Eurodance refers to a specific style of electronica produced on the European continent beginning in the late 1980s. Eurodance is generally informed by disco, hi-nrg and house music, and performed entirely in the recording studio on synthesizers and drum machines.This genre of music is heavily influenced by the utilization of rich melodic vocals, either exclusively by itself or inclusively with rapped verses. This, combined with cutting-edge synthesizer, strong bass rhythm and melodic hooks establishes the core foundation of Eurodance music. Like it's close relative Europop, it's usually simple, lightweight, and catchy, with fluffy, repetitive lyrics that don't require much translation among listeners who speak different languages. The main difference between Eurodance and Europop is exclusive and pronounced dance-club orientation of the former; while Europop is frequently informed by dance music, it doesn't have to be, and when it is, it doesn't always fit into dance-club playlists. Most Eurodance artists concentrate on crafting hit singles, with most album releases almost an afterthought. Eurodance has become more underground during the 2010s, as most electronica is closer to electro and techno.
After the early 1990s, Eurodance music had split into several categories: "Classic" Eurodance (1990s) – As noted, often a female vocalist and a male rapper were used for songs within this genre. The music features thicker and more detailed production and is slightly slower than most Eurodance that appeared afterward. This sound features arrangements, production touches, synths, and basslines unique to the early and mid-1990s, and is strongly favoured by those who were fans of Eurodance during that time.
Bubblegum dance – Essentially the Danish Eurodance version of bubblegum pop. While the instrumental style is similar to "classic" Eurodance, the lyrics tend towards a tongue-in-cheek humour very different from typical "disco" lyrics. Topics tend to be such things as toys, cartoons or video games, with double-entendres and fairytale motifs (for example, Aqua's "Barbie Girl"). Bubblegum may use either a chorus or a male rapper/female singer duet, though it tends not to make use of American rappers as classic Eurodance does.
Eurotrance – Has a more open-ended structure compared to the tightly knit vocals and melodies of "classic" Eurodance. The vocals are sometimes vague or repetitive without verse/chorus structure, often with echo and other effects. Often, eurotrance has a strong synth line with ethereal chords and strong percussion.
Some examples of "original" Eurodance acts are 2 Brothers On The 4th Floor, 2 Unlimited, Alcazar, Alexia, Bad Boys Blue, Cappella, Captain Hollywood Project, Cascada, Centory, Corona, Culture Beat, Dee Monk, Double You, DJ Bobo, Dr. Alban, E-rotic. E-Type, Eiffel 65, Electro Team, First Base, Fun Factory, Ice MC, Imperio, Indra, Infernal, La Bouche, Lobby, Le Click, Magic Affair, Masterboy, Maxx, Playahitty, Real McCoy, Santamaria, Vengaboys and Whigfield.
These bands included characteristics such as emphasis of the combo female chorus together with male rap performances, leading directly to the duo revival. Each group featured their own signature sound, persona, visual imagery, vocal approach or a combination of any of the above. Solo artists who performed Eurodance include Amber and Haddaway. Rozalla supported Michael Jackson during his European "Dangerous" tour. In 1994, Amber made history becoming the first singer in Eurodance history to be signed to a label as a solo artist, not a singer who is bound to a producer.
Compilation albums, such as the DMA Dance: Eurodance series of compilation albums (1995–1997) from Interhit Records and Dance Music Authority magazine, were popular and helped to define the genre as well as to make it accessible in the U.S. and Canada.
Such groups as Basic Element (also active in the 1990s), Alcazar, Scooter, Ian Van Dahl, Milk Inc., Merzedes Club, Infernal, Special D, Groove Coverage, Santamaria, Cascada, Sylver, Danijay, Eiffel 65, Colonia, and solo artists such as Madonna (e.g. "Hung Up" single), Kate Ryan, Luca Zeta, Gabry Ponte, DJ Aligator, Máni Svavarsson, Lucas Prata and O-Zone, represent some of the most successful of the second generation of Eurodance artists. Most of them have released hit singles or albums Stateside.
Some US-based musicians are now heavily influenced by Eurodance, most prominently Rihanna. The songs "S&M" and "Only Girl (In the World)" by Barbadian singer Rihanna are strongly influenced by Eurodance music. Both songs peaked atop the Billboard Hot 100 in 2010 and 2011. In 2012, a large number of songs by American artists featured quintessential Eurodance elements (especially synthesizer and strong beats during the chorus, mixed with rapping or vocals for verses).