Finally, we reach the end of our countdown of the top 100 tracks of 2010, according to all the DJ charts submitted to Beatport this year.
We’ve already done our share of armchair quarterbacking and backstage pontificating, so we’ll keep it brief. This is it, folks: the top 10 tracks of 2010. Of the thousands and thousands of tracks released this year, these were the tunes that cut across scenes, grabbed clubbers by the ears, and simply wouldn’t let go. Read on for the full list, and let us know where you stand on the final results in the comments section. And, last but not least, congratulations to all the artists and labels who placed in the top 100 this year; you helped make 2010 the year that it was. Which, as far as dance music is concerned, was pretty damned great.
Washington, D.C.’s Pleasurekraft spun one hell of a web with their single “Tarantula.” Relative unknowns when they signed the track to Edu Imbernon’s Eklektisch label, they went to the #1 spot in the Beatport Top 100—and stayed there for weeks. Since then, they’ve gone on to remix Jean Claude Ades, Sander Kleinenberg, and even Green Velvet, and in October they unleashed their new label, Kraftek, featuring cuts from Love Girls, Sideburn and Redondo, Rampa and &Me, and Pleasurekraft and Hugo. Here’s to further joyrides with Pleasurekraft in the coming year.
Since signing to Cologne’s MBF label two years ago, Kaiserdisco have become regular visitors to the upper echelons of Beatport’s charts. Their remix of Phunklarique and Pierce’s “Swoosh” was one of Beatport’s top 10 selling minimal tracks of 2008, and their late 2009 cut “Amalfino” climbed to #3 and spent three months in the charts. This year, the Hamburg duo just kept burnishing their crown, via remixes for Booka Shade, Holgi Star, Rainer Weichhold, Umek, Koen Groeneveld, Robyn, and more, as well as numerous EPs and their debut album, In No One’s Shadow. “Aguja,” meanwhile, needled its way deep into clubbers’ consciousness with its irresistibly slinky Latin percussion and sing-song chants.
DJs love Tim Green. His remix of Cassius’ “99” was the #22 most charted track this year. His Get Physical single “Old Sunshine” just barely missed the top 10, coming in at #12. “Lone Time,” released on Cocoon in the last few days of 2009, kept exerting its force all through the year, landing at #8 thanks to cleverly chopped percussion, nervous organ stabs and clipped vocals—a perfect marriage of form and function that never failed to announce its presence on the dancefloor.
Ok, so maybe tech house wasn’t the only game in town this year. Swedish newcomer Adrian Lux, a former model and current protégé of the Swedish House Mafia, injected dance music with a healthy does of pop with his sweetly melancholic single “Teenage Crime,” and Axwell & Henrik B managed to translate that into an electrifying progressive anthem that offered some of the year’s best hands-in-the-air action. Lux told an interviewer, “It’s hard for me to not write single-type songs—tracks you’ll want to listen to a million times. And that’s okay. It’s better to make one of those than three that sound good, but not great.” Clearly, the strategy worked.
Toolroom head Mark Knight knows his way around a hook, whether it’s reinterpreting a classic like “Man With the Red Face” or striking out on his own with Wolfgang Gartner for “Conscindo.” With “Devil Walking,” part of Knight’s BULLETS series, he worked his magic on a cheeky ‘80s reference to come up with a devilishly swinging, infectious anthem. Whatever the terms of his deal with the dark lord, the payoff was massive.
What’s left to say about Swedish House Mafia that hasn’t been said already? The trio of Steve Angello, Sebastian Ingrosso, and Axwell absolutely owned 2010. Their debut single under the SHM moniker, “One,” was so successful that Beatport CEO Matt Adell fashioned an entire case study around it with his International Music Summit presentation, ”Becoming ‘One’: The Anatomy of a #1 Hit”. Their next step: conquering the silver screen with Take One, a documentary about their take-no-prisoners approach to ruling clubland. Even Tony Soprano would think twice about getting in the way of these dudes. Watch out, 2011: the Mafia are in the house.
It was the winner of a Toolroom Records competition that came up with the name of Mark Knight & Wolfgang Gartner’s “Conscindo,” dusting off a Latin term meaning “tear to pieces,” and it couldn’t have been more on the money. The dynamic duo of Knight and Gartner, the fast-rising Texan who had eight #1s on Beatport in 2009 (including the year’s best selling track) sunk their teeth in and wouldn’t let go, with one of the year’s heaviest drops framed by sirens, snares, and all-out madness.
Like Knight, the Swedish House Mafioso Steve Angello distinguished himself as the only other artist to land two tracks in our top 10 this year. Where SHM’s hits were epic, brightly lit affairs, with “KNAS” he sucked clubbers back into the shadows. Dark, punishing, and boasting one of the heaviest leads of the year, “KNAS” was tooth-gnashingly gnarly, in the best way.
Joris Voorn is the kind of artist we could use more of these days: a producer and DJ who makes no secret of his debt to Detroit techno who nevertheless keeps pushing the music forward in his own, inimitable style; an underground hero who has managed to cross over in a big way without sacrificing what made him special in the first place. And let’s not forget his labels Green and Rejected, which just kept going from strength to strength in 2010. Nevertheless, “The Secret” earned its place at #2 on its own merits, with a throbbing, Moroder-inspired bassline, tribal ululations in the breakdown, and a subtle sense of drama. One of the biggest hits in Ibiza in 2009, “The Secret” wasn’t much of a secret by this year, but it remained an indispensable weapon just the same.
The loopy house of the “Mannheim Sound” may have been 2009’s big story, but it clearly didn’t run out of steam in 2010. Butch’s smash “No Worries” worked so well in part for the way it cut across scenes, with chunky percussion and super-low subs to please minimal house kids, disco flourishes for the traditionalists, and even a touch of diva vox to bring back the spirit of Basement Jaxx in their prime. It was simply the kind of tune that everyone could get behind—celebratory, and yet restrained enough that it wasn’t annoying to hear it rinsed for the umpteenth time. Wherever Butch and Cecille take us in 2011, they can look back with pride on having made the definitive track of 2010. Congratulations!