Ever since I started this site I’ve been meaning to write this post, but always had trouble with making the right selection of songs. With our official launch a few days ago I’ve finally got everything together to write it. So here we go!
While it’s very common for EDM tracks with vocals to have lyrics about love (e.g. Trance), I’ve tried to select ones that I’ve actually found meaningful and not meant to just be generic filler lyrics. I narrowed everything down to about 13 songs that I really like and struck an emotional chord with me, from there I had to drop another 3 which was very difficult since I love all of the songs. Here’s the final top ten list that I came up with, and why.
“Cut me down, but it’s you who’ll have further to fall
Ghost town and haunted love
Raise your voice, sticks and stones may break my bones
I’m talking loud, not saying much”
David Guetta’s Titanium is definitely one of my favorite tracks from his latest album Nothing But The Beat. Sia’s powerful vocals really bring the emotion into the song. This song has also had a lot of radio play, which isn’t surprising because Guetta is one of the few EDM artists who enjoys mainstream radio play often. I think this is a brilliant track though, and always nice to listen to.
“If I walk away
I feel the push inside of me
That won’t let me leave
But what could I say
To make you feel what’s inside of me
This happens all the time”
Kaskade’s Fire and Ice is a truly amazing album that I love almost every track on, it’s what made me a Kaskade fan (sorry hipsters ). Lessons in Love is kind of a bittersweet song that I interpret to be about being hurt, but learning to move on and take advantage of the lessons learned in your mistakes. Perhaps Neon Trees meant it a different way, but that’s what I take from it. With it’s fat bass stabs and dubstep influenced breakdowns, it’s an excellent track on both the vocal and instrumental side.
“Let’s bring it back to you and me
There’s no one else around
Now don’t get lost in gravity
‘Cause I want you to hold me now
Nothing else matters
It’s just the two of us”
While I was listening through Armin Van Buuren’s albums this song jumped out at me as significant. It’s very beautiful in my opinion and I think it well deserves its spot on my list. Yes, I did post a trance song despite what I said in my intro. Sophie Bextor’s vocals make the lyrics actually feel heartfelt, listen to the song and hear for yourself.
“Our love feels wrong please wind it back
Our love feels wrong can’t hide the cracks
I guarantee you’ll miss me ’cause you changed the way you kiss me”
This song shows the dark side of British EDM rapper Example. The song has excellent dubstep and electro elements, and is a killer hit by Example. I love the intensity of the lyrics, and it has a very catchy hook.
“Well, the nightmares I’ve been having have arrived
They’re changing my future
The signs of my creation at my door
How could you do this to her?”
With so many great songs, of course Pendulum had to make this list. I think we all were deeply saddened by the band’s breakup a few months ago, I know I certainly was. While Pendulum has many great songs with emotion in them, this one jumped out at me the most. The music video depicts Pendulum (and now Knife Party) frontman Rob Swire jealously guarding his lover, and attacking any other men he sees with her. At the end of the video, a large gang goes to beat him up in revenge for his actions. I especially love the ending lyrics which I’ve quoted here, and the acoustic guitar bit at the end. I now miss Pendulum even more :'(
“The time is right to put my arms around you
You’re feeling right
You wrap your arms around too
But suddenly I feel the shining sun
Before I knew it this dream was all gone”
How could Daft Punk not make the list? This classic song is on a more positive note than the previous ones listed above. The singer dreams about falling in love, but then wakes up at the end. This is an excellent house song, with beautiful instrumentals and vocals. It’s very soulful and groovy at points. My personal favorite part is the guitar solo starting at 3:33, it’s just absolutely beautiful.
“Knocked down everything I tried to do
That sounds something like me holding you
I’ve known this can make you understand
Take my spirit from my open hand”
Calvin Harris is a very talented producer with an amazing voice as well. I think he’s the epitome of the EDM producer who does almost everything for himself. This song is very much underrated, and definitely one of my favorites off of Harris’ Ready For The Weekend album. I can definitely feel the emotion in his voice, and love the lyrical qualities of the song as well.
“This world can seem cold and gray
But you and I are here today
And we won’t fade into darkness
Nothing to fear, but fear itself
We’ll be okay, just keep the faith
And we won’t fade into darkness”
Avicii’s “Fade Into Darkness,” which is really a male vocal version of his song Penguin (the female version is called Collide with Leona Lewis) is actually not a very popular or well-known Avicii song compared to his big successes like Levels or Silhouettes, but is probably one of my favorite tracks by him. I found the video to be a bit strange, but most Avicii videos are. I interpret the song as about keeping a relationship going no matter what. I find it kind of a very sad song to listen to, and especially with the way the video ends.
“You don’t care ’bout me anymore
That’s why you, You want to break my heart
I remember when I used to feel somethin’
Now I’m just cold inside”
This song is probably one of the darkest EDM songs I’ve ever listened to. The lyrics aren’t very in-depth, but it’s Plan B’s delivery that makes the song what it is. The song alternates between slow sad parts, with fast-paced breakbeat angry parts, which I think is absolutely genius when it comes to the song’s production on Chase & Status’ part. The music video is absolutely horrid, the first time I watched it it extremely repulsed me. His ex-girlfriend takes revenge on him by doing a variety of things (watch the video and you’ll understand), and at the end puts his cat in his oven. The video just makes you angry, and that’s exactly why I selected it for this list. The song’s very powerful and was able to invoke that strong of an emotional response in me.
“Dropping your bombs now
On all we’ve built
How does it feel now to watch it burn, burn, burn?
Raise your weapons, raise your weapons and it’s over
Rippin’ through like a missile
Rippin’ through my heart, rob me of this love
Raise your weapon, raise your weapon and it’s over
How does it feel now to watch it burn, burn, burn?”
And of course, Deadmau5 takes the gold on my list. I think Raise Your Weapon will go down as one of the most legendary songs in EDM history. The beginning half is a hauntingly beautiful piano piece, which eventually picks up into a house beat. Then, halfway through the song, suddenly it goes into a dubstep drop that no one expects the first time they listen to it. At the end the song fades back into the piano peacefully. The lyrics use several metaphors to express the experience of being taken advantage of, and scorn for a past lover. Greta Svabo Bech’s vocal performance is absolutely amazing, and I really hope in the future we see another Deadmau5 collaboration that includes her.
Well there’s my list! I hope you enjoyed this article because I had lot of fun selecting songs and writing it. Of course there are so many beautiful EDM songs more heartbreaking or emotional than these that I’m sure I’ve left out or just didn’t have room to fit, and many more that will be produced in the future.
Do you think a song you like should’ve made it on this list? Do you think one of these songs doesn’t belong here? Do you have a personal experience involving any of these songs? All feedback is appreciated and please leave a comment below and let me know any questions you have and if you liked my article! Thanks for reading!
Marco is an upcoming underground electronic dance music producer who released his debut EP “Love Life” for free in early 2012, and is always working on improving his production skills and new material for his fans. He also likes to stay involved in the dance music culture by running this blog from an administrative end, and posting from time to time. For more info on Marco, check out http://www.facebook.com/MarcoMakesMusic