Spend enough time on the world’s dance floors and you’ll start to recognize tracks that get played over and over. Some of them get constant rotation for a few months and then recur sporadically for a throwback moment, while others are perennial favorites. The more hours you while away in DJ situations, the more these picked-over go-tos will seem like cheap devices to get the crowd to “woo” for lazy DJs who don’t bother to dig hard before a gig.
The list below is a collection of all or most of the tracks we love but are simply tired of hearing, from hackneyed classics to new crazes. In the process of compiling it we found that we could have filled the list with fodder from the US cannon, so we tried to diversify the list by condensing tracks that came out on the same label and by loosely distinguishing classics, which are important in the history of dance music but we don’t actually hear out all that much anymore, and rinsed tracks, which can be new and do get played a lot. If you’re a DJ looking to impress (or at least not disappoint) heads and diggers, take heed. But if you’re more of a crowd-pleasing type, well—as you were.
1. Fingers Inc., “Can You Feel It” or "Mysteries Of Love" (Jack Trax 1988)
There are dozens of Larry Heard records in circulation, and most of them are presses and represses of ground-zero house tracks “Can You Feel It” and “Mysteries Of Love”. If you’re a househead, it totally makes sense to own a copy—but if you pull it out in the club, you might as well stop right there and play whatever song currently holds the number-one spot on the Billboard Top 100. Extra cringe points to white guys who play the version of “Can You Feel It” with the Martin Luther King, Jr. “I have a dream” speech sample on it in front of a mostly or virtually exclusively white, European crowd. And all that’s without even mentioning the Kanye West connection.
2. Pépé Bradock, "Deep Burnt" (Kif 1999)
According to Discogs, this dreamy Detroit-influenced classic has been repressed at least four times since its release in 1999: in 2006, 2010 and again this year. And yet still the lowest price on the ol’ Market is €18! We strongly advise you to dig a little deeper and find something equally effective and much cheaper.
3. Floorplan, "Never Grow Old" (M-Plant 2013)
Ironically, this Robert Hood track has grown very old.
4. DJ Assault, "Ass N Titties" (Assault Rifle 1997)
We had a hard time deciding which non-Dance Mania dirty ghetto house jam is the most rinsed: Frank Ski’s “There’s Some Whores In This House”, DJ Assault’s “Ass ‘N’ Titties”, DJ Slugo’s “Wouldn’t You Like To Be A Hoe Too” (which was re-released on Dance Mania) or Steve Poindexter’s “Work That Motherfucker”. We went with “Ass N Titties”, but it really could have been any of ’em.
5. Paul Johnson, "Feel My M.F. Bass" (Dance Mania 1994)
Seminal Chicago label Dance Mania has a very deep catalog, but somehow most DJs end up playing the same anthems: “Pump That Shit Up” By Jammin’ Gerald, “All Night Long” by Parris Mitchell, DJ Puff & DJ Deeon’s “Work This M.F.”, “Computer Madness” by Steve Poindexter or Paul Johnson’s “Feel My M.F. Bass”, among others. To be safe, try to avoid anything that was included on either of the Strut retrospective compilations. Thankfully there are plenty of deep cuts in the Dance Mania catalog to choose from, including some of house music’s best weed tracks: DJ Topcat’s (very expensive!) love song “I Need Weed In My Life” and DJ Slugo’s “A Blunt”.
6. Soul Capsule, "Lady Science (NYC Sunrise)" (Trelik 1999)
This is probably the best Melchior-related track of all time. But that doesn’t mean everyone should end their sets with it. If you’ve gotta play it, flip it over and play cute skippy b-side, “Overcome”.
7. Hardrive, "Deep Inside" (Strictly Rhythm/UMM 1993)
Strictly Rhythm is one of those labels like Dance Mania or Trax in that digging through their catalogs is basically a rite of passage for any fledgling house fan, and so there are dozens of mega-rinsed records in those crates you should avoid. Instead of Strictly Rhythm standards like “Deep Inside”, Underground Solution’s “Luv Dancin” or Phuture’s “Acid Tracks”, go for something so expensive that no one ever really plays it, like After Hours’ “Waterfall”. Alternatively, you could play Pearson Sound’s remix of “Deep Inside”.
8. Rhythim Is Rhythim, "Strings Of Life" (Transmat 1987)
You’d think that this extremely famous Derrick May track, which basically defined Detroit techno and is included in every dance music history book we can think of, is so obvious that their rinsed-ness is obvious to everyone. But as with many on this list, we wouldn’t have included it if people didn’t keep playing it.
9. Tyree, "Nuthin Wrong" (Dance Mania 1995/Mojuba 2011)
No, there’s “nuthin wrong” with this track—except that it’s been unavoidable since Mojuba re-released this Dance Mania favorite in 2011.
10. DJ HMC, "Marauder" (Juice 2001)
Australia’s greatest and most famous contribution to dance music.
11. Robin S., "Show Me Love" (ZYX 1990)
The thing about this one isn’t that it’s necessarily played all the time in nightclub contexts; you’re almost more likely to hear it playing at a middle school dance or a re-interpretation of it beatboxed outside a train station. However, there are so many tracks with very similar synth lines—Industry Standard’s “What You Want” and George FitzGerald’s “Shackled”, for instance—that you’re likely to hear a knockoff at some point in any given night.
12. Armand Van Helden, "The Funk Phenomena" (Henry Street Music 1996)
It’s going to be hard to keep your hands off this percussive and psychedelic party mover simply because we’ve all heard it so many before. But if you can nab Ricardo Villalobos’ secret remix and give that a play, then by all means: go for it.
13. Andrés, "New For U" (La Vida 2012)
The overwhelming and undying success of “New For U” testifies to its superb deployment of Detroit house/techno’s most beloved hallmarks. But like “Deep Burnt”, this seductive deep house chiller is played out. Revisit it in a few years.
14. Paranoid London feat. Paris Brightledge, "Paris Dub 1" (Paranoid London 2012)
Despite its modest pretense as a back-to-the-basics vinyl-only release, this simple and effective retro number has found traction in wider circles than the dedicated underground. In fact, one could argue that “Paris Dub” and “Transmission 5” launched Paranoid London’s quite successful career, which involves gigs at Space in Ibiza and Fabric’s Room One. We haven’t heard “Paris Dub” out much since it was thoroughly rinsed a few summers ago, but perhaps that’s because it’s now making the rounds in bigger circles?
15. Underground Resistance, "Transition" (Underground Resistance 2002)
Look, it hurts us to consign “Transition” to the only-in-emergencies bin, too. Because yeah, it is that great, and the vocal is poignant and powerful. But the more we hear it, the more it sounds like the hallmark greeting card of techno.
16. Head High, "Rave (Dirt Mix)" (Power House 2012)
We feel about “Rave” the way lots of people feel about Breaking Bad; we envy people who have never heard it before because they get to experience it for the first time. The thing about Shed is that every track he makes is so epic that you can count on hearing each one every weekend for the first six months it’s out: “Hello Bleep”; “44A (Hardwax Forever!)”; Wax 30003; “Burning”; that Evil Fred MONSTER; and so on. René is an insane banger machine, and his tracks are techno in its purest and most perfect form—and unfortunately, that is exactly why they are sooooo freaking rinsed. If you already own a copy of “Rave”, don’t sell it. When our kids are old enough to club, we can rescue this bad boy from the darkest corner of our shelves and blow their tiny little minds, because they’ll never have heard it before.
17. Loose Joints, "Is It All Over My Face" (West End 1980)
A clear distinction ought to be made between “Is It All Over My Face? (Female Version)” and “Is It All Over My Face? (Male Version)”. Both are pretty rinsed, but the straight-up messiness of the latter keeps it off this list. The former is a pumping disco classic that’s so well known now that you can completely cut the volume after the titular question and get a resounding “YES” from crowds in cities miles away from the underground dance floors of New York and Chicago. If you’re playing disco, you can do better.
18. New Order, "Blue Monday" (Factory 1983)
This is the best-selling 12″ single of all time. If that doesn’t tell you everything you need to know, then we’re sorry, there’s nothing we can do for you.
19. Joy Orbison, "Ellipsis" (Hinge Finger 2012)
We get why you would want to play this Joy O jam: it’s beautiful af and such a vibe. But now it’s so rinsed that this track alone made Baby Ford—one of the most prolific, visionary and dynamic producer/DJs ever—seem like an out-of-touch old has-been when he included it in his fabric mix earlier this year.
20. Kenny Dope Presents The Bucketheads, "The Bomb (These Sounds Fall Into My Mind)" (Henry Street Music/Positiva 1995)
If you play this, we can promise you two things: dancers will lose their shit, but anyone above total-noob, casual-fan or former-EDM-fan-transitioning-to-mature-clubber level will be judging the shit out of you.
21. Sound Stream, "'Live' Goes On" (Sound Stream 2008)
To be perfectly honest, it’s difficult to choose just one Sound Stream record that ought to be put on ice. Outside of his more challenging early works, the majority of the German disco house master’s output has been played to death. But if we had to choose one we can easily point to “‘Live’ Goes On” as a jam that we could stand to hear a lot less of.
22. Blawan, “Why They Hide Their Bodies Under My Garage” (Hinge Finger 2012)
This is the jam that your indie rock friend found on a Pitchfork year-end list and then tried to relate to you about how sick it is, but you were already wayyyyy over it.
23. Joey Beltram, "Energy Flash" (R&S 1990)
If there’s a colossal and exhaustive history-of-dance-music book named after the track…’tis rinsed.
24. Fatima Yamaha, "What's A Girl To Do?" (D1 2004/Dekmantel 2015)
This track has been through at least two rinse cycles already: when it was first released in 2004, and then again when Dekmantel re-released it last year and it was voted RA’s number-one track of the year. It was also re-released on Magnetron in 2015. What’s a girl to do? Dig deeper!
25. I-F, "Space Invaders Are Smoking Grass" (Viewlexx 1997)
We understand if you’re tempted to buy the most recent repress of this Dutch electro standard. We kind of are, too.
26. Stardust, "Music Sounds Better With You" (Roulé 1997)
A rinsed disco house song constructed from the opening bars of a rinsed Chaka Khan classic. It was charming the first time someone played it in 1998, and maybe acceptable the second time, during the great French Touch revival of 2007, but in 2016 it’s just plain grating.
27. Omar S, "Psychotic Photosynthesis" (FXHE 2007)
There’s a lot to choose from when it comes to dope-but-rinsed Omar-S tracks; we could just as easily have gone with “Set It Out”, the masterpiece deep house cut Shanti Celeste discussed in her contribution to our Rewind column. But no other track tops the endlessly tripping vibe on “Psychotic Photosynthesis”. It’s a pleasure to mix and a pleasure to hear…over….and over…and over again.
28. Crystal Waters, “Gypsy Woman (She's Homeless)” (Mercury 1991)
Even if you don’t care that this one has been played to death since its release in 1991, then don’t play it out because that catchy little “la-da-dee” vocal will get stuck in everyones’ heads immediately. Have mercy on us all.
29. Jeff Mills, "The Bells" (Purpose Maker 1997)
This jacking techno tripper sits in the recommended section of approximately 75 percent of all Discogs pages, alongside “Domina”, DJ Rolando’s Knights Of The Jaguar and a handful of Roulé records. Which means it’s truly rinsed!!!
30. Ron Trent, "Altered States" (Warehouse 1990)
Virtually every Ron Trent song and anything that sounds like one is rinsed. Let’s put that whole early house sound to bed for a little while. But don’t worry; it’ll come back. It always does.
31. Technotronic, "Pump Up The Jam" (ARS 1989)
We’ll admit it: the bassline on this one is seriously dope. However, it says a lot about the state of selection in modern DJing when this jock jam is considered a reliably crowd-pleasing fall back. Like Britney Spears’ “…One More Time”, you can file this one under “funny things people get away with at Panorama Bar.”
32. Julio Bashmore, "Au Seve" (Boardwalk 2012)
This Julio Bashmore hit isn’t played out so often anymore, but is nevertheless rinsed due to how much it was played when it first came out. In the summer of 2012, one could walk out of a club in New York City while “Au Seve” was playing and hear it playing in another venue down the road. That happened to us more than once.
33. Robert Owens, "Bring Down The Walls" (Select 1986/Trax 1987)
As is the case with many old American house labels—especially those from Detroit or Chicago—we could have picked out a number of tracks to bear the burden of the whole catalog’s utter obviousness. In this case we’re using “Bring Down The Walls” to speak for the general rinsedness of many Trax records, as it exemplifies some of US house’s most tired sonic tropes and evokes a rather outdated lyrical message.
34. Cajmere, "Percolator" (Cajual 1992)
35. Mathew Jonson, "Marionette" (Wagon Repair 2004)
Mathew Jonson’s winding epic “Marionette” is arguably one of the most emotionally charged and trance-inducing tracks in recent techno history. We’ve all been there: eyes closed; locked in the groove; lost in that heavenly meandering sequence and those STRINGS. But these days that blissful rush just won’t set in like it used to. As much as it may hurt, it’s time to hang it up for a while and revisit it with fresh synapses in a distant future.
36. Black Box, "Ride On Time" (ZYX 1989)
For all those times when you don’t have the cajones to play Loleatta Holloway’s infinitely superior, timelessly awesome and not-ethically-questionable disco classic, “Love Sensation”.
37. Ben Klock, "Subzero" (Ostgut Ton 2009)
While we’re talking about Ostgut Ton classics that have appeared on several compilations and mixes and still moves bodies on floors around the world, we bring you Ben Klock’s “Subzero”.
38. Boddika & Joy Orbison "Swims" (Swamp 81 2012)
This track’s combination of influences—UK bass, functional techno and vogue/ballroom vocals—maximizes its versatility for mass appeal. That’s why we’ll probably never stop hearing it.
39. Moodymann, "Shades Of Jae" (KDJ 1999)
You know you can make your own version of this song with any song by just leaving the bass out until the last two minutes, right? Go ahead, try it. You might be surprised!
40. Âme, "Rej" (Sonar Kollektiv/Innervisions 2005)
There are certain milestones that dictate when a song should be retired. If there was a top 10 list for said milestones, then “covered by a German marching band” would probably be towards the top.
41. Plastikman, "Spastik" (NovaMute 1993)
Richie Hawtin has produced many classics that are part of today’s techno canon, as well as a lot of underappreciated deep cuts. “Spastik” falls in the former category. So next time you go through the Plastikman discography, go one deeper. And no “Substance Abuse” either!
42. Moderat, “Bad Kingdom (DJ Koze Remix)” (Monkeytown 2014)
What every basic af black-clad badass techno fuccboi plays to end their set on a “deep” and “introspective” note.
43. Theo Parrish, "Falling Up (Carl Craig Remix)" (Third Ear 2005)
While many of the tracks on this list—like “Strings Of Life” and “Never Grow Old”—are easy to track ID, this is the sort of rinsed track whose name might not ring a bell, but you’ll probably recognize the song when you hear it.
44. Levon Vincent, “Love Technique” (More Music NY 2005)
If the artist has scored Best New Music from Pitchfork, you can safely assume all or most of their catalog is rinsed.
45. Craig David, “Rewind” (Public Demand 1999)
If you’re only going to play one or a few 2-step tracks in your set, don’t make it this one because it’ll just speak to how basic your knowledge of UK flavas is. At least go for “Please Don’t Turn Me On”.
46. Four Tet “For These Times” (Nonplus 2013)
It was either this or Joy O’s “Big Room Tech House DJ Tool – TIP!”. Not really the same track, but somehow close enough.
47. Pev & Kowton, "End Point" (Livity Sound 2013)
“End Point” is an absolute masterpiece, but let’s all agree to leave it alone for a while. It needs a little rest.
48. Delroy Edwards, "4 Club Use Only" (L.I.E.S. 2012)
The song that launched 1,000 “outsider house” jams.
49. Gesloten Cirkel, "Submit X" (Murder Capital 2014)
You’re probably surprised to see this one on the list, because it’s not nearly as rinsed as a track like “Strings Of Life”. But the thing about this one is that it’s become the harsh, edgy track that otherwise un-harsh and non-edgy DJs play to spice up their sets.
50. Breaker 1-2, "Breakin'" (Forbidden Planet 2013)
As with “Submit X”, this Forbidden Planet outing has become a cult favorite. It’s still pretty unknown, but it’s wildly successful on the scale of other records on the label or in the “experimental” “techno” universe in which Greg Beato (aka Breaker 1 2) operates, as it’s been included on official DJ mixed CDs by Actress and Nina Kraviz.