It seems like house music has a winning formula, much like rock, it's tropes, motifs, and structure permeates through popular music. Typically between 120 and 130 bpm, house music's 4-to-the-floor kick drum pattern takes the simplest rhythmic foundation and develops pulsating grooves over the top. Of course, house music has expanded into a multitude of subgenres, not all sadly, can be included so I have instead opted for tracks that have some sort of significance to either their time, or their listeners. Whether it is a viral groove, or a genre defining track, the thing in common with all these tracks is that you will be looping them in your head for the rest of today.
This list is ordered to my personal preference of the greatest house tracks, there will obviously be disagreements over which track is better, but I'm sure there can be little dispute about each of these contenders deserving the top 10! There are many new tracks which I absolutely adore at the moment but one of my criteria for this list is that the tracks have to be timeless. This means I only picked the recent tracks which I am certain will age well, leaving plenty of room for the absolute classics.
1. Night Crawlers - Push the Feeling On (MK Mix) (1995)
This iconic house mix by Marc Kinchen, a name that cannot be omitted from a list of the greatest house music, has such an incredible legacy, it is the song which in my eyes, combined classic house with what became modern house music. With funky lyrics, and a brass riff so contagious even Pitbull caught it, this song remains commonplace on a night out 23 years later.
I believe that this is the best house song of all time because it is the definition of a timeless classic. Not only is it superbly produced, but it could be mistaken for being way younger than it actually is.
2. Modjo - Lady (Hear Me Tonight) (2000)
Coming in on number 2, the unmistakably French export of disco-infused house, crafted by Modjo. The upbeat, airy combination of the looped guitar sample (Chic's "Soup for One") forms the backbone of the track, and the bassline is absolutely dying to escape and regularly stealing the listeners sole attention. For me, it is the bassline which has captured my intrigue, every single time I listen, it feels so longing as if the subject of the repeated verse really meant something to the creators.
3. Robin S - Show Me Love (1990)
Another house track with a timeless vibe, and possibly one of the most recognisable grooves in the entire genre. Despite the song being almost three decades old, it is frequently played, and remixes are continually pouring out to this day.
4. Stardust - Music Sounds Better With You (1998)
Would I be criticised for having two French house tracks that are the exact same formula in my top 5? Much as I want to add variety, I don't think I can omit either this or Modjo's masterpiece in position two. This song is the epitome of sampling to make a whole new original track. Based on a 3 second snippet of Chaka Chan's Fate, Stardust lay the catchy foundation from which they construct a sing-along dance track which is instantly recognisable.
Of course, after two French house songs, you may feel a bit put-off by the lack of Daft Punk in this list, but Stardust actually consists of Thomas Bangalter, Alan Braxe, and Benjamin Diamond, the former being one of the two members of Daft Punk.
5. Swedish House Mafia - One (Your Name) (2010)
One of the most successful and widely appreciated house music collaboration is Swedish House Mafia. Hitting the scene in 2008, they became the face of mainstream house and dance music. Their tracks were clean, yet colossal - the perfect formula, blending radio-worthy pop music with festival-sized progressive house drops for the choruses.
6. Wankelmut & Emma Louise - My Head Is A Jungle (MK Remix) (2014)
Having been active in the music scene from 1989, MK's journey has practically followed house's developing years. Not only has a track he worked on made my top spot for already, one of his more recent tracks (19 years more recent), has also won its way into my list.
This track would be higher, however being newer, I wanted the top spots reserved for the absolute classics. Funnily enough this track is oozing with the classical house vibes from which MK came from. The iconic piano riffs have a prominent brightness in the mix, making them cut through and hit the listener with relentless groove, a house feature that will never get old. This song literally takes everything that was great about classic house music, and places it into a modern remix of an already killer song!
7. Oliver Heldens - Gecko (2013)
Easily the most iconic house song under the subgenre Future House, kicking it into the mainstream. While house has always been deep routed in groove and funky progressions, Future House came in with a whole new sound, it brought it's own version of "funk", not based on samples from tradition funk records.
Love it or hate it, Future House remains strong to this day. Many big names came from it, adopted it, or dipped into it. Whether or not the subgenre remains timeless, I cannot say, but the biggest tracks it offered will surely remain among the other greatest house creations of the past few decades.
8. Fedde Le Grand - Put Your Hands Up For Detroit (2006)
Despite the title, this track is super Dutch, coming from the era where the Netherlands was a holy land in the house music scene (and it still very much is to this day). This track is iconic, classed as electro house but on the less aggressive side of the term, its stuttering bassline drives crowds to chant and dance along. Classed by many DJs as a floorfiller, this song is suitable even today for most dance mixes.
9. Format:B - Chunky (2015)
I'm still shocked at how modern this track is yet it is known by almost everyone. In just over 2 years, a tech house style track (of all subgenres) has become instantly recognisable in the mainstream. I know the answer, it is because this track is phenomenal. It is groovy, retro, and drives every beat forward. The percussion and vocals retain focus due to the sparseness of the rest of the track, normally a feature that people don't like. But this track just works.
I'll give you a secret, this track mixes so well with Funkytown by Lipps Inc. One of my favourite parts of a night when DJing, is dropping that mashup live.
10. Kenny Dope and The Bucketheads - The Bomb (1995)
Another contagious groove led by brass, the main motif comes from Chicago's "Street Player", and is instantly recognisable to near enough every human on the planet. This song is such a dancey tune. It may not quite be hard enough for peak time in a mainstream venue anymore, but it just makes you want to get moving, perfect for early in the night or a more retro dance vibe. Because of it's recognisable sound sources, people don't have to have heard this version of the track, for them to get sucked in - one of the best parts of sampling is that a song can be familiar even if never heard before.
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