Every year thousands of songs get released, most of them fairly forgettable. The tracks you forget could fill countless hard drives, but it's all worth it to find that handful of really great songs.
If a song is really good -- if it just knocks your socks off the first time you hear it -- it may end up becoming a part of the greater canon of a genre, one of those timeless tracks you always remember.
Like any other genre, EDM has its canon classics, songs that always get a dance floor moving. Benny Benassi's "Satisfaction," for example, turns 10 in 2013, and DJs still throw it on because people still love it a decade later.
There was a lot to love in EDM in 2012, but it would be foolish to say in the heat of the moment which tracks are destined to become long term classics. So instead let's keep it simple: What songs from the previous 12 months will make the leap in to 2013?
5. M83, "Midnight City (Eric Prydz Private Remix)" Eric Prydz's danced-up version of M83's 2011 anthem was, aside from Bassnectar's remix of Ellie Goulding's "Lights," perhaps the most obvious remix put out in 2012. The song was already dancey, and Prydz just took it to its logical conclusion.
You knew exactly what it would sound like before you hit "play," and when you did it was everything you wanted it to be. "Midnight City" is one of those songs that it seems like everyone loves, and this remix makes dropping it into a set easier than ever.
4. Nari & Milani, "Atom" Some songs are situationally great -- you may not want to hear them all the time but in certain contexts they're absolutely perfect. "Atom" is one of those songs, a bit underwhelming on your headphones but a beast on a good sound system.
The greatness of this track is directly related to how loud it's being played. Whether you're in the middle of a sweaty mass of people or working out at home, crank the volume up, wait for "blast beat go!" to drop, and get moving.
3. Zedd x Matthew Koma, "Spectrum" It was a great year for the 23-year-old producer. He's working with Lady Gaga, produced a single for Justin Bieber, and put out one of 2012's biggest EDM albums of the year with Clarity.
While it may not have been a crossover smash, "Spectrum", along with tracks like Porter Robinson's "Language" and Madeon's remix of "The Night Out," is the calling card of the next generation of big-name producers. It's the track that made you think, "Well, this guy is going to be a star" the first time you heard it.
2. Swedish House Mafia x John Martin "Don't You Worry Child" A lot of dance acts had legit hits in 2012; Calvin Harris's "Too Close" and David Guetta's "Titanium" come to mind. Sneaking in at the end of the year was "Don't You Worry Child," which is slowly working its way up the Billboard Hot 100. Add in the fact that it's Grammy-nominated, and the song has a pretty good resume to be a future classic.
What may be even more important to its long-term success is the fact that it gives EDM something it doesn't have a lot of: A great power ballad. Will it become "Don't Stop Believing" for the 124-bpm generation? The crowd at Something Wicked sure seemed excited when Zedd dropped it in his set.
1. Dada Life, "Kick Out the Epic Motherfucker" Putting the word "epic" in your song title is kind of like calling your shot in baseball: if you're going to do it you better deliver. Adjectives like "massive" and "monster" may be overused but describe this track perfectly. The song doesn't play around, the opening synths warning you that something big is on the horizon.
It's a sound, dirty and edgy, that excites you immediately, grabbing your attention and refusing to let go. The track will be never be a "Levels"-style hit, but it's going to remain of favorite of DJs looking for the right moment to ask the crowd if they're ready to take things to another level.