Our American troops started coming home from the Middle East. President Obama announced the location and termination of terrorist leader Osama Bin Laden. Batman: Arkham City, The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword, and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 were finally released. The NBA season was saved. Green Bay Packers lost a game. The Rock agreed to wrestle John Cena at WrestleMania 28. Darth Maul is alive. Oprah Winfrey said goodbye.
Many of the events of 2011 gave us a reason to dance. Thankfully an abundance of notable songs were released this past year worth letting loose to. We moved our bodies and sweated-out our freshest gear while pumping our fists to a flurry of ferocious, eclectic, and energetic jams.
But of all the songs that made us move, which of them were the best?
Here they are: The Top 10 Dance Tracks of 2011
#1: “Give Me Everything” Pitbull featuring Ne-Yo, Afrojack, Nayer
#2: “You Make Me Feel” Cobra Starship featuring Sabi
#3: “Party Rock Anthem” LMFAO featuring Lauren Bennett and GoonRock
#4: “We Found Love” Rihanna featuring Calvin Harris
#5: “Otis” The Throne (Jay-Z & Kanye West)
#6: “Super Bass” Nicki Minaj
#7: “Levels” Avicii
#8: “Beautiful People” Chris Brown featuring Benny Benassi
#9: “Without You” David Guetta featuring Usher
#10: “Look At Me Now” Chris Brown featuring Busta Rhymes and Lil Wayne
After sharing #1 with Usher last year, Hip Hop star Pitbull returns to the top spot – this time as the headliner. His infectious single “Give Me Everything” was a no-brainer to claim top honors; the process of ranking #2 through #4 required a greater deal of thought (and replaying). Rihanna, Cobra Starship, and LMFAO all released solid sonic encouragements that set any dance floor in motion. Each of their offerings is worthy of superiority, yet on this list Pitbull (with Ne-Yo, Nayer, and Afrojack) punctuated by a hook that permanently attaches itself to memory could not be denied. The groove here was so melodic and the production so danceable, listeners may have ignored the detail Pitbull applied to his lyrics.
Of course no list or ranking can be compiled without argument, so we decided to get second opinions from 11 of the top DJs in the country. We asked each what was their favorite dance track of the year, and what song they felt was the best.
“Favorite and best dance track of 2011 had to be Jay-Z & Kanye’s ‘Otis’. While the rest of the urban soundscape was grasping for near ballad tempos, raps or techno-inspired BPMs, The Throne flipped them all the virtual middle finger. Riding high off an infectious Otis Redding sample, this was sure to put anyone in the mood to do the wop, Reebok, Prep or even the 2-step.” DJ Dub @deejaydub
“I’d have to go with LMFAO’s ‘Party Rock Anthem’ as the best dance track in 2011…whether you’re too cool to admit it or not, this song had everybody ‘shuffling’ this past year. Every time I heard this song playing, I imagined MC Hammer doing ‘Can’t Touch This’. Undeniably infectious without blaming the alcohol, when this song drops everyone will be doing every old school dance under the sun from the Typewriter, the Running Man, the Barack Rock. Fun Times!” – DJ Jamad @djjamad
“I’d have to give that to Pitbull featuring Ne-Yo, ‘Give Me Everything.’ The song’s hip-hop, pop, electro and R&B elements make the song more appealing to different markets.” – DJ King Shameek @DJ_King_Shameek
“My favorite track to play of 2011 was probably ‘Original Don’ by Major Lazer. But the hands-down winner of BEST dance track of 2011 was ‘We Found Love’ by Rihanna and Calvin Harris. I would play this out before any girls knew the track and they would still go crazy. Banger from the very beginning.” – DJ Wonder @djwonder
“[In] 2011 the UK killed it hands down for me [with] Wretch 32’s Traktor’. This is my song of the year for many reasons. It’s a fusion of hip-hop and reggae and EDM. The beat alone has enough head-nod to make Godzilla wear a neck brace. And the lyrics just take it to that next level. This should have torn the clubs up in the U.S.” – DJ Fathom @FATHOMWORLD
“The best would have to be ‘Let Me See Ya Sneakers Work’ by Project Aspect because of how the song evolves. The energy is consistently growing, and each drop is completely different – surprising you each time.” – DJ iNoV8 @time2iNoV8
“Avicii’s ‘Levels’ was my most popular dance track of 2011. Having so many requests for it, and Flo Rida’s ‘Good Feelin’’ sample, the track made it #1 for weeks. I choose to play a few versions of the song depending on when it’s needed. But my favorite is DJ Valid ‘Smashing Levels’ featuring Lil Jon. Just works great for the energy of the club.” – DJ Young Mase @YoungMaseLive
“I think Big Sean featuring Nicki Minaj ‘Dance (A$$) Remix’ is a must for the top ten. The production is a dope mix of old school funk laced perfectly with the new age sound. The producer killed it adding the funky Rick James sample, which fits perfectly in the beat. Overall I have to give this track a 9/10 for 2011’s top dance song of the year!” – DJ Smoke @djsmokemixtapes
“I have to say the best dance track from 2011, to me, has to be Pitbull featuring Neyo ‘Give Me Everything’. And I say this is because the energy I feel from this song is literally ridiculous. Unlike other dance tracks, Pitbull brings this track full and center with the hard beats… crazy lyrics and infectious beats. For me it gets no better.” – DJ Bigggz @DjBigggz
“I personally had a few favorite Tracks in 2011, but if I had to choose one I would have to say DJ Khaled ‘I’m On One’ featuring Rick Ross, Drake, and Lil Wayne. I feel that particular joint was an anthem. Also, all the artists that collaborated for this song was very much relevant for 2K11. Me being a DJ, I can throw that track on and both ladies and guys vibe and sing along to it.” – DJ Buscat @DJBuscat
“I’m stuck on 3 choices: One, Chris Brown ‘Beautiful People’. The build-up in this song is feel -good, it was not what I’d expect from Chris Brown, and, to me, solidified that Chris was diverse enough to keep doing these tracks. Two, Pitbull ‘Give Me Everything’. Look, this was a number one song, played at peak time on dance floors across the world. Pitbull was the go-to guy in 2011 for dance tracks. Three, Foster The People ‘Pumped Up Kicks’. This record was kinda weird to me, but it worked. I think the many remixes worked better than the original but this was a dance floor staple as well. Now…this is not really a ‘dance’ record, but my top choice for the dance crowd overall is Maroon 5 ‘Moves Like Jagger’. Can’t say enough, the chicks love this record, always gets a great response.” DJ Babe @djbabe1
–Mr. Joe Walker
Mr. Joe Walker, a senior contributor for SoulTrain.com, is an acclaimed entertainment and news journalist published thousands of times regionally, nationally, internationally, and online. He loves to create, loves that you read. Follow him on Twitter @mrjoewalker. Also visit ByMrJoeWalker.blogspot.com and TheUIMag.com.