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The 20 best club tunes of 2012


We list the twenty biggest songs to hit London's dancefloors this year

From a huge selection of tunes this year, Time Out's Clubbing team list the top 20 songs that made the capital's dancefloors buckle in 2012. Click on the player on the right and enjoy our top of the drops...

Did we miss out your favourite club tune of 2012? Let us know in the comments box below or tweet us at @TimeOutClubbing.

  • 10

    ‘Modern Driveway’– Luke Abbott

    Urbane and with an irresistible groove, this low-key number was surely inspired by something more profound than block paving. Abbott’s two excellent EPs this year for Gold Panda’s Notown label have marked him out as the thinking clubber’s producer of choice.

  • 9
    © Matt Barnes

    ‘DDD’ – Machinedrum

    The American producer's homage to the hands-in-the-air house anthems of the early ’90s is a classic in its own right, with a melodic breakdown halfway through to max out the bliss levels. Azealia Banks borrowed it as the backing to her track '1991’. And if it’s good enough for Aze, it’s good enough for us.

  • 8

    ‘Why They Hide Their Bodies Under My Garage’ – Blawan

    While many producers dived headlong into techno over the last year, nobody did so as memorably as Yorkshire’s Blawan. Built around a murderous (and unlikely) vocal sample from The Fugees’ first album, Blawan advanced the cold robotic grooves of classic techno by giving it an even colder and blacker human heart. Murky and menacing, few songs leapt out in quite the same way.

  • 7

    ‘Let’s Have a Kiki’ – Scissor Sisters

    Originally an album track by the NYC group, it was DJs that turned this ode to having an afterhours gossip into a gold-plated gay anthem. Did it appropriate drag and voguing culture? You bet, honey, but those retro ’90s beats, silly British accents and dramatic pauses (perfect for striking a pose) made clubs explode into a sea of flailing limbs each and every time.

  • 6

    ‘Oliver Twist’ – D’Banj

    This funky Afrobeats banger has an appeal broader than Ealing Broadway. A slow-burning yet richly deserved hit for the Nigerian singer, it received bare rewinds at Carnival, fits snugly into sets by garage and dancehall DJs, and gets requested in pop clubs too. A fringe benefit was that Olivers everywhere could rejoice that there was finally a wicked tune with their name in the title.

  • 5

    ‘Higher Ground’ – TNGHT

    Nothing made clubbers lose their shit quite like this beast from Lunice and Hudson Mohawke. Bolstered by fast claps and brass hits which sound like a demonic colliery band, this hip hop/rave hybrid challenges you to dance in 17 different ways at exactly the same time.

  • 4

    ‘Running’ – Jessie Ware (Disclosure remix)

    A good remix should tie up the original with gaffer tape, bundle it in the boot of a car and leave it for dead in the Essex marshes. UK bass brothers Disclosure had some big releases this year, but it was this soulful-yet-glitchy remix that proved the highlight of countless DJ sets – thanks in part to its two almighty drops.

  • 3

    ‘Ellipsis’ – Joy Orbison

    An almost spiritual evocation of UK dance music history – from its spoken word sample (taken from an interview with ’90s rave producers Source Direct) right down to the stabs of piano that burst in midway. If it all sounds overly intellectual, don’t be misled – ‘Ellipsis’ could start a 3am flashmob in Madame Tussauds.

  • 2

    ‘Inspector Norse’ – Todd Terje

    Few songs this doe-eyed and innocent have rocked quite so many dancefloors. The Norwegian disco maestro blessed us with this slowly building instrumental – displaying a mix of songwriting smarts and analogue synth mastery worthy of his holiness Giorgio Moroder. It also begged the question: who knew John Thaw’s detective drama was big in Scandinavia?

  • 1

    ‘Au Seve’ – Julio Bashmore

    Drums, bass, one infectious synth melody and a tiny vocal sample from an early ’80s soul tune. That’s all Bristol’s Julio Bashmore needed to create the perfect modern house record. Already adored for adding a bad-boy slant to this traditionally silky art form, it was the jaw-dropping simplicity of ‘Au Seve’ that made it a highlight of thousands of nights out this year. Catchy enough to piss off underground fans, and quirky enough to be ignored by Guettaphiles: we think he pitched it just right. This was absolutely Au Seve-rywhere in 2012, and very deservedly so.

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