It's been quite a year for trance music. In 2013, we saw the next generation of the music that we love come to life: the resurgence of a newly branded subgenre at 138 beats per minute, the emergence of a new era of trance producers including Andrew Rayel and Tomas Heredia, as well as a new area of the world getting attention for its talented producers recognized under its Red, Blue and White Soho label outlets. With trance hits hitting the radio charts ready to start controversy for long time fans, we were reminded that the mainstream might not be something to fear with corresponding artist albums staying impressively grounded and well rounded. The top 25 of 2013 listed below is one that contains tracks that might not have seen the top of the Beatport charts, but were insistently definitive of the journey of a year that was 2013.
25. Beat Service & Neev Kennedy – "Not This Time"
24. Ashley Wallbridge – "Yin Yang" (Original Mix)
23. Andrew Rayel & Jwaydan – "Until the End"
22. Delerium, Stef Lang – "Chrysalis Heart" (Stereojackers vs. Mark Loverush Remix)
21. Craig Connelly & Christina Novelli – "Black Hole"
20. Gabriel & Dresden Feat. Neil Ormandy – "Tomorrow Comes" (Max Graham vs. Protoculture Remix)
19. Omnia – "The Light"
18. Cosmic Gate – "Crushed" (Mark Sixma Remix)
17. Armin van Buuren & Markus Schulz – The Expedition (ASOT 600 Anthem)
16. Ben Gold – "Amplified"
15. Orjan Nilsen & Christina Novelli – "Hurricane"
Orjan Nilsen's album No Saint Out of Me really broke down barriers for the Norwegian producer. Successfully spanning across electro, progressive and trance, Nilsen took us on a trip where each turn was surprising and well executed. "Hurricane" features the vocals of our favorite Christina Novelli, whose presence automatically elevates any track. Not only that, but it's a perfect illustration of how Nilsen was able to conquer the pop vocal while maintaining his unique style on multiple productions.
14. Dash Berlin – "Fool For Life" (Tomas Heredia Remix)
13. Myon & Shane 54 Feat. Aruna – "Lights"
12. Ferry Corsten – "Black Light"
11. Shogun – "Drop"
10. BT – "Skylarking" (Ilan Bluestone Remix)
9. Solarstone & Clare Stagg – "Jewel" (Pure Mix)
8. MarLo – "Boom"
7. Above & Beyond – "Walter White"
6. Max Graham – "The Evil ID"
5. Armin van Buuren & W&W – "D# Fat"
A true bridge between the club and trance music, "D# Fat" is a track that shows how electro house has a strong influence across dance music and experience. Featuring the Dutch duo who shot to superstardom this year, W&W and the king of trance music Armin van Buuren, "D# Fat" is a production that had an unbelievable reach in 2013.
4. Audien – "Wayfarer"
It's always exciting to see American producers really making their mark on a genre mostly dominated by Europeans. First introduced to us on Anjunabeats Vol. 10, "Wayfarer" is a track whose subtleties lend themselves to allow the track to be listened to over and over (and over) again. The use of piano chords is indicative of the song's name entirely throughout it, making us all wayfarers as listeners as we roam through the laid back to the booming.
3. Alex M.O.R.P.H. feat. Natalie Gioia – "Dreams"
2. Fisherman & Hawkins – "Apache"
Looking at the most popular festival tracks of the year, it's no surprise that any track from Dutch producers Fisherman & Hawkins has made this list. But "Apache" stands out as the most recognizable and energy-inducing track of the year. If you saw any trance show in 2013 (or listened to a set online), chances are you've heard this more than a few times. A track that led the way in booming 138-level productions, it's one that can be found at the most energetic peak time place in any live performance. After "Apache," many artists have attempted to recreate this type of beacon-like energy on their own.
1. Armin van Buuren feat. Trevor Guthrie – "This is What it Feels Like"
This might seem like a controversial pick for the number one track of the year, but let's face it: it's everywhere. Holding the #1 spot on the Beatport Top 100 chart for weeks and welcoming just as chart-topping remixes by the likes of W&W and Audien among others, "This is What it Feels Like" has crept its way into a shocking percentage of live sets, become a radio hit and even featured Ron Jeremy in its comical video. Featuring the vocals of Trevor Guthrie, the track debuted ahead of Armin van Buuren's monumental artist album Intense that included many tracks that almost made this countdown as well. Needless to say, "This is What it Feels Like" shows us what the talented contemporary producer can really accomplish: marrying pop success with their tried and true style.