Facts & Information
What is bubblegum dance?
"Bubblegum dance" is a term coined to describe a particular style of eurodance or pop/dance music. Bubblegum dance typically has a high-pitched female vocalist singing upbeat and melody driven verses and choruses, and a male singing back up vocals or rap. The term "bubblegum dance" can be considered a coalition of the genres "Bubblegum pop~ a type of pop music originating in the 1960s that was marketed to appeal to pre-teens and teenagers." and "eurodance~ a genre of electronic dance music originating in Europe.."
Crispy celebrated life, love and youth with their simple and happy lyrics, bouncy beats, and a fun colourful universe.
The lyrics and style of bubblegum dance music is often playful and child-like. Common singing topics include fantasy characters such as wizards and princesses, and songs about having fun, love, partying, and eating candy. Original bubblegum dance projects, such as Aqua, Toy-Box, Crispy, Bambee and Miss Papaya are easily recognizable for their childish topics, tongue in cheek lyrics, and high-pitched vocals.
It is important to note that "bubblegum dance" is a term used to describe the genre and was introduced many years after the first true bubblegum dance acts. Before this term, these projects were often labeled as generic pop/dance or eurodance, which made the genre quite difficult to find. Other terms have also been used to describe bubblegum dance music, and these include: bubblegum techno, bubblegum house, euro cheese, bubble dance, and happy house.
Aqua's controversial song "Barbie Girl" sparked a lawsuit with Mattel that made headlines worldwide.
Arguably the first true bubblegum dance project was Me & My, whose debut single "Dub-i-Dub" caused a sensation in Scandinavia and Japan. The song was fast-paced and sugar-coated, and the none-sensical lyrics "dub-i-dub-i-dub-dub-dub" became an anthem and inspiration for dance producers and singers all around the world. However, bubblegum dance did not receive world-wide recognition until 1997, when Aqua released their smash hit single "Barbie Girl." Barbie Girl topped the charts worldwide and sold more than 8 million copies. The success of Barbie Girl encouraged many other artists to write music in the same style, and as a result bubblegum dance production skyrocketed in the late 1990s.
Bubblegum dance originates in Scandinavia, particularly in Denmark where a large percentage of bubblegum dance music is produced. The late 1990s and early 2000s marked the high-point in bubblegum dance production. Bubblegum dance music can be seen as the transition point between the harder style of music that was popular in the early 90s and the happy "teen pop" music that was popular during the early 2000s.
Bubblegum dance music has a huge following in Japan, probably due to its use in popular dance games such as Dance Dance Revolution (DDR), In The Groove (ITG) and the Dancemania series. Many artists, such as Smile.dk, Bambee, Rebecca and Miss Papaya, have gained recognition and fame through these games. As well as this, Anime has a large bubblegum dance following, and many fans choose to use bubblegum dance styled music in their fan-made Anime Music Videos (AMVs).
Bubblegum dance music does not have a specific target audience. It's happy, often childish lyrics make it popular with young children; and the hidden meaning and innuendos in the lyrics make good entertainment for adults. Research shows that adults who enjoy bubblegum dance music like it because the positive and innocent message it conveys reminds them of their childhood.
Bubblegum dance girl group Djumbo from the Netherlands are best known for their kid-friendly happy dance music.
Because bubblegum dance music is often created by adults, it therefore often includes adult themes. Lyrics sometimes reference adult themes in a cheeky and humorous way through the use of innuendos. An example of an innuendo lies in Toy-Box's popular song, "Super-Duper-Man," While the naughty lyrics "Can I touch your ting-a-ling?" will be understood by adults, the hidden sexual reference will most likely go unnoticed by children.
Nevertheless, there are many bubblegum dance acts whose lyrics and music are aimed directly at children and do not include these innuendos. These are usually acts that are either headlined by children, for example "Bubbles," or are marketed by a children's television station, for example "Banaroo."
Overall, bubblegum dance music is not restricted to a particular age group or gender; it is made for anyone who wants to listen to happy music with a positive message.
Production peak and comeback
Bubblegum eurodance production marked its peak around 1999, when artists such as Aqua, Me & My, Daze and Toy-Box were receiving worldwide recognition and modest success with their tongue-in-cheek dance hits. Throughout the late 1990s and early 2000s, producers were jumping at the opportunity to produce bubblegum dance music - the simple lyrics and melodies, combined with the technological advancements in electronic music production - made bubblegum dance a relatively simple (and cheap) genre to make. The genre was also a breath of fresh air in a world that was focusing on the grim and becoming more and more serious.
Around 2001, the number of bubblegum dance productions began to decline, perhaps due to the dwindling popularity of eurodance and a maturing audience in which sex appeal was taking over the music scene. Several new projects created in 2002, such as Blue Monster & Bikki failed to make an impact on the charts, discouraging other artists to continue making the genre, and several groups who released a follow up album in 2001 and 2002 were disappointed by the lack of success and as a result further releases were abandoned (such as Smile.dk with "Golden Sky," Bambee with "Fairytales," Toy-Box with "Toy Ride" and Soda with "Popaholic.")
The huge success of Ch!pz from the Netherlands inspired many more artists to write music in their style, contributing to the second rise in bubblegum dance production from 2004 to 2007.
Bubblegum dance music production declined even further until 2003 when the introduction of a new Dutch children's pop group called Ch!pz re-sparked an interest in the genre. Many of the original producers and writers from the late 90's (including Hartmann & Langhoff) jumped on the opportunity to produce music for the group, whose first single "Cowboy," and eventually album, were topping charts all over Europe. Following the success of Ch!pz, many other bubblegum pop/dance acts were formed in Europe, most of them with children as their target audience. The most popular groups were Banaroo (Germany) and Djumbo (Netherlands). A children's Television show from Iceland called LazyTown also experimented with the genre, writing and producing bubblegum dance songs for its episodes.
The success of German-British dance act Cascada may have also contributed to bubblegum dance's rising popularity in 2005-2007, whose 2005 worldwide smash hit "Everytime We Touch" reintroduced the world to eurodance and simple catchy synth-driven melodies. What Bubblegum Dancer calls the "Second bubblegum dance revolution" peaks in 2007 and then gradually begins to decline again with cheesy dance music once again fading from the charts. Will bubblegum dance music make another comeback in the future? And if it does, what form will it be in? Only time will tell...