By Jacob Katel
By Karli Evans
By Jose D. Duran
By Pablo Chacon Alvarez
By Kat Bein
By Abel Folgar
By Laurie Charles
EDM was bigger and badder than ever this year. Lady Gaga went on tour with electro-wunderkind Zedd. Skrillex won three Grammys. Even the American Music Awards created an EDM category. Of course, this also means a lot of garbage is being produced. But thankfully, there are still loads of artists who take their craft (and the dance floor) seriously.
Let's look back and celebrate those artists who delivered with monster tracks, EPs, and even full albums.
10. Zedd's "Spectrum." In 2011, this Russian-German DJ-producer worked on official remixes for pop goddess Lady Gaga, and then he joined the megastar for her 2012 tour. But his biggest success to date would definitely be "Spectrum," a progressive and edgy electro-house anthem released June 1 on Interscope. No doubt teenagers will be finding themselves to its massive builds while driving on highways late at night for years to come.
9. Nari & Milani's "Atom." They're not pop superstars, but this Italian electro duo produced one of the year's biggest hits with dark, driving single "Atom." Chances are, if you're an avid partier, this track has been a highlight of about 60 percent of the DJ sets that got you uhntz-uhntz-ing in 2012.
8. Swedish House Mafia and Knife Party's "Antidote." These are two of the biggest names on the EDM scene. And this song was inescapable all year. Oh, and what a kick-ass music video, eh? Too bad Swedish House Mafia is calling it quits. At least Knife Party will be going strong for the foreseeable future.
7. Skrillex's Bangarang EP. He's an award-winning producer and the reason your little brother loves dubstep. Some people like to hate on Skrillex, but there's no denying the intensity and quality of his productions. He continued to shut the haters up with the release of his "Bangarang" EP, featuring the massive title track as well as epic hard-hitters like Doors collab "Breakn' a Sweat," Wolfgang Gartner feature "The Devil's Den," and the lovely "Summit" with Ellie Goulding. All in all, you could call the seven-track release a triumph, but we'll call it number seven for now.
6. Martin Solveig's "The Night Out." Forget being one of the best songs of 2012. This is one of the pop/nu-disco/electro-wave songs of beat-freaking ever! French cutie Martin Solveig totally kills it on this track, and he sings his own hook and everything. We'd spend the night out with Solveig any time, as long as he puts this song on.
5. Diplo's Express Yourself EP. Dammit, Diplo did it again! Everyone's favorite Florida white boy went hard with the release of his "Express Yourself" EP. The six-track instant classic starts off big with the NOLA bounce-inspired title track, spurring thousands of girls across the country to practice their booty clap.
4. Boys Noize's Out of the Black. In a world where most producers are happy to release singles and EPs, this German remains a maverick committed to delivering full-length LPs that destroy what everyone else is doing. Harking back to the hip-hop and hard electro of Oi Oi Oi, Boys Noize's Out of the Black is a 12-track masterpiece perfect for bending corners and murdering dance floors.
3. Justin Martin's Ghettos and Gardens. We're living in the era of the banger, but not every moment of your happy dancing life can be spent throwing 'bows and spilling drinks. Sometimes, it's closer to 4 a.m. and you just want to vibe. Enter Justin Martin's Ghettos and Gardens. From start to finish, this full-length, 12-track record is a work of art, and it's some of the grooviest audible art of all time.
2. Madeon's "Icarus." This Frenchie bro is only 18 years old, but he's already made big waves with his "Pop Life" mashup. Then the 2012 single "Icarus" solidified his ascension to the master ranks. At this year's Ultra Music Festival, the giants of the scene stood totally speechless while watching him work. Expect big things from this kid.
1. Flosstradamus's "Original Don (Remix)." Without a doubt, Flosstradamus's remix of Diplo's "Original Don" is the EDM track of 2012. Released back in January, it was the trap beat heard 'round the world. Now the forefathers of a whole damn electronic trappin' movement, these guys got themselves banned from playing free shows in their hometown of Chicago because their big sound inspires riots. Decades from now, when the kids wanna know about EDM in 2012, just play Floss's "Original Don" and drop it low when you're in the trap.