What’s better than a great song? A great song that’s given a second life — and sometimes made even better — with a killer remix. Silky grooves become club bangers, hip hop hits become dynamic dance explosions, and Latin flavors mix with all manner of elements to create new and compelling sounds for DJ sets or personal playlists.
This year’s best remixes cover all genres, tempos and styles. A special shout out to the originals, but these remixes are truly something special. Check them out, in alphabetical order, below.
Axwell Ingrosso, “Dreamer” (Matisse & Sadko Remix)
If you need a feel-good, euphoric anthem to blast after a long day at work, Matisse & Sadko can cure your humdrum blues with their remix of Axwell Ingrosso?’s “Dreamer.” It’s a popular one to play live, frequently being rinsed by Alesso and Nicky Romero. — DAVE RISHTY
Cardi B, Bad Bunny & J Balvin, “I Like It” (Dillon Francis Remix)
Dillon Francis has always had a knack for synthesizing Latin rhythms with electronic energy, and his take on Cardi B’s own interpolation of a multi-generational classic is one of his best. The Bronx rapper’s hit gets a vibrant face lift, subtle at first but about seven Scoville units spicier at the hook. Francis brings his beefiest moombahton beats to the festival-sized drops. If these trap drums don’t make you scream “Arriba!” nothing will. — KAT BEIN
Kygo Feat. Justin Jesso, “Stargazing” (Kaskade Remix)
There’s something truly arresting about Kygo?’s “Stargazing,” what with its emotive piano melody and Jestin Jesso?’s bleeding-heart vocals. Kaskade gives that cinematic soul all the room to breathe with a powerful build that culminates in a steady club climax. There are some future bass womps in its expansive hook that shimmer with ’80s-esque echoes. It’s a sweeping ballad of a remix that classic Kaskade fans should surely enjoy. — K.B.
LSD, “Audio” (CID Remix)
CID takes Labrinth, Diplo and Sia’s infectious anthem to new heights with a roaring bassline and quicker tempo. The Grammy-nominated remix is also pumped with atmospheric elements and rubbery synths that will not only have Sia, but everyone, belting out, “Play that audio.” — EMINA LUKARCANIN
MC Fioti, “Bum Bum Tam Tam” (Jax Jones Remix)
MC Fioti?’s “Bum Bum Tam Tam” is so damn catchy, even its Brazilian Portuguese lyrics couldn’t keep it from warming the world. Jax Jones ships the record straight to the club, adding a bassy four-on-the-floor beat while letting the flutes shine. — K.B.
Papa Roach, “Last Resort” (Kayzo Rework)
If you happened to catch Kayzo?’s set at Lollapalooza this past summer, you probably witnessed Papa Roach’s epic surprise appearance to perform the Doghouse producer’s rework of “Last Resort.” The modern remake melds metal and bass for one high-octane, rail-riding banger. — D.R.
Pnau, “Changa” (Blanke Remix)
Blanke has quietly become the go-to remixer for many top billers in 2018, including Marshmello, RL Grime and Jonas Blue. His biggest streamer of the year, however, is his colorful re-imagination of Pnau?’s “Changa.” The production’s vibrant soundscape will tickle you pink. — D.R.
Shawn Mendes, “Lost In Japan” (Zedd Remix)
When Zedd?’s buddy Shawn Mendes asked the producer to try a hand at his single “Lost in Japan,” the former was honored and excited. He’s gone on record calling it his favorite track from the album, and he gave it an interesting approach. The “Clarity” producer knows the key to a good remix is keeping the soul of a tune intact while adding new layers of energetic sound. This up-tempo take is a beautiful blend of the pair’s styles, and yet becomes in summation something entirely unique to both artists’ catalogs. Its fresh sound resonates with fans and received its own music video, too. — K.B.
Silk City Feat. Dua Lipa, “Electricity” (The Black Madonna)
If Diplo and Mark Ronson?’s fresh collaboration is an ode to classic house belters, who better to reinvent their biggest hit than the reigning queen of underground groove? The Black Madonna spends more time on the decks than in the studio, but it’s taught her the tenants of how to get a crowd moving. For her “Electricity” remix, the Chicago-bred DJ bumps up the tempo and breaks out the disco sass. She gives it a juicy, pulsing beat sure to draw dancers from the bar, and of course, Dua Lipa’s sultry croon stays situated at the beating heart. — K.B.
Travis Scott, “Sicko Mode” (Skrillex Remix)
Travis Scott’s “Sicko Mode” debuted at No. 4 on the Hot 100 back in August and was able to inch its way up to the No. 2 spot for four non-consecutive weeks. However, it was able to clinch the top spot in its 17th week following the release of Skrillex?’s tough and gritty rework of the hit. Here stands another glowing representation of a remix that honors an original’s sonic innovation while elevating its artistic spirit. Skrillex’ mind-numbing take takes cues from those palettes and amplifies the frenetic feeling with even more accentuated patchworks, folding in elements of drum n’ bass, dubstep, footwork, and more for a five-minute listening experience as entertaining as it is exploratory. — K.B.