The 15 Best Dance/Electronic Remixes of 2015
The remix has never been more powerful than now. While making dance remixes once entailed little more than slapping a club beat on a big hit, remixers are now emerging as hitmakers in their own right.
Take OMI's Hot 100 No. 1 hit "Cheerleader." Without German producer Felix Jaehn's breezy rework, the song would have never made it beyond the Caribbean to become a global chart-topper. Ditto for Robin Schulz taking Mr. Probz's "Waves" from a Dutch hit to No. 1 in six countries last year.
Although most of Billboard's year-end picks didn't make as big a commercial splash, they reflect the belief that the best remixes reinvent the original track while retaining and re-framing its appeal. Representing a diversity of styles from main stage EDM to experimental, listen to our choices for 2015's best dance/electronic remixes (and check out our best albums and best songs lists as well).
15. Damian Lazarus & The Ancient Moons - "Vermillion (&Me Remix)"
Damian Lazarus told Billboard he aimed to "deconstruct everything [he'd] ever made and recreate it with musicians" on his first album (Messages from the Other Side) with The Ancient Moons, leaving it to German artist &Me to reflect the release's lead single back through a dance floor-focused lens.
14. David Guetta ft. Emeli Sandé - "What I Did For Love (Michael Brun Remix)"
Layering plucky sequencers ahead of an anthemic synth-driven drop, the Haitian up-and-comer channeled big room's melodic heyday on his soaring revamp of Listen's strongest song.
“It’s such a huge record, something that’s a worldwide success, but I’m here in Kentucky doing it back where I grew up,” Amtrac told Billboard in August. The unlikely union yielded this excellent remix, which actually managed to make the Swedish duo sound edgy with pitch-shifted vocals and throbbing bass notes.
12. Fetty Wap - "Trap Queen (Naderi Remix)"
"Trap Queen" is one of those indomitable radio records that rarely lends itself well to remixes; the original is already infectious and iconic enough. But don't tell that to Flume's studio-mate Naderi, who managed to maximize the hit's strengths without resting on its laurels in a superlative rework.
11. Eric Prydz - "Generate (Kölsch Remix)"
Kölsch had a banner year by anyone's measure. Despite dropping his well-received sophomore album 1983 on Kompakt in June, the versatile Danish artist somehow found time to give Eric Prydz's popular single a mesmerizing melodic techno turn.
Jack Ü's crossover hit received no shortage of remixes, but it was breakout mystery artist Marshmello who turned in the signature re-touch. The masked producer's official remix became a festival staple that was supported by countless marquee artists, including Skrillex (who went so far as to give it his own flip) and Diplo themselves.
Another mysterious production outfit made waves this year after re-imagining the True Colors hit with heavily vocoded verses and an energetic future-bass drop. Zedd was impressed enough to sign it as an official remix and tweet that Grey was "hands down the best electronic music act right now."
8. The Acid - "Ra (David August Remix)"
While 2015 was dedicated to the debut of his David August & Ensemble live show, the 24 year-old wunderkind was no slouch in the studio. August remade "Ra" with lumbering bass notes and tense synth tones before breaking into an unexpected and ingenious climax -- showing firsthand why he's regarded as one of underground dance music's most exciting rising talents.
7. Porter Robinson - "Flicker (Mat Zo Remix)"
What Mat Zo's meandering revision of the Worlds fan-favorite lacks in cohesion, it more than makes up in imagination. Segueing from gurgling bass progressions to snare-stuttered melodic interludes with uncanny ease and ingenuity, it's easy to see why Robinson hailed it as "one of the best remixes [he'd] ever gotten in [his] life."
Skrillex was so inspired by his hard-hitting remix of GTA's "Red Lips" that he tapped director Grant Singer to help him fully realize its artistic vision in a surreal music video. "I was just really proud of this remix," he told Billboard last month. "The sound felt so futuristic and also nostalgic at the same time and I wanted to create the visual that was in my head for it."
Bolstering the song's verses with gloomy pads and filtered trap beats in advance of a powerful synth-driven drop, Los Angeles' Henry Steinway gave The Weeknd's Hot 100 No. 1 hit the blockbuster remix it deserved.
Mutating a straightforward rock song into a twelve-minute ramble through attention-deficit arrangements driven by dark disco bass, clattering percussion and mournful synth solos? Only Nicolas Jaar could pull this one off.
The former Swedish House Mafioso signaled his return to more underground sounds on this remarkable revision, buoying Anthony Gonzalez's vocals with phased synthesizers and chugging percussion.
2. Rihanna - "Bitch Better Have My Money (ATTLAS Remix)"
deadmau5's protégé gave Rihanna's hit one of the year's most creative makeovers by rendering it nearly unrecognizable with tropical plucks, cinematic synths and left-field percussion.
1. Eric Prydz – "Opus (Four Tet Remix)"
How do you remix one of the year's best songs? Well if you're Four Tet, you tweet at Eric Prydz and set about reinventing his progressive house epic with a sinister, pulsing techno bass line that bookends the original's signature sequencer progression while distant synths drone in muted urgency. It's almost too much talent on one track.