Of all the dance producers who’ve crossed over into pop’s glittering realm, Zedd is one of the most celebrated, and for good reason. He’s spent the last three years racking up the hits — five that have landed on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in particular — but even before he had a mainstream name, he was one of the go-to guys his electronic peers were quick to name drop in a conversation of cool.
He hit the ground running, and some of his earlier work remains some of his most beloved. His production prowess has since been snatched up by Ariana Grande, Lady Gaga, and Justin Bieber. Here’s a list of the 10 best Zedd songs for your listening pleasure.
10. Zedd Feat. Ke$ha – “True Colors”
Zedd digs a little deeper than his usual pomp and party time on this title track anthem. There’s a bit of the Old West in its rich chords. Kesha’s powerful voice exposes a passionate strength. It’s no surprise the song emerged as an empowerment anthem during her legal battle with Dr. Luke. Listen to this when you need to pump up before a big stand-off moment.
Okay, this one is technically only a feature on a Hailee Steinfeld song, alongside Zedd’s new favorite studio friends Grey, but we just love this song, okay? It’s catchy, it’s romantic, it’s easy to vibe to. It’s a reeled-in version of the star producer’s point of view, and subtle looks good on him.
8. Zedd Feat. Selena Gomez – “I Want You To Know”
It takes two seconds to recognize Selena Gomez on this True Colors hit, but did you know OneRepublic‘s Ryan Tedder helped with the songwriting process? Apparently, they had so much fun collaborating on the Clarity track “Lost at Sea,” they figured they’d give it another shot at a single. Zedd’s song also gave Gomez some clout in the dance world. She recently sang for Cashmere Cat, but let the record show, Zedd was there first.
7. Zedd – “The Legend of Zelda”
Is it weird that a remix of an old Nintendo tune is one of the greatest dance songs of the last five years? Not when it’s Zedd’s hype take on the Legend of Zelda theme. It’s iconic on its own, and this electrified version was the young producers’ first real hit. He still plays it in his live shows, which is totally awesome. This is a jam that can never die, because heroes like Link and Zedd exist beyond time.
6. Zedd Feat. Hayley Williams – “Stay the Night”
Zedd has proven his prowess as a pop dance ballad king. “Stay the Night” came after mega-hit “Clarity” as if banish any rumor of flash-in-the-pan success. Paramore frontwoman Hayley Williams is perfect as she sings the devil-may-care momentary romance of our modern era. Of course, it’s the feeling when the drop hits that lasts the longest.
5. Zedd – “Shave It”.
What are we supposed to shave? Zedd has never been the burliest of men, but maybe there’s a big old beard waiting to explode. There’s certainly no shortage of beastly beats, and this 2011 breakout original is one of our faves. Released on OWSLA and with remixes by Kaskade and Tommy Trash, it marked the producer as a mean original song-writing machine
4. Zedd Feat. Alessia Cara – “Stay”
This tune is one of the most perfect pop song’s we’ve heard. The verses are easy going, the lyrics are a sing-along, and the hook is just experimental and funky enough to stand out from the crowd. Bonus points for the clever use of a ticking clock sample. It’s palattable enough for the normies and cool enough for the trendy kids. No wonder it brought Zedd and vocalist Alessia Cara their third top 10 tune on the Hot 100 each, and it stayed there for 23 weeks.
3. Zedd, Maren Morris, Grey – The Middle
Quickly racking up major worldwide radio and festival play after its January 2018 release, there was really no avoiding “The Middle” — Zedd’s mega-hit collab with breakout country star Maren Morris and Grey. And really, why would you want to? The track is a bright and undeniably catchy piece of dance-pop perfection, with Zedd’s alternately spare and soaring production serving as a highly danceable platform for Morris’ powerhouse vocals. Earning a flurry of award nominations and chart success, “The Middle” already stands as one of the most ubiquitous hits of Zedd’s career, an inevitable conclusion given that we still can’t get it out of our heads.
2. Zedd Feat. Matthew Koma – “Spectrum”
Think of the biggest melodic lines in modern dance music, and “Spectrum” is bound to come to mind. It’s got a bright and bouncy rhythm that cant be ignored, and that breakdown, it’s complextro greatness. Matthew Koma is beautiful over these adorable textures. It almost makes us want to go back in time to 2012.
1. Zedd feat. Foxes – “Clarity”
Undoubtedly the biggest hit in Zedd’s career so far, “Clarity” was the song that took the fresh-faced producer to mainstream household heights. Foxes’ sweet, love-pained vocals are iconic over the searching synths. The drop comes on like a waterfall, more a cascade of notes than a barrage of noise. “Clarity” was one of the genre’s first big crossover anthems, but it set a standard in pop that moves far beyond festival stages.