If it’s been said once, it’s been said a million times: 2022 brought dance music full circle a decade later, opening the doors towards a present-day golden age. There had yet to be a full January-to-December run since pre-pandemic times where dance music had the runway to freely thrive—in both the release and live event fields—and the scene took complete advantage of that in 2022. Glimpses of that creative rush that resulted from artists involuntarily spending time at home had been shown throughout 2020 and 2021, but this year, those floodgates broke wide open and resulted in arguably—but not really up for debate—one of the most flourishing musical calendars of dance music in a long time.
Just looking at the A-list lineup that appeared on our first New Music Friday tweet of the year, 2022 flashed its potential in an instant, with names like Seven Lions and Jason Ross, REZZ, Kaskade, Moore Kismet and Pauline Herr, Zeds Dead and Subtronics, and David Guetta and MORTEN, among others immediately serving out their calendar’s sonic kickoff. And scrolling through the countless “new music time” tweets on Dancing Astronaut‘s Twitter from this year, the high-quality downpour genuinely did not have an off week at any point. We—of course—won’t go as far to say that we outright predicted that wealth, but 23 of the 36 unreleased IDs included in our countdown of the year’s most-anticipated releases were unlocked at some point during 2022, giving just a mild credence to the idea that dance music experienced the onset of some sort of modern renaissance.
But dance music experiencing as roaring of a year as 2022 was a double-edged sword in a sense. When it came to the making an uphill deliberation of what release would deserve to replace Jason Ross, Blanke, and Chandler Leighton‘s “One More Day” on Dancing Astronaut‘s end-of-year track throne, a definitive answer was next to impossible to settle on. Instead, a middle ground was eventually reached, with not one, not two, but three tracks ultimately coming away with the co-branding of Dancing Astronaut‘s 2022 Track of the Year.
That trio should truly come as little to no surprise from just about anyone, with Kx5 and Hayla’s “Escape“—the two-headed alias’ nostalgia-doused debut—Martin Garrix, DubVision, and Shaun Farrugia’s “Starlight“—the irreproachable sliver of progressive house perfection aboard the Sentio tracklist—and Swedish House Mafia and Connie Constance’s “Heaven Takes You Home“—the blissful standout cut on Paradise Again that’s been widely hailed as a second coming of “Don’t You Worry Child”—all respectively writing their own unconquerable argument as to why they each warranted the title, leaving us with no choice but to simultaneously crown them. While we entered the year with three dozen unreleased tracks on our wishlist, “Escape,” “Starlight,” and “Heaven Takes You Home” weren’t among them, all serendipitously originating and landing around the same timeframe across March and April, firming up a white-knuckle grip on listeners’ streaming ears throughout every waking second that followed. And when the question was posed on Dancing Astronaut‘s socials as to what single track prevailed in 2022’s endless sea of memorable efforts, those three tallied up more than any other, which only reaffirmed the decision to split our annual Track of the Year award into thirds.
As for the remainder of this year, we carefully sorted through thousands upon thousands of releases that caught our attention between January and December, ultimately narrowing it down to 97 others that would join “Escape,” “Starlight,” and “Heaven Takes You Home,” on the countdown of Dancing Astronaut‘s Top 100 Dance Tracks of 2022. While those three selections will undoubtedly consume a bulk of our streaming minutes during 2022’s final days, run them back again—as well as our other favorites (in alphabetical order) from the Dancing Astronaut staff—below on Spotify and Apple Music.
Featured image: Alden Bonecutter
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