Ahhh Eurodance. Those of us who were old enough in the 90’s will have memories of this sweeping the world (or Europe at least). I can’t say for sure if they are good memories, but they are memories and this summer K-Pop decided to ignite them in my brain.
I can’t have been the only one who, thanks to K-Pop, spent the summer with an inexplicable desire to buy glow sticks and UV body paint… Or can I?
Eurodance is characterised by its dance beats with anthemic buildups and catchy hooks. In the traditional examples we have tracks by DJs we never see fronted by pretty (usually blonde) songstresses who we will never hear from again. Seriously, I think Europe had a factory surplus of them or something. Think Castles in the Sky, or Cascada.
Of course, K-Pop has been heavily influenced by dance music of varying types for a while now, but this summer K-Pop really embraced the dance music sound that previously equated to popping Es in a rural British field that you paid a few hundred pound to stay in for a couple of nights. Eurodance.
I can’t say I noticed it much until it was in full force upon us, so pinpointing where it started to be more than an occasional stab at something different is hard. It would be fair to say girl groups really owned this summer’s swell of these tracks, but credit for being the early adopters should probably go to a boy band. I know – shock horror! But it would seem that back as far as May, one boy group had seen the potential for some club music in our lives with SHINee sneaking that kind of beat into their track “View”. They even included a cute blonde singer or two, but thankfully this wasn’t the last we would hear from them, as they followed up with a repackage.
One song really nailed the ethereal high singing that trademarked so many Eurodance hits and it came from From The Airport, who, with the help of Park Gyu Ri’s velvety notes, nailed that ‘voices of Angels’ thing oh so well.
Even male vocalists were nailing that anthemic buildup to the hard thumping chorus with easy hook. With TVXQ’s “Rise As One” feeling like it would be right at home as the backing clip of a music video made up of clips of holiday makers in Ibiza!
Another classic feature of Eurodance is a very repetitive thumping drum beat. The Lancashire Hotpots didn’t label it ‘Bang Bang Thumpy Dance Music‘ for nowt.
This is the moment I realised dance music the way I knew it was infecting K-Pop. “Heart Attack” even SOUNDS like it’s going to be a dance song.
A lot of the songs that fit the theme seemed to divide my friends online and I noticed that, while there were exceptions, American friends seemed a lot more bemused by it all. This makes sense, as this type of dance music was never as big or mainstream in America as it was elsewhere in the world. One example of this was Hello Venus. Not my favourite K-Pop song by far, but it was definitely on point trend-wise for this summer. Clubbers everywhere would have been able to jump up and down quite happily to it!
9Muses mixed the more pop styling along the lines of AOA’s “Heart Attack” with some of the purest examples of Eurodance inspiration and made a brilliant summer track! I only hope that, despite their label’s seemingly continuous problems, the girls manage to pull through and get more recognition!
Oddly enough, K-Pop already had its own Eurodance mascots in 4ten, but their summer comeback as Poten moved in a more mainstream direction. If ever there was an example of a group moving their concept on at just the wrong time, this could be it. A year before their time in Summer 2014 they released “Tornado.”
Are you dance music fan? What does Eurodance mean to you? Did you like the trend or hate it? It’s very much a summer trend to me, but I think we will see more of it next summer. Although I expect to see more trap style songs from the Hip-Hop acts, this type of dance music will remain better suited to the more pop-y groups.