Why I Believe In Euro And You Should, Too

You know that almost automatic twinge of apology? That “I know it’s bad, but…” conversation? As an avid consumer and defender of the lowest of low culture, the sugariest of pop, the most artificial of fake, I am more than familiar. There are lots of theorists who have a thing or two to say about why we love things that we think we shouldn’t. But I don’t need anyone to tell me how good it feels to speed through the ludicrous ups and downs of a five hour Keeping Up With The Kardashians marathon. I’m doing all that I can to quiet ingrained cultural self-doubt and forget about the stifling tenets of coolness and acceptability. Who has time, really? I, for one, am far too busy working my way through the Rihanna music video archive.

Thus, it is with conviction I honestly say: I believe in Euro.

‘Stereolove’? It’s not only for Cancun. ‘Barbara Streisand’? Sometimes I listen to the track on the way to work. At 10 a.m. in the morning (#arttime). I crank dat Benny Benassi when I’m sitting in my living room. Alone. Have you heard ‘Mr. Saxobeat’? Try it. I dare you. It will make your summer (and life) better. I promise.

The Euro-tinged, club-exploding pop songs that race to the top of the charts across the pond sometimes find vaguely similar success stateside. We all know: if you put Guetta on the bitch, she’s going to dance. But there it is again, creeping up within myself, and certainly embedded within the snobby eye rolling of some circles, many of them I frequent: how can we like the stuff of straight-off-the-shore juiceheads, most often heard spilling from Hummer sound systems of stunna-shaded, French Connection-clad drivers? Sure, we allow drunken thrashing to Euro hits when vacationing for spring break, “studying” abroad, or being funny at a party for a second. But to really let the synths into your heart, to crave the heavy bass in your gut, to deeply believe in the pulsating, unrelenting thump? Why don’t we let ourselves get lost in the music, like it begs us to with all its electro might?

For a little bit, forget about conditioned shame. Forget about being cool, calm, collected. There is more here. We like Euro music because it feels good. Don’t discount that feeling. I use the term ‘Euro’ broadly because it’s kinda like porn, according to Justice Potter Stewart back in 1964: it might be hard to define exactly, but we sure know it when we hear its fist pumping call. Music made for the club, for getting lost in, for getting totally and wholly consumed by; music specifically engineered to magnify our pleasure. The pressure is built, layered, looped, amplified in crescendo. The intensity is compounded and multiplied, then abruptly grabbed away from us just before a magnificent, ecstatic, body shuddering climax. A good Europop song is erotic, charged; emotionally and physically. It’s a lot like really good drugs, which is why the two often go together.

In his piece featured in the most recent Art Forum, art star Cory Arcangel questions the recent surge of American pop’s appropriation of the production techniques of ‘90s Euro-trance. Britney Spears, Kelly Rowland, Taio Cruz, Flo Rida, and Lady Gaga make his list, and I would add The Cataracs, Far East Movement, Chris Brown, Black Eyed Peas and duh, Ke$ha. Arcangel details a kind of exciting evolution from first wave Euro-trance, hailing today’s made-for-the-dance-floor jam a “Photoshopped 2011 version of what we remember Euro-trance to have been,” with “all the wrong turns and embarrassing offshoots of the past twenty years… edited out.”

Are you not excited? We have all of this great Euro-tranceish music featuring our favorite pop megastars, with European producer geniuses at the helm, churning out sparklingly perfect songs that are meant to make us feel great. Beyond that carefully constructed sonic neatness, there is more. There is something deeper in the communal moment a song that makes us move can create. They don’t say “Errybody to the dance floor” for nothing.

As we move our bodies, side by side, getting closer than we would ever allow in the daylight, letting ourselves go on full display more than we do anywhere else, we are actively creating together. I may sound a lot like the twenty-something I am, but the collectivity, however fleeting or exaggerated, that can come from the party makes me feel like I’m genuinely a part of something, with people I trust, in ways I am always grasping for in the face of the digital divide. We’ve been told that feelings – love, happiness, excitement – are supposed to be epic, to sweep us off our feet, to consume. If Chris Brown crooning about how beautiful people are can make me feel that kind of intensity, isn’t something happening there? Good music is supposed to make us feel, right?

When it comes to Euro, in all its far-reaching variances of influence, in the words of Simian Mobile Disco: I believe. And if you don’t yet, let’s talk about how you feel after watching this:

image – Tambako the Jaguar

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  • Charles Reinhardt

    All my Irish and European friends assumed that this song was really famous in NYC when I went to visit. I just pretended that everyone here knew it.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1552230509 Blake Austin

    I believe in Euro. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=201002708 Alyssa Johnston

    Duck sauce is DELICIOUS.

  • Emma Daniels

    YES YES YES!!! I’m American and I love Euro music! Been listening to it since I was about thirteen. Ugh, it’s just so good.

    I believe in Euro.

  • Greg

    I believe in Simian Mobile Disco

  • Anonymous

    ta.gg/4vh

  • http://staugustinian.wordpress.com/ STaugustine

    I arrived in 1990, got my first little performing/compositional credit in 1993 (on a dance-remix of an 80s Europop hit), working with a French music publisher in Berlin. I also worked in a famous club (the size of a fucking closet), clubbed four-to-five nights a week for several years, fell in with a cluster of producers who were charting with Europop (right before the bubble burst) and moved away from dance (in which there was little or no money at the best of times). I sometimes hung out in the studio with the guy who wrote a hefty chunk of the Teutonic dance-pop hits that half of Europe was dancing to (one of the few who got rich off it) and he had the semi-defensive air of someone who knew he was getting away with murder. The formula was: Kraut synths, Black American vocals, nursery-rhyme melodies and holiday beats.

    The hetero club culture in Europe was easy-access (super-low cover charges) and sex-driven; the sex even outweighed the drugs: people were hooking up with unbelievable (by hetero American standards) ease. It was like Studio 54 for poor (but beautiful) people; beauty was cash (most club decor was cheap, improvised, unimportant). The current American appropriation of that reminds me of ’90s Britpop trying to simulate ’60s psychedelia: ie, not even close but better than nothing.

  • FC

    Mai-ia-hiiiiiiiii, Mai-ia-huu, Mai-ia-ha, Mai-ia-haha

  • Joseph Ernest Harper

    Thought this was gonna be about Dirk Nowitzki or Drazen Petrovic or something.

  • Guest

    I was expecting an article about the advantages of the Euro (as in the currency). Can it survive the Greek Financial Crisis? Quite disappointed, even if that is a class-act song.

  • Anonymous

    I experience most of the judgement when it comes to listening this type of music from Americans. Nowhere else in the world have I been met with such contempt when I’ve said that I enjoy trance, house, etc.

    There are few things more uplifting than trance music. Check out Above&Beyond if you already haven’t :)

    • Guest

      go to los angeles, lolz

  • Anonymous

    ta.gg/4vh

  • Elle

    I love Barbra Streissand! And my roommate hates me for it.

  • Elle

    I love Barbra Streissand! And my roommate hates me for it.

  • MM

    OMG  

    I feel like I got in touch with my European side after I went to Italy for a year (well this year) 

    and I really caught up with music on MTV Italia

    so I definitely know Barbara Striesand song (Italian boys loved that song)
    and Mr. Saxobeat (starting getting big when I left)

    have you heard of We No Speak Americano? (huge hit)

    and also Alors on Danse? (French song which is awesome)

    This was first time in my 18 years of living that I felt that MTV was actually all music (For the most part, I mean they had countdowns like a shitload almost everyday!)

  • MM

    OMG  

    I feel like I got in touch with my European side after I went to Italy for a year (well this year) 

    and I really caught up with music on MTV Italia

    so I definitely know Barbara Striesand song (Italian boys loved that song)
    and Mr. Saxobeat (starting getting big when I left)

    have you heard of We No Speak Americano? (huge hit)

    and also Alors on Danse? (French song which is awesome)

    This was first time in my 18 years of living that I felt that MTV was actually all music (For the most part, I mean they had countdowns like a shitload almost everyday!)

  • Guest

    I opened this expecting it would be about the euro currency… I was so confused. haha.

  • http://imlikecocaine.wordpress.com/ Ana

    oh yeah, it seems us, romanians, are good at producing hits like mr. saxobeat and promoting great singers like inna. yay*goes back to her cave, in denial*

  • ugh

    Geez, climb outta your pretentious hipster hole already.  “Euro,” as you call it, is a lot more mainstream in America than you might think.  Just because you might hang out with people who think they are so above it doesn’t mean it’s not played in huge clubs in major cities.  Festivals are being sold out and reaching capacities of hundreds of thousands. 

    Trust, you’re not so unique and ahead of the game.

  • Samsonite Briefcase

    Euro hits= hits in every single corner of the world–Buenos Aires, Rio De Janerio, Sydney, Tokyo, Iceland, South Africa,–except the U.S., because the U.S> has too many pretentious pieces of shit hipsters that can’t wiggle out of their vapid little shells long enough to hit pause on the “noise” and “lo-fi” genres just because that’s what Pitchfork says to listen to this month.

  • GUARENTEEDMEDIOCRITY

    so you admit to appreciating mainstream pop culture.

    WOW! 

    can you show me and my friends how to become so enlightened?

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