The best club tunes of 2013
Our clubbing critic and a handful of our favourite DJs pick their top drops from this year
Mon Dec 9 2013
With the new year now clearly in sight, we take the time to sit back and ask ourselves one question: 'which dance tracks have we loved the most over the past 12 months?'. Having filtered the bangers from the blunders, check out which club tunes have had us cutting shapes non-stop throughout 2013.
Our ten favourite dance tunes of the year
Breach – ‘Jack’Cornier than a can of Green Giant, but so addictive, the British singer scored a Top Ten hit with this omnipresent club chanter. The command was simple: ‘I want your body, everybody wants your body, so let’s jack’. Few refused to comply.
Paul Woolford – ‘Untitled’Capping a huge year for Woolford, his first appearance in the Top Ten is a straight-up piano house banger that gleefully followed Disclosure’s poppy take on Chicago house, with a more illicit and underground edge.
Green Velvet – ‘Bigger than Prince’This tongue-in-cheek tech-funk jam saw US house god Green Velvet sting fakers and phonies everywhere. Over a drum track that recalled his Purpleness, his sights were set firmly on those who ‘walk around like you’re bigger than Prince’.
Sophie – ‘Nothing More to Say’At the start of the year, mysterious newcomer Sophie dropped an insanely catchy treat on us with this full-fat electro winner. Released via London promoter Huntleys & Palmers, its synthesised simplicity, vocal hooks and joyously innocent chords meant it got rinsed pretty much everywhere. Fans ranged from house head Tensnake to wide-eyed technoist Actress, while Jackmaster even commissioned his own dub version.
Doc Daneeka – ‘Walk On In’Big breakdowns and long builds that make you want to hug everyone in a 70-foot radius: dancefloors love ’em, we love ’em, and by a whisker this housey treat was responsible for the biggest endorphin rushes of 2013. Welsh producer Doc Daneeka used a looped jazz vocal and a rising horn sample to create one of the most loving climaxes since Daft Punk’s ‘One More Time’.
Special Request – ‘Ride’After years in the shadows, jungle was massive again in 2013. Leading a clique of artists incorporating breaks at a house tempo was veteran producer Paul Woolford, under his Special Request alias. Taken from the excellent ‘Soul Music’ LP, this stunning remix of Lana Del Rey’s ‘Blue Jeans’ was his calling card. A jaw-dropping marriage of LDR’s husky tones, syrupy thick bass and echoey Amen breaks, it seared itself on the brains of all who heard it.
Joy Orbison – ‘BRTHDTT’Every year in clubland, one bassline reigns supreme over all others – from Mr Oizo’s ‘Flat Eric’ to Timo Mass’s mix of ‘Doom’s Night’. Top of the bottoms this year was this almost sarcastically huge throbber from dreamy house weaver Joy Orbison. Though released in late 2012, its mighty ‘whump’ echoed over into 2013 – and featured in sets by everyone from Daphni to Julio Bashmore.
Duke Dumont – 'Need U (100%)’ (Skream mix)Since his teens, Skream has pioneered the staunch sound of dubstep. This was the year he gave it a rest and just got his groove on. ‘Need U’ was already a big tune (and an unexpected Number One), but Skream upended it with a remix that channelled ’80s boogie without a scintilla of cheese. Shep Pettibone and Jellybean’s beats for Whitney and Madonna may have been the obvious template, but few were complaining.
Tessela – ‘Hackney Parrot’If 2013 was supposed to be the year of deep house, Bristol producer Tessela did not get the memo. Channelling the sounds of the early ’90s hardcore scene, the newcomer loudly bucked the trend for gentleness with some fierce rave breakbeats, a killer drop and a diva sample chopped by Beelzebub himself. Do parrots exist in Hackney? This song won’t answer that. It will however make dancefloors buckle for years.
Todd Terje – ‘Strandbar’Norwegian producer Todd Terje has a hell of a routine going on: write one flagship tune a year, release it and watch as dancefloors explode. We put the sublime doe-eyed disco of Terje’s ‘Inspector Norse’ second in last year’s list. ‘Strandbar’, however, took the 32-yearold’s lush mix of disco and techno to new heights.
As breezy as the quirky Norwegian beach bars it takes its name from, Terje had the courage to make ‘Strandbar’ a classic slow burner. It takes two freewheeling minutes before it settles into its groove, but once locked in, it builds dramatically and seductively before climaxing on a perfect Balearic piano shuffle.
In a year dominated by mixed attempts to ‘go disco’, Terje put himself on a par with the greats. The scale of Barry White’s Love Unlimited Orchestra, the elegance of Quincy-era Michael Jackson and the robotic drive of Giorgio Moroder are all present and correct. No wonder it became a staple in London’s best clubs – from Horse Meat Disco to Andrew Weatherall’s A Love From Outer Space parties.
Breach – ‘Jack’
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