Top 10 Dance Songs of 2011
This year was a club kid's paradise. So many house-inspired tracks dominated the airwaves (and dancefloors), that collecting this list of our Top 10 Dance Songs of 2011 was no small task. Strong showings from house kings like Alex Gaudino and Swedish House Mafia, dance divas Wynter Gordon and Alexis Jordan, and gorgeously gloomy singles from David Guetta and John Dahlbäck made this one of the best years for dance music in recent memory. Here's our countdown for the 10 best dance songs of 2011.
We spent much of 2010 getting slizzered in the club to Dev's coolly apathetic vocals on Far East Movement's 'Like a G6,' so it seemed only fitting that 2011 would be dominated by her Eurodance-style single, 'In the Dark.' Like other dance songs this year courtesy of Lady Gaga and Alexandra Stan, 'In the Dark' features a prominent saxophone riff, not to mention a socially conscious message we can easily get behind: "Push-push-push-push to start, then da-da-da-da-dance in the dark." Powerful stuff!
Not sure if you heard, but "party rock is in the house tonight" — and indeed they were, as electro-hop goofballs LMFAO killed the pop and dance charts with their relentless dance smash, 'Party Rock Anthem.' Densely addictive like a video game theme song, with goofy hands-in-the-air lyrics, the track made a viral meme out of the phrase "Everyday I'm shufflin'" (itself a parody of the hook from Rick Ross' 'Hustlin''), and put ex-Paradiso Girls songbird Lauren Bennett back on the map, priming her for a spot in the Pussycat Dolls revival.
While Kelly Rowland was focusing all her energies on her R&B album 'Here I Am' this year, we were getting motivated by her guest spot on Italian DJ Alex Gaudino's dazzling dance number 'What a Feeling.' This track is K-Row's most euphoric single since David Guetta's 'When Love Takes Over' back in 2009. A plinking piano hook and squelching synths made this impossibly ecstatic track one of the best club smashes of the summer. What a feeling, indeed!
French DJ King David Guetta's 2011 album 'Nothing but the Beat' was a nonstop, drilling hour of euphoric dance-pop — but the moodiest track on the album was probably our favorite, Guetta's chart-topping Usher collab 'Without You.' A synth-fueled elegy to lost love, Usher's silky vocals lend a gorgeous melancholy to the track (co-penned by Taio Cruz), while layers of crooned "you-ou-ou"s form a stunning sonic crescendo. Glimmering, sad, lonely pop to get down to in the club — what could be better than that?
Jessie and the Toy Boys, the group comprised of ferocious frontwoman Jessie Malakouti and a backing band of mannequins (seriously!), had a big year, with her first official single 'Push It' slaying the charts and opening for Britney Spears on her Femme Fatale tour. 'Push It' deserved all the hype: Grimy and slimy, sleazy and greasy, it's a grinding three-minute shot of frothy pop bliss with a weird minimalist dance breakdown and one of the most heavenly middle eights in recent memory. That "I want you now / I feel you now / So make it fit / C'mon and push it" bit? It gives us chills every time, landing this one on our top dance songs countdown.
There must be something in the water in Sweden that keeps them churning out the finest pop the world over, and Erik Hassle is the Scandinavian nation's best pop-rock export: a perennially underrated singer-songwriter with some of the most addictively powerful pipes in the business. Pair the ginger whiz kid up with Swedish dance kingpin John Dahlbäck and the result is pure pop gold. 'One Last Ride' is a soaring, blissed-out house track that sounds like how we imagine space travel feels -- not to mention that it makes us want to dance and cry at the same time.
Like all the Pussycat Dolls, Jessica Sutta always played second fiddle (or, in her case, second popping-and-locking in a bustier) to Nicole Scherzinger's starring act — which makes it hugely ironic that Sutta's first big solo single, 'Show Me,' topped the Billboard Dance/Club Play Songs chart at No. 1 while Scherzy's also-excellent 'Don't Hold Your Breath' limped in just behind at No. 2. However, 'Show Me' is a smash if we've ever heard one. This top dance song is a glorious stormer that announces Sutta's presence as a dancefloor diva not to be trifled with.
After years of label drama and false starts, gospel-trained disco queen Wynter Gordon owned 2011. First, Gordon released her delightfully scabrous club hit 'Dirty Talk' before dropping 'Til Death,' an electrifying dance-pop smash with one of the year's cleverest hooks: "Til death do we party / With the music I die." The clattering, sing-along chorus and Gordon's pleasantly dissonant vocals are more than enough to make 'Til Death' a dancefloor favorite of the year.
Tween superstar Alexis Jordan's glacial pop single 'Happiness' was one of 2010's hottest tracks, and she kept the fire burning in 2011 with 'Good Girl,' a dark and lovely dance gem with likable macabre lyrics: "You might mistake me for a heartbreaker / Cause there's blood on the floor." But it's not all about violence: "I know I can be a good girl / But I've been bad before," she insists over a pitter-pattering drum loop and gripping synths. If this is her confession, we can't be bothered — we're too busy getting down to the beat of this top dance song of 2011.
The instant we heard this song, we knew it was destined to be a massive, global hit — and indeed, it dominated charts and clubs worldwide all year long. 'Save the World' is a crushingly powerful dance single, with a chill-inducing chorus featuring vocals from crooner John Martin. The track is layered with hope, yearning and synths that build this top dance song of 2011 to hair-raising heights. While everyone else was making music about poppin' bottles in the club, Swedish House Mafia raised the stakes to apocalyptic proportions — and if anything can save the world, it's this epic, anthemic smash.