The formula for 90s Eurodance was well established by now: strobe-lit dancing to urgent beats, big-voiced singers, a rap somewhere in the middle to change up the pace. It wasn’t the most thoughtful of music, but done well it had a real kick. And “Mr. Vain”, latecomer though it was, does it very well. It’s one of the most direct Eurodance hits, and one of the most aggressive. Eurodance lyricists could tend to pseudo-profundity, or calls to spiritual awakening: there’s none of that here.
Instead “Mr.Vain” heads straight for the dark heart of the club, sketching a dancefloor predator who – like Eezer Goode – is as much metaphor as character. For drugs, lust, loss of control – who knows? The lyrics’ almost-there English works to the song’s benefit – there’s an awkward poetry to “Call him Mr Raider, call him Mr Wrong” – and for once the obligatory rap isn’t an embarrassment, with Jay Supreme’s gloating, bassy flow reminding me of knowingly devilish Chicago house classics like “Your Only Friend”. “Mr Vain” is the hustling flipside to “All That She Wants”, and almost as good a pop record.