With releases from some of the best in the business, 2015 has been a huge year for dance music. Artists like Skrillex and Diplo (collectively known as Jack Ü), Dillon Francis, Flux Pavilion, and others are pushing the envelope of the genre more than ever.
At the pinnacle of quality and popularity, you’ll find the best of EDM—15 tracks that define the year, all available for streaming on Spotify.
1) Skrillex & Diplo – “Where Are Ü Now (feat. Justin Bieber)”
Justin Bieber—long despised in the dance community—has turned his image around by working with dance music legend Skrillex, and “Where Are Ü Now” was the first step in that long process.
Upon its release on Feb. 27, the song took off, peaking in July when it went Platinum and hit No. 8 on Billboard’s Top 100 (and No. 1 on the Hot Dance/Electronic chart). It later took home Best Collaboration of 2015 at the MTV European Music Awards.
2) Flux Pavilion & Matthew Koma – “Emotional”
British producer and popular dubstep label Circus Records co-owner Flux Pavilion achieved mainstream success in 2010 with the single “I Can’t Stop,” but 2015 finally saw the release of his first studio album.
The most popular track on his debut album Tesla is a collaboration with American singer and songwriter Matthew Koma titled “Emotional.”
The track quickly rose to be Flux’s third most-listened-to track of all time (sitting at 380,000 plays) on Spotify, just below “I Can’t Stop” and “Do or Die.” It’s also accumulated over 1 million plays on YouTube across popular channels such as MrSuicideSheep, Trap City, and others.
3) Major Lazer – “Powerful (feat. Ellie Goulding and Tarrus Riley)”
Major Lazer returned in 2015 to release the trio’s third studio album, titled Peace Is the Mission. The fourth single from the album was “Powerful,” a collaboration with mainstream English pop singer Ellie Goulding and Jamaican reggae singer Tarrus Riley called “Powerful.”
The track had mild success in the United States, hitting No. 83 on the Billboard Hot 100, but in Australia, the track managed to take seventh on the overall music chart (and first in dance) over the summer.
Between consistent radio play and its role as the main promotional theme of Major Lazer’s Mad Decent Block Party, “Powerful” became a veritable summer anthem. It’s also Major Lazer’s second most popular track on Spotify, coming in at 56.5 million plays.
4) Dillon Francis & Skrillex – “Bun Up the Dance”
After an immensely successful 2014 that saw the release of his debut album Money Sucks, Friends Rule, Dillon Francis said he wanted to return to his roots in moombahton for a short EP this year. Francis debuted some of these songs on tour, notably at Lollapalooza and CounterPoint Music Festival.
The result was August release This Mixtape is Fire. The EP’s third single, a collaboration with mentor Skrillex called “Bun Up the Dance,” returns Francis to the heavy dance music style that made him so popular in the early 2010s.
That style has been well received by fans, who’ve tallied almost 4.5 million plays of the track on Spotify.
5) Jauz & Ephwurd – “Rock the Party”
“Rock the Party” by Jauz and Ephwurd (later revealed to be a collaborative project between popular dubstep producer Datsik and Bais Haus) dominated the festival circuit of 2015.
The song is currently sitting at just under 1 million plays on Spotify alone and held the No. 1 spot on Beatport’s top 100 for several weeks after its July release on Spinnin’ Records.
6) Dillon Francis & Calvin Harris – “What’s Your Name”
“What’s Your Name” was another track from Dillon Francis’s This Mixtape Is Fire. Its premiere at Go HARD Toronto left fans anxiously awaiting the rest of the release, so when it officially dropped in August, it quickly became a Spotify favorite. The track currently has 2.7 million plays on Spotify, and it sits at No. 3 in Francis’ most popular tracks.
7) Madeon & Passion Pit – “Pay No Mind”
French house wonderboy Madeon signed his first record deal with Sony Music for his debut album Adventure, and he put out a series of singles throughout late 2014 and early 2015 to promote the album. The first of 2015 was “Pay No Mind,” a collaboration with American indietronica band Passion Pit.
The song has over 12 million plays on Spotify. Its music video has two million views on the artist’s YouTube channel.
8) Major Lazer – “Lean On (feat. MØ & DJ Snake)”
Featuring an upbeat and tropical beat produced by Diplo, Jillionaire, and Walshy Fire (collectively Major Lazer)—as well as French producer DJ Snake—the trio’s first single of the year became an anthem for all of 2015. The track also features bone-chilling vocals from popular Danish singer MØ.
It’s had airplay on Friday Night Football and the Tonight Show With Jimmy Fallon, making it one of the most mainstream Major Lazer tracks ever, in addition to their most popular.
9) Calvin Harris & Disciples – “How Deep Is Your Love”
Mainstream media latched onto Calvin Harris thanks to his relationship with pop star Taylor Swift, but the Scottish artist was quietly preparing for the biggest release of his career. And in October, he dropped “How Deep Is Your Love,” a collaboration with English producer trio Disciples and uncredited vocals from Norwegian singer Ina Wroldsen.
The track has tallied over 222 million plays on Spotify since its release, as well as gotten remixed by DJ Snake, the artist best known for producing “Turn Down for What.”
10) Zomboy – “Game Time (Barely Alive Remix)”
For his “Resurrected” remix album, Zomboy enlisted the talents of American dubstep duo Barely Alive. The group has had an incredible 2015 under the guidance of dubstep legends Dodge & Fuski and Astronaut and put out its first album on the Disciple Recordings label this year, earning compliments from Skrillex himself.
Barely Alive’s remix of “Game Time” quickly replaced 2011 favorite “Game Time” as a favorite in DJ sets.
11) Hermitude – “The Buzz (feat. Mataya & Young Tapz)”
Australian duo Hermitude released its first major album Dark Night Sweet Light in 2015, filled with chill trap tracks like “The Buzz,” which has 7 million Spotify plays to date.
The single, which features Mataya and Young Tapz, has seen particular popularity in Australia.
12) Diamond Eyes – “Stay With Me (feat. Christina Grimmie)”
Diamond Eyes tracks “Animation” (a collaboration with Polish legend Xilent) and “Stay With Me” have gotten global attention already. But the beauty of Diamond Eyes’s music is in his voice, which is truly showcased in this duet with Christina Grimmie.
The 2 million plays it’s received on YouTube are well-deserved; this song is incredible.
13) Seven Lions – “A Way to Say Goodbye (Puppet Remix)”
After a successful Monstercat debut in 2014, Puppet returned this year to remix Seven Lions’ “A Way to Say Goodbye.” The notable difference from the original is a much more upbeat progression in the bridge of the song. This song is perfect if you’re driving on long roads with the windows down… as long as you ignore the heartbreaking lyrics.
14) Kill the Noise & Dillon Francis – “Dolphin on Wheels”
Kill the Noise has always been a favorite. From “Recess” with Skrillex, “Thumbs Up (for Rock ‘n’ Roll)” with Feed Me, “Narcissistic Cannibal” with Skrillex and KoRn, and “Dill the Noise” with Dillon Francis, the former drum ’n’ bass producer’s dubstep and electro alias has taken off since 2011.
Now with his latest album, Kill the Noise looks to redefine dance music. And this collaboration with Dillon Francis does just that. The song samples a YouTube video of a boy talking about his “dolphin on wheels” as well as dolphin chirps for the drop.
15) Excision & Pegboard Nerds – “Bring the Madness (feat. Mayor Apeshit) [Noisestorm Remix]”
Excision has been a household name for dance music fans since 2008. Similarly, Pegboard Nerds have pushed the envelope for dubstep music since its 2012 remix of Krewella’s “Alive.” Together with vocalist Mayor Apeshit for “Bring the Madness,” the two are almost unstoppable.
Irish producer Noisestorm managed to outdo himself for his drum ’n’ bass remix of “Bring the Madness,” mixing dubstep with fast DnB for an incredible track.
Photo via Patrick Savalle/Flickr (CC BY SA 2.0) | Remix by Jason Reed