My Favourite DJ + Siren Songs

It recently occurred to me that I really dig three commercial dance tracks from the last year or so. What’s the common denominator? All are sung by relevant, siren-voiced chanteuses, produced by DJ’s, and all have streamlined pulsating waves of EDM joy into pop gitch glory.

In the past, finding this type of song would have required some measure of effort on the part of the listener, as the tunes would’ve resided somewhere on the periphery of mainstream accessibility. Nowadays, dance music, in all its forms and machinations, is so ubiquitous that tracks like these are played regularly on all types of radio formats and can be found drawing hits on all manner of music blogs.


Where the DJ + Siren style of song used to be a strictly remix-style venture, now, they’re flat out collabo’s (Jermaine Dupri just got a 75 cent royalty from me because I used the word collabo [another 75 cents] and he’s happy as a pig in dirt he’ll be able to eat dinner tonight). Ahh ha. Ahhhhh Ha!

Here are the three DJ + Siren songs from the past year that I so dig:

1) Florence Welch & Calvin Harris – Sweet Nothing

The chorus of “Sweet Nothing” is elite. When I first heard Florence Welch’s voice on “Rabbit Heart (Raise It Up)”, I knew she’d be capable of lifting a dance track high up into the heavens. She’s accomplished that feat with aplomb here.


2) Ellie Goulding & Calvin Harris – I Need Your Love

It’s the verses that really get me on “I Need Your Love”, particularly the second one. This is a smash through and through.


3) Sia & David Guetta – She Wolf

Sia’s vocal absolutely dominates this track. The melody she creates with her voice is astounding. “She Wolf” is infinitely better than “Titanium”, and this, for me, is Guetta’s best track (possibly his only other good one) since “Love Don’t Let Me Go”.


The three tunes listed above are my current favourites, but by no means are Harris, Guetta, or the Sirens the progenitors of the style. When I look back at what’s been released over the past several years, another three tracks come to mind that helped build the Siren/DJ bridge into the Danyan-Kunshan style behemoth it is today.

Danyan Kunshan Bridge







1) Tiesto f. Tegan & Sara – Feel It In My Bones

Technically they’re two sirens, but they’re unfathomably harmonious, and twin sisters to boot, so I’m gonna let the backbone slide on this one. This track cannot get stale.


2) Royksopp f. Karin Dreijer Andersson – What Else Is There?

It may be a tad self-serving to describe Royksopp as DJ’s in the traditional sense, but I feel like they’re close enough, and I there’s no way in Hades I could fail to mention this absolute banger.


3) Gabriel and Dresden f. Molly Bancroft – Tracking Treasure Down

Quite possibly my favourite track from my favourite DJ’s.


Looking back even further, more branches of the DJ + Siren Family Tree become apparent as they woosh in the megawatt-speaker propelled wind. It’s interesting how the release of this type of track has developed. In the late 90’s, I started noticing that the M.O. of the style often saw a DJ, typically an up-and-comer, remixing a track from a well-established, mainstream star.

I know there are tracks that go back even further than the three I’ve listed below (the early 90’s Eurodance movement comes to mind, and of course, like all others, that scene has its own distinct lineage), but the following triumvirate had such a profound effect on me at the time of their release that I have to cite them as indomitable influencers. These songs still sound fantastic (over a decade later), and from a pop-cultural perspective, they clearly aroused a sensation in music fans/producers that has developed into a throbbing, unstoppable scene today. Here they are:

1) Madonna – What It Feels Like For A Girl (Above and Beyond 12″ Club Mix)

My god does this still sound absolutely brilliant 12 years later.


2) Whitney Houston – My Love Is Your Love (Jonathan Peters remix)

Whitney’s voice sounds impeccable on this massive dancefloor anthem.


3) Sarah McLahlan & Delerium – Silence (Tiesto’s In Search of Sunrise Remix)

Delerium and Sarah McLachlan are probably still buttering their bread because of this gargantuan hit.

My Top 10 Songs of June 2013

I can’t believe 2013 is half done. The first half of the year has been so good for music, if I had to cull everything together to make a top 100 list right now, I’d have trouble doing so. I have no earthly idea what I’m going to do come year’s end. I’ll worry about that later though. Here are the songs I listened to/liked most in June:

10. Chvrches – Gun

Maybe it doesn’t quite reach the dizzying heights of “Lies”, “The Mother We Share”, “Recover”, and “Now Is Not The Time”, but the more I listen to “Gun”, the more I dig it. I really like the way Chvrches employ a double chorus/hook-hook song structure on many of their tracks. “Gun” is a shot of pure pleasure. Chvrches are on bloody fire. And apropos of nothing, Lauren Mayberry is adorable.


9. The Besnard Lakes – People of the Sticks

This is The Besnard Lakes at their badassest (say that 10 times quickly). The song is transfixing. The video is highly unusual. I’m down with all of it.


8. Phosphorescent – Muchacho’s Tune

This is gorgeous music. Melodic and melancholic with a sliver of sunlight in the dark, distant sky.


7. New Politics – Harlem

This song is a mischievous, cockroachian pest. Once it builds a home in your brain, good luck getting rid of it.


6. Preatures – Is This How You Feel?

This song reminds me of about 472 other songs. It has the soul of an old rock/blues song, yet somehow, it sounds unwaveringly fresh. I call that magic.


5. The Belle Game – River

That voice. My oh my, that voice.


4. Cold War Kids – Loner Phase/Lost That Easy

I love “Loner Phase” and “Lost That Easy” equally. They’re two of the several phenomenal songs from what I think is Cold War Kids’ most consistent album, Dear Miss Lonelyhearts. The media linked below is one of the coolest lyric videos I’ve seen yet. Cold War Kids just keep getting better.


3. Paramore – Still Into You

Paramore’s latest (eponymous) LP is, quite frankly, a revelation. I had no idea Hayley Williams, Taylor York, and Jeremy Davis had this in them. They tackle seemingly every subgenre of pop/alt, and they do it with such ease and vigour. The album is a confluence of many factors that (luckily) clicked at the same time. I’m not sure they’ll ever top it, but I’ mustn’t dwell on such things. I’m just going to continue to enjoy the hell out of a gobsmackingly good record. “Still Into You”, the second single from the album, is a downright juggernaut. This is takeover music.


2. Robin Thicke f. Pharrell and T.I. – Blurred Lines

I liked “Blurred Lines” at first, but I don’t think it really hit me until I was bludgeoned over the head with it — that’ll happen when a song is played on every format in existence on a loop for months. If there can be such a thing, it was an enjoyable bludgeoning. “Blurred Lines” is, by light years, Robin Thicke’s best song ever. In fact, I would argue he never even had a good song until he made this. I also believe that Pharrell is probably the sole reason why this song is so catchy, such is his power/ability. Alan’s kid has a great talent at nicking stuff from Justin Timberlake, and a good voice, but considering how many albums he’s released with nary a song worth remembering, I’d say he’s extremely lucky Pharrell decided to let him sing on this behemoth of a beat. But I digress. The song is a bloody monster, and it may or may not (read: may) have been made even more seductive by the unrated version of the video (google that ish and you’ll see why).


1. Yeah Yeah Yeahs – Despair

A couple weeks ago, I watched the video for Yeah Yeah Yeah’s new single, “Despair”, and I was overcome with emotion. Here’s how I described it at the time…

Honesty: I heard YYY’s “Despair” today, and I shed tears. I love music so much because occasionally, overpowering moments like that happen. Music is the art form that marinates my heart, beckons for it, keeps it tender, nurtures it. And in turn, my heart beats for it. As for YYY’s “Despair” itself, it couldn’t espouse a feeling further from its title. It’s the power of 1000 suns. It’s brighter. It’s a revelation. The video only heightens the feeling. The ebullient faces of Karen O & drummer Brian Chase make my soul stir, my pores goosebump, me live.

I still feel that way and I don’t think it’ll change any time soon. Music The All-Powerful.