Okay, I finally did it! I listened to Above & Beyond’s entire discography, including their productions as Anjunabeats, Dirt Devils, Free State, OceanLab, Rollerball, Tongue of God, Tranquility Base and Zed-X. It took quite a while, but I believe I am ready to present to you my Top 20 Above & Beyond Songs of All-Time! I hope people looking to get into Above & Beyond find this post. I remember scouring the Internet back in 2011 for a list of Above & Beyond’s best songs and the best I could find was this Quora thread.

Now I have to provide a disclaimer for those of you reading this that may not know me. I am 23 years old and only started listening to Above & Beyond around the time Anjunabeats Volume 7 came out in October of 2009. Most of my listening was retrospective rather than listening to the music as it was released. I even featured Above & Beyond on this blog back in February 2012, but have learned so much more about the group, their history and their productions since. My love for Above & Beyond has only grown stronger over the past year and so has my knowledge and insight into the world of Trance. I also want to make it clear that I have been listening to some of these songs for years and others for just a few weeks.

Additionally, if you do not know, Above & Beyond remix themselves A LOT. So I only included my favorite version (usually the Club Mix) of each song.

Nevertheless, the following are my favorite Above & Beyond songs as of July 30, 2013. I tried to provide some historical context for each song, along with my personal discovery and experience with each track. I know several better than others, but you’ll get the gist. The songs are in alphabetical order because I do not feel comfortable ranking them. Enjoy!

Above & Beyond followed up 2004’s A State of Trance Tune of the Year Award with a second-straight award for “Air For Life” in 2005. The first single of off Above & Beyond’s first full-length album Tri-State, is just one of three songs to make my list that has a producer other than Above & Beyond accredited with the track. I love the driving bass in this song and would easily put it up against any other Above & Beyond song at 132 BPM. I wasn’t too fond of “Air For Life” when I first heard it, but know I would go absolutely crazy if they ever brought this back in one of their sets.

“Alone Tonight” is often regarded by fans as the best songs on Tri-State, however I do not feel this way at all. No disrespect to the song, but there are so many other incredible productions on that album. In all honesty, I don’t really like any of Richard Bedford’s vocals on Tri-State compared to those on Group Therapy. But like I said, the order in which I discovered these songs strongly affects my bias and I heard Group Therapy first. Regardless, this song absolutely belongs in my Top 20 and it deserves more of my attention going forward. Also, don’t just take my word for it. I know plenty of Trance fans consider this to be their all-time favorite song.

“Anphonic,” also known as the love child of Trance legends Above & Beyond and Kyau & Albert, is the only song to make the list with no vocals. I have often dubbed this as the best non-vocal Above & Beyond song, but it is so much more than that. Featured on Anjunabeats Volume 8, the first Anjunabeats compilation I listened to on the day of its release, “Anphonic” stood out immediately as a song that could invoke the same emotion as other heartwarming tracks on the album such as “Let Go” and “The Wonder,” yet without lyrics. Ultimately, it sounds more like a Kyau & Albert song than Above & Beyond, but it’s still more than deserving of a spot in my Top 20.

I pretty much love every Above & Beyond Mix on Sirens of the Sea Remixed and that is no more true than with “Breaking Ties (Above & Beyond Analogue Haven Mix).” This is yet another Above & Beyond masterpiece at 138 BPM. Beautiful melody, beautiful vocals – just listen. I absolutely love the acoustic guitar that comes in at 3:01.

“Can’t Sleep” and I have a bit of an odd relationship. It was one of the first Above & Beyond songs I ever listened to, however I did not start LOVING it until just a few months ago. Easily one of the most beautiful tracks Above & Beyond has ever crafted, “Can’t Sleep” is an emotional roller coaster driven by the heart wrenching vocals that I think anyone can relate to. I’d be lying to you if I said this song hasn’t brought me to tears more than a handful of times. I’m going to go out on a limb and say that this song features my favorite lyrics of any Above & Beyond production.

“Every Little Beat” is about as far from a banger as you will find on this list, however, it is a staple in my Above & Beyond library because of my personal connection to the song. Now every Above & Beyond song has touched me on some level, but this one always reminds me of a girl. The lyrics are a bit forthright and arrogant, but man did they fit my situation perfectly (and she agreed). “Every little beat of your heart / You get a little closer to me / You’ve never been so happy since I’ve been around / I don’t want to tear your world apart / But that’s how it’s going to be.” “Every Little Beat,” the fourth single off of Group Therapy, has gotten me through some tough times and I’m all the better because of it.

My fondest memory of “Good For Me (Above & Beyond Cub Mix)” came at the end of TATW 450/ABGT 01. In what seemed like the end of an era. Above & Beyond decided to change the name of their podcast from Trance Around The World to Above & Beyond Group Therapy. The whole thing kind of made me feel uneasy and seemed like the finite moment when Above & Beyond parted ways with their old sound and embraced Trance 2.0 (although I think TATW 350 was the actual turning point). I’ve seen Above & Beyond live five times now and never have they ever played a song of theirs from before 2011 in my presence. Never. Oh how I have longed to hear any of the songs you see mentioned in this list live, which predate Group Therapy. Closing their set and TATW with “Good For Me” seemed like a fitting end to the show’s run, and so with it went a large part of the Above & Beyond I fell in love with. The original “Good For Me” was also voted Tune of the Year in 2006.

I don’t actually have any substantial memories associated with “Home (Above & Beyond Club Mix).” It’s another phenomenal 138 BPM track off of the Tri-State Remixed album that strongly resonates with me because of its pulsing bass line and strong vocals. “Home” also won Best Underground Dance Track of 2008.

“Love Is Not Enough (Above & Beyond Club Mix)” is the only “new” Above & Beyond song to make my Top 20. I’m not even really sure what to consider “new” Above & Beyond, but I am considering anything made one year after the release of Group Therapy as new. After all, this is the fifth single off that album and they still followed it with two others! Much like many of the “new” Above & Beyond songs, I did not like “Love Is Not Enough” at first. However, it slowly grew on me and I have learned to love it. The turning point for me actually occurred when I played it for a friend in my car while he was high out of his mind. He loved the song and I began to look at it differently as well. Other “new” songs just missing the cut are the Club Mixes of “On My Way To Heaven” and “Alchemy.”

A song that I believe is about saving the environment; ultimately has a very similar feel to the later mentioned “Satellite.” It starts out pretty hard, but then drops off into a very minimal build with excellent vocals from Justine Suissa. It’s definitely one of those songs that you would just stand at a show with your eyes closed while you belt out the lyrics in anticipation of the drop. Even though this track is 138 BPM, I still find it rather calming.

Above & Beyond’s award-winning 2004 Essential Mix is one of the most highly touted Trance mixes of the past decade. Filled with Trance classics, no song sticks out more to me than “No One On Earth.” This is partly because the mix lacks the amount of vocals you would find in an Above & Beyond set today, but nevertheless, this is the standout track on the mix for me. “No One On Earth” also began the wondrous relationship between Above & Beyond and vocalist Zoe Johnston. She later went on to provide all of the female vocals for Group Therapy. This was the second single ever produced by Above & Beyond under that name and still holds up as one of the best Above & Beyond songs ever made.

If I had to pick three songs to get someone new into Trance, “On A Good Day (Metropolis)” would without a doubt be one of them. I might go as far as saying that “On A Good Day” was the most iconic and recognizable Above & Beyond song, but then came along “Sun & Moon.” I have a special place in my heart for this song because it was the standout track from Anjunabeats Volume 8, which was one of the first albums to get me hooked on Trance. It features so many songs that I would now consider classics, but none made me bang my head and dance around my room like “On A Good Day (Metropolis).” I’m sure many of you feel the same way. The Acoustic Mix gave it a run for its money as far as making the list, but I had to go with this version because of its raw power and energy. Interestingly, a Redditor told me that this song was in fact a mashup put together by Myon & Shane 54 before it was released by Above & Beyond.

Hearing “Prelude” always brings me back to EDC Las Vegas 2011. Having somehow gotten separated from my friends, I found myself lost in a sea of 100,000 people at the mainstage for Above & Beyond. However, it was not that bad because I soon found comfort in a new female friend who had a similar admiration for the Trance trio. Embarrassingly, by the time EDC rolled around I still had not found time to listen to Group Therapy in its entirety and only recognized the songs I had heard on Trance Around the World. I’ll never forget the first time I heard “Prelude” because the girl I was with flipped out and I had to know the name of the song. I love its opening hard-hitting bass line that over time evolves into the classic Above & Beyond build that I have come to expect in all of their music. The track even made my Top 10 EDM Songs of 2011, however, I would definitely replace it with “Thing Called Love (Above & Beyond 2011 Club Mix)” today.

First of all, fuck yeah 140 BPM! I’m really into Trance songs that sort of desensitize you with really strong bass in the beginning, only to come back with an unbelievably beautiful, drawn-out build. Another great example of this is “Rebound” by Arty and Mat Zo. But I have to say this version of Satellite may take the cake. When the opening Psy Trance part drops out and all you have is mostly the bass line, I get fucking pumped – immediate head banging. The Floris de Haan Remix must also be mentioned.

The title track on the original album; “Sirens of the Sea (Above & Beyond Club Mix)” features what I think are the best vocals on the album. Beginning with the breakdown at about the 3:45 mark, this song always pulls at my heartstrings. I’m also a sucker for songs about sirens, including one of my non-EDM favorites “There There” by Radiohead. I’m certain that if Above & Beyond ever played this in one of their live sets these days, which they won’t, I would definitely choke up.

You’d be hard-pressed to find anyone who can write something that’s not cliché or already been said about “Sun & Moon,” but I’m going to give it my best shot. I vividly remember the first time hearing what is now one of the most-played Trance songs of all-time. I was listening to BBC Radio 1 on my walk to work when I heard that a new Above & Beyond song was going to be added to the channel’s playlist. Naturally, I was stoked and also intrigued because BBC Radio 1 hardly ever took an interest in Trance. The rest is history… so I will fast forward nine months to TATW 400. By this point, “Sun & Moon” was easily the biggest Trance song in the world, but I did not know its full impact until I heard it live streaming from Beruit. The crowd screamed so loud (song starts at 69:28) that it gave me goose bumps all the way across the world. That’s when I know the true power of Trance and what it meant to be a part of #TranceFamily.

My biggest mistake as a writer and tastemaker to this date was not including “Thing Called Love (Above & Beyond 2011 Club Mix)” in my Top 10 EDM Songs of 2011. That’s just preposterous considering that the song would easily make my Top 10 favorite songs of all-time now. I’m pretty sure this song falls into the same category as “Sun & Moon” these days. Above & Beyond plays it in every set still and many would consider it played out. But not me! I truly think that the final drop in “Thing Called Love” is my favorite ever. Above & Beyond spend the first four and a half minutes building up this anthem until it all comes crashing down in one massive crescendo. I get so pumped every time I listen to this song, whether it be live, in my car or wherever. I don’t know, it just has that effect on me. I know I’m not the only one.

For the longest time, “Tonight (Above & Beyond Remix)” was the only Above & Beyond song I had on my iPod. When I look back at their discography now, I find it so bizarre that this was the first song that got me hooked on the group. Selected as the International Music Summit (IMS) Anthem of 2009, this song serves as the slowest Above & Beyond Mix to make my Top 20 and is the only true Progressive song on the list.

“What It Feels Like For A Girl (Above & Beyond 12” Club Mix)” is widely regarded as the song that put Above & Beyond on the map. In fact, Madonna liked it so much that she used Above & Beyond’s version in her music video rather than her own. I think it’s pretty safe to say that when the “Queen of Pop” likes your version better than hers, you’ve made it. Honestly, this is my least listened to song to make the list, but I am learning to love it more and more with every listen. This is the epitome of a Trance classic.

It would appear to me that Above & Beyond don’t even like their version of this song because they always play the Kyau & Albert Remix in all of their sets. Nevertheless, I am a big fan of “You Got To Go (Above & Beyond Club Mix)” and particularly the initial bass line. I very nearly included the Original Mix in my Top 20, but as is true with most Above & Beyond Club Mixes, this version just adds that little something that was missing from the original production. Zoe Johnston’s vocal are beautiful and I’ll never forget belting them out at EDC Vegas 2011 with tens of thousands of Above & Beyond’s adoring fans.

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