Twenty Trance Classics From Armin van Buuren That Can’t Be Forgotten
Few artists have made as colossal an impact on the global Trance scene as Armin van Buuren has. While recent years show he’s not afraid to switch things around and occasionally experiment with different sounds, he has never strayed too far from his roots, creating well over a hundred timeless Trance records. So to pay tribute to the five-time #1 DJ in the world and arrange for a delightful trip down memory lane, we decided to list twenty Trance classics from Armin van Buuren that can’t be forgotten, including a few you may have never heard before!
Armin - Blue Fear (1997)
The year is 1997. Armin, who wasn’t even releasing music under his full name back then, knocked onto the door of Cyber Records with a new tune called ‘X Marks The Spot’. ‘Blue Fear’ was supposed to provide the B Side to that record, but label boss Johan Cyber thought ‘Blue Fear’ would make for a better lead track. And boy, did he make the right call on that one! Along with ‘Communication’ (we’ll get to that one next), ‘Blue Fear’ was the track that started it all for Armin van Buuren. And while you’re in the right headspace to appreciate this globally beloved classic, we highly suggest checking out B-side single ‘X Marks The Spot’ too!
Armin van Buuren – Communication (1999)
A lot of fans may instantly think of Part 3 from 2007, but the journey of ‘Communication’ actually started as far back as 1999. Throughout the years, it’s been remixed by so many amazing names it’s getting hard to keep track, as the list includes the likes of Vincent de Moor, David Gravell, James Dymond, John Askew, Tomas Heredia, HamzeH and most recently AVIRA. All amazing renditions for sure, but nothing beats the classic goosebumps you get from the original ‘Communication’.
Vincent de Moor – Shamu (Armin Remix) (1999)
Those who considered themselves true Trance heads around the turn of the millennium will surely know this one, as Vincent de Moor is quite a legend himself among early Trance adopters. The original was released in 1999 on Deal Records, along with a remix from Armin van Buuren (still as “Armin”). Though there’s a bit of contradictory info regarding when this record was actually released, we reckon it doesn’t really matter. Why? Because tracks this good and thoroughly uplifting are timeless to begin with!
Gaia - 4 Elements (2000)
And that brings us to '4 Elements', the very first track from Armin van Buuren under his Gaia moniker. Those lingering piano tones and old-school Trance synths take listeners straight back to the millennium year, when classic Trance was enjoying its heyday. Such an ultimate classic!
System F feat. Armin van Buuren – Exhale (2000)
A massive team-up between two Dutchmen who’ve each played a major part in the rise of Trance music on a global scale. Ferry Corsten (System F) and Armin van Buuren have issued various incredible collaborations throughout the years, but this one takes the cake for us (with 2011’s ‘Brute’ coming in second). Ferry Corsten + Armin van Buuren = Classic Trance heaven.
Alibi – Eternity (Armin van Buuren’s Rising Star Remix) (2000)
This was the first track released by Armin van Buuren and Tiësto under their Alibi alias, and Armin van Buuren’s Rising Star Remix took listeners straight to the edge of infinity. From the big supersaw pads to the iconic melody and epic vocal chants in the distance, this is one of those tracks that stays evergreen for all… you guess it… ‘Eternity’.
Armin van Buuren presents Perpetuous Dreamer – The Sound Of Goodbye (Armin’s Tribal Feel Mix) (2001)
We just can’t decide what part of this record we like best. There’s of course that incredible vocal from Elles de Graaf that gives us goosebumps each time we hear it, but those epic saw pads capture the feel of the record so darn well. Add to that the chunky tribal rhythm and the overall bittersweet feel of the song and you know why countless Trance fans instantly fell in love with it when it was released back in 2001.
Solid Sessions – Janeiro (Armin van Buuren Remix) (2002)
The original version by Dutch duo Solid Sessions (Sander Jongerius and Cyril Helwig) from 2000 was actually an 11-minute instrumental version, which got a vocal mix one year later through a rework of Pronti & Kalmani (the producers of Dash Berlin) with the vocals of Vera Kramer. It had already been a big hit in Ibiza, but the vocal version built on that and made it into the Top 10 of eleven different countries. In 2002, Armin van Buuren got to remix it and made it into the version you can feast your ears on via the Spotify player on the left. There’s just so much emotion in this track. It’s Balearic, dreamy and exactly what Trance music needs to sound like. Such a classic!
Armin van Buuren presents Rising Star – Clear Blue Moon (2002)
This second-ever original track released by Armin van Buuren under his now-famous Rising Star moniker is for all intents and purposes uplifting Trance in optima forma. The full original mix truly is a joy to behold; how the melodies rise and fall like the tide is something you only get with the gravitational pull of a ‘Clear Blue Moon’.
Perpetuous Dreamer – Dust.wav (Armin van Buuren’s Rising Star Remix) (2002)
‘Dust.wav’, the third and final track ever released under Armin’s Perpetuous Dreamer moniker, didn’t get to dominate charts as predecessor ‘The Sound Of Goodbye’ did, but it’s still a quality piece that deserves a spot in this list. Especially Armin van Buuren’s own Rising Star Remix does the trick for us; the combination of the plucked chords and Elles de Graaf’s gorgeous vocals is more than enough reason to smile from ear to ear.
Riva – Time Is The Healer (Armin van Buuren Remix) (2002)
Dutch duo Chocolate Puma released ‘Time Is The Healer’ under their Riva alias back in 2002, with the vocals of Michelle. Armin van Buuren then reworked it in the same year and delivered both a dub version and a vocal version. The vocals just add an extra dimension to an already great track, so that’s the version that made it into this list. We recommend getting a taste of it!
Mark Otten – Mushroom Therapy (Armin van Buuren Remix) (2003)
‘Mushroom Therapy’ was the first-ever track released by Dutch producer Mark Otten, who – fun fact – actually ended up working at Armada Music’s Royalty department for a few years. Armin van Buuren’s remix took the soaring guitar tones and beautiful melodies from the original Lightscape Mix and turned it into this absolute classic. May be one of the more unfamiliar songs on the list for most Trance fans, but definitely worth checking out.
Armin van Buuren vs M.I.K.E. – Pound (2004)
This was the secondary single on Armin van Buuren and M.I.K.E. ‘Intruder/Pound’ EP. While ‘Intruder’ is more underground and heavy-hitting at its core, ‘Pound’ switches it up with a mesmerizing chord progression that instantly hits listeners with the Trance feels. Makes you wish this wasn’t the only Armin van Buuren vs M.I.K.E. collab. Armin, could you give M.I.K.E. a call please?
Armin van Buuren feat. Justine Suissa – Burned With Desire (Rising Star Vocal Mix) (2004)
Chances are you know this one. And if you do, you know you just can’t go wrong with it. Balearic guitar licks? Check. Heartfelt lyrics and incredible vocals? Check. Emotive synth plucks? Check. This Rising Star Vocal Mix of ‘Burned With Desire’ is one of the most timeless songs on this list, courtesy of Armin van Buuren and British songstress Justine Suissa, who most will also know from her work as part of Oceanlab (with Above & Beyond) and for Chicane’s 2000 track ‘Autumn Tactics’.
Armin van Buuren feat. Susana – Shivers (2005)
Well, this was a no-brainer of course. Recently voted as the uncontested #1 in the A State Of Trance Top 1000 voting, ‘Shivers’ is actually ‘Shivers’ (Rising Star Mix), released as a two-track EP along with Armin van Buuren’s ‘Birth Of An Angel’. And better yet, it’s actually the vocal version of the aforementioned second track on that EP, as ‘Birth Of An Angel’ is the instrumental version of ‘Shivers’. It got some amazing remixes throughout the years, including versions from ALPHA 9 (2018) and Marsh (2020). But let’s be honest, nothing comes even remotely close to the timelessness of the original vocal version featuring Susana! Instant goosebumps!
Fragile feat. Alex Lemon – Inertia (Armin van Buuren Remix) (2005)
We’re actually willing to put money on this being one of the least well known classics on this list. Released on the Armind label on March 21 in 2005, the track was originally composed by Fragile in tandem with Alex Lemon and released only through remixes from Armin van Buuren and Stel & Good Newz. Armin’s edit has all the hallmarks of an evergreen Trance classic: dreamy vocals, bittersweet emotion and a melodic theme to die for!
Armin van Buuren – Sail (2006)
The anthem of all anthems as far as we’re concerned, as it just doesn’t get any more epic than ‘Sail’. Time and time again, we’re amazed by how hypnotic this tune is. The piano tones, warm pads and distorted synths just grab you and don’t let go until it’s time to press repeat for the umpteenth time. And while you’re at it, you may want to switch over to Carl B’s Without Hope Remix once in a while. Though quite different and in a different key, that’s a great version too!
Armin van Buuren feat. Jan Vayne – Serenity
‘Serenity’ became a global phenomenon as the anthem for Sensation White 2005. Juggling the tender and powerful piano play of Jay Vayne with gated Trance saws and a deep, pounding bass, this track is all you’d look for in an anthem. It got some great response when played during Armin’s ‘The Best Of Armin Only’ shows, and for good reason too!
Gaia – Tuvan (2009)
It had been a long wait for Trance fans. Nine years after ‘4 Elements’, Armin van Buuren finally released a new song under this Gaia alias. And boy, did the crowd like it. This track holds a special place in many a Trance fan’s heart, underlined by it recently being voted #3 in the A State Of Trance Top 1000, trumped only by ‘Shivers’ and Tiësto’s ‘Adagio For Strings’.
Cerf, Mitiska & Jaren – Beggin’ You (Armin van Buuren Remix) (2009)
And last, but certainly not least: Armin van Buuren's remix of 'Beggin' You' by Cerf, Mitiska & Jaren. Though the most recent track on this list along with Gaia’s ‘Tuvan’, it’s been well over ten years since this amazing record was released. The heart-rending vocals instantly hit home, and Armin van Buuren did so well to honor those vocals with an instrumental that only strengthens the emotion. Such a brilliant tune!
Can't get enough of Armin's music or Trance classics in general? There are a bunch of cool playlists you might want to check out, such as the Armin Anthems Top 100, the A State Of Trance Top 1000 and the Armin van Buuren Presents playlist. And don't be afraid to give our article about the 100 Best Vocal Trance Classics a read!