"It's a style of music, but it's so much more."

Are you as sick of hearing that as I am? Eurobeat is for you. Eurobeat, a modern evolution of Italo Disco, is fast dance music free from pretense. I like to think of it as a sort of rebellion against the ostentatious "If it's not deeply meaningful it has no value" school of thought. Eurobeat is gaudy, superficial, and vacuous, and by golly, I like it that way. It's silly, it's all about getting up, forgetting your troubles, and dancing, and sometimes that's what you need, right? Dance Dance Revolution is loaded with Eurobeat music, for obvious reasons.

Enough about what it represents, what's it like? It's full of synthesizer and it's fast. Think 140-160 BPM. It's characterized by its catchiness, but that's hardly unique. Probably the most distinguishing characteristic is volleys of rhyming verse followed by the distinct synthesized portions. Sound like rap? A common technique is using a female vocalist who sings normally and a male rapper (It's far more palatable with the synthesizer, speaking as someone who dislikes rap). It often employs little tricks with the 2 stereo channels (this is fun if you have a decent setup). One can only hope for more of that when surround is the standard.

Though Italo Disco, its father, originated in Italy (and indeed, much of the talent is still comes thence), today it is most popular in Japan. Although many Italian artists still produce the music (almost uniformly in English), more and more Japanese artists are getting in on the act. Besides artists like move, many of the most popular Jpop artists (e.g., Ayumi Hamasaki and MAX) have their music remixed into Eurobeat surprisingly competently. Though some Japanese artists sing in English, more and more the music's in Japanese. This isn't a bad thing, the music's just as nice, and you're not missing any meaning, generally.

The lyrics are usually about love, heartbreak, or dancing. This is, of course, because any hack writer could write cheesy lyrics about them for eternity. Since the first priority is making the music fit the beat, the lyrics are often downright laughable. For example:

I cannot even believe
What I see
Facing me
Is comin' out from nowhere
Baby it's a real blue man
Smilin' to me, oh boy what can I do?
I just can say "salaam"
What a dream
One night in Arabia

--Go-Go Girls, "One Night in Arabia"

What should you liten to? The anime Initial D's soundtrack (there are 23 CDs and most of them are pure Eurobeat) is a good place to start, and if you like Ayumi Hamasaki (or even if you've never heard of her) the ayu-ro-mix CDs are good. There are also many, many volumes of Avex's popular SUPER EUROBEAT (over 150 volumes) series.

Like a good action movie, if you don't expect anything more than a good time, you'll enjoy Eurobeat.

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