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Above & Beyond's 15 Best Songs: Critic's Picks
Over their decade-plus time on the dance music scene, British heavyweights Above & Beyond have found a worldwide audience for trance tracks that fuse progressive house dream-scapes with raw, emotional lyrics. The trio of Jono Grant, Paavo Siljamäki and Tony McGuinness have been producing together since 2000, racking up six studio albums and dozens of hits in that time -- not to mention their own record label, Anjunabeats.
With such a broad repertoire of songs from the trio -- including two entire albums dedicated to acoustic versions of the hits -- it's nearly impossible to nail down a list of favorites. And the group just added two new stellar tracks to their catalog, releasing the Zoë Johnston-featuring self-celebration anthem "My Own Hymn" last week (Sept. 8) and the euphoric "Tightrope" in August.
As the group gears up for their ABGT250 festival Sept. 16 and 17 to commemorate the 250th episode of their radio show, Group Therapy, we're doing our best to run down Above & Beyond's 15 best tracks of all time. Follow along, below.
15. Above & Beyond - "Sun In Your Eyes"
If you need a five-minute break from the world, here's your chance. With its faint vocals and serene soundscape, Above & Beyond's blissful "Sun In Your Eyes" offers the perfect escape.
14. Above & Beyond feat. Alex Vargas - "Blue Sky Action"
This heavy-hitting Above & Beyond song serves as one of the group's most energetic, with an explosive, high-pitched synth drop punctuated by husky, whole-hearted verses from Denmark vocalist Alex Vargas.
13. Above & Beyond - "No One On Earth"
An oldie but a goodie, Above & Beyond's "No One On Earth" has a mystical feel to it, with majestic, soaring vocals, dramatic keys and choir-like sighs. The track was voted Tune of the Year for fellow trance legend Armin van Buuren's radio show A State of Trance in 2004, and once you tune in, you'll understand why.
12. Above & Beyond feat. Richard Bedford - "Alone Tonight"
Above & Beyond put out "Alone Tonight" back in 2006 as part of Tri-State, but it remains one of our most-played Above & Beyond tracks to this day, thanks to its glittering electronic effects, impressive vocals and the certain air of mischief that comes with each lyric.
11. Above & Beyond feat. Gemma Hayes - "Counting Down The Days"
Above & Beyond take it back to their trance roots in "Counting Down the Days," a gliding, surging progressive house listen with ghostly vocals courtesy of Irish singer Gemma Hayes.
10. Above & Beyond pres. OceanLab - "On A Good Day"
In another notable collab for the trio, the Above & Beyond gang teamed up with vocalist Justine Suissa to form the project OceanLab, dropping Sirens of the Sea in 2008. Of the album's 13 tracks, "On A Good Day" stands out, featuring a thudding bassline, metallic undertones, delicate piano keys and piercing vocals courtesy of Suissa.
9. Above & Beyond feat. Zoë Johnston - "Good For Me"
When Above & Beyond and fan favorite collaborator, vocalist Zoë Johnston get together, magic happens. Plug in to their collab "Good For Me" for nearly six minutes' worth of tranquil electronic pulses, gentle vocals and soothing synths so calming, you'll wish this lush soundscape was even longer. No matter what stress you're dealing with, we're pretty sure "Good For Me" can help. The track is another gem that appeared on Above & Beyond's 2006 Tri-State, marking an early sign of the group's trance greatness.
8. Above & Beyond feat. Zoë Johnston - "You Got To Go"
"Dream on little dreamer / This is how it all begins" breathes Johnston in this thumping Above & Beyond song, kicking off a smoldering club beat that later morphs into a euphoric blast of energy. We can always count on Above & Beyond to offer listeners an extra shot of motivation, and this uplifting track is no exception.
7. Above & Beyond feat. Annie Drury - "Miracle (Acoustic)"
We couldn't let our round-up pass by without a nod to Above & Beyond's 2014 Acoustic album, an unexpected -- not to mention risky -- turn for an electronic duo known for booming synths and energy-packed drops. The experiment paid off, and the album became Above & Beyond's second to chart on the Billboard 200, where it notched No. 70. The acoustic "Miracle" with U.K. vocalist Annie Drury is our favorite, transforming the dance vibe into a tender guitar melody haunted by strings and twinkling keys.
6. Above & Beyond feat. Zoë Johnston - "Alchemy"
At this point, we're convinced everything Above & Beyond and Johnston touch is gold. If you need another example, turn up the volume on "Alchemy," a raw, emotional rumination on betrayal that shies away from the electronic trio's often bright subject matter in favor of a darker edge.
5. Above & Beyond - "Can't Sleep"
Let’s throw it back to 2006 for another of the best tracks off Above & Beyond’s Tri-State disc. Though its title might suggest otherwise, “Can’t Sleep” is a mellow, lulling dreamworld of sighing vocals, glistening keys and soft, plush synths.
4. Above & Beyond feat. Zoë Johnston - "Love Is Not Enough"
Above & Beyond are masters of dance music that packs just as much catchy rhythm as emotion, and the heart-wrenching, poignant "Love Is Not Enough" is just another example. Dance through the pain as Johnston muses on the limits of love to the backdrop of choir-like chords and a thudding bassline.
3. Above & Beyond feat. Richard Bedford - "Thing Called Love"
With a buzzy electronic beat and witty lyrics that remind listeners of this “Thing Called Love,” this energizing Above & Beyond song is an easy pick for our top three. Plus, it incorporates another of Above & Beyond’s frequent collaborators -- Richard Bedford, a fellow Brit and dance music mainstay who also appears on our number one pick.
2. Above & Beyond feat. Zoë Johnston - "We're All We Need"
After a four-year album hiatus following Group Therapy, Above & Beyond in 2015 dropped We Are All We Need, their fourth studio album and highest-charting, debuting at No. 34 on the Billboard 200. So it's no surprise that its Grammy-nominated title track -- which peaked at No. 15 on the Dance/Mix Show Airplay charts and No. 45 on Hot/Dance Electronic Songs -- snags a high rank on our list. A breezy, polished melody helmed by Johnston's pristine vocal lures listeners in, before exploding full-speed into a memorable drop that we can still hear reverberations of in dance clubs today.
1. Above & Beyond feat. Richard Bedford - "Sun & Moon"
With "Sun & Moon," which bolted to No. 6 on Dance Mix/Show Airplay, Above & Beyond bring fans one of the most contagious hooks in their extensive catalog -- and also one of their most emotive. Seriously, just try to listen to longtime collaborator Richard Bedford belt "I'll never get over you / You'll never get over me" without catching feels. Thankfully, the magnificent synth beat that drops afterward is enough to mend the heartbreak, not to mention earn the track our No. 1 spot.