‘Deja Vu I’ve Just Been In The Place Before. Higher On The Street and I Know It’s My Time To Go’
I don’t think anyone could ever forget these lyrics if they’ve listened to Dave Rodger’s ‘Deja Vu’ even on time in their lives. Yet, the abundance of overcharged grammatically incorrect but undeniably satisfying cheesy lyrics in Eurobeat in just one of its many defining qualities. The relentless thumping base, the blaring and colorful synth melodies, and the hyperspeed x-factor that dials it all up to 11, Super Eurobeat is arguably the most addictive music on the planet.
Whether you’ve come to the genre via your first watch through of Initial D, all the memes that have been influenced by the show, or just from your friend insisting you check this stuff out, once you take the Eurobeat pill, you can never return to normal.
A Brief History Of This International Genre
The word ‘Eurobeat’ actually used to refer to two different strains of dance music coming out of Europe in the late 80s; One was a British take on an Italian dance pop sound and the other was a Hi RNG infused version of all encompassing Italo Disco.
The latter genre was what became a huge hit in Japan, with European producers specifically making their brand of music for Japan by the mid 90s. The songs that came out of the international Italy to Japan transfusion, and music since inspired by that strain of production, is what most people today refer to when they say Eurobeat or Super Eurobeat.
What Exactly Is ‘ Super Eurobeat ‘
Often, you’ll see the terms ‘Eurobeat’ and ‘Super Eurobeat’ be used interchangeably and in a way it’s not exactly wrong especially in Japan, ‘Super Eurobeat’ has its own definitive origin. By the early 90s, interest in all European dance music and Italo Disco type sounds that had been collectively referred to here as ‘Eurobeat’ was waning.
The president of the, at the time quite small, Avex and Eurobeat legends Dave Rodges saw fit to release a compilation that would reignite passion for the genre as a whole and define its signature sound in Japan. Focusing on the pulsating high speed side of the music, that first compilation was called ‘Super Eurobeat’ and it set the precedent for everything that came after. The compilation series concluded in 2018 with its 250th entry.
Initial D And Eurobeat Are Inseparable
One of the reasons classic late 90s made for Japan Eurobeat still has an active fanbase is undoubtedly the most famous racing anime of them all, Initial D. Cycling through a lot of the classics like ‘Night Of Fire’ and Dave Rodgers’ own 7Deja Vu,’ the entire serves as a crash course in Eurobeat Education that, save getting your hands on some classic Super Eurobeat comps, is second to none.
While the show’s good in its own right, when the New Initial D remake movies came out about 5 years ago, fans were universally upset the films opted for a J-Rock soundtrack over their beloved Eurobeat.
Truthfully the show’s fandom and internet subculture’s minor fascination with Eurobeat is a bit of a chicken or the egg scenario; Did fans get into Initial D because they loved listening to Running In The 90s on YouTube, or did they develop a taste for the genre after watching all those blister races on Mt. Akina. Our answer? Depends what generation fan you are, with younger fans probably having gotten into Initial D after hearing the music and seeing the memes.
Running In The 90s Through Today
Even though Initial D is long over and even the quintessential Super Eurobeat series has largely come to an end, there’s still a lot of Eurobeat to discover from over the years and even now. For instance, all sorts of Eurobeat covers compilations albums of famous anime songs and J-Pop songs are available if you dig, putting a hyper pop spin on your familiar favorites.
In the worlds of Vocaloid and Touhou, both driven by doujin and independent music, all kinds of producers and artists who’ve been influenced by the classics to continue and expand upon that sound within their vast sub-cultures
While it’s unlikely that you’ll be going to any Eurobeat nights at Vision or Womb in Shibuya, small clubs and bars in Tokyo occasionally host fan run Eurobeat and Para Para nights. There, you can find yourself Running In The 90s once again.
You might even see a Tik Tok trend or two using some of the classics.