlds Remixed album. The track combines the best of both producers’ abilities, from Porter’s elegant songwriting to Zo’s jaw-dropping sound design. Ultimately, it’s the kind of beautiful reimagining that takes a producer as bold as Mat Zo to achieve.
32. David Zowie - House Every Weekend
Much of the allure of house music lies in its trope of catchy repetition. In 2015, nobody capitalized on this trend better than British breakthrough producer David Zowie. Zowie’s debut single “House Every Weekend” currently boasts over 8 million SoundCloud plays and more than 25 million YouTube views. The self-referential track saw its first play at a house party, before filtering through the hands of The Magician and Alex Metric. Ultimately, Pete Tong and Annie Mac discovered the infectious, house-laden record, which they propelled to the top of both the UK Singles and Dance charts in 2015.
31. Madeon - Pay No Mind
Madeon isn’t so young anymore. He released his first LP this year, entitled Adventure, which featured a handful of absolutely addicting indie-dance collaborations. When the tracklist was first announced, anticipation could not have been higher for “Pay No Mind,” a collaboration between Madeon and the incredible Passion Pit. When it finally came out, the track could not have been executed more wonderfully. There’s no doubt that “Pay No Mind” lives on as one of the singles on our list with the highest replay value.
30. Gregory Porter - Liquid Spirit (Claptone Remix)
While Claptone delivered an entire album in 2015, his most successful offering of the year was his crossover remix to Gregory Porter’s “Liquid.” The German producer approached the soulful single with caution, sculpting it into a club-friendly rework while maintaining the authentic feel of the original. The song found immense success in Ibiza, serving as a terrace and sunset staple throughout the year. The song was so popular, in fact, that it ultimately charted as Beatport’s number 4 selling track of the year.
29. NGHTMRE - Street
There’s not much to say that hasn’t already been said about NGHTMRE. Unquestionably one of the electronic music scene’s favorite up-and-comers, the ICON Collective graduate is on an absolute roll with his latest productions. The most notable of 2015 was “Street,” the sole ID debuted by Skrillex during his Ultra 2015 performance. “Street” has been hailed as the trap anthem of the year, and we are certainly not arguing that opinion — the production incorporates near flawless sound design and wildly impressive songwriting. The Mad Decent release received (and continues to receive) unwavering support from fans and fellow artists alike.
28. Pep & Rash - Rumors
Each year, Spinnin Records launches a number of new and exciting artists, but perhaps none this year succeeded with the quickness that Pep & Rash did. The duo released “Rumors” early in 2015, and it quickly became a fan favorite in a sea of future house releases. With the first previews of the track dating back to late-2014, fans threw rumors in every direction regarding who was behind the production. To the world’s surprise, Pep & Rash were the talents behind the single, which quickly became a major hit, and culminated as one of the top ten highest selling house tracks of 2015.
27. Eats Everything feat. Tiga & Audion - Dancing (Again!)
In late 2013, Tiga and Audion collaborated on the hypnotic, nine-minute vocal tune, “Let’s Go Dancing.” Flash forward to 2015, and Eats Everything is rinsing a new bootleg of the acapella over Ron Costa’s “Gez Uri.” The response to the tune is so massive that Disclosure’s Method White imprint gets involved to negotiate a formal release around the track. The resulting tune is “Dancing (Again!),” which becomes a seminal house anthem of the year. It’s rare to see a bootleg retrofitted as an official label release, but “Dancing (Again!) was simply too big to ignore.
26. Kaskade - Never Sleep Alone
Kaskade’s “Never Sleep Alone” was first debuted during a back-to-back set with Skrillex on Holy Ship! Ryan Raddon’s expertly executed, future house-inspired composition on the single indicated a step in a new direction for the seasoned producer. While a bit of new territory for him, Kaskade’s power wasn’t lost with this new single, and if anything, “Never Sleep Alone” showcased his ability to adapt to the changing landscape of dance music.
25. Bob Moses - Tearing Me Up
Bob Moses made a splash this year with their debut studio album, Days Gone By. The project ushered in a refreshing combination of underground dance music mixed with pop-savvy songwriting, resulting in our top album of 2015. “Tearing Me Up,” the third single from the album, proved the most popular among fans, swooning listeners with Bob Moses’ signature combination of elegant piano loops, swinging beats, and Tom Howie’s wistful vocals.
24. Tiesto & KSHMR - Secrets feat. Vassy
Enigmatic producer KSHMR has let his fiery electro house style speak for itself with little information to his name. Despite his ambiguous nature, KSHMR caught Tiësto’s attention, leading to their electrifying collaboration “Secrets.” Australian vocalist VASSY, previously known for her appearance on David Guetta and Showtek’s 2014 smash “Bad,” featured her sultry voice on the record to coax listeners into a saturated drop comprised of larger-than-life synth roars and detonating kicks. Ultimately, “Secrets” proved the definitive big room anthem of the year.
23. Zeds Dead & Oliver Heldens - You Know
It was surprising to see Zeds Dead pop up with a collaboration with Oliver Heldens, but after GTA’s venture into future house with Martin Solveig, we’ve come to expect the unexpected. “You Know” was a surefire hit from the moment it was premiered; the Heldens and Zeds Dead collaboration stayed away from the heavy wubs and wobbles that the duo is known so well for and took a lighter spin on things. Fans couldn’t get enough of it, and for good reason: “You Know” ranks amongst Spinnin’s best releases of this year, and its catchy melody resonates with listeners long after the track has stopped. Beyond that, the collaboration received borderline excessive support in DJ sets throughout the year.
22. David Guetta - Hey Mama feat. Nicki Minaj, Bebe Rexha & Afrojack
Back in March, David Guetta released “Hey Mama,” the fourth single from his new album Listen. The collaboration with Nicki Minaj, Bebe Rexha and Afrojack proved Guetta’s most commercially successful track of the year, reaching double platinum in the US. Ultimately, the track embodied the kind of stadium-sized energy and mainstream prowess that David Guetta and Afrojack have built their respective careers upon, giving them both a much needed spark in 2015.
21. Kygo - Stole the Show feat. Parson James
Kygo was under a heavy amount of scrutiny halfway through this year. With the momentum of tropical house beginning to waver, Kygo’s single “Stole the Show” sent a shockwave through the scene. Even the genre’s biggest naysayers were drawn in by Parson James’ enchanting vocal backed by Kygo’s signature synths. While much of tropical house has fallen behind as a fad in the past year, Kygo and his monster 2015 hit “Stole The Show” proved that there’s hope for the genre yet.
20. Kollektiv Turmstasse - Sorry I Am Late
Beatport’s second top selling track of the year was not a Martin Garrix or Oliver Heldens festival anthem, but rather a humble tune by Kollektiv Turmstrasse on Solomun’s Diynamic imprint. The track spent the most time in the Beatport Top 10 out of any record in 2015, and for good reason: it’s damn near irresistible. The repeating bassline and chopped vocal sample have become instantly recognizable features of the club cut, making it an easily translatable DJ tool across a variety of sets. Once the bouncy lead synth comes in, the track is elevated to a new level altogether. Ultimately, its peerless performance is a harbinger of the changing tides of taste across the globe as underground dance music continues to stake its claim in international markets.
19. Nero - The Thrill
Arriving in March this year, “The Thrill” officially kicked off the album campaign for Nero’s Between II Worlds. The rock-infused, bass-savvy ballad was classic Nero. Compared to older material, however, the song showcased a genuine emphasis on superior songwriting. Alana Watson’s vocals were as powerful as ever, laid effortlessly atop both the breakdown and chorus. With Nero’s grungy lead synths on full display, the track culminated as one of the most iconic songs from the album.
18. Eric Prydz - Generate
Eric Prydz had a momentous year of music, releasing no less than 20 new originals. On “Generate,” his biggest single of the year, we hear Prydz at ease with his crossover potential, channelling an epic topline into a more dialed back approach on his rich melodic sound. Prydz is the sort of artist who can keep you waiting considerably long for a sign of life away from the road. “Generate” is evidence that the wait is always worth it as far as the Swedish titan is concerned. Ultimately, “Generate” offered a truly respectable middle ground between the classy end of progressive house and the peaking tendencies of radio-friendly dance music.
17. Diplo & Sleepy Tom - Be Right There
Diplo’s ubiquity is undeniable. Sometimes in the background, sometimes in the forefront, Thomas Wesley Pentz manages to pervade the dance music scene year after year. 2015 saw Diplo break into the mainstream with unprecedented prevalence, earning significant airplay with both Jack Ü and Major Lazer. Perhaps his most popular release under the Diplo moniker was manifested in August’s “Be Right There,” a collaboration with Canadian producer Sleepy Tom. Though a long-time Mad Decent favorite, Sleepy Tom’s fame hitherto is eclipsed by the popularity of this seminal collaboration. Sampling R&B group Jade’s 1993 single “Don’t Walk Away,” Diplo and Sleepy Tom concocted a future house single that endowed the year’s most talked about genre with outstanding mainstream recognition.
16. Zhu x AlunaGeorge - Automatic
In September, the ever-cryptic ZHU unveiled his “Genesis Series” project. Arguably his most influential work to date, the series boasted a plethora of high profile collaborations that included Skrillex, AlunaGeorge, A-Trak, Trombone Shorty, and Bone Thugs & Harmony. Most notable of the above a-list collaborations was Zhu’s joint with AlunaGeorge, “Automatic,” which was proclaimed to be “The Hottest Record in the World” when debuted earlier this year on BBC Radio 1. Noticeably an evolution from his breakthrough hit “Faded,” “Automatic” is typified by its fusion of layered synthesis, jazzy instrumentation, and the silky vocals of Aluna Francis.
15. Martin Garrix feat. Usher - Don't Look Down
Martin Garrix and Usher’s electro-pop effort “Don’t Look Down” proved the Dutch producer’s first big radio smash since “Animals.” The song also served as Usher’s followup dive into EDM after tapping the likes of Swedish House Mafia, Alesso and Diplo for production on his seventh studio album. “Don’t Look Down” had all the makings of a successful crossover record prior to release, and ultimately did just that, lacing Usher’s songwriting with Garrix’s anthemic dance touch for one of the biggest collaborations of the year.
14. Technasia & Green Velvet - Suga
Beatport’s ‘top selling tracks’ of 2015 report yielded some interesting results; most notably, Technasia and Green Velvet’s tech house anthem as the number 3 highest selling song of the year. While surprising at first glance, it’s a metric that makes sense. The jazzy tech house number found the two producers crafting a more palatable club cut, highlighted by Technasia’s smooth guitar licks and Green Velvet’s enchanting vocals on top. With the backing of Toolroom Records, the song was destined for success before it ever hit market.
13. GTA - Red Lips (Skrillex Remix)
If there’s one thing Skrillex fans are used it, it’s waiting. Skrillex’s remix of GTA’s “Red Lips” has been played out since the very beginning of this year, but the track only just received an official release as 2015 wound down. Regardless, the track earns one of the very top spots on our list this year simply for how massive the remix is. Skrillex joined up with Apple Music to set the tune to an absolutely stunning music video, featuring unmatched production value for a dance track. The remix is ultimately a flag-bearer of Sonny’s unwavering support of the dubstep sound in his solo work.
12. Blonde - All Cried Out
UK duo Blonde have proven the perfect crossover pair for commercial house audiences. Their 2015 single “All Cried Out,” a collaboration with American vocalist Alex Newell, resulted in their largest offering of the year. The track topped the UK Dance chart with ease, finding similar success on the UK Singles chart. Riffing on lighter deep house influences, the track’s stripped down arrangement provided the perfect foundation for a huge cast of remixes from The Magician, Don Diablo, 99 Souls, and Oliver Nelson.
11. Sam Feldt - Show Me Love (EDX Remix)
In the increasingly saturated genre of melodic house, Sam Feldt is one of the few faces that has remained at the scene’s forefront. Feldt, a staple of the the Spinnin’ Deep imprint, received commercial and critical recognition earlier this year thanks to his masterful re-imagination of Robin S’s classic “Show Me Love.” While Feldt accomplished his goal of creating a relaxed and appealing atmosphere with his composition, EDX eventually endowed the track his own uniquely melodic touch. Bringing the production back down to the dancefloor, the Italian producer’s spin on the single became one of the year’s most popular club tracks.
10. Flume - Some Minds feat. Andrew Wyatt
In May of this year, Flume debuted his largest single to date, “Some Minds.” Following the massive success of his self-titled debut LP in 2013, Harley Streten faced lofty expectations for his next project. With the assistance of Miike Snow vocalist Andrew Wyatt, “Some Minds” ultimately provided further evidence of the Australian producer’s capability to innovate the future bass genre. Flume’s willingness to deviate from his proven winning formula (“You and Me,” “Tennis Court”) into a deeper soundscape continues to impress us, and portends an exciting trajectory for the future.
9. The Weeknd - The Hills (RL Grime Remix)
The Weeknd’s chart-topping single, “The Hills” caught a massive remix from RL Grime this year, showcasing Henry Steinway’s ability to bridge the gap between his two projects: trap maestro RL Grime and progressive house honcho Clockwork. His experimentation of fusing bass elements with larger room productions was the aesthetic of his debut album Void, and his remix of “The Hills” proved he’s soldiering onward with his massive sound. At this point, it seems everything RL Grime touches is destined for resounding success.
8. The Chainsmokers - Roses
The Chainsmokers unintentionally pigeonholed themselves with their breakout single “SELFIE” last year, but in the time since, they’ve proven their ability to transcend the ubiquitous single. Nowhere was this more evident than with their 2015 radio anthem, “Roses.” The track’s lighter nature was a welcome surprise from the duo, and Rozes’ vocals proved the perfect topline feature for the crossover hit. After millions of streaming plays online, the tune culminated with a live performance on The Late Late show with James Corden.
7. Jamie xx - I know There's Gonna Be (Good Times)
Jamie xx’s “I Know There’s Gonna Be (Good Times)” surfaced as the producer’s biggest single to date. A collaboration with Young Thug and Popcaan, the song served as the third single from Jamie xx’s debut album, In Colour, which has since been nominated for a Grammy for Best Dance/Electronic album. While the track failed to make a significant impact on traditional charts, it easily dominated streaming platforms worldwide. The song was so massive, in fact, that Spotify even crowned it 2015′s Song of the Summer.
6. Disclosure - Holding On
While Disclosure’s sophomore album, Caracal, may have been met with some ambivalent reviews, there was no denying the appeal behind the lead single, “Holding On.” Featuring the bluesy vocal talent of Gregory Porter, the song showcased the same bustling garage production that enamored fans the first time around on Settle. The track reached number 1 on the US Dance Club songs, while peaking at number 9 on the UK dance chart. Ultimately, it was Disclosure at their best, showcasing an infectious topline over raw, authentic dance production.
5. Duke Dumont - Ocean Drive
Everyone wants to see someone like Duke Dumont do well. His potential for creating instantly catchy anthems has been evident ever since “The Giver” took off. “Ocean Drive” was easily Dumont’s most commercial single to date, and as a result, one of most widely successful. From rampant radio play to reaching the top spot on the US Dance Clubs chart, the single was everywhere. With further club-friendly remixes from the likes of Hayden James, Alison Wonderland, and Shaun Frank, “Ocean Drive” was easily one of the year’s top dance anthems.
4. Martin Solveig & GTA - Intoxicated
GTA and Martin Solveig’s “Intoxicated” dominated 2015 as the top selling track of Beatport. A Spinnin’ Deep label debut from all three musicians, “Intoxicated” dove headfirst into future house, kicking the year’s trend off at the intersection of heavy brass sound design and classic deep house tropes. The track served as somewhat of a departure from both artists’ styles, replacing thumping 808s and blaring electro synths with more groove-based aspects of late-night tunes.
3. Calvin Harris & Disciples - How Deep Is Your Love
If there’s one thing Calvin Harris excels at, it’s creating international hits. His 2015 summer anthem, “How Deep Is Your Love,” reached the top ten in 22 different countries. In many ways, the single also provided a redeeming moment for Harris. While still very much in the Top 40 pop realm, the song featured conspicuously less frills than the EDM crossover crop we’ve come to expect from the Scottish producer. With the help of UK group Disciples, the song riffed on modern day deep house trends while providing a stripped down arrangement for its vocal to truly shine. The commercial accessibility was still very much intact, however, yielding the song nearly 300 million plays on YouTube alone, and earning it Platinum status in the UK.
2. Jack Ü - Where R Ü Now with Justin Bieber
Regardless of your preconceived notions pertaining to Skrillex and Diplo’s Jack Ü project, there’s no denying the impact of the duo’s blockbuster single, “Where Are Ü Now.” After releasing the track in February, the song proceeded to take on a life of its own, soon catapulting the two producers into a new echelon of commercial success, only attainable through the star power of its vocal feature, Justin Bieber. The collaboration was so massive that The New York Times even ran an interview feature on the creative process behind the single. When all was said and done, the track became a platinum hit, resurrecting Bieber’s career and securing a Grammy nomination in the process. Love it or hate it, “Where Are Ü Now” was easily one of the most defining songs of the year for electronic music.
1. Major Lazer & DJ Snake - Lean On feat. MØ
What is there to say about a release as uniquely massive as “Lean On”? For starters, let’s take a step back and assuage the naysayers, who may dismiss the track’s quality because it is “overplayed.” As the saying goes, “Familiarity breeds contempt,” and “Lean On” has far transcended from familiarity to ubiquity.
Let’s put aside all of the contrarian dissent for a moment, and appreciate how remarkable a feat Major Lazer, DJ Snake, MØ, and the rest of the track’s more silent collaborators (which include Tchami and Jr Blender) pulled off this year. Solely from a numerical standpoint, “Lean On” obliterates all contenders as the most significant track of the year. Garnering 128 million SoundCloud streams, just shy of a billion YouTube views, and more Spotify streams than any other track on the platform, “Lean On” was listened to more times than any other dance song in 2015. Three years ago, nobody had ever heard the names “MØ” or “DJ Snake,” and Major Lazer’s cult following was still burgeoning. Today, you’d be hard pressed to find a single person who hasn’t found themselves involuntarily bobbing along to the infectious buoyancy of the song. While much of society may not know the artists responsible to 2015’s oddest and most omnipresent hit, the track itself has become the icon of 2015’s musical zeitgeist. For that reason alone, “Lean On” earns the title of our Biggest Song of the Year.