These Songs Turn Ten in January 2022
Otto Knows - “Million Voices” (Refune Music) [January 1st, 2012]
One of the most recognizable dance hooks in the game, “Million Voices,” paved the way for a new era of dance music that focused on vocal chops and melodies. As a pioneer of this movement, Swedish DJ Otto Knows edited the vocals from a Wyclef Jean song of the same title to create what is arguably his most famous track.
Released on Sebastian Ingrosso’s label, Refune, “Million Voices” illustrates the passionate side of progressive house by combining soothing vocals with a catchy, uplifting melody. When he was in the studio working on it, Otto Knows found inspiration from the room next door.
In an interview with Arcadia, he said, “I was really inspired from Alesso and Seb Ingrosso making “Calling” in the room next to mine. I think you can hear there’s the same kind of happy feeling in both songs.” Remarkably, they found the vocal sample and produced “Million Voices” all in one day. No matter how many times you’ve heard this track over the past ten years, that “happy feeling” will forever be timeless.
Nicky Romero - Toulouse (Spinnin’ Records) [January 2nd, 2012]
In the late 2000’s, EDM was in its prime, and Dutch DJ Nicky Romero was at the helm of it all. He released heaps of singles in the early part of his career, yet it wasn’t until the release of his electro house anthem, “Toulouse,” that his career sky-rocketed.
Influenced heavily by acid house, its electric synth lead, captivating melody, and booming bassline perfectly mold together to form an electro house monster. The freaky video incorporates random people wearing the politically controversial Guy Fawkes masks. Initially, Romero declined the video, but he eventually caved and allowed its upload to Vimeo.
Disclosure - Tenderly (Make Mine) [January 12th, 2012]
Only the real OG Disclosure fans will remember this throwback. English electronic music duo, Disclosure released this track more than a year before their debut studio album, Settle. Brothers Howard and Guy Lawrence drift in their own lane, with a sound unlike anything heard before. With their retro-infused style, Disclosure introduced listeners to the real groundworks of house music.
“Tenderly” is a prime example of their impressive musical talents. The song is chock-full of polyrhythms, complex patterns layered over one another creating a more danceable and invigorating vibe. Specifically, in this track, Disclosure uses claps and scintillating percussion layers that deviate from the timing of the kicks and the bass. If you want to reminisce on the nostalgic sound of Disclosure, then make sure to give the track a listen!
Tommy Trash - Cascade (PinkStar Records) [January 18th, 2012]
2012 was the year of Australian DJ. Thomas Olsen—aka Tommy Trash—started the year strong by dropping this banger, then followed it up by releasing other epic tracks such as his collaboration with Sebastian Ingrosso, “Reload.”
Classified as a progressive electro house track for its heavy use of synths, “Cascade” combines the danceable qualities of house music with the anthem-like elements of techno. With its simple and repetitive cadence, it was a crowd favorite. As soon as you hear its distinct synth hook, you’ll never want to leave the dancefloor. Tommy Trash certainly made his mark on dance music, as “Cascade” and many of his other tracks have defined the electronic dance music culture we all know and love today.
Krewella - Killin’ It (Monstercat) [January 19th, 2012]
Chicago-based sisters Jahan and Yasmine Yousaf formed Krewella in 2007. The release of “Killin’ It” in 2012 sprouted their monumental music career. Released via Monstercat, “Killin’ It” marks their first original song released by a label. Not only was it the breakout single from the debut EP, Play Hard, but its massive success rewarded them with an International Dance Music Award for “Best Breakthrough Artist” later that year. “Killin It” opens with Krewella’s signature, alluring vocals that build up to a ground-shaking, heavy dubstep drop. By effortlessly fusing their infatuating melodies with growling bass drops, they defied the norms previously set in dance music.
Zeds Dead - Adrenaline (Inspected Records) [January 23rd, 2012]
2004 is the year that changed the lives of Dylan Mamid and Zachary Rapp-Rovan, the musical prowesses who formed the Canadian DJ duo Zeds Dead. Although they met in 2004, they didn’t have their first breakthrough until 2009, when they began to hone in on their electronic sound. Initially known to be dubstep prodigies, Zeds Dead established a genre-defying catalog that ranges from trap and house to D&B and breaks.
Their song “Adrenaline” is part of a four-track EP that has a little something on it for everyone. However, this track definitely hits harder than the rest. “Adrenaline” incorporates the classic UK dubstep sound with its low-end wobbles that may leave you with a squinching “bass face.” This EP introduced listeners to their dynamic abilities, giving them a taste of sounds from all over the musical spectrum. As dance music continues to evolve, Zeds Dead has proven to be at the forefront of it all.
Dirty South & Thomas Gold ft. Kate Elsworth - Eyes Wide Open (Phazing) [January 23rd, 2012]
After the massive success of their first track together called “Alive,” this power trio again united to bless us with the sequel, “Eyes Wide Open.” The production qualities of Dirty South and Thomas Gold combined are immaculate, and Kate Elsworth’s angelic voice soaring above is the icing on the cake.
Every great vocal song has a memorable hook—”Close my eyes, I’m next to you” will be stuck in your head all day. Initially a bootleg, Dirty South and Thomas Gold decided to create an original because they fell in love with Kate’s vocals. “We both loved it so much that we decided to do a new track around the whole thing.” said Thomas Gold in an interview with MTV. “Eyes Wide Open” is a strong representation of the iconic 2010’s progressive house era that we all long for today.
Afrojack & Shermanology - Can’t Stop Me (Wall Recordings/Spinnin’ Records) [January 23rd, 2012]
This banger is recognizable to any dance-music lover within the first few seconds. The musical talents of electro-house producer, Afrojack and electronic brother/sister duo Shermanology unite to create what was, and still is, the perfect summer vocal anthem.
First premiering on Pete Tong’s “Essential Mix” radio show, “Can’t Stop Me” was officially released on Afrojack’s own imprint label called Wall Recordings. This track is a lively mash between melodic sounds and Dutch elements, jam-packed with vibrant, stadium-sized synths. The instrumental hook was re-created in David Guetta’s track with Ludacris and Usher called “Rest Of My Life.”
Shermanology has since gone on to dominate tech house with a string of hits in 2021 like "Boyz N Da Club" and "Searching" with Will Clarke. You can catch them this weekend, January 22 on Gray Area presents OCHO 3 on Diplo's Revolution/ Sirius XM.
Hardwell - Spaceman (Revealed Recordings) [January 23rd, 2012]
Known as one of the most legendary big room house songs ever created, “Spaceman” is a dance music staple produced by Dutch DJ, Hardwell. It was released on Hardwell’s Revealed Recordings. It begins with a soothing, melodic house line that intensifies into an unexpected but powerful bass drop.
“Spaceman” was a breakthrough track that capitulated Hardwell into the international spotlight. The song’s unforgettable melody instantly became a crowd-pleaser played at main stage festivals across the world. The vocal version titled, “Call Me A Spaceman” featuring vocals by Dutch singer, Mitch Crown, was released just a few months later. Unsurprisingly, Hardwell was voted #1 in the DJ Mag Top 100 in 2013 and 2014, cementing his world-renowned legacy. It’s safe to say “Spaceman” is a timeless classic that will live on for future generations.
Firebeatz - Where’s Your Head At (Spinnin’ Records) [January 30th, 2012]
Dutch duo, Firebeatz, infiltrated the dance music scene back in 2008. Members Jurre Van Doeselaar and Tim Smulders, who met at the Tilburg School of Arts in the Netherlands, have been at the pinnacle of electro house for over a decade.
“Where’s Your Head At” samples the classic Basement Jaxx song of the same name. This club-smashing hit has made waves on dance music, along with their other singles like “Funky Shit,” “Dear New York” and “Helicopter.” The hard-hitting energy of this track is unmatched, placing high in the ranks on the Beatport dance charts when it was released. “Where’s Your Head At” has been a festival favorite for years and undoubtedly for many years to come.