Top 10 Tropical House Songs of 2014 - New Electronic Music
By Ben Houston
What a fantastic year it has been my party pineapples. We played the hits, went crazy as coconuts, shared a few laughs and found a new salty sound to groove to. Global warming has brought with it a year round summer in electronic music with tropical house emerging as the flyest new style in the scene. I’ve had the pleasure of sharing my favorite tracks each week, all while watching this blossoming beast evolve and gain the attention of music lovers everywhere. The artists in the genre are truly global in sound and roots, from Norway’s Kygo to Australia’s Thomas Jack these paradise flavored producers are bringing their own hometown touches to create a truly adventurous, wanderlust feeling to the music. Even if you haven’t traveled to white sand beaches, and tranquil turquoise water utopias, these songs will transport you there and you’ll never want to leave.
This has really been the first year of tropical house’s existence and its been fascinating to watch something like that joyously grow. All the artists are so collaborative and supportive of each other and the fans are just wild about it. Sexy saxophones, bongo percussive palettes, sundrenched vocals and a little spice of everything nice are just a few of the ingredients that create such a truly beautiful arrangement of electronic. This next year I’m looking forward to a lot more original work, hearing new collaborations with other genre artists and maybe even a tropical house festival! I’d call it The NoStresstival.
This chart features a little piece of the grooveberry pie that I loved this year, mainly highlighting the artists that had a huge influence on the growth of tropical and melodic house music. Some go a little deeper, some sway like a dancing palm tree but they all are full of that sunshine joy. A friend told me that “language speaks redundancies when you’ve got music” so without further ado, Welcome to Paradise…
QUICK NOTE: The full playlist can be found at the bottom of this article if you just wanna jam all the way through! Enjoy
1. “From Gold (Henri Pfr Remix)” Novo Amor
Boose Gumps. You can’t help but melt into this absolutely gorgeous song from Henri Pfr and Novo Amor. It begins with a trickling intro with chill natural soundscapes and glides off on the back of a melodic acoustic guitar into a Bon Iver-esque vocal arrangement by Novo Amor. Belgium’s Henri Pfr has added a lush, wave-riding house vibe that will elate you and sedate you all at once. And so begins our paradise vacation. Let’s get into it.
2. “You & I” Sons Of Maria, Enormous Tunes
Sons of Maria’s rework of the Tracy Chapman classic is made of the finest silk. This is such a seamless integration of the crooning chorus sample making it feel ripe and original while holding its own under the weight of such a classic. Roll down the windows, feel the fresh air blow through your hair and escape to a paradise wonderland in your ears. The Barcelona talent is making music that sounds like sangria and sunshine and recently put out a bangin track, ‘Uruguay’ with our melodic muse Nora En Pure. Everything coming out of the Enormous Tunes camp is absolutely gorgeous and their roster of talent has endless ability.
3. “Netzwerk (Falls Like Rain)” Klangkarussell, Casablanca Records
This is not only one of my top tropical house songs but also one of my top songs in general for the year. Infectious and pulsing with a synthy electricity, the Austrian duo Klangkarussell takes you somewhere where there’s little cell service and endless adventure. I love the various worldly tones brewing in the belly of this beachy beast. These guys remind me a lot of Klingande (another complicated K-name trop artist) with a little less sax and a little more deep house influence. I just can’t get it out of my head and I hope you can’t either.
4. “Make Me Feel Better” Alex Adair
The sunshine disco is burning bright and any song that begins with a xylophone solo and features a Marvin Gaye sample gets an automatic seal of Benpproval. Alex Adair’s original track gets you moving and grooving from the get go and is served best with a mojito poolside or lounging on a beach towel with crashing waves and squawking gulls playing backup. Check out his new remix of Ed Sheeran’s “Thinking Out Loud” when you get a hot minute. Excited to hear more from this young Brit.
5. “Back & Forth ft. Elizabeth Rose (Nora En Pure Remix)” The Aston Shuffle
Mediterrean music at its finest. This heat-seeking missile hits on target to blow your mind with mesmerizing melody and an absolutely sexy set of pipes that lure you into range. Nora En Pure is delivering the hottest tracks in the scene. Her euro-style groove is unmatched and the feels are so real. It makes me truly happy listening to this intoxicating sound, inspiring daydreams of white sand and watermelon margaritas. Check out her exclusive mix for Magnetic Mag and accompanying interview with the young, gifted talent.
6. “Hot Skin” Sam Feldt & Kav Verhouzer, Spinnin’ Records
Ohhh Yes. I’m all about this life. Sam Feldt and Kav Verhouzer have enriched our ears with a tantalizing, sexy inhibition eraser that feeds our appetite for summer love and bad behavior. The melodic piano melodies, echoing percussive rumblings and embracing sunkissed chorus is everything we love about the warm days and long nights with friends and lovers. Turn it up, turn it on and turn into a dancing pink starburst.
7. “Cut Your Teeth (Kygo Remix)” Kyla La Grange
I can write about this man’s music all I want but instead I’ll just share a moment with you. Fifteen of my best friends and I, all wearing an assortment of the finest silk hawaiian shirts on planet paradise, dancin, nay, SWOONIN for two hours and tropping our sandy butts off. We may have been skipping around the Fonda Theatre at one point, I’m not really sure. I’ve had the chance to see the tropfather Kygo twice this year. I’ve watched him blow up on the electronic scene, release his first single, sign with a major label, make Vin Diesel dance in the sand on Facebook and light the biggest beach bonfire for all the world to really take a good look at this new genre. But none of that is as cool as being with my boys and girls, dancing like toucans watching this man live. Its what this music is all about, being happy and living paradise. He has so many great tracks but I chose this one for my boy Alex. It’s his favorite and we’ve seen him both times together. Thanks for being my pineapple in crime AP.
8. “When The Beat Drops Out (Matoma Remix)” Marlon Roudette
The busiest and most successful tropical remixer award of the year goes out to Matoma. He played the hits, reeling in big fish remixes of Notorious B.I.G, Eminem and Imagine Dragons. The well received tracklist had the scene abuzz of not only his stylish skill but the awakening of mainstream and classic tropical reworks. I think Matoma truly led the charge in that respect and this rework of one of my favorite tracks of the year is no slouch in the hammock.
9. “What I Want” KarlK & Ofenbach
Some songs just create moments in your mind. A sunkissed kiss, an endless day party in the sand, a sunset swim latched onto your beach babe under a pink lemonade sky. This original jam from France’s KarlK and Ofenbach is a day dreamer and hopefully motivates you to make that happy place a reality. It was exciting to watch these producers start out mainly remixing but then going for it and creating a track of their own like these two did. I think that 2015 will see so a lot original pieces in the genre, blending and merging with other forms of electronic blissful tunage.
10. “Bloom (Bootleg)” Alex Cruz & No One 32
When you dive, dive head first. When you say yes, say hell yes. There is no better feeling than that sunrise feeling of finding something or someone that makes you feel elated and alive. This rework of Paper Kites’ beautiful whistler certainly plucks away on those heartstrings washing over you like a waterfall of sweetness. Alex Cruz & No One 32 have the flavors you want to savor and the Amsterdam native knows how to make great content even tastier. For me, that sunrise feeling is discovering tropical house and getting to talk about it this past year. I’ve had so much fun getting to write about this music I love and live and I hope you’ve gotten to learn a little something about it too. Sorry for being so punny, I just can’t kelp it.
Best Mix: “Thomas Jack Presents: Tropical House Vol. 5” Thomas Jack
I’ve included a bunch of other favorites from the year in this playlist. Groove on…
Photo Cred: @bhand86