The Best Songs of 2013

2013 was the year that we predicted would see dance music having a major impact on the mainstream music scene. Some laughed at us when we presented ou

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Complex Original

Image via Complex Original

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2013 was the year that we predicted would see dance music having a major impact on the mainstream music scene. Some laughed at us when we presented our case for why that'd occur, but then we saw Avicii, Baauer, Daft Punk, and Disclosure have major impacts on the mainstream music scene throughout the year. EDM is all around us, and while we can talk about the best DJs and festivals in 2013, without quality beats, you're left assed-out. So today, we take a look back at the songs that helepd define EDM in 2013, from the banging rave anthems to the progressive, melodic soundscapes. Take a look back at 2013 through the year's best songs.

RELATED: Best Songs of 2016

Hot Natured ft. Anabel Englund - "Reverse Skydiving"

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Label: FFRR

Hot Natured feels like a crew that, with the right track, could permeate into the post-Disclosure consciousness of the mainstream dance music lover. Give them a vocalist like Ellie Goulding, and a song like "Reverse Skydiving" could go huge.

Noisia ft. Calyx & TeeBee - "Hyenas"

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Label: Vision

The wet dream of any true dnb believer, this meeting of the minds sounds just like you would've expected it to, and helped reestablish hope in the future of the dnb scene.

Martin Solveig & The Cataracs ft. Kyle - "Hey Now"

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Label: D:vision Records

That hook might be the catchiest thing to hit EDM all year. Perfect summer song for those of you who had nothing else to do this summer but sit in a wading pool, sipping on fruity cocktails. Rage on, rager.

Destructo - "Higher"

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Label: Boysnoize / OWSLA

When he's not curating some of the best festivals to hit the American dance music scene, Destructo is churning out murky, bass-driven beasts. This one stayed with you for a bit, with the sly throwback elements during its breakdowns.

Empire Of The Sun - "Alive"

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Label: Universal Music

EOTS is making truly epic music. These are the anthems that have kids closing their eyes, soaking in the goodness of life with both hands.

Mat Zo ft. Chuck D - "Pyramid Scheme"

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Label: Astralwerks

What a memorable melody. Combining that with the re-recorded Chuck D vocal and that driving electro house beat, and Mat Zo proved how much of a winner he was is.

Digital Lab, Henrix & GTA - "Hit It"

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Label: Size

This track took no prisoners, and ruled every set it touched during the first half of 2013. A monster that helped define one of the driving sounds of the year.

Drums of Death ft. Yasmin - "True"

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Label: Black Butter

Yasmin might need to vocal every bass driven house tune coming from the UK. Her voice is perfect for this style, and had us hitting the rewind time and again.

Madeon - "Technicolor"

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Label: popcultur

Madeon set out to create what felt like a true journey in sound, and confined it to under seven minutes. "Technicolor" was full of electro-charged emotion, and made anything else he did in 2013 pale in comparison.

Chase & Status ft. Louis M^ttrs - "Lost & Not Found"

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Label: RAM/Mercury

Remember the early '90s, when the best producers in the UK would find a way to throw in beautiful strings over their breakbeat-looping jams? With a proper vocalist to tie everything together? This rocked just like those jams used to. So bold.

Martin Garrix - "Animals"

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Label: Spinnin'

Regardless of how we felt about the sketchy way this track was presented to the masses, we could never deny it's impact. Sure, it's designed to do exactly what it does (turning ravers into motherfucking animals), but that's not always wrong. And no matter how we feel about the current state of EDM (especially the electro house scene), you have to acknowledge when a new talent gets it right.

Pryda - "Power Drive"

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Label: Pryda Recordings

This felt like magic every time it got thrown into a set. A little over half of the track is spent building it up, but once it drops, you're so thankful for that time spent. Pryda's a gem.

Machinedrum - "Gunshotta"

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Label: Ninja Tune

Machinedrum kept the atmosphere-loving side of the breakbeat scene alive and well, and "Gunshotta" exemplified the moody, brooding sensibilities that encapsulated his Vapor City. You have the rolling edits on those drums, thrown somewhere beneath a menacing bassline that found a way to poke it's head out of the cavern before being shoved back into it's place. Music to get lost in.

TNGHT - "Acrylics"

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Label: Warp / LuckyMe

For all of the hype that Lunice and Hudson Mohawke had in 2012, their 2013 wasn't spent releasing much material, even if you count the previously-unreleased cut that Kanye West used on Yeezus. "Acrylics" was their lone banger, and it was a monster. Eerie melodies, a cavalcade of bleeps and snares, and a sinister edge... all in the intro. Once this one drops? Pure devastation. Not much rocked harder than the bassline in this, and even if you didn't "get" it, you couldn't help but turn up to it.

Mat Zo & Porter Robinson - "Easy"

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Label: Ministry of Sound / Anjunabeats

If one song showed the promise of two of the scene's future bright spots, it was Mat Zo & Porter Robinson's "Easy." That vocal will stay with you for the rest of the day, making you either long for a lost love or squeeze your current love that much tighter. One of the most beautiful tunes to hit the scene this year, without question.

Knife Party - "LRAD"

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Label: Earstorm / Big Beat

Love it or hate it, this is the sound of electro house. We almost hate having to defend our love for this tune, but it's not necessarily that Knife Party did anything wrong. You have a massive intro, which leads into a drop that will no doubt have the crowd rocking, even if it's essentially made up of a couple of notes thrown against the pounding beat. The problem is when this tune blows up and every producer wants to just remake this track. Don't blame obvious bangers like "LRAD," blame the copycats.

Daft Punk ft. Pharrell - "Get Lucky"

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Label: Columbia

Your Best of 2013 list ain't shit if "Get Lucky" isn't in it. Daft Punk was one of the true owners of 2013, and the build up to Random Access Memories was all about the disco-tinged, '70s Michael Jackson-esque lead single "Get Lucky." Featuring the awesome guitar work from Nile Rodgers and Pharrell getting his MJ on, this song was as feel-good as anything else to emerge from the dance music scene. It's not "today's EDM," but neither is Daft Punk. "Get Lucky" is a shot in the arm, a reveling in the old school that so many say they are educated on but rarely referenced. Soul being brought to the machine, by the androids.

DJ Snake ft. Alesia - "Bird Machine"

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Label: Jeffree's

Before anyone really started calling it twerk or bounce, you had DJ Snake and Alesia's "Bird Machine." This thing was being rinsed to death by everyone, and for good reason. Coming out of such a trap-heavy 2012, "Bird Machine" showed that you could, in fact, apply your 808s to other tempos and make EDM fans love it. A definitive tune in the twerk scene, "Bird Machine" was everything.

Dom & Roland - "Unofficial Jah"

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Label: Metalheadz

Without a doubt, "Unofficial Jah" / "Outa Endz" is the best drum & bass single to drop in 2013. Aside from the fact that it is Dom's debut single on Metalheadz (yes, that fact is true), the truth of the matter is that it proves that drum & bass still matters... and probably matters more now than it had in previous years. The last thing we were expecting this year was Dom to rework a track from Goldie's 1995 album Timeless. It made perfect sense, and even if it's more dubwise than most of Dom's material, it filters the 'Headz sound perfectly, with the technical wizardry that Dom's known for shining through. Sleep if you want, but nothing caused this much damage to subwoofers in 2013.

Gesaffelstein - "Pursuit"

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Label: Parlophone

In that middle ground between loving how Gesaffelstein had Yeezus credits, but not really knowing too much about Aleph, there was "Pursuit." That "hard techno" sound that Gesaffestein, Brodinski, and others from the Bromance camp perfect was alive and well in this one. Hypnotic melodies, twisted around those tech drums, intersecting and reorganizing themselves whenever they saw fit. That feeling of impending doom that you just couldn't shake. The weird, intense vibe coursing through your veins when the melody got shifted just a bit. Well done.

Dillon Francis ft. Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs - "Without You"

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Label: Mad Decent

When you set aside his love for Taco Bell, his DJ Hanzel alter-ego, and all of the epic tweets, Facebook status updates, and his monster tour schedule, what are you left with when it comes to Dillon Francis? You have a producer that's signed to Mad Decent. And while it's hard to strip away his hilarious personality and those obvious club-rocking tracks, you end up with music like "Without You," which features Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosarus and is pretty damn unique sitting in his catalog. Driven by personal lyrics, and a lot more focused on the world its creating than kicking out the epic, Dillon shows promise for his future, and with one track has us awaiting the album he's got in store for us next year.

Duke Dumont ft. A.M.E. - "Need U (100%)"

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Label: Blasé Boys Club

Tracks like "Need U (100%)" are the reason why we think 2014 will be full of more Disclosure-leaning grooves. This Grammy-nominated jam is as just as into its well-utilized vocals as it is in the obvious house grooves it employs. It's a timeless vibe that is undeniable and fun as hell to jam to. You can't front on it. And if anything it shows that Duke Dumont will be an unlikely force to be reckoned with in the coming year.

DJ Rashad ft. DJ Spinn - "Drank, Kush, Barz"

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Label: Hyperdub

Double Cup showed, if nothing else, that the complexities of footwork could be filtered and presented to those who might not be normally into it, and cuts like "Drank, Kush, Barz" perfected that idea. One the one hand, you have an intro that borrows from the hip-hop/trap scene, with a subtle turn up in the drums that lay underneath a vibrant loop made up of jazzy keys. All of this is the bed for vocals from a guy letting you know what they have "in this bitch," signalling time to get crunk and get hype. Once the track comes together, you still have footwork's thumping underbelly, but it's not nearly as intense as we've heard others come. On the flipside, this cut also deviates into the heavy jungle influence that is permeating both Rashad's work and the juke/footwork scene(s) in general, with that edited amen break section toward the latter part of the track. If any track properly defined Double Cup, it was this one.

Breach - "Jack"

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Label: dirtybird

2013 wasn't a resurgence of house music... it was a year that people realized that there was more to house than the more rave-ready "electro" house sound. Jackin' house and all other forms of house started emerging regularly, and Ben Westbeech's Breach moniker had a major hit on his hands when "Jack" hit the scene via dirtybird... to the point where Atlantic was like "hey, let's go ahead and re-release that right now." While we imagine this didn't make a huge splash on the "commercial" side of things, the fact that this track, which is at its core a sub-lover's dream set to a constant thump and an unforgettable vocal, helped show how the mainstream scene is coming around to what they consider "big" tunes in the EDM scene. Let's jack.

Disclosure ft. AlunaGeorge - "White Noise"

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Label: PMR

We tried to tell you early on: Disclosure was a name to watch in 2013. Sure, many of you might've thought that, but did you really expect the heights they rose to? "White Noise" topped the charts in the UK within hours of being released, and with AlunaGeorge on the help-out, it made sense. Two of the emerging forces in the pop-leaning side of the music scene coming from the UK bridging the gap, infusing their undeniably catchy leanings on a boisterous riddim? It was destined to move crowds, but moving units (and changing minds) wasn't as quickly expected. This single helped set the Disclosure train properly in motion, which included everything from their huge album Settle, which brought them to every stage that mattered on the 2013 festival circuit, as well as to the Grammys. Not bad for some brothers who are just trying to create music they feel.

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