|Cultural origins||Denmark, 1993|
|Typical instruments||Electronic keyboard - Synthesizer - Drum machine - Sound effects|
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Bubblegum dance (sometimes known as Happy House or Euro bubblegum) is a musical subgenre of eurodance that gained high popularity around the world in the late 90s for containing cheerful, silly and fun sound This subgenre is the result of the fusion between the Eurodance and Bubblegum pop genres, having a more dance sound. The subgenre, which was introduced in the mid-90s, had no defined term, and artists who released their music in this style were often labeled as eurodance, dance-pop, europop songs and in some cases, also considered bubblegum pop, something quite different.
The style that was introduced by Whigfield, perfected by Me & My and popularized by Aqua is not considered an official musical genre, since when produced in the 90s, it was never called as 'bubblegum dance', having been given that term many years later. The term "bubblegum dance" is a combination of the terms 'bubblegum' and euro'dance', which is used to refer to a musical style with characteristics of bubblegum music, but containing an electronic and dancing sound. Bubblegum dance emerged in Denmark, a country where large numbers of productions were marked, besides having enshrined great hits known worldwide.
1993 - 1996: Start and popularity
The bubblegum dance sound was first heard in 1993, in the song "Saturday Night" by the Italo-Danish project Whigfield, whose cheerful, repetitive, simple and childlike sound managed to be a momentary success, being well received by critics and charts of the time, and also being the theme song of the European summer of that year. A year after Saturday Night, the project releases the song "Another Day" which manages to repeat the same performance as the subsequent single and, as a result, the Whigfield project begins to consolidate its style, making it quite popular and attracting the attention of many producers of that time. Throughout this period, other eurodance projects seemed to experience the same style proposed by Whigfield in his songs, such as E-Rotic with "Max Don't Have Sex With Your Ex", Sin with Sebastian with "Shut Up (And Sleep with Me)", Scatman John with "Scatman's World", Captain Jack with "Captain Jack", Ace of Base with "Beautiful Life", Corona with "Baby Baby" and many others.
In 1995, the Danish duo Me & My released their debut single "Dub-I-Dub" (following the same style as Whigfield), a song that was a great success, especially in Scandinavia and Japan, in addition to appearing on several albums compilation, including Dancemania. Such success of the single from Me & My, helped producers and artists from all over Europe to start making the same style of the song, besides giving other aspects that contributed a lot to the subgenre that we know today. The following year, Danish singer Tiggy released her debut single "Ring-A-Ling", a song that immediately went to number one in Denmark and stayed there for a few months; and that same year, the newly formed band Aqua released their first single "Roses Are Red", whose captivating and dancing sound made it reach the first place in Denmark, further popularizing the style.
1997 - 1999: Aqua and "Golden Era"
Projects like Whigfield, Me & My, Tiggy and Sqeezer helped a lot in the introduction of bubblegum dance in the market and in the charts, however, it did not receive worldwide recognition until 1997, when the Aqua that had been successful with this style launched his great hit "Barbie Girl", a song that had a resounding success, arriving in a very few minutes in the first place in several countries of the world, besides reaching the number 7 position on the Billboard Hot 100 and selling more than 8 million copies. Aqua's success inspired several other artists and producers of that time to do the same style, and as a result, bubblegum dance production skyrocketed in the late 1990s, with Denmark the country that produced the most of this subgenre, followed by Sweden, Italy, Germany, the Netherlands and Norway. In 1998, the high popularity of bubblegum dance was already marked throughout Scandinavia, with many bands formed and following the same style of Barbie Girl in their songs, like Hit'n'Hide with "Space Invaders", Daze with "Superhero", Crispy with "Licky Licky", Toy-Box with "Tarzan & Jane", Miss Papaya with "Hero", Cartoons with "Witch Doctor", Blue 4 U with "Happy World", Infinity with "Feeling Good", Passion Fruit with "The Rigga-Ding-Dong-Song", Bambee with "Bubble Bee", Dr. Bombay with "Calcutta (Taxi Taxi Taxi)", SMiLE.dk with "Butterfly", @tak with "Pizza Boy", Yummie with "Bubblegum", Smiles & More with "Jet Set Life" and others. Even other artists who predominated in eurodance music tried bubblegum dance, like the Swedish band Solid Base who had also tried the genre in their 1995 song "Mirror, Mirror".
During 1999, it marked the great peak of bubblegum dance productions, being Aqua, Toy-Box, Me & My, Caramell, Smile.dk, Bambee, Miss Papaya, Cartoons, Yummie, Hit'n'Hide, Crispy, Vengaboys, Tiggy and Lolly the main projects that produced the authentic bubblegum sound. Such a subgenre, when produced, was never called bubblegum dance, but the same was attributed to other genres. However, the term that was commonly used was "Aqua Style", due to the fact that they recognized the style and used it in their hit songs. That same year, Vengaboys were successful with their single "We're Going to Ibiza", a bubblegum reggae that was very well appreciated by critics, as well as their previous singles "Boom, Boom, Boom, Boom!!", "We Like To Party", "Up and Down", "To Brazil!" and "Parada de Tettas", all in the Eurodance genre, with the Bubblegum dance style. Bubblegum dance is very popular on the Asian continent, especially in Japan, due to its use in popular dance games like Dance Dance Revolution (DDR), In the Groove (ITG) and other games. Artists like Ni-Ni, Jenny Rom, Smile.dk, Crispy, Mozquito, Bambee, Rebecca, Kristeen and Miss Papaya have gained recognition through these games. It is also quite common for many fans to choose to use bubblegum dance in their anime video clips (AMVs) created by fans.
2000 - 2002: Decline in production and wear
During the year 2000 to 2001, bubblegum dance begins to experience a medium decline in production, due to the fact that some major bands of bubblegum dance are migrating to other genres, such as pop, trance, pop rock, euro-trance, techno and house, genres that were quite popular at the time. However, it was also a period of great memorable hits of this genre, such as Soda with "Paradise", Hampton the Hampster with "The Hampster Dance", Jenny Rom with "Hanky Panky", ATC with "Around the World (La La La La La), Dominoo with "My Hero", Creamy with "Help! I'm A Fish", Caramell with "Caramelldansen" and again Aqua, who had changed his style, resurrected the same in the songs "Cartoon Heroes" and "Bubble Bees". Despite being experiencing a golden moment, bubblegum dance began to show some wear and tear in 2002, both in productions and in releases. And new projects that emerged during this period failed to achieve any success, and artists who released their albums, were very disappointed with the lack of success and, as a result, bubblegum dance started to disappear from the charts and losing the attention of many producers.
2003 - currently: 2nd peak and decline Style
All of that changes in 2003, when a Dutch children's pop group "Ch!pz" was created, which would produce bubblegum songs with some childlike aspects. Ch!pz made a renewal in the bubblegum dance sound/style, which brought a more pop-based sound and with more mature lyrics, leaving the band's appearance more professional (departing completely from the traditional bubblegum dance music of the decade 90). Other projects similar to Ch!pz were also created across Europe, such as Djumbo, Banaroo and BeFour, all aimed at children and young people. The success of the German-British eurodance group Cascada, may also have contributed to the growing popularity of bubblegum dance in 2005 - 2007, whose 2005 worldwide success "Everytime We Touch" reintroduced the world to eurodance.
In 2006, bubblegum dance became moderately known in the world again, due to the success of the animated character Gummibär with his song "I'm A Gummy Bear (The Gummy Bear Song)", a song that was quite successful and has been translated into more than 20 languages. The production of bubblegum dance marks its second peak in 2007, however, after that year, it again begins to decline, with bubblegum dance once again disappearing from the charts.
Bubblegum reggae is a musical subgenre of bubblegum dance. This subgenre does not have a specific origin, but it was commonly used by many bubblegum bands during the years 1996 to 2002. The bubblegum reggae must have been inspired by the song "Coco Jamboo" (Mr. President song) because it mixed eurodance with reggae, and it was quite popular. After that, some bubblegum dance bands started to merge their sound with reggae, thus forming bubblegum reggae, and these include Ciaobella with "One Nait Stand", Vengaboys with "We're Going to Ibiza", Blue 4 U with "Happy World ", @tak with "Love On The Moon" and several others. Generally, bubblegum reggae has 104 BPM (beats per minute). However, it can vary between 100 and 110 BPM, depending on whether the production adds other genres in itself, such as pop, which tends to be a little faster.
Letter & Style
Bubblegum dance is well known for having a cheerful, silly, innocent and childlike sound, which leads people to think that music or artists is aimed at children. However, it is very common for artists of this genre to incorporate music that involves sexual themes, which may go unnoticed or not.
One of the most notable features of the euro bubblegum is the way that artists dress, often wearing simple shiny clothes and multicolored hair, giving a funny and unique image. A notable example is the Cartoons band, which convey a good-humored image to the public, due to their bizarre and funny characterizations, as they wear colorful clothes and wigs with strange connotations.
Generally, the lyrics of the bubblegum dance songs always look for themes considered childish, which include toys, video games, nature, tropical beaches, fruits, aliens, love relationships, fairy tales, parties, animals, cartoons, anime and others. However, it is very common for some bands to add sexually suggestive lyrics to their songs, which may or may not go unnoticed.
BPM (Beat per minute)
The bubblegum dance beat ranges from 130 - 145 per minute. However, songs that mix reggae, pop rock and pop tend to be slower. There are also songs that exceed that limit, especially those that limit Happy Hardcore and Eurobeat itself.
Generally, bubblegum dance is sung by a cheerful woman along with a man who provides a low vocal, which was also popular in Eurodance music in the 1990s. Producers employ several studio effects to make vocals sound high or full of helium.
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