Eurobeat is a subgenre of Electronic Music, initially developed in the mid-late 1980s as an evolution of Hi-NRG with elements derived from Italo Disco and Synth-Pop. The genre's sound is generally defined by high tempos, ranging from as low as 138 BPM to as high as 170-185 BPM, a steady, booming 4/4 beat, a huge emphasis on melody, and a distinctive synth style that makes heavy use of distorted and detuned sawtooth waveforms, more commonly known as supersaw waves. Originally a European scene (hence the name), the style has gained a cult following in many electronic music scenes around the world, most notably Japan.
Eurobeat began as independent developments in the UK in the 1980s, when DJs began making Electronic Music in recognition to Hi-NRG releases from mainland Europe. Later on the label was applied to any and all similarly-styled Synth-Pop and dance music releases coming from European producers in the late 1980s. By the 1990s, the British strain of Eurobeat evolved into Eurodance, which gained popularity in the 1990s and paved the way for future electronic music subgenres.
The variant of Eurobeat most people are familiar with, however, is the fast and melodic Japanese iteration of the genre, which evolved from Italian and German Italo Disco imports in the late 1980s and later became associated with the so-called Para Para dance culture. Japan experienced italo disco through the success of the now-defunct German group Arabesque. When German producers shifted to newer genres such as Trance, Italians created a new sound for the Japanese electronic music scene. The producer Giancarlo Pasquini, better-known by his stage name Dave Rodgers, is frequently associated with the establishment of the genre. Eurobeat remained popular in Japan in the 1990s and early-mid 2000s, thanks in part to the Super Eurobeat franchise, which is currently one of the longest-running music compilations (at over 225 volumes). The anime adaptation of Shuichi Shigeno's Initial D prominently featured Eurobeat tracks, further increasing its popularity and bringing the genre closer to anime fans in Japan and overseas. Eurobeat songs are also mainstays of Japanese rhythm games, beginning with Dance Dance Revolution.
Beginning circa 2005, however, Eurobeat had decreased significantly in popularity, due to the then-recent rise in popularity of genres such as Trance and Dubstep. Its association with Japanese Pop Music, however, allowed it to maintain its popularity among fans, though it has largely stagnated as a standalone genre and has nearly died out, at least for some. Para Para dancing, while still popular in Japan, has been pushed into underground scenes elsewhere and is considered a passing fad. Many Eurobeat producers have shifted into newer music styles...
Despite its decrease in popularity, Eurobeat managed to avoid dying out due to its significance as a highly influential electronic music subgenre. The sound it has popularized, which primarily consists of fast, uptempo beats, pulsing rhythms, loud and aggressive synths, dynamic song structures and melody-driven compositions has been replicated in other subgenres such as trance and Synth-Pop. In underground and indies circles, most notably in Japan, Eurobeat continued to evolve into the melody-driven variants of Hardcore Techno. The mainstream branch, meanwhile, continues to overlap with Japanese Pop Music.
- Gino Caria (died 1997)
- Alberto Contini
- Gianni Coraini
- Cristiana Cucchi
- Mauro Farina
- Elena Ferretti
- Annerley Gordon (who also does Europop as Ann Lee)
- Maurizio De Jorio (Marko Polo, Max Coveri, D.Essex, etc.)
- Fabio Lione (yes, that Fabio Lione. Known by his alias J. Storm in Electronic Music circles)
- Dave Rodgers / Giancarlo Pasquini (the Trope Codifier and arguable Trope Maker)
- Clara Moroni (Cherry, Leslie Parrish, Vanessanote , etc.)
Tropes associated with Eurobeat include the following:
- Auto-Tune: Averted for the most part. Many Eurobeat vocalists can sing very well, limiting the software's use to adding vocal effects rather than correcting pitch.
- Car Song: And car racing songs, too!
- Doing It for the Art: A huge majority of Eurobeat producers create music simply to entertain fans, caring very little about the genre's overall popularity in the global dance music scene.
- Germans Love David Hasselhoff: A huge portion of most Eurobeat releases are from Italy, Germany and the UK, but the largest and most well-known Eurobeat fan scene is in Japan.
- There's a Mexican following emphasizing the earlier Eurobeat releases according to their YouTube videos. While not huge, it's the most visible nationality.
- Gratuitous English: With most Eurobeat producers having at most, a basic knowledge of the language, many Eurobeat lyrics tend to be written in more or less incorrect English.
- I Am Not Spock: A variant. Due to the prominent use of Eurobeat songs in the anime Initial D, many people who aren't familiar with the genre, or only know Initial D from the surface (see Public Medium Ignorance/Song Association below), mistakenly refers to any Eurobeat song as "Initial D music", even ones that were never played in Initial D. Not helped by the fact that several people who uploads Eurobeat songs uses "Initial D" instead of the artist name in the title.
- I Have Many Names: Not the genre itself, but most Eurobeat composers have several stage names under which they release their songs. A few examples are listed on this page above, and TheOtherWiki provides a more detailed list.
- Keep Circulating the Tapes: This is how Eurobeat initially developed, and up until now it still remains a genre that thrives primarily on music sharing and its niche appeal.
- Lighter and Softer: Than most Electronic Music. Stylistically, though, it is overdriven Synth-Pop and Italo Disco, with the only things that make it "light" being the use of major keys and lighthearted lyrics.
- Long Runner: The Super Eurobeat series of compilation albums has been around since The '90s, and it is still going strong at over 225 volumes.
- Mohs Scale of Rock and Metal Hardness: Some of the harder rock crossovers ping at around 5-6.
- Memetic Mutation: "Eurobeat Brony" and the Speedy Techno Remake of "Caramelldansen."
- Let's not forget LOL Internet.
- Thanks to its ties with the Initial D franchise, Eurobeat songs are a common feature in high-speed driving video montages.
- [EUROBEAT INTENSIFIES]
- Periphery Demographic: Otaku, rhythm game fans (especially fans of Dance Dance Revolution), "bronies", and even Western racing enthusiasts.
- Popularity Polynomial: The genre rapidly rose in popularity in Europe during the 1990s dance music boom, eventually reaching the Japanese market, where it yet again experienced a massive popularity surge when songs from the Super Eurobeat compilations got featured in the Initial D anime series, ultimately finding a niche among actual hashiriya (street racers) and automobile enthusiasts, and becoming popular enough to have a whole subculture centered around it. By the mid-2000s, Eurobeat faced stiff competition as newer genres like Electro House, dubstep, trance and hardstyle took over the mainstream, and the Para Para subculture it spawned fell alongside it. Its niche appeal as a favorite of car enthusiasts remained strong however, and by the time the 2010s EDM boom swept across the globe, Eurobeat experienced a renewed surge in popularity thanks in part to the Internet, drawing in new fans from both the rave scene and the global car culture.
- Public Medium Ignorance/Song Association: Chances are, a lot of people know Eurobeat as "that really loud, fast and aggressive kind of techno music" that comprises most of the soundtrack to Initial D, as well as "the genre of choice for many of those extremely punishing songs in Dance Dance Revolution".
- Spiritual Successor: Hardcore Techno (especially happy hardcore, UK hardcore, Frenchcore and J-core), Japanese Pop Music, Eurotrance, Eurodance, Euro house... Eurobeat takes pride for having a rather high number of spin-off genres under its belt. Perhaps the most well-known Eurobeat spin-off, at least in the public eye, would be the Speedy Techno Remake.
- Stupid Statement Dance Mix: Most Eurobeat lyrics tend to be very simplistic at best, often invoking themes such as love, partying, and, thanks to Initial D, car racing. References to Japan and otaku culture are also common.
- Trope Codifier: Alongside trance, the genre is credited for popularizing the fast, arpeggiated "supersaw" style of synth playing in contemporary EDM.
- Up to Eleven: Eurobeat is basically Italo Disco and Synth-Pop taken to absurd extremes.