2021 has been another whirlwind of a year. While dance music has come back to life with festivals and clubs; it is still suppressed by what feels to be a never-ending pandemic. Fortunately, there were some great tunes throughout the year that caught our attention. The writers and editors here at EDMTunes have looked back at some of the best work in 2021. We have already identified our Rising Stars in 2021, Top 10 Remixes, and Top 10 Albums.
Now, we bring to you our Top 20 Tracks of 2021. These 20 are the best dance music had to offer this year. These will all be original tracks, since remixes were ranked separately. Some will get your body moving while others will chill you out. Some will bring a smile to your face while others will send energy surging through your body. Prepare to be immersed in the world of Dance Music 2021.
Before we begin with the list I thought it would be nice to throw in some honorable mentions. In no particular order, these were some tracks that we enjoyed but made it outside our Top 20.
- Above & Beyond – Screwdriver
- Kaskade – Haunt V2
- deadmau5 – When The Summer Ends
- Charles D – Twenty Twenty
- Martin Garrix – Pressure
- Nora En Pure – Life On Hold
20. Tale Of Us – Time
Tale Of Us gets our list started with ‘Time.’ Inspired by Hans Zimmer’s work for the film Inception, this remix takes the work of art in a new direction. This track does the original justice by adding ear candy throughout. There is uplifting energy throughout and we are here for it.
19. deadmau5 – Bridged By A Lightwave
Next up is deadmau5’s track with Kiesza ‘Bridged By A Lightwave.’ This one features all of deadmau5’s signature sounds with Keisza’s breathtaking vocals. The drop is dreamy energy perfect for his live shows. There is a certain nostalgic sound here that almost feels like home.
18. Swedish House Mafia & The Weeknd – A Moth To A Flame
Swedish House Mafia & The Weeknd shocked the world with a surprise release. ‘A Moth To A Flame’ was the return of the Swedish Trio (release wise). They of course had their reunion tour throughout the world. Having The Weeknd be a part of the song took it to another level. More to come from Swedish House Mafia down the list.
17. Chris Lorenzo – California Dreamin’
Was there a more hyped song throughout the Summer than Chris Lorenzo’s California Dreamin’? That is debatable, but fans were long awaiting the release of this one. The remix featuring High Jinx was inspired by the 1960’s track by the Mamas & The Papas. The 2021 version surges bass throughout your body and your feet are forced to move.
16. Lane 8 – Oh, Miles
Lane 8 had an insane year with release after release. One of them had to make their way onto our list and it was ‘Oh, Miles’ featuring Julia Church. This one sent us to memories of the past with its beautiful chords. While there might be some sadder undertones throughout the track, the lyrics provide optimism for life.
15. Vintage Culture, Fancy Inc, Roland Clark – Free
Vintage Culture was our Top Rising Star of 2021 so it is no surprise an original made it onto this list. ‘Free’ with Fancy Inc and Roland Clark is about being back on the road and celebrating life with music. It was made for dance floors with the drop featuring a thick rolling bass and a huge sub. It will most definitely set you Free.
14. Sofi Tukker & John Summit – Sun Came Up
Sofi Tukker & John Summit took us on an atmospheric house adventure in ‘Sun Came Up.’ The liveliness of the guitar really adds something special to the groovy drop. Sofi Tukker’s soft and sensual lyrics put us in the clouds. The difference between the verse and drop is great. It makes the track appeal to a wider audience.
13. ANYMA – Running
Tale Of Us made their way onto this list 3 times! The duo did so by debuting new individual side projects this year. Our favorite of the moment is ANYMA. ‘Running’ features infectious lyrics and a pounding rhythm to make the track an instant crowd favorite. They released this one along with ‘Walking’ as an EP.
12. ARTBAT – Flame
ARBAT had a massive 2021 starting his own label fittingly called UPPERGROUND. A funny play on how dance music started in the underground. The label’s debut single was ‘Flame.’ The Track has soul and is filled with energy. It is a dramatic mix of techno and trance.
11. RUFUS DU SOL- On My Knees
RUFUS DU SOL was the only artist to be featured on this list 3 times (you can see we like them). The first of these is ‘On My Knees.’ They actually performed this track on Jimmy Kimmel. The Australian Trio is known for its live performances and this one fits in perfectly.
10. Chris Lake – Love Is Just A Drug From God
Chris Lake starts our Top 10 with ‘Love Is Just A Drug From God.’ A collaboration with Grimes, this highly anticipated record brings life to any party. The track continues to progress with rising energy and hypnotic vibes. It is a captivating track that features Chris Lake’s signature bass sound.
9. RUFUS DU SOL- Next To Me
RUFUS DU SOL’s second track ‘Next To Me’ has magical capabilities. It feels like an instant classic even after the first listen. This one is danceable while being a singalong. Quite the perfect blend for any song. Beautiful lyrics connect right to the heart throughout.
8. Tchami – Eternity
Tchami brings the groove back to this list with ‘Eternity.’ In a collaboration with Habstrakt, the french house masterminds take us to dreamland to begin the track. The drop can be heard anytime and anywhere but is made for the club. Lena Leon’s vocals are sensational. The bass groove will get you lost for Eternity.
7. Porter Robinson – Look at the Sky
Porter Robinson brings us happiness with ‘Look at the Sky.’ Vocal chops remind me of the fonder days in life. If for some reason you find yourself in a meadow of flowers on a sunny day, please play this song. This song speaks right to the soul. Sometimes you need to just look at the sky for a bit.
6. Noizu – Middle
Noizu was one of our breakout artists of 2021 that didn’t make the Top 5. ‘Middle’ was said to be created during the quarantine of the pandemic. Noizu dreamed of playing it live and finally did so throughout the whole Summer. It was an instant hit with the crowd. It is a must listen and will make you want to meet in the middle with someone special.
5. John Summit – Make Me Feel
John Summit cracks our Top 5 with ‘Make Me Feel.’ It is made for the dance floor and defines house’s newest sound. The vocals on this track are hypnotic and the bassline is tight. The drop is hard enough to get you dancing without control. This one will make YOU (me) feel a certain way.
4. ANYMA – Claire
As mentioned above, ANYMA is a side project from Matteo of Tale of Us. ‘Claire’ is a beautiful track that is also the name of his 3-track EP. It is ethereal and perfect for drifting away during a drive or a relaxing day. It makes me want to look out into the water and dream of life. The vocals are dreamy and this one will take you far away into a different world.
3. Swedish House Mafia – It Gets Better
Swedish House Mafia somehow got better. A Top 3 track of the year, ‘It Gets Better’ was teased throughout their reunion tour. They actually reworked it from what they played live and while we wouldn’t be disappointed with either, this one flat-out slaps. Both drops hit hard with me personally being a bigger fan of the second drop. It is just so groovy! They also released an accompanying music video to really set the scene.
2. RUFUS DU SOL – Alive
RUFUS DU SOL’s final track on our list is ‘Alive.’ This is the one that broke their music release hiatus of three years. The track is adorned with haunting lyricism and inventive broken beat percussion. It captures the feeling of a lost year in 2020. While it may be a heavy song emotionally, at its core is hopefulness. The trio wanted to focus on the hope that the future holds for us all.
1. ACRAZE – Do It To It
Our #1 Track Of The Year is probably not a surprise. ACRAZE’s ‘Do It To It’ was an absolute Summer Sensation. Once it dropped, it did not just take over the dance music world, but pop music in general. Tik Toks were exploding with the audio with trend after trend.
ACRAZE was able to put his unique spin on Mid-2000’s hit ‘Do It To It’ by Cherish. I had the honor of first hearing this one at The Brooklyn Mirage when DJ Snake dropped it. He brought ACRAZE on stage and fittingly said what all of us were thinking “NOT GOING TO LIE, THIS IS THE F*CKING SONG OF THE SUMMER.”
DJ Snake is rarely wrong and but at this moment he was. It wasn’t just the song of the Summer, it was The Song Of 2021.