In 2018, dance music’s forefront featured both bubbling up-and-comers making their headline debuts and respected veterans breaking long musical hiatuses. House music enjoyed a mainstream resurgence, landing crossover success in the charts and dominating the festival circuit. Gospel, reggaeton, afrobeat and indie flavors all broke further into the electronic spectrum as well.
Billboard Dance weighed a combination of factors in deciding this year’s best releases, including success across streaming platforms, radio and the charts, as well as cultural impact and our own personal favorites. Without further ado, here are the editors’ picks for the 30 best dance and electronic songs of 2018.
30. Disclosure feat. Fatoumata Diawara, “Ultimatum”
Disclosure ended their musical drought in 2018 with a string of one-off singles. From the disco-driven bliss of “Funky Sensation,” to barbershop quartet homage “Where Angels Fear to Tread,” the Lawrence brothers returned with some very refreshing sounds. Perhaps their best of the year, however, was “Ultimatum”: a jazzy house interpretation of Malian singer Fatoumata Diawara. Constructed around an infectious vocal hook of Diawara, the track features some beautifully polished chordal work, and is now nominated for a Grammy for best dance recording. — MICHAEL SUNDIUS
29. LSD feat. Sia, Diplo, Labrinth – “Audio”
It’s hard to imagine supergroup LSD releasing a track that isn’t an immediate bop given the sheer talent of its members, Labrinth, Diplo and Sia. The group’s sophomore single, “Audio,” beautifully showcases their combined genius. From Sia’s haunting vocals and Labrinth’s smooth crooning to Diplo’s lush production work, the result is an upbeat tune that is as equally euphoric as it is mellow. Enjoy the ride. — EMINA LUKARCANIN
28. Alesso, “REMEDY”
Out with the old and in with the new. After signing with Shots Studios in September 2017, Alesso signed to the company’s new label in partnership with Universal Music Group, 10:22 pm, this past summer. “REMEDY” was the Swedish star’s inaugural release on the imprint, and since its debut, it has hauled in over 125 million total streams. The record has spent 13 weeks on Billboard’s Hot Dance/Electronic Songs chart and is showing no signs of leaving anytime soon. — DAVE RISHTY
27. RL Grime feat. Freya Ridings, “Shrine”
The sheer power of “Shrine” commands everyone’s attention. It’s explosive energy mixed with its drum and bass foundation and incredibly rich vocals serve to be a potent combo that’ll send chills up your spine. This gem off ‘Nova’ is innovative, larger-than-life and a must-listen from 2018. — D.R.
26. RÜFÜS DU SOL, “Treat You Better”
This deeply personal track, which serves as the opener on the acclaimed Solace, draws upon the Australian trio’s own struggles, and it becomes a real family affair. The original idea was to have a gospel choir elevate the ending chorus, but instead, the group hired friends and family to lend their voice, bringing that emotional connection to a deeper dimension. — KAT BEIN
25. Calvin Harris, Sam Smith, “Promises”
As soon as you hear Sam Smith’s rich, silky croon drip over Calvin Harris’ effortless house beat, you wonder how these two haven’t started a long-term collaboration. “Promises” became a No. 4 hit on the Hot Dance/Electronic Songs chart in October, Smith’s first time back since his astounding work with Disclosure. — K.B.
24. The Chainsmokers feat. Drew Love, “Somebody”
Drew Love’s buttery vocals lead into The Chainsmokers’ track, over echoed piano keys and a heavy bassline that is impossible to ignore. “Somebody” is a moody bedroom banger that preaches the importance of maintaining integrity in an otherwise superficial world. The song soared to No. 8 on Hot Dance/Electronic Songs in May. — E.L.
23. Dynoro & Gigi D’Agostino, “In My Mind”
Dynoro and Gigi D’Agostino’s viral remake of Feenixpawl and Ivan Gough’s dance classic “In My Mind” is definitely one of the more interesting dance stories to surface this year. While the original record had been remixed and covered to exhaustion, there was something unique and distinct about Dynoro’s take with D’Agostino that stuck with dance audiences all over again. A complex flurry of label and artist clearances later, “In My Mind” was reborn and back on the charts. Since its release, the song has accrued nearly 400 million Spotify streams, and 9 million Shazam tags. — D.R.
22. Kygo feat. Miguel, “Remind Me To Forget”
Love can be an intense pursuit, and Kygo shows this by bringing his atmospheric melodies and Miguel’s sultry vocals together on “Remind Me to Forget,” released earlier this year. The symphonic elements and rhythmic melodies make for a lovely listening experience. The music video expertly captures the concept of beauty and grace dancing through turbulence and chaos. — E.L.
21. Gryffin with Elley Duhé, “Tie Me Down”
“Tie Me Down” flew out of the gates at hyper-speed, quickly securing a coveted spot in Spotify’s Today’s Top Hits playlist and breaking into Billboard’s Hot Dance/Electronic Songs chart. The song peaked at No. 15, Gryffin’s highest ranking to date, and it couldn’t have come at a better time with the announce of his headline tour. A few key sellouts at Los Angeles’ Hollywood Palladium and New York’s Brooklyn Steel (where he played twice) later, Gryffin is well on his way to the upper echelon of the scene. — D.R.
20. Ellie Goulding, Diplo, Swae Lee, “Close to Me”
U.K. songstress Ellie Goulding took a few years off, but didn’t lose an ounce of luster. “Close To Me” puts Diplo’s easy pop production to work under her powerful performance, and Rae Sremmurd?’s Swae Lee adds the perfect rhythmic spice to her melodic tone. The song is already 60 million-plus Spotify streams deep, and has only been out for a couple months. — K.B.
19. deadmau5 feat. Rob Swire, “Monophobia”
Nearly ten years after deadmau5 and Rob Swire crafted the generational anthem “Ghosts N Stuff” together, the dream team returns with a tune as vulnerable as it is hard-hitting. The pumping rhythm lends Swire a brilliant stage upon which to wail his soulful plea of safety for everyone who hides a struggle deep inside. — K.B.
18. Black Coffee & David Guetta feat. Delilah Montagu, “Drive”
Black Coffee made a splash in August by teaming up with David Guetta on the slick, pop-inflected “Drive.” While many fans were surprised by the mega-collaboration, in truth, the South African house star has always navigated the line between the underground and the mainstream. As Coffee has expressed on numerous occasions, he doesn’t make any distinctions — in his mind, music is music. Such is evident on “Drive,” which is unabashedly catchy, thanks to Delilah Montagu’s breezy vocals and the understated production wrapped around it. The song debuted at No. 31 on the Hot Dance/Electronic Songs chart, marking Black Coffee’s first appearance on the chart as a lead artist. — M.S.
17. Peggy Gou, “It Makes You Forget (Itgehane)”
Peggy Gou is having her moment in the sun, and deservedly so. The effortlessly cool, debonair artist solidified her capacity to write distinctive, time-enduring dance music this year, most notably in the form of “It Makes You Forget (Itgehane).” The escapist, acid-tinged house track is Gou at her best, melding cosmopolitan dance floor influence with charming Korean vocal flourishes. Released on Ninja Tune, it’s become not only Gou’s most recognizable song to date, but a dance anthem with global appeal — as evidenced by its recent inclusion on the FIFA 19 soundtrack. — M.S.
16. DJ Snake feat. Selena Gomez, Ozuna, Cardi B, “Taki Taki”
Go big or go home. DJ Snake’s true slugger of 2018 was “Taki Taki,” featuring A-listers Selena Gomez, Ozuna and Cardi B as guest vocalists. To no surprise, the banger bulldozed over the competition and reminded both dance and pop fans alike of Snake’s hybrid main-stage talent. The track has spent 10 weeks on the Hot 100 thus far, peaking at No. 11, while the music video has amassed approximately 650 million views in just two months. — D.R.
15. Bob Moses, “Back Down”
Fresh from the release of their Battle Lines album earlier this year, the electronic duo Bob Moses delivers an intense track with intricate instrumentals and catchy vocals. The group masterfully weaves dark elements into the upbeat track, creating a song about strength and perseverance that is impossible to ignore. — E.L.
14. San Holo feat. Sofie Winterson, “Lift Me From the Ground”
The Dutch producer’s folk-electro dreams come true on this album1 standout. It’s a sonic exploration of hard and soft juxtapositions, the first a-ha moment where Holo perfected the electronic-drop-meets-intimate-shoegaze hybrid he was aiming for. Catch the rising star live and watch the sold out crowd shout every lyric to this song. — K.B.
13. Above & Beyond feat. Richard Bedford, “Northern Soul”
It seems like every time Above & Beyond and Richard Bedford collaborate on a record, magic is made. “Sun & Moon” and “Thing Called Love” are just a couple of songs that have turned into A&B staples, and “Northern Soul” will be getting added to that list. The explosive, stadium-sized synths and soulful vocals earned this song a spot in our Top 15. — D.R.
12. Au/Ra & CamelPhat, “Panic Room”
CamelPhat struck gold last year with their ubiquitous Ibiza hit “Cola,” and in the time since, the British pair have proven that they have the studio chops to sustain the momentum. “Panic Room,” which was originally released as a solo track by Au/Ra in February, later evolved into a silky collaboration with the duo that employs swirling arpeggio layers and a massive bassline to grand effect. The result was one of the year’s catchiest club anthems, and the second entry on the Hot Dance/Electronic Songs chart for the UK duo. — M.S.
11. Alison Wonderland, “Church”
Wonderland’s 2018 sophomore album Awake was one of the most personal releases in dance music this year, and the singer-producer pours her heart out on this single, a beautiful breakup belter. The accompanying music video accentuates the song’s moody, gospel ambitions. — K.B.
10. Louis the Child feat. Wafia, “Better Not”
Louis The Child landed their first big break back in 2015 with the K.Flay-sung “It’s Strange,” earning praise from pop superstar Taylor Swift and making its way into the FIFA 16 soundtrack. Since then, the Chicago duo had been chasing the record’s streaming accolades, and while they came close several times, nothing surpassed it… until “Better Not” with Wafia. It’s their highest charting single on the Hot Dance/Electronic Songs chart, peaking at No. 12, and has more than 80 million streams on Spotify. The song’s success comes at a time where Louis The Child is at the top of their game, selling out ambitious rooms like Aragon Ballroom in Chicago and Bill Graham Civic Auditorium in San Francisco. — D.R.
9. RÜFÜS DU SOL, “No Place”
“No Place” epitomized RÜFÜS DU SOL’s triumphant return in 2018. Bigger and bolder than past offerings, the song carries a unique brassy charm through its boisterous lead synths. Accumulating nearly 20 million streams across all platforms, the track served as the standout hit from the Australian trio’s third album, Solace. With a 10-minute remix from Lindstrøm & Prins Thomas further extending its appeal, “No Place” was a definitive favorite in 2018. — M.S.
8. *MK, “17”
While “17” was technically released in September 2017, it wasn’t until 2018 that the song truly blossomed and took over the dance airwaves. The record spent a whopping 20 weeks on Billboard’s Hot Dance/Electronic Songs chart, peaking at No. 25 in April. As soon as you press play, its infectious piano house melody will have you hooked. Carla Monroe’s buoyant, feel-good vocals jive perfectly with MK’s production, leaving listeners with an unstoppable groover. Grab the air mic and start rocking. — D.R.
7. David Guetta, Martin Garrix & Brooks – Like I Do
While this year saw a plethora of strong collaborations, Guetta, Garrix & Brooks is one to be remembered. The trio teamed up with singer Talay Riley for “Like I Do,” adding multi-layered melodies, heavy basslines and futuristic vocals for an upbeat proclamation of love that is guaranteed to bring a good feeling, even when Riley is “all alone and it’s half past two.” — E.L.
6. Silk City, Dua Lipa feat. Diplo, Mark Ronson, “Electricity”
Diplo and Mark Ronson made huge waves in May when they premiered Silk City, the prolific producers’ collaborative duo, which pays homage to house music meccas around the world. “Electricity” is the project’s latest single, tapping into electro-pop vocal favorite Dua Lipa, giving Silk City its first Hot 100 breakthrough and one of the year’s most instantly lovable house hooks. — K.B.
5. Zedd, Maren Morris, Grey, “The Middle”
It took 13 different vocal demos for Zedd and Grey to find the right fit for this summer favorite, some of whom were submitted by giant pop stars that just didn’t hit the mark. The wait was well worth it, though, with country star Maren Morris proving to be the perfect fit. “The Middle” became a No. 5 hit on the Hot 100 and a serious ear worm we’re still singing in our heads. — K.B.
4. Loud Luxury feat. brando, “Body”
One of the biggest dance stories of 2018 has been Loud Luxury’s impressive rise into the mainstream spotlight, primarily due to the success of their global hit “Body,” featuring brando. The pop-punched house record has been a popular name among many of Billboard’s dance charts this year, having already spent nearly six months (and counting) on Dance/Electronic Streaming Songs. “Body” was released in the final quarter of 2017, but its tidal wave of success on both streaming platforms and radio in 2018 is what sealed its position on this year’s list. Loud Luxury were featured as one of Billboard Dance’s artists to watch back in March and will now be performing at the upcoming Juno Awards in March 2019. — D.R.
3. FISHER, “Losing It”
You couldn’t go to a dance music festival in 2018 without hearing this song’s booming bass drop and catchy vocal some 50 times. It’s been a year since FISHER split with Cut Snake to the road as a solo act, and “Losing It” is only his fourth single, but it was in every damn house set from field to club floor. Everyone from David Guetta to Paul van Dyk and Afrojack has thrown it into their sets, helping turn the collective creative tide toward a deeper, more minimal headspace. It earned the producer a Grammy nomination for best dance recording, a huge look for an ascendant star riding a gust of upward momentum. — K.B.
2. Marshmello feat. Bastille, “Happier”
Marshmello wandered into the alt-rock realm by joining forces with Bastille on “Happier,” a certified crossover smash that’s been making the TV rounds on Good Morning America, The Ellen Degeneres Show and more. The track’s playful melody paired, with Bastille frontman Dan Smith’s melancholy vocals make for the perfect song to sing along too. “Happier” is Marshmello’s highest charting record to date on the Hot 100, peaking at No. 3. — E.M.
1. Calvin Harris, Dua Lipa, “One Kiss”
In a year when ’90s house made a major come back, Calvin Harris collaboration with Dua Lipa reigned supreme. It started when Harris slid into Lipa’s DMs about getting in the studio, and what blossomed was a hook for the ages. Her soulful, sultry mezzo-soprano melts into each pulsing beat until the whole track hugs you like a fuzzy jacket from Clueless. It was an international super-hit that gave Harris his third No. 2 on the Hot Dance/Electronic Songs chart and hit No. 26 on the Hot 100. High profile remixes from ZHU, Oliver Heldens, R3hab, Jauz and more brought out different shades of its magic, and while it didn’t get the nod from the Grammy committee, we at Billboard Dance can’t think of a more prominent, welcoming, club-ready groove to represent 2018. — K.B.