Wednesday, May 7, 2014

(Sweet?) Childhood Memories, Part Three

Continuing in the late 1990s spirit, it seems appropriate to point out that it almost seems like eurodance never truly went away. A lot of today's radio pop bears a similarity to the pounding beats of eurodance. Some eurodance artists have kept touring ski resorts and other party places in Finland in the 2000s and 2010s. This summer there is even going to be a big festival in Helsinki featuring many of the most popular eurodance artists. For many people eurodance may seem like a yesterday's craze but the phenomenon still has plenty of market (and nostalgia) value. We may feel a bit embarrassed that we enjoyed the music back then but, in reality, we still like it.

Scandinavia had quite a few hit-making artists when eurodance was hip. However, I was never particularly fond of domestic eurodance artists, so I spend more time with artists from neighboring countries. The most memorable artist for me was Danish-Norwegian Aqua whose cheerful bubblegum dance music has clearly left a permanent impact on me even though I nowadays prefer other kind of bubblegum music. Lene Nystrøm channeled the bubblegum vocal style while René Dif rapped, creating quite a contrast.

When I now think about Aqua, the first thing that comes to mind is the lawsuit concerning their biggest hit, Barbie Girl. Back then I surely fondly listened to every song on Aqua's hit album Aquarium (1997). Most people remember Aqua by catchy hit songs and entertaining music videos (Doctor Jones, My Oh My). Turn Back Time still sounds timeless, while Lollipop (Candyman) has a very strong 1990s feel to it. Quite interestingly Aqua is apparently the most commercially successful Danish group ever.

I also have to mention another Danish band, a girl duo called S.O.A.P. because they were just awesome. S.O.A.P. only released two albums, the second of which I never actually even listened to. Trends came and went pretty fast in my life at that time. S.O.A.P.'s first album Not Like Other Girls (1998) was created by the best of Danish eurodance production and sung by sisters Heidi and Line Sørensen.

The album included of course energetic dance pop hits (This Is How We Party, Ladidi Ladida, Romeo & Juliet) as well as more melancholic melancholic material such as Wishing and Who Can I Talk to, and it is especially these latter ones that I find the most memorable. There is indeed plenty of timelessness in S.O.A.P.'s pop melodies.