On her third album, producer and musician Georgia does what many of us do when we’re brokenhearted or sad: she goes dancing. Working with American producer Rostam of Vampire Weekend, the London native releases what amounts to a love letter to 1990s dance-pop. Building on the 1980s-flecked nostalgia of her sophomore album Seeking Thrills (2020) and the grittier, grime-influenced sounds of her 2015 self-titled debut, Euphoric is a breezy, chaste recording that places the singer squarely into mainstream dance-pop. We hear splashes of Kylie, Robyn, Lisa Stansfield, and Cathy Dennis on the songs. Georgia and Rostam do a credible facsimile of classic dance-pop, even if, at times, the tracks can sound bland and nondescript.
One of the pitfalls of 1990s-era dance music is that it could sometimes be a vehicle for the producer, and the singer could be an afterthought. Georgia is far too distinct an original to be washed away by Rostom’s shimmery productions, but she’s adopted a somewhat limited guise that doesn’t have too much space for eccentricity. Strangely, Euphoric could have been a camp fantasy as the potential for mining good-natured kitsch from 1990s dance-pop is incredible. Still, the record is very sincere in its songwriting and production, and therefore it can come off as merely competent and professional. All of the elements are there – and nothing sounds out of place or off-key, but it doesn’t exactly challenge the genre.
Yet, despite my misgivings about Euphoric, I still found myself charmed by several of the tracks. “Some Things You’ll Never Know” is an affectionate nod to house that glides smoothly on an indelible pop hook. The driving “The Dream” is also excellent – a propulsive jolt of energy. The (almost) title track sets things off with a catchy, mid-tempo beat.
Aside from “It’s Euphoric”, the record spun off two singles. The shuffling “Give It Up for Love” is a sweet ballad that will remind listeners of the kind of overproduced tunes of acts like the Spice Girls, Aqua, or Steps. It’s a sugary, sweet, candy-coated pop tune that would have been on every mixtape in the 1990s. Euphoric‘s third single, “All Night”, is a rousing anthem to the joy of letting loose and finding euphoria on the dance floor. Like “Give It Up for Love”, this neo-disco sounds very much like established 1990s-era dance music, giving us lots of Kylie. Even if these two songs are somewhat derivative, they are outstanding and stand out as loving tributes to earlier dance music.
One of the issues with Euphoria is that it’s very pretty, almost oppressively so. The beats and the synths are rounded and smooth like baby-proofing edge guards. The vocals are fetching, as Georgia has a delightful voice. However, she has chosen to sing most of these songs in a demure, modest delivery. So, even though the title promises euphoria, it rarely reaches that high of a peak.