The Three Best Dance Music Tracks of All Time (by critical and public consensus)
Since electronic dance music first burst onto the scene in the mid-80s, there’s been a huge array of seminal tracks pumped out of synthesisers and computers across the globe. But which tracks then, are certified as the best to ever come out? A difficult question, and one that needed a lot of research to answer. We looked at dozens of top ten lists, forum posts, books and interviews to find the common tunes that appear in all of them. By no means a definitive list, these three tracks are nonetheless still guaranteed to explode on any dancefloor – and rank as some of the most influential and important songs in the whole of music history.
Avicii – Levels
The prototypical tune of the EDM revival of the late 2000s, the iconic melody of this infectiously happy dancefloor smash is instantly recognisable. Sampling the 1962 Gospel classic Something’s Got a Hold on Me by Etta James, was a top-five hit in 15 different countries worldwide. Avicii himself, aka Tim Bergman, died in 2018 and this euphoric track is a fitting legacy for a mind capable of coming up with earworm melodies that stay on your brain for months – if not the rest of your life. All together now – ‘woooooah, sometimes I get a good feeling….’
The Prodigy – Smack My Bitch Up
Although not a huge hit upon its release, this techno anthem from the UK’s rave legends regularly appears near the top of 100 Dance Anthems compilations or polls. Hugely controversial, not just due to the title but also the debauched and candid video, the track was banned from many radio stations and TV chart shows. This probably stopped it charting as high as it could have, but also gave it notoriety that helped its influence last throughout the years.
Aside from anything else though, Smack My Bitch Up is an absolute banger. With recently deceased Keith Flint’s devilishly excitable vocals warping themselves around pulsating industrial riffs, there’s no better snapshot of the rough-and-ready British rave scene of the 1990s than this.
Daft Punk – One More Time
Reasonably successfully commercially, the motorcycle-helmeted French house duos’ early-2000s classic is absolutely beloved of critics and dance music aficionados across the globe. It came 5th in Pitchfork’s 500 best songs of the 2000s, and 300th in Rolling Stones’ 500 Greatest Songs of All Time in their most recent version.
With its jaunty autotuned vocals in a gloriously saccharine arrangement that is full of joie de vivre, over the pumping bass of an extremely danceable electro house beat, this is the perfect pre night out tune to make some memories with as you hit the club or festival. It might be a little dated on a modern dancefloor, but if you can hear Daft Punk’s signature lush electro-funk bass without nodding your head a little – well then, were you ever a real dancer in the first place?