screenhunter_916-feb-28-18-35Cherokee – “Take Care of You” – (2011)

Here’s a bit of a throwback. It just sounds like summer. It’s got a great R&B vibe – thanks mostly to the fact that it samples George Benson. Most house music from 2011 already sounds out of date – but I have a feeling this one will endure. It’s just too smooth.

Avicii – “Malo” – (2011)

I can’t tell you how many times I listened to this song while I was in the pool last summer. It’s one of my favorite Avicii tracks and the Spanish vocals really give it a tropical flair. Maybe I should explain my connection between electronica and summer: Ibiza. It’s one of the world’s capitals of electronic music and dance clubs. And it’s friggen nice (weather-wise). There are beaches. And the music videos for songs like this always have a nice warm setting in Miami or the south of France. Classic conditioning? Maybe. I think it makes sense.

Ricky Martin – “Más (Ralphi Rosario Spanish Radio Remix)” – (2011)

Here’s something a little more upbeat than yesterday. “Más” is a song from Ricky Martin’s 2011 album Musica + Alma + Sexo. There were a bunch of remixes released shortly after this came out as a single. The Ralphi Rosario Spanish Radio Remix is, I think, better than the original – if for no other reason than its pumping beat. It turned the song into a dance hit – a top ten on the dance charts. If you’re idea of summery music involves club music or Latin music – then this has you covered.

Bingo Players – “Cry (Just a Little)” – (2011)

Bingo Players is a Dutch house duo and this is one of their more popular songs. Not to sound like “one of those people” but I happen to really like this a lot more than Flo Rida’s sampled version. The chorus from this track is the only good part of his song, unfortunately. A top ten in the Netherlands and on the U.K. dance charts, this was a commercial success in Europe. However, straight house tracks don’t get much airplay on U.S. mainstream radio and sampling it into a pop/hip-hop song is about the only way to spread kickass dance music like this to a wide audience in the States. Oh, and to prove nothing is totally original, that catchy chorus was lifted from a song called “Piano in the Dark” by Brenda Russell from 1988.

Pitbull feat. Chris Brown – “International Love” – (2011)

Well here’s two popular performers that people don’t seem to like all that much. The reasons are very different. People don’t like Chris Brown as a person and Pitbull has recently garnered his own special sort of disdain. That is, his unoriginality. He has taken song sampling to a whole new level. Granted, he has been very successful and has made a lot of money – and I kind of like his unique voice. This song doesn’t have any samples in it, but recently it seems that Pitbull (and Flo Rida, who has made a career out of it) just take popular electronica or dance tracks and then rap over top of them. This was a big hit in the U.S…. and well, internationally.

William Naraine – “If I Could Fall” – (2010)

William Naraine was the lead singer of the Italian Eurodance group called Double You, which formed in 1985. The group hasn’t released an album since 1998. I guess that makes them “dormant.” Anyway, Naraine ventured out on his own and this was a single released near the end of 2010/beginning of 2011. I happen to really like it. There are a lot of upbeat dance tracks, but few have quality vocals. This does. And, if you watch the video, he kind of looks like Jeff Goldblum with wild-ass hair. This is easily one of my favorite dance tracks of the past few years.

Wolfgang Gartner feat. Eve – “Get ‘Em” – (2011)

Here’s a song I came across. Wolfgang Gartner has some awesome instrumental tracks and this one featured Eve, who was pretty good and really popular about 10 years ago. She’s got a decent voice and can rap pretty well. When I saw “Wolfgang Gartner” and “Eve,” I thought, “This could be good.” And it is. It’s upbeat and Eve is just laying down lyrics really quick. It’s a dance track, no doubt. I’m not sure that this was a single, but it’s my favorite song off the album Weekend in America, Gartner’s first full-length album. “Wolfgang, E-V-E hands up top.”

Pitbull feat. Marc Anthony – “Rain Over Me” – (2011)

Marc Anthony hasn’t done a lot of business on mainstream U.S. radio since, umm, about 2000. Nowadays he’s more famous for having married Jennifer Lopez, but he kills it in this song. Pitbull has been about everywhere since about 2010 and as time has progressed, I’ve noticed that when he starts rapping (or whatever) in Spanish, it seems to be more and more “phoned it” every time. He just kind of mumbles. I’m jealous he’s making a career out of mumbling (“ya tu sabe”). This video is classic Pitbull: a white suit, hand motions with fingers spread, reflective sunglasses, the sun, beautiful women, and him – at some point – throwing his arms in the air and spinning as the beat drops. But Marc Anthony really makes this song – he’s still got the pipes he did 10 years ago and it really helps make this dance track more pop-y.

Ellie Goulding – “Lights” – (2010)

“Lights” was released as a single in March of 2011 from Ellie’s debut album (released about a year prior). The music is very in-line with what is popular today – a sort of electronica-pop mix (but with a distinct British feel). As would be expected from a song that sounds like this, it charted better in the U.K. than it did in the U.S. – but it’s catchy and very well done. Her voice is infectious and the music encourages you to sing along.

LMFAO feat. Natalia Kills – “Champagne Showers” – (2011)

This was LMFAO’s follow-up single to their massive hit “Party Rock Anthem.” It fizzled it and was overshadowed before it even had a chance to catch on. “Party Rock Anthem” was such a massive hit that this song was stuck in its shadow since its release. No one wanted to hear it. They wanted the big single. And by the time this was given an opportunity, their third single from Sorry For Party Rocking was released. It’s not as good as the first two, but it had the timing right and caught on and receives/d a lot of airplay. This is catchy, but it’s no “Party Rock Anthem.”