20 of the best dancefloor bangers from 2023 - Features - Mixmag

20 of the best dancefloor bangers from 2023

The biggest tracks that made us lose our minds on the dancefloor this year

  • Words: Patrick Hinton, Megan Townsend, Gemma Ross, Becky Buckle, Tibor Heskett | Design: Keenen Sutherland, Tomi Tomchenko
  • 20 December 2023

Bangers make the world go round. Sure, we like many different shades of music here at Mixmag, partial to sounds spanning emotionally vulnerable R&B to soothing ambient. But ultimately, there's nothing we love more than absolutely losing our minds on a dancefloor to club-primed heaters. To celebrate those sounds, we've compiled 20 of our favourite dancefloor bangers of 2023 in the list below (in alphabetical order of the lead artist).

Anz ‘Clearly Rushing’ (Hessle Audio)

Anz’s ‘Clearly Rushing’ has been inciting dancefloor frenzies near and far this year. The Manchester-based producer delivered a good old-fashioned whooper for her return to Hessle Audio, complete with frenetic breaks, ricocheting kicks and some seriously Nintendo-esque synths — all tied together with a series of escalating breakdowns that will have you yearning for a sweaty dancefloor, mouthing “coorr” straight into your mates’ faces. There have been countless dancefloor bangers this year that have had us humming them for days after the first listen, fingers itching for our phones so we can add them to playlists for regular rotation. But what sets ‘Clearly Rushing’ apart is that it does it without any bells and whistles — relying on flowing percussion and a serrated melody to leave us hungry for more. Deliciously addictive, the strawberry ice of 2023 bangers.

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Chase & Status, Bou feat. IRAH, Trigga, Flowdan, Takura ‘Baddadan’ (Universal Music)

Hearing IRAH belt out that infectious intro has been the signal to get gun fingers locked and loaded. Built by d’n’b legends Chase & Status linking up with a trailblazer of the scene’s next gen Bou and MCs IRAH, Trigga, Flowdan and Takura, it’s been one of the loudest and most frequently dropped tracks of the year. It was easier to catch ‘Baddadan’ played out than it was to catch a cold. What was once a simple intro of ‘‘Baddadan, Baddadan” has become a war cry for mosh pits, skanking and bass faces, from basements to festival stages. There aren’t a lot of tunes that can erupt a crowd quite like this — just don’t stand too close to the soundsystem or it might just blow your head off.

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Chris Stussy ‘All Night Long’ (Up The Stuss)

After enormous clammour, Chris Stussy released ‘All Night Long’ this Spring. The scorcher became an overnight sensation when he dropped it in Mixmag’s Lab LDN. Playing it out to the intimate office rave with clips going viral on socials, a frenzy for its release was sparked and then satisfied in May. Bringing back funky house with the spirit of some of the greats, the Dutch DJ has infused his biggest musical inspirations such as Kerri Chandler and poured them into this release. Celebrating the release Stussy threw an ‘All Night Long’ party in KOKO London to a sold-out crowd, seeing him play for seven-hours, and since then the track has reached over seven million streams on Spotify alone. It’s an undeniable anthem and another stamp of clubland respect to Stussy’s name.

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Hudson Mowhawke, Nikki Nair & Tayla Parx ‘Set The Roof’ (Warp)

Soundtracking the start of the summer months with a trip around the festival circuit and back, Hudson Mohawke and Nikki Nair’s club-shaking ‘Set The Roof’ fuses high-energy breaks with obscured garage, a sonic allegiance this pair have bonded over of late. This god-tier link-up came as part of a three-track package on Warp Records in May, featuring breezy, chipmunked vocals from Tayla Parx, the brains behind some of Ariana Grande’s biggest tracks. Released on a limited edition USB with a promise of more joint works to come from the pair, the raucous, stick-in-your-head Glasgow-meets-Atlanta crossover fully took over clubland during the second half of the year with plays on bassy soundsystems across the world.

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INVT, Logan_olm ‘WE INSIDE (CULEBRA VIP)’ (Self-released)

London and Miami combine to devastating effect on ‘WE INSIDE (CULEBRA VIP)’. Production duo INVT combine elements of their traditional Miami bass sound with a rolling 4/4 garage beat while vocalist, producer, athletics coach and “big soundboy” extraordinaire Logan_olm makes sure “everything’s live inside” with captivating bars. The track is always moving with acid-infused basslines coming in and out, and the kick drum pattern switching to a 2-step format for the final 90 seconds or so. It’s been a hit with DJs, with the track dominating the radio airwaves and clubland alike since its release in late May.

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J Hus feat. Drake ‘Who Told You’ (Black Butter)

J Hus’ return was all the talk this year. And when paired up with one of the world’s most commercially successful rappers Drake, he stayed the star of the show. On an Afroswing rhythm, Hus delivers lyrics that made the nation sing-a-long and the DJs and aux-hoggers select at every function. This summer anthem also came in a range of edits, with everyone drawn to its power to keep people moving on the dancefloor.

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Jorja Smith ‘Little Things’ (Bok’s Dub) (FAMM)

If there’s one tune that has elicited more gasps of recognition across the UK club and festival circuit this year, we’d love to hear it. But for our money, the title has to go to Bok Bok’s rework of Jorja Smith’s ‘Little Things’, and the way it teases in those signature keys amidst shuffling percussion. ‘Little Things’ was already a cause to celebrate upon its release in May, heralded by critics and TikTok alike as a harbinger of “UK funky summer”. But while Jorja’s cut plays into the tempo and heat of the genre, Bok Bok makes an unusual decision for the rework — slowing things down instead and focusing individually on each instrumental element to create something more rhythmic, consistent and subtle, putting even more focus on the UK underground favourites' silky vocals. The end result is a remix that expands rather than attempts to reimagine or repurpose, without compromising on the warmth of the original.

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Kwengface, Joy Overmono ‘Freedom 2’ (Kwengface LTD)

In our 2022 cover feature, Joy Orbison revealed that rappers give him “the time of day” when they discover he’s a Grand Theft Auto Online radio station host (“Because they don't give a fuck about post-dubstep — rightly so!”), so we’d like to extend our official thanks to Rockstar Games for helping to engineer this link-up. It’s one of the most eminently wheelable records of 2023, with that thick Joy O and Overmono bassweight hitting like a serotonin tsunami when it washes over Kwengface’s addictive bars.

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Minor Science ‘Workahol’ (AD 93)

This year we undoubtedly became ‘Workahol’-ics. With its unruly utilisation of chopped up breaks, bouncing kicks and an addictive vocal sample, Minor Science’s bass face-inducing banger ‘Workahol’ was destined to tear up our dancefloors since it first dropped in April. Having been rinsed by everyone from Kode9 to Jamie xx, this track has crowds working up a sweat in basements and festival fields alike, and we wager it’s all down to Minor Science’s delicate balance of bass and groove — weaving a hefty helping of delicious rhythm through those naughty frenetic basslines. The result is a super-charged club anthem that keeps your feet moving and gun fingers firmly pointed toward the ceiling.

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Mixtress, Pete Cannon ‘Blinded By The Lights 23’ (RCA/LOCKED ON)

WHEEL. IT. UP. The almighty track ‘Blinded By The Lights’ from The Streets has been transformed almost 20 years since its original release. It’s been one of the most prominent club tracks of the year with its wide appeal capturing both a new generation of ravers and The Streets-loving fans, gaining over 100,000 streams in its first three days. Pairing the dream team of Mixtress and Pete Cannon, they accelarate the track up with choppy voals and a speedy underbelly of breakbeat.

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OSSX ‘Dare Edit’ (Self-released)

The ‘Make Nice’ EP affirmed OSSX are masters of the edit not just musically but graphically too, with some of our fav artwork of the year riffing on the SSX Tricky video game series. The four-tracker opens with a fresh take on Gorillaz’s 2005 Number One single ‘Dare’, stripping away Shaun Ryder and flipping Roses Gabor’s irresistible chorus over a B’more club beat powered by breaks and claps. Anyone who’s seen a DJ draw for it this year knows how crazy it gets a dancefloor.

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Pangaea ‘Installation’ (Hessle Audio)

Pum pum esso esso! Pangaea has a knack of mangling and chopping vocals to such an effect that frenzied crowds will happily sing phrases they find intelligible at the top of their lungs. Akin to Kevin McAuley’s 2011 Hemlock banger ‘Hex’, ‘Installation’ does exactly that. A fun, rolling bassline is later met with a harmonising FM synth, slick drums and intermittent whirring from a warm pad to provide the perfect backdrop for the chopped female vocals to take centre stage. Becoming the ultimate 2023 festival anthem, and even a Fox weathermen’s earworm, means that this track is, without a doubt, the song of the summer.

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Peggy Gou ‘(It Goes Like) Nanana’ (XL Recordings)

Festival-sized sing-a-long anthems are usually more the realm of popstars than DJs, but Peggy Gou showed she’s ready to balance both with her debut single on XL. Pairing catchy vocals that convey the feeling of “love, warmth and excitement when you’re surrounded by friends and loved ones” over a dreamy Balearic-inspired beat (complete with ATB-esque guitar bends), it had the world’s biggest dancefloors losing themselves in ecstasy. All eyes are on her upcoming debut album on XL, as her crossover stardom from the underground to mainstream consolidates.

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Skrillex, Fred again.. & Flowdan ‘Rumble’ (Atlantic)

What seemed like an unlikely collab between an eccentric US dubstep icon with a hotly tipped superproducer and veteran grime MC, both from London, broke brains and set the world ablaze in 2022. ‘Rumble’ was first debuted during Fred again..’s incendiary Boiler Room performance that summer, sending crowds wayward and certifying it as a future classic, which was affirmed upon its release this January. Of course, we all know now how the rest of the year played out, with Fred and Skrillex’s link up with Four Tet and the unofficial ‘OMG TBA’ supergroup. ‘Rumble’ (which initially featured Four Tet before he was “kicked off”) was our introduction to one of 2023’s biggest dance music stories and was an appropriately massive tune. Gritty low-ends and classic dubstep influence meet hardy verses from Flowdan and additional vocals from Jamaican-American rapper BEAM pulled from Skrillex’s track ‘Selecta’, which often gets overlooked on this masterwork, as well as the uncredited vocals of US singer Elley Duhé. The resulting efforts, which combine plenty of back-and-forth stems between the duo and unfinished works, have placed this track on every big stage from Glastonbury to Coachella in 2023, picking up volumes of remixes along the way.

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Teqmun ‘Nettle Dweller’ (Pariah Remix) (Flippen Disks)

Perhaps the most “fuck offfff” worthy bassline of the year? And that’s not an honour we bestow lightly. On the first time hearing this one we were momentarily stopped in our tracks as that throbbing bassweight hit - ears pricking up with wonder - before losing ourselves in face-screwing, gun finger flying, expletive shouting delirium. And that was while sat at our desks in the office with Rinse FM on the Sonos. Having heard it out plenty since we can confirm the dancefloor impact hits even harder, with those siren-esque synths, wordless vocals and pacey percussion inducing mania.

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The Martinez Brothers & Tokischa ‘Kilo’ (Cuttin' Headz)

It’s been difficult to avoid Tokischa’s sultry vocals on ‘Kilo’ this year, whether that is from the much-deserved adoration of The Martinez Brothers’ original, or the resulting remixes from the likes of Nick León, LSDXOXO, Beltran and more. Released at the tail-end of 2022, it wasn’t until this year that ‘Kilo’ really began to throw its weight around on our dancefloors, demonstrating its ability to get crowds moving everywhere from Hï Ibiza to Panorama Bar; a beautiful thing to witness, considering the track is heavily inspired by the pair’s 2016 single ‘Stuff In The Trunk’ featuring Miss Kittin. Building on the original naughty tech-house wobble of the previous iteration, The Martinez Brothers keep that waft-inducing grind, but weave in some unmistakable Latin flair, with those floaty-yet-punchy chimes and shuffling percussion. ‘Kilo’ represents perhaps one of the most defining qualities of some of 2023 biggest dancefloor bangers, and that is universality — a track that can be enjoyed in varied settings, unlimited by genre or scene — and it was all achieved forgoing “big room” signatures and instead pulling inspiration from their own Puerto Rican heritage, and the rich underground club sounds therewithin.

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Thomas Garcia ‘El Carpintero’ (CLUB BAD)

Thomas Garcia’s irresistible groove has taken over dancefloors worldwide all year long. Notably sending the Draaimolen crowd at The Pit during Call Super and Pariah’s B2B into mayhem, the interdisciplinary appeal of ‘El Carpintero’ is undeniable. Released on Melé’s CLUB BAD at the start of the year, you’re just as likely to hear this at a tech-house party as you are at a heads down rave at Venue MOT. The Los Angeles-based producer previously specialised in deeper shades of techno and house with releases on Understated, Rawsome Deep and CR2/Elrow, but this track is a celebration of light, groovy flavours dominated by a catchy Latin vocal which is subject to a high-pass filter in its duration of just over four minutes.

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Tyler ICU & Tumelo.za 'Mnike' (New Money Gang)

Tyler ICU and Tumelo.za’s colossal amapiano heater ‘Mnike’ was absolutely everywhere this year. Arguably the biggest most relentlessly played amapiano cut of 2023 following its release on New Money Gang in April, ‘Mnike’ has racked up almost 70 million plays across Spotify and YouTube as we round off the year, and still receives plenty of airtime on radio shows and mixes as we move into 2024. Featuring additional production and vocals from DJ Maphorisa, Nandipha808, Ceeka RSA, and Tyrone Dee, ‘Mnike’ doesn’t go without a little help from the bubbling community of artists at the forefront of the South African sound, taking this song to extreme heights in 2023.

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Verraco ‘Escándaloo’ (Voam)

When the first few seconds of Verraco’s ‘Escándaloo’ play out before the maniacal thud of kick drums deriving from dembow and perreo, you’ll hear a twinkly, alien-like synth that springboards into hard, pacey rhythms. This is the titular track of his debut release on Pariah and Blawan’s Voam, a mutant club cut that grapples with the type of distorted techno offerings usually found on the imprint and throws it into a face-screwing production. Filthy, high-energy drumwork and a Richter scale-charting bassline proved this track a favourite amongst DJs and clubgoers in 2023.

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Latin is a world-conquering sound and if any tune is the poster boy of that this year then it has to be WOST’S HARD DRUM EDIT of ‘CALENTURA VAGINAL’. Flipping Tokischa’s vocals into a romping, bass-heavy dancefloor banger, WOST’S tune has been a huge Bandcamp success and received regular play across the globe. There’s no point listing specific artists, places and moments as, due to its seismic impact, it’s pretty much been played everywhere by everyone. Released in April, the ‘CALENTURA VAGINAL’ edit has stayed on DJs’ USBs ever since. It has that unique, desirable quality where no matter the context you hear it, you know it’s going to absolutely pop off.

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Find a Spotify playlist featuring all the available tracks on the platform below

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