Review Summary: I'm Blue living in a bubble on the edge of a silicon world.... or something like that.
In mid 1998 there was not too much of a standard to electronic music yet established. Granted there was the synthesizer giddy 80's, and rising stars like Fatboy Slim. However electronic music had hardly progressed enough to arrive to the point where it was a reputable genre that could leave a lasting impact for years to come. There was no standard bearer for the Electronic Dance Music genre. At least in the United States. In Europe, the rising "Euro-dance" movement was taking over clubs, and European mainstream culture completely. At the forefront of this movement, was young group, Eiffel 65
out of Italy. Where their first record Europop
was about to take the world by storm. And whether the world was ready for it or not, would set the standard bearer for electronic music for years to come. Europop
, exactly as the title states, is a 90's European Pop record. As with most pop music, even today, it's something like an infection. When you get a song stuck in your head, it can be there for days. The lyrics are not a poetic masterpiece, but it's something that can be interpreted in many different ways, and even incorrectly. This album is exactly that, it can be a pure entertaining, catchy, and a fun listen.
With the International smash single "Blue (Ba Da Bee)" the group makes their mark on the genre forever with their most distinguishable track. The song has an overly repetitive synthesizer line and ridiculous lyrics (I'm Blue ba da bee da bu da, da ba dee da bu dah). But nonetheless it's one of those songs that can not be hated unless heard a thousand times. The song as a whole is good pop song. Similarly on track number eleven "Silicon World", which is the most catchy track on the record, the group continue to spin easy, catchy dance pop rhythms. The song has its fair share of over redundant beeps and bloops that sound like you are listening under water, and even with a fairly auto-tuned falsetto in the verses, (back when auto-tune was an art piece, not used to manipulate a voice to sell). The results still remain insanely catchy. Other catchy tracks such as "Move Your Body", "Another Race", and "The Edge" preserve this style and serve as very strong ear hooks while all not too powerful lyrically. But it's just pop music right?
This isn't just your mere pop record though, Eiffel 65
seek to try make people achieve self realization to the listener on some of these tracks. Some of these deep messages do work. On "Too Much Of Heaven" the group preaches of over indulgence on the dollar bill, and serves as a passable message. The song is also the first to use trance rhythms rather than pop inspired dance music and becomes an overall success as a result. Another song that works well with the overall trance rhythm theme is standout track "Living In A Bubble". The track addresses seclusion on a level that's easy to understand for the mainstream listener. The track also features a reggae-rap collaboration from Papa Winnie, that serves as a successful close to the track. Also on “Now Is Forever” is in a similar style, with a pitch corrected yodeling for the lyrics.
On the contrary though there are some huge missteps that are pretty much anticipated. "Your Clown" is a sonic abomination, with the darkest lyrics. This song as a whole throws a monkey wrench into the whole album, because it sounds so different compared to every other track. The song is a slow, out of love ballad, with over emphatic electronic drumming, and cheesy beats that simply do not add up. I can not fathom how this one got through to the final cut of this album. "My Console" probably has one of the best synthesizer lines on the entire record, but the lyrics are completely dreadful on a comedic level. The track serves as an ode to gamers, specifically play-station gamers, but is a lyrical bombshell. P-L-A-Y-S-T-A-T-I-O-N and repetitive chants of Omega Boosts, and Resident Evil games makes the track utterly laughable as a result.
Closing out the album is titular track "Europop" which is an ode to the current craze in Europe circa 1999. The song is a masterpiece rhythmically with pounding bass, and little chimes with heavily edited tone bells. The jam pretty much sums up all the tracks before it into one sonic whole. The bonus track “Hyperlink (Deep Down)” is extremely similar to “My Console” except not nearly as comedic. And serves as a bouncy close to the record.
Looking back on this record 14 years later, one could not believe it was meant to be taken seriously for its lyrical content. However for it's pioneering of pitch correction, auto-tune, and being the standard for electronic music. For what it is Europop
is a completely enjoyable and extremely entertaining listen that should always looked back on as a standard bearer for Electronic Dance Music.