The Bubblegum Dance Shrine!
Bubblegum Dance is, in my opinion, the best genre of music.
The genre's name isn't very commonly used, most of the songs are commonly categorised as "Eurodance", "electronic" or "Euro House". However, there is something about Bubblegum Dance that sets it apart from Eurodance and other genres. Even though there are already plenty of decent resources on the subject, on this page I will introduce you to Bubblegum Dance!
Eurodance VS Bubblegum Dance
Eurodance music is usually designed for the club. It's fast and uses a lot of synthesisers. Usually there is a female vocalist paired with a male rapper. The lyrics are usually about love and partying, they're never too deep.
Bubblegum Dance is very similar to this, except everything is much more light hearted. The lyrics can be humourous and playful. Even though the songs are designed to be danced to, I find that they're slower than normal Eurodance tracks. Most BGD songs are incredibly catchy! The songs are produced all over Europe, but are usually just sung in English. (There are a few BGD projects in North America and Japan, but not many.)
Although BGD songs are safe for anyone to listen to (they never contain swear words), many projects decide to include sexual undertones in their songs. (Examples include Toy-Box and Crispy.) To many, it just seems like kids' music, but the genre can be enjoyable for anyone regardless of age.
Usually it is clear whether something is Bubblegum Dance, but sometimes there is a bit of a debate whether a project counts or not. I feel that if it's listed on BubblegumDancer.com, it's BGD. Sometimes they are missing things that I think is in the genre, but their list of artists is very extensive.
Popular Songs That Are Actually Bubblegum Dance
- Aqua - Barbie Girl
- Caramell - Caramelldansen
- Vengaboys - We Like to Party! (The Vengabus)
- Smile.dk - Butterfly
- Hampton the Hampster - The Hamster Dance
Common Bubblegum Dance Tropes
- The song is either fairytale, beach, space, or cowboy themed.
- Every album has a token ballad track, or maybe a reggae song.
- The album is only released in Japan, or has a song aimed at the Japanese market. Then it performs really well in Japan but is virtually unknown in the artist's home country.
- Years later, the song is featured on some cheap compilation album.
- The song is about online friends and how the Internet is so cool and futuristic!
- The song features heavy use of Spanish for some reason.
- The project only releases one single or album, then disappears forever.
Bubblegum Dance began in the latter half of the nineties, and kept going into the 2000s. Somewhere along the line, the craze died out. In the 2010s and 2020s, the genre is mostly dead. There are a few new artists trying to keep BGD alive, and a small but dedicated fanbase lives online.
Some BGD artists have achieved international fame, but many are unfortunately unheard of in most places. It seems somewhat popular in Japan, thanks to things like Dance Dance Revolution.
The best place to listen to BGD is YouTube. Spotify is missing a lot of stuff, Apple Music/iTunes has a lot of it but not everything. Many kind people upload BGD onto YouTube, and I'd say that almost 100% of the songs are there. You can also buy the CDs, but even in Europe some of them are rare. In North America you can't find anything unless you like Aqua.
Where to Start?
So you want to start listening to Bubblegum Dance? Great stuff! It's not really that hard to start, but I can introduce you to a few artists.
You're not sure if the genre is for you? I think that if you already like stuff like EDM or just 90s dance music, you'll probably enjoy it. Even if you just like fun, happy music, BGD is for you.
An excellent starter album is Aqua's Aquarium. It's very easy to find if you want the CD. (It's actually the only BGD CD I own...) And you probably already recognise some of the tracks, like "Barbie Girl" and "Doctor Jones". There are also enough non-BGD songs on there if you don't want to listen to just dance music for an hour.
Other Great Albums to Start With
Toy-Box - Fantastic
If you like Aqua, you'll probably enjoy Toy-Box. Their debut album is excellent, with so many catchy songs! I can sing a lot of them by heart. There are a few ballad-type tracks to break things up. I'm not a fan of slower songs on my BGD albums, but you might find enjoyment out of them. It's also worth watching the music videos, they're so good. I can't pick a favourite from this album, but maybe it would be "Best Friend" because I sing that one a lot.
Hit 'N' Hide - On a Ride
This is what I listened to whilst making this page. The album's not that long, but it's one of my favourites. It's one of the few where I don't skip any of the tracks. When you're done, check out the Bus Stop remix of "Book of Love". I listen to that remix a lot, I think it's better than the original song. From this album, my favourite track is "World of Dreams" or "Hit 'N' Hide on a Ride".
Smile.dk - Smile
On some versions of this album, Smile.dk are just called "Smile". That was their original name. If you play DDR or listen to Dancemania albums, you'll know this group very well. This is their first album, before almost every song they made was Japanese themed. I heard somewhere that they tried to go for a bit of a "world" theme with this album, making some of the tracks themed to a different culture. My favourite from this one was "Mr. Wonderful" until DDR got me tired of it. Now I really like "Coconut", which is surprising because I didn't like it much at first.
Blue Monster and Bikki - Blue Monster
This album's release was cancelled, then it received a limited digital release many years later. It's such a shame that the release was cancelled, because this album is some of the best bubblegum dance I have heard. The album's eventual cover sort of sucks, so above I used the image from their single instead. The project was supposed to be aimed at children, but then their video for "Pata Pata" is clearly aimed at adults! It's hard to find a proper digital copy of this album, but you can find it all on YouTube. (It is listed on Spotify, but I can't play it. I think it might only be available in Japan.) It's hard to pick a favourite from this one, but I love "Space Girl" and "Night at the Opera" so much that I used to play them nonstop.
Miss Papaya - Pink
This is Miss Papaya's only BGD album, and it's quite rare. Miss Papaya (known as just "Papaya" in some places) apparently either writes or produces some of the songs by other popular bubblegum artists. Some of her demo songs were eventually released as proper songs by other artists. Her album is wonderful. I had to listen to it on YouTube, but then I found out that it's actually on iTunes. Some of the songs are in DDR, as well as Dancemania and Hime Trance compilations. Miss Papaya is on Spotify, but only her Christmas song which is part of some random compilation album. I like "Cinderella" the best from this one.
Bambee - On Ice
Another artist featured on DDR. I was obsessed with this album at one point. A few of the tracks are slightly more serious, but there's still that wonderful bubblegum feeling present throughout. (This is the only Bambee album available on Spotify, sadly.) "Candy Girl" and "You Are My Dream" are the best tracks in my opinion.
I would like to also mention that you should check out Jenny Rom. She's from a label that specialises in Eurobeat, meaning that the artists are usually unknown and don't release proper albums. Her compilation albums that are available on iTunes don't have some of her best tracks, so to get the best experience, go to YouTube. You could also listen to some Dancemania compilations. Jenny's lyrics don't usually make sense, but her songs are addictive. (You may have heard one of her songs featured somewhere on this site!) The songs are very cartoony and cute sounding. I personally prefer the speedier remixes of her songs, but the "Bubble Mix" versions are counted as Bubblegum Dance. Barbie Young is another project that possibly uses the same singer as Jenny Rom. Barbie's tracks are usually crappy covers that only sound good remixed, but she does have a few original tracks that are bangers.
My History With Bubblegum Dance
Like many, my first BGD artist was Aqua. When I was in primary school, I loved Aqua so much, but I only knew a few of their songs. I already knew Barbie Girl, and as a huge fan of Barbie I obviously liked the song. (For some reason in my school that song was considered as "for babies") But my true love for Aqua began in PE one day, when they made the class learn a dance to Cartoon Heroes. That song, it blew my mind. I thought it was amazing. Even today, it's one of my favourite songs of all time. Another song we danced to was The Fast Food Rocker's Fast Food song, I didn't actually know that was bubblegum until later. In the UK there were bubblegum songs played on the radio sometimes, so I was exposed to them from an early age.
I've always loved dance music and Eurodance, but I didn't realise it until later. On the radio one day, I heard Eiffel 65's "Blue (Da Ba Dee)". This song also blew my mind. I wondered what the genre was, and remembered that it was probably called "Eurodance". Actually, Eiffel 65 are really Italo Dance, but I still counted it as Eurodance. I looked up Eurodance and found so many good songs, some that I already knew, others that were new to me. The songs I liked best were always the more fun, bubblegum tunes.
I didn't know that Bubblegum Dance was a genre until two years ago, when I randomly stumbled on BubblegumDancer.com. That website is one of my favourites, I learnt so much about the genre from it. It's done such a good job in spreading the word that Bubblegum Dance is awesome. I didn't know that other people were into this type of music until I found that place.
Hopefully this page has taught you something new, or it was at least enjoyable! I want to do a page on individual BGD groups next.
BGD on the Web
Bubblegum Dancer (The best BGD information site.)
Happy House (A huge collection of songs.)
HALA NAHULOG! (Another huge collection!)
Discogs (For finding music releases.)