EDM.com Spotlight

EDM.com Spotlight

5 Albums And EPs That Changed EDM Forever

From its earliest beginnings in the underground to its place as the "poster child" of music culture today, EDM has undoubtedly been on a wild ride thus far. Thousands upon thousands of artists have utilized their passions for producing, sampling, live recording, djing, engineering, and more to develop the scene into what it is today, and the numbers are growing at an exponential rate.

Since the turn of the millennium, EDM has seen the release of a handful of collossal compositions, each pushing forward an unparalleled style of sound. We've come to highlight 5 of the most influential albums and EPs of the past 15 years, and although we couldn't cover all of them, each of these releases have truly changed the face of dance music as we know it.

Justice - Cross


In 2007, French house made the long trek across the Atlantic and bombarded the American coastline with the release of Justice’s (Cross). The album successfully infused the global dance culture with pounding electro basslines and disco-influenced swing. The duo took a page out of the 80’s disco funk rulebook and cut it up with rhythmic glitching and intoxicating melodies.

Stand out tracks include:

"Genesis" - Starting this album off, “Genesis” comes out of the gate like a stampede of elephants from ominous, gothic horns and a crunchy midrange synth that sets the pace for the track.

"D.A.N.C.E." - The arguably biggest single off the album, “D.A.N.C.E.” epitomizes Justice’s disco flavor from its funky bassline and call to action lyrics that state, “The way you move is a mystery / Do the dance.”

"Phantom Pt. I" - This track is another one that builds upon off-beat bass stabs and brings in Justice's signature string arrangement. The sounds of the track are a perfect blend of classical, funk and digital electro.

Daft Punk - Discovery

While still on the heels of their first album Homework in 1997, Daft Punk took the next leap forward in their career and released their second album Discovery in 2001. Described by member Thomas Bangalter as “less of a tribute to the music from 1975 to 1985 as an era and more about focusing on the time when we were zero to ten years old,” the 14-track release went on to score the anime film Interstella 5555: The 5tory of the 5ecret 5tar 5ystem and constitute for the majority of the tracks on their Alive: 2007 live album.

Stand out tracks include:

“One More Time” - It is nearly impossible to withhold singing along to this classic’s lulling chorus, "One more time, we're gonna celebrate / oh yeah, alright, don't stop the dancing."

“Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger” - From dance-floor jam to hip-hop instrumental, this track has such a catchy vibe that even Kanye had to put his own spin on it.

“Face to Face” - Featuring vocals and production from Grammy-winning garage legend Todd Edwards, the groovy tune introduced an entirely new vibe from the previously Chicago house-influenced duo.

deadmau5 - For Lack of a Better Name

When dance music fans think of progressive house, deadmau5 is generally recognized as a “top five” act to know. This title is quite clearly a result of his monumental discography and history of performances, but his 2009 album For Lack of a Better Name is arguably his greatest work to date. Featuring everything from techno-influenced power ballads to progressive and dream-like soundscapes, deadmau5 exercised his true potential to the fullest with this album.

Stand out tracks include:

“Ghosts N Stuff” - The legendary collaboration with Pendulum and Knife Party member Rob Swire brought deadmau5 to the forefront of music culture, seeping into radio stations from the US to Japan.

“FML” - The “snare roll anthem” was one of the most distinguishing tracks from the album, setting the tone with its punching bass-lines and speaker-rattling builds.

“Strobe” - What else is there to say that hasn’t already been said about this track? Just a hint of its chorus can open the floodgates of “feels” for dance music fans old and young.

Skrillex - Scary Monsters & Nice Sprites

2012 was arguably the most important year for dance music in the United States, and the release of Skrillex’s second EP Scary Monsters & Nice Sprites is widely regarded as the catalyst to the massive influx in bass heavy music. Officially putting dubstep on the map with his signature growling bass sounds, the EP went on to win the Grammy for Best Dance/Electronica Album and its title track reached triple platinum.

Stand out tracks include:

“Scary Monsters & Nice Sprites” - Love it or hate it, this raunchy and uniquely-sampled track redefined the way America saw dubstep - how can you forget that first drop?

“Rock n Roll (Will Take You To The Mountain)” - The driving electro-meets-dubstep track blended all of the vital elements of a festival anthem into one bass-filled package.

“With You, Friends (Long Drive)” - Featuring vocals from Skrillex himself, the beautifully melodic track proved that it wasn’t always about face-melting bass for the soon-to-be EDM icon.

Porter Robinson - Worlds

Porter Robinson’s summer 2014 album Worlds represents the progressive nature of electronic music in its entirety. The virtuosos producer built a name for himself in the heat of 2012’s bro-step phenomenon, but transformed his reputation into that of an advocate of the “fuck genres” mindset. Rolling Stone claims the album, “doesn’t sound quite like EDM,” because of it’s uber melodic and indie dance tendencies, however EDM fans around the world committed to his new sound like Marvin Gaye’s family eagerness to ruining Pharrell’s career.

Stand out tracks include:

"Sea of Voices" -  “Sea of Voices,” one of the most lush track on the album, puts the listener into a transcendental dreamscape that tugs on the heart strings and crescendos at a slowly progressing melody.

"Sad Machine" - This track encapsulates the spirit of the contemporary indie dance movement, which fits right between instrumental hipster rock and 80s synth pop.

"Language" - As one of the more club/festival ready tracks on the album, “Language” drives home Porter Robinson’s dance-driven tenancies with his strongly emotive melodic leads.

Photo credit: ChadBatka.com

Follow EDM.com: