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The Annual 2021: The Best in Dance Music!

By Tom Oscar Adams |

Ministry of Sound’s selection of the greatest dance tracks of the year doesn’t disappoint. This yearly compilation album kicks off with Paul Woodford and Diplo’s sensual Looking for me, a chill piano house track featuring 90s classic house basslines and synth pads. Imanbek brings his iconic gritty bass and tight production on his remix of SAINt JHN’s Roses. Arguably the biggest track of the year, the Roses remix has been streamed billions of times and has been heard in pretty much every club in the UK. MK also makes the cut with 2AM featuring Carla Monroe. Nothing new here, just pure unadulterated MK doing what he knows best: Korg M1 pianos, raucous 909 snares and tight production.

Lucky Luke’s cover of Mike Posner’s Cooler Than me hits hard with its bare-bones production and hard lead bass. The track follows the standard dance record format until things get groovy on the last drop where syncopated basslines and an off-beat cowbell take centre stage. New-comers Yola Recoba showcase glorious synth arpeggiators, brass stabs, vocal drones and Italo-disco strings on Wicked Game. Props to that clap sample on the second verse, we have never heard such a wide clap!

Dance music legend Calvin Harris teams up with pop sensation The Weeknd on the funkiest track of the album Over Now. With its vintage bass lines, synth strings, lush palm-muted guitars and occasional slap bass pops, this track pays homage to the great producers of the 80s.

Oliver Heldens brings his A game on Details featuring Boy Mathews, a catchy Rhodes riff on the intro draws you in to an immense bass-vocal breakdown and build-up. We would have loved to have heard a bit of harmonic variation on the drop, but the tight mix and catchy vocals make up for the slightly repetitive lead.

The track Hot Shot by Bklava is arguably the most interesting in the selection. The opening vocal-string staccatos on a low-passed synth backdrop create an eerie yet poignant atmosphere before the drop’s breakbeat rhythms take over.

This year’s selection stays true to Ministry of Sound’s ethos, showing their desire to make people dance. With a heavy emphasis on piano house and classic house elements, this compilation still shines in its diverse musical offerings. We look forward to next year’s edition!


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