Dance

Hardwell's 10 Best Songs: Critic's Picks

Hardwell performs in Miami
Tim Mosenfelder/Getty Images

Hardwell performs during the Ultra Music Festival at Bayfront Park Amphitheater on March 30, 2014 in Miami.

Dance music listeners owe a lot to Robbert van de Corput, the Dutch DJ and producer better known to rave masses by his stage name, Hardwell. Since raising eyebrows with his breakthrough 2009 bootleg "Show Me Love vs. Be," the electro and big room titan went on to shape modern dance music with his unique melding of emotive vocalists and hard-hitting beats, founding his own record label, Revealed Recordings, in 2010.

The accolades are endless for this superstar artist, who has been crowned the World's No. 1 DJ by DJ Mag twice (2013 and 2014) and played at major music festivals like Ultra and Tomorrowland. And the 29-year-old only continues to pump out hits -- in late July, in fact, Hardwell dropped Hardwell and Friends Vol. 1, a five-track EP laced with everything from booming synths to reggae influences and trap sounds.

Among Hardwell's stellar catalog, which easily counts more than 100 tracks, a handful of songs stand out. Join Billboard Dance below as we count down the 10 best Hardwell songs to date.

10. Hardwell & Armin Van Buuren - "Off the Hook"

When two dance titans unite, it's best you pay attention. Hardwell's "Off the Hook" collaboration with trance leader Armin van Buuren boasts jutting big room synths that can confidently orchestrate a crowd of thousands. Skip to the halfway mark and you'll find yourself in a euphoric abyss of atmospheric pads that will melt every worry away. Don't get too comfortable, though. Hardwell and van Buuren charge the tune back to 100 shortly after.

9. Hardwell & Dyro feat. Bright Lights - "Never Say Goodbye"

There are few places better for a DJ to premiere new music than Ultra's flagship festival in Miami. Hardwell debuted "Never Say Goodbye" near the end of his Ultra Miami 2013 set and brought fellow Dutch collaborator Dyro onstage to make the moment extra special.

8. Hardwell feat. Jay Sean - "Thinking About You"

Jay Sean brings seriously catchy R&B flavor and smooth, crooning vocals to this bouncy Hardwell dance cut that’s as emotive as it is danceable. A colorful roller rink proves to be the perfect location for the track’s vibrant music video, which matches the song’s swerving melody with the twisty moves of skating sensation Candice Heiden.

7. Hardwell feat. Chris Jones - "Young Again"

Hardwell has a particular talent for bringing emotion into dance tracks, and this nostalgic 2015 record featuring singer Chris Jones’ rugged vocals is just one example. As Jones muses on lost youth, Hardwell brings energized, ’90s-styled electronic elements that meld with acoustic strums and pulsing shakers.

6. Hardwell & Showtek - "How We Do"

Let’s pick things up again for this frenzied festival banger with Showtek. The explosive collaboration is nothing short of a dancefloor monster, featuring a blaring hardstyle melody atop throbbing bass. The track’s two-and-a-half minute play time is just enough to keep listeners pumped up without running them down, and it seems instinctively designed to enrapture festival crowds.

5. Hardwell & MAKJ - "Countdown"

Hardwell pairs up with burgeoning dance talent MAKJ for this brain-melting track, unveiled at Hardwell’s Ultra Music Festival set in Miami in 2013. The track features exactly the drawn-out buildup and party-starting drop you’d expect from its title, while still managing to surprise listeners at each bass-heavy turn.

4. Hardwell feat. Matthew Koma - "Dare You"

Another of the DJ’s more emotive offerings, this euphoric, hopeful Hardwell song marks a more refined, melodic sound from the artist. Bright synths bubble up over delicate acoustic chords and motivational lyrics courtesy of vocalist Matthew Koma, producing a soft progressive house sound that’s radio-friendly without coming across as mathematic. Don’t miss the track’s heart-warming video, either, which chronicles several city dwellers brought togther by music.

3. Tiësto & Hardwell - "Zero 76"

Hardwell joins forces with dance legend Tiësto to pen this mainstage ode to their hometown in the Netherlands, represented by the phone dial code +076. The track was an instant dancefloor bomb when it dropped in 2013, gifting dance listeners another iconic hook that we still hear echoes of in Tiesto's sets today.

2. Hardwell feat. Amba Shepard - "Apollo"

Amba Shepard’s feathery, goosebump-inducing vocals are the perfect compliment to Hardwell’s glistening, quick-fire synths in this upbeat dance track. This Hardwell song fuses progressive and electro house, transforming halfway through into a grimy, industrial club beat before picking up its original dreamy sound once again.

1. Hardwell - "Spaceman"

Hardwell’s 2012 heavy-hitter “Spaceman” lives up to its otherworldly title, fusing light-speed percussion with a spacey trance melody and ascending, countdown-like sound. The track’s grimy, hammering hook has taken off -- no pun intended -- around the world, inspiring numerous remixes and extended cuts, like Hardwell’s own “Call Me A Spaceman.” While most music artists achieve their biggest tracks as their careers advance, this early Hardwell masterpiece shows that the DJ has been a stellar hit-maker all along.