☺︎ Cliff Richard - 'Rave On'
There’s a reason why, even after over 50 years in the game, Cliff ‘808’ Richard continues to be one of the most sought-after bookings for any rave line-up across the globe. 2013 saw the release of his landmark 100th album, 'The Fabulous Rock 'n' Roll Songbook', a nostalgic look back on some of the iconic warehouse-ready anthems that have defined him as one of dance music’s true heroes over his sprawling career. The record also included new track 'Rave On', which Richard revealed in November during an interview with DJ Mag was a response to certain critics claiming that his days of raising hell on the dancefloor had been and gone. Upon experiencing the gnarled, body-pumping frenzy that 'Rave On' seared on to the yellow smiling face of clubland, it was fair to say that any nay-sayers were soon comprehensively silenced, with Richard raving on for at least another day.
☺︎ Avril Lavigne feat. Chad Kroeger - 'Let Me Go'
While perhaps not receiving as many plaudits outside of the chin-stroking corners of the acid house community as she is due, Avril Lavigne persists nonetheless to churn out consistently stellar rave fodder. With her tracks often considered too cerebral for many fair-weather ravers, her output tends to fly under the radar for only the most scrupulous of dance connoisseurs to spot. 'Let Me Go' was initially no exception, however her collaboration with fellow acid jockey (and significant other) Chad Kroeger became one of 2013’s greatest slow-burners, and by the end of the year was a regular fixture in any self-respecting DJ’s bag.
☺︎ Shitfucker - 'Smash Your Skull Against The Wall'
Acid house has always been first and foremost about love and compassion for one’s fellow man, and nothing epitomised these sentiments better in 2013 than 'Smash Your Skull Against The Wall' by Detroit collective Shitfucker, from their unifying debut album 'Suck Cocks In Hell'. The Motor City has birthed a rich lineage of house and techno royalty, from the pioneering likes of Kevin Saunderson and Juan Atkins in the 1980s through to Omar-S and his prodigious apprentice Kyle Hall in the present day, and on this evidence Shitfucker look set to be the torchbearers for a whole new generation of Michigan ravers. With an emphasis on restraint and subtlety, 'Smash Your Skull Against The Wall' explores the more reflective side of dance music, but it’s that underlying devilish acidic pulse that has made the track such a mainstay of any dancefloor this year.
☺︎ The Wanted - 'Walks Like Rihanna'
It’s easy to forget with today’s brand of commercialised, wipe-clean dance music that the scene was once a strong voice for the social and political issues faced by the nation’s youth. Rave tracks of yesteryear were often as much statements of defiance against the ruling elite as they were fuel for wide-eyed clubbers, and it’s this often overlooked transcendental theme that UK acid pedlars The Wanted revived with their ubiquitous 2013 firecracker 'Walks Like Rihanna'. Garnering almost as much praise from the more ‘serious’ electronic music sites (Resident Advisor gave the 12” a rare 5/5) as it did sweat from jubilant revellers, 'Walks Like Rihanna' provided this year’s most vital nourishment for mind and body alike.
☺︎ The Big Reunion Cast - 'I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday'
To round off our look back on some of 2013’s finest cuts, it feels appropriate to finish by paying tribute to that rarest of beasts: an acid house Christmas single. There’ll be those old enough to remember with a shudder of embarrassment the last festive effort that the scene spawned, twisted party-starters The Smurfs with their judderingly oppressive 1995 track 'Smurfing Bells' - banned by most British radio stations for a crude tirade against The Pope during the song’s mid-section - and many were left thinking this should be one Yuletide tradition best left to the pop stars. It comes as all the greater surprise, then, that acid house supergroup The Big Reunion Cast have crafted such a crossover triumph in 'I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday', somehow succeeding in marrying mainstream accessibility with the genre’s characteristic mind-melting warped lunacy. At the time of writing, the track was riding high in the UK Singles Chart, and could well provide the nation with some ravey to go with their gravy come turkey-carving time this Christmas Day.
Acid House Classics would like to wish all its readers a very merry Christmas, and looks forward to continuing the odyssey through the annals of acid house in 2014.