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 with pitched, offbeat bass, 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. In the United States, Eurobeat was historically marketed as Hi-NRG and for a short while shared this term with early freestyle music, trance and Italo disco.
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 which hugely influenced many song and business decisions within the scene. 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, developing the style in parallel with the rise of harder styles of dance music. 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 250 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 DanceDanceRevolution.
Beginning in the mid-2000s, however, Eurobeat had decreased significantly in popularity, due to the then-recent rise in popularity of genres such as Trance, Hardstyle 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. With the rise of Internet meme culture and the global EDM boom generating demand for all sorts of Electronic Music subgenres, Eurobeat has once again risen in popularity and a whole new generation of enthusiasts from different subcultures have been introduced to the genre.
- 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, Dejo, Niko, etc.)
- Fabio Lione (yes, that Fabio Lione. Known by his alias J. Storm in Electronic Music circles)
- Giancarlo Pasquini / Dave Rodgers (the Trope Codifier and arguable Trope Maker)
- Clara Moroni (Cherry, Linda Ross, Denise, Vicky Vale, Leslie Parrish, Vanessanote , etc.)
- Jessa Stebbins (Odyssey Eurobeat, Ken Blast, Eurobeat Brony, Mortimer, etc.)
- Tomas Marin (Mega NRG Man, Mr. Groove, Derreck Simons)
- Christian Codenotti (Ace) and Ennio Zanini (Fastway, Dusty), who together form a duo called Go2
- Denise De Vincenzo / Nuage
- Laurent Newfield, who has done production on a staggering number of songs.
- Davide Di Marcantonio (David Dima, Dream Fighters, Dave MC Loud, Lou Grant, etc.)
- Andrea Leonardi / Bratt Sinclaire
- Karen J. Wainwright (Karen, Wain L, Kelly Wright, etc.)
- Alessandra Mirka Gatti / Domino
- Roberto Tiranti / Powerful T. (also does Heavy Metal as part of the band Labyrinth)
- Federico Pasquini / Kaioh (the son of Giancarlo Pasquini, a.k.a Dave Rodgers)
- Manuel Caramori (currently works as a cruise ship entertainer)
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 / Driving Song: Car culture became a mainstay of modern-day eurobeat ever since Initial D adopted this genre for its soundtrack.
- 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. This also gives the music a very unique charm that helped it remain relevant to this day.
- Early-Installment Weirdness: The earlier eurobeat songs, like those released on the first dozen of Super Eurobeat albums in the early 90s, actually had a slower tempo and sounded a lot closer to disco than what the genre would eventually evolve into.
- Epic Riff: Unlike several other similar genres that use riffs, eurobeat incorporates it into the genre itself, making them just as important and memorable as the chorus.
- Genre Relaunch: The explosion of Déjà Vu and Initial D related memes in late 2017 caused a significant resurgence in the genre, enough to make a lot of eurobeat artists return to the genre, and prompting digital re-releases of a huge number of songs.
- 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 upload 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 The Other Wiki provides a more detailed list.
- Intercourse with You: As most eurobeat creators are Italian and their primary audience Japanese, neither side has the best understanding of English, so the Italian creators decided to just have fun with the songwriting instead of focusing on "good" writing. This has lead to some very saucy or suggestive lyrics over the years, especially if it's a song performed by Manuel.
- 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.
- Large Ham: Some of Manuel's songs can qualify. You can tell he was having a ball with those songs, and others.
- 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, which saw 250 volumes over a 28-year period, and is still receiving spin-off releases to this day.
- Lyrical Dissonance: Despite the genre's cheery and energetic sound, expect a good chunk of songs to be about heartbreak. Especially if it's a Leslie Parrish song.
- Memetic Mutation:
- "Eurobeat Brony"
- The Speedy Techno Remake of "Caramelldansen."
- Let's not forget LOL Internet.
- [EUROBEAT INTENSIFIES]. Thanks to its ties with the Initial D franchise, Eurobeat songs are a common feature in high-speed driving video montages and meme videos that evoke images of drift racing.
- DEJA VU!!
- Periphery Demographic: Otaku, rhythm game fans (especially fans of Dance Dance Revolution), Internet meme enthusiasts, and even Western racing/car culture fans.
- Interestingly enough, World of Warships players. The YouTuber Yuro popularized the concept of "torpedobeats", where you avoid torpedoes using your maneuverability, but it looks like you're drift-racing, as ships naturally turn stern-first, as that's where the rudders are, in reference to Initial D, with the appropriate Eurobeat music in the background.
- No Export for You: Avex Trax and Cutting Edge, the labels behind the Super Eurobeat and Eurobeat Flash series respectively, only have the rights to distribute the songs in Japan and surrounding areas. Outside of Asia, the rights to these songs sits with the songs' respective labels, and it's up to them to ensure they're available worldwide. Some studios, like Hi-NRG Attack, SCP Studios and SinclaireStyle, have taken to digitally releasing their entire catalogs in bulk, with other studios like A-Beat-C, DMI Music and Vibration slowly putting them out one after the other. The rest remain mostly unavailable worldwide, save for certain special compilations from Avex.
- 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 DanceDanceRevolution".
- 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.
- "Initial D Hell" by Dave Rodgers is actually a reference to a Facebook shitposting group where Dave Rodgers often posts.
- Trope Codifier: Alongside trance, the genre is credited for popularizing the "supersaw" waveform and the flowing, arpeggiated style of synth playing in contemporary EDM.