11 Shades Of Dance Music: How Spotify Breaks Down Melodic Bass, Afro House and More

Tonje Thilesen


Tree house, space bass, cyber disco. It seems like a new dance music subgenre pops up every day. By the way, we made those three up, but if anyone is in the market to create a new sound, you're welcome.

Thankfully, Spotify has been able expertly highlight the ever-growing genre through a variety of playlists that capture the soft, the glitchy, the hard-hitting and more. Whatever your mood, there is a subgenre for you. Here is a quick little breakdown of what Spotify's booming dance and electronic section has to offer.

Genre: Afro House
Go-To Spotify Playlist: House is a Feeling
What It Sounds Like: African rhythms blend with classic Chicago house and disco soul for an undeniable bounce that'll funk your entire night. Pairs well with sequins, sweat and open-air dance floors.
Example: Honey Dijon, Tim K - "Look Ahead" Feat. Sam Sparro (Extended Mix)

Genre: Drum & Bass
Go-To Spotify Playlist: Drum & Bass Fix
What It Sounds Like: Boom-doom DAK, dah-doom, bah-dum DAK. As soon as you hear that breakneck rhythm come in, always hard and fast, you know the real is about to rock steady. Bless the U.K. rave scene for giving us this jungle-dub hybrid. It also served as the breeding ground for another popular subgenre; dubstep.
Example: Chase & Status - "International" (Dimension Remix)

Genre: Future House
Go-To Spotify Playlist: Shuffle Syndrome
What It Sounds Like: Take the theatrical glow of big-room and add the wavy basslines of the funkiest deep house. It's large and luxurious, but with a coy, innocent charm. Don Diablo helped popularize the bright and bouncy sound.
Example: Don Diablo - "Anthem" (We Love House Music)

Genre: Hardstyle
Go-To Spotify Playlist: Hardstyle Hits
What It Sounds Like: Kind of like smashing your face into a giant bouncy ball over and over again to 140 bpm. The Dutch can't get enough of this, and they've infiltrated the high-energy feeling to the rest of the world. Pretty vocals and electric synth sounds build the melody, but drums here are king, and trust that they'll hit on every beat and then some.
Example: D-block & S-te-fan, Frequencerz - "The Ultimate Celebration" (Official Intents Festival 2018 Anthem)

Genre: House
Go-To Spotify Playlist: Housewerk
What It Sounds Like: The classic dance floor style. House originated from a club in Chicago called the Warehouse. It was the '80s, and gay men of color were looking for something fun and freaky where they could escape and be themselves. Steady, sample-based grooves over drum machine beats emerged from a post-disco sonic space, and all was love forever more.
Example: Idris Elba - "Badman" (Edit)

Genre: Indie Dance/Electronic
Go-To Spotify Playlist: Metropolis
What It Sounds Like: If punk rock, electro, hip-hop and disco had a baby. There would obviously have to have been a lot of whiskey involved, because that's a confusing number of parents. Thus, you get a compelling, pulsing, dance-tastic genre that is hard to explain and better to just experience. Folk makes an appearance sometimes, too.
Example: Justice - "D.A.N.C.E. x Fire x Safe and Sound"

Genre: Melodic Bass
Go-To Spotify Playlist: Creamy
What It Sounds Like: Do you like your pretty things to come with a hard edge? Do you like fantasies that include a little real-world grit to 'em? Melodic bass is the soundtrack to your street-wise day dreams, because it's deep in the gutter that serves the best view of the stars.
Example: Zhu - "Faded" (ODESZA Remix)

Genre: Tech House
Go-To Spotify Playlist: Electronic Circus
What It Sounds Like: Kinda like techno, kinda like house; kinda like tech-house. it's minimal and droning, but it moves steadily and tickles the grooves of your funky bone. It's industrial machine music for robots with souls. You can definitely do some wild '80s b-boy moves to these beats, should you feel so inspired.
Example: Butch - "Countach"

Genre: Techno
Go-To Spotify Playlist: Techno Bunker
What It Sounds Like: Roland 808s and a city's refusal to let hope die. This classic genre was born and raised in the mean streets of Detroit, so it sounds a lot like the factory assembly lines where its heroes found inspiration. It's metallic and repetitive, but dig deep enough into its nooks and crannies, and you'll find new levels of spiritual understanding.
Example: Ellen Allien - "Stormy Memories"

Genre: Trance
Go-To Spotify Playlist: Trance MIssion
What It Sounds Like: Another of the classic post-disco three, Trance emerged from the UK rave scene, but unlike D&B's frenetic violence, trance is all about sweeping emotions and cascading melodies. It's ethereal and energetic, captivating and ecstatic. It feels like shooting stars and glow sticks as far as the eye can see.
Example: Paul Oakenfold - "Lost In The Moment"

Genre: Trap
Go-To Spotify Playlist: Trap Mojito
What It Sounds Like: Those techno 808s were put to serious work by rappers in the southern United States. Those machine gun beats were then reincorporated into the fold of groovealicious house music, and somehow, a new brand of trap was born. It's not about selling drugs so much as it's about taking them.
Example: RL Grime - "Reims"

To read more about each subgenre and its Spotify playlist, visit Spotify online.