Work off those holiday pounds with this relentless tour through SPIN’s favorite dance music of 2011. You may recognize some names from our top 20 dance albums of the year, but mostly these are single-serving masterworks — in no particular order — from dubstep, post-dubstep, minimal, funky house, footwork and some sub-genres we just made up.
1. SBTRKT ft. Jessie Ware – “Right Thing To Do”
Bass music’s masked man wears his heart on his sleeve for this love letter to classic UK garage.
2. Gui Boratto – “The Third”
The gushiest melody from his latest, an indie-anthem opus masquerading as minimal techno.
3. Chase & Status ft. Liam Bailey – “Blind Faith”
Shrieking divas, rushing synths and a perma-gurn: 2011’s fondest tribute to 1988.
4. Omar-S – “Here’s Your Trance, Now Dance”
5. Julio Bashmore – “Battle For Middle You”
Bristol house producer hypnotizes with a chant track influenced by the minimal tech of the Dirtybird label.
6. Blawan – “Getting Me Down”
Brilliant percussive drops turn a sample of Brandy’s “I Wanna Be Down” into addictive funky house.
7. Beyonce – “Countdown (Jack Beats Top Billin Party Edit)”
The new album’s best on steroids; a 128bpm kick-drum and trumpet-propelled banger.
8. Avicii – “Levels”
New-gen Tiesto introduces Etta James to electro house.
9. Bare & Datsik – “King Kong”
Edward Scissorhands dubstep vibes: Choppy metal front gives way to magical emo interior.
10. Flux Pavillion – “Bass Cannon”
Transcending mere wobble fodder with bass riffs as catchy as they are lacerating.
11. Virgo Four – “It’s A Crime (Caribou Mix)”
Chicago acid house meets Elvis’ Sun Sessions in one of Caribou’s finest dance-floor moments yet.
12. DJ Rashad – “Love U Found”
Footwork mad genius scatterguns beatblasts for maximum gymnastic effect, then pulls it back for a guest MJ cameo.
13. When Saints Go Machine – “Fail Forever (Nicolas Jaar Remix)”
Ivy-League heartthrob turns Scandinavian chamber-pop quartet into Bon Iver chopped-and-screwed.
14. Genius Of Time – “Drifting Back”
No one did piano house as dreamily as these two Swedes.