I can't believe it's been 11 years since "Blue (Da Ba Dee)" came out. That song was massive, hitting #1 in more countries than I could probably have named 11 years ago. And I can easily identify that song, as can many peers of my ever-aging generation. Unfortunately, fewer of those people actually remember the band that actually created the song -- Eiffel 65. And perhaps even more unfortunate still is the fact that even fewer fans (at least those on this side of the Atlantic) didn't really follow with what Eiffel 65 released after their first album, "Europop" -- unfortunate because the music actually improved, compared to what you get here. But for a debut album, it sold pretty well: around 10 million copies worldwide. Not bad at all.
Europop was well-named, as this album is exactly that. It's dance music straight to the core, but it wouldn't feel too out of place on a pop mix compilation. Depending on your region, the tracklist is a bit different, but for me, the Eiffel 65-Enjoying Canadian Man, we start out with Too Much Of Heaven, a basic slower-tempo song that introduces the heavily-vocoded vocal stylings of Jeffrey Jey. The song is more or less an anthem against greed and issues with being a currency-based society, though it loses some of its more conscious undertones because, hey, the guy's higher-pitched voice hardly could be taken seriously... and who's taking any dance song seriously to begin with? But maybe we should heed his advice and avoid a situation involving too much of Heaven! Forget about your bank account: let's just have a groovy party. It's a pretty catchy song, though. How to follow up on a philosophical musical marvel such as this? With a song called Dub In Life, that's how. When I bought this CD ten years ago, I didn't really care for this song, its lack of a really catchy chorus, and its amazingly generic sound. In 2010, I still agree. I can see they put a bit of effort into it, but... not too much. I'm surprised this is the second song. I'd have stuck it somewhere closer to the end.
Or perhaps Dub In Life was just the calm before the storm. And in comes Hurricane Blue (Da Ba Dee) to whisk us out of our funk and onto the dancefloor. THIS is the song that put Eiffel 65 on the charts. The unforgettable combo of neat piano sounds, thumpin' beats, and the inimitatible chorus of "I'm blue, da ba dee, da ba die, da ba dee, da ba die, da ba dee, etc." made for an instant club classic, one that has not yet been forgotten. I don't quite understand the rest of the song, which describes how everything else in the singer's life is blue (how he feels, his car, his girlfriend, and all the other important things). Are they actually blue? Or is he just horribly depressed and had to use electronic music as his outlet? Either way, it's one of the best cuts on the album and, if you already own it, the most likely reason why you bought it.
The rest of Europop is hit and miss, though you may want to think twice before shunning it entirely. Living In A Bubble with its symphonic instrumentation, might seem interesting at certain parts, but I have to admit: the singer is quite grating here. He sounds like he stuffed cheese doodles up his nose before recording. Actually, it's more like a male version of Fran Drescher. But I like Fran Drescher because she was a pretty attractive nanny. Not so here. Living In A Bubble is too long, too; five minutes for this was excessive (I know, it doesn't sound like a particularly long song, but when you hear it, you'll understand). They lengthened it to include some Jamaican rapper. How out of place! Their second single, Move Your Body, tries to bring back some of the groove, and while it is fun to the ear on certain levels, it doesn't have that same hook as in Blue (Da Ba Dee). (Sidenote: there's actually a remix for this song on the Move Your Body single which is far more catchy and worth seeking.)
Of particular mention is track #6, My Console. This is pathetically laughable at best. The entire song is an advertisement for the PlayStation and some popular games in its library. Resident Evil! Bloody Roar! Omega Boost! Oddworld! ...uh, X-Files? Yeah, okay. I'm a gamer, it's true, but even I think this is ridiculous. And when he runs out of games to make reference to, he randomly starts a spelling bee of P-L-A-Y-S-T-A-T-I-O-N. The instrumental parts are pretty jive, but I find the lyrical content unforgivable. Heck, their credibility can only improve with the remaining songs, including the downtempo Your Clown (complete with unusually-tempered vocals) and the return of horrible nasal crooning in Another Race, which finally settles the debate of whether or not extraterrestrial life exists. (Answer: it does, according to one Italian dance music group.)
Now I must admit that I was easily hooked as a lad on The Edge, and it's pretty upbeat, even if the chorus stinks like a stale meatball. "I've been to the edge, and I've been to the edge, yes, I've been to the edge! I've been to the edge, and God knows if I've looked down, looked down!" (Twice. Yeah.) I don't know what to tell you, but at least you can shake a good fanny to it at best, even if it is extremely, EXTREMELY standard europop fare. Now Is Forever is yet another more relaxed number. I enjoy the line, "Smile to your problems." Yeah, sure. I have bills piling up that I can't pay. :) My girlfriend left me for my best friend. :) I have explosive diarrhea every day and it's never at a time when I'm near a bathroom. :) I also noted that, on occasion, the vocoding is so strong that I can't figure out what he's trying to say -- sounds more like he had a temporary mild seizure. Never a good sign.
And then, there's Silicon World. Heh heh... not only does Eiffel 65 dream of a silicon world, they also want to date girls made of silicon! Then again, most famous people are already doing that. This could have been a good follow-up to Blue (Da Ba Dee), as it possesses many of the same musical traits (good piano melody, catchy tune overall) and would have made for a sexy music video. Ah well. The title track, Europop, isn't as much a dance tune as a take on the sounds of 80s europop, complete with weird samples and such. It's actually perhaps the darkest track on the album, but it did not escape the goofy-sounding Jeffrey Jey on vocals. We then finish our journey with Hyperlink (Deep Down), at which time we are forced to endure countless Internet-based sexual innuendos and corny lines. "I want a click, a click to your heart, a hyperlink into you..." Okay, that's bad. "A sexual browser from here to the end, a newsgroup one-on-one..." Say what? A sexual browser? Don't we already have those? They're called EVERY browser. "Don't need a modem to connect to your mind, no search engine to find you..." Actually, I've used search engines to find people I can't immediately locate. This is too much. I must run from this eurodance madness!
Compared to their later albums, this one comes off as very simple and cheesily-produced. So many songs enter with the same airy space sound, and the synths they used haven't aged well. Of course, when it came out in 1999, nobody would have known that. I admit that I liked Europop when I was an early teenager, but in retrospect, it all just hasn't held up too well. You might like it as background music at a 90s party, but it's not a record I openly recommend as a whole. Take caution and pluck out certain highlights only.