Pure trance is very repetitive, unresponsive, hypnotic, and is an acquired taste.....the exact antithesis to the music that dominated the club scene in 98/99.
Thing is......people are stupid. They have neither the intelligence nor the patience nor the introspection to appreciate something like trance, so they virtually ignored it for most of its existence until trance developed these singalong melodies and flighty, ethereal orchestral chords.
Only when trance brought itself down to the level of the lowest-common denominator of music listeners did it become wildly popular on an unprecedented level. And like anything, it created a theme. A gimmick, in the form of shallow breakdowns and trite, limp anthems. And like any gimmick, it needed to be exploited, milked dry, chewed up and spat out. Trance producers became addicted to the insta-fame the new Anthem Trance gave them. A lot of them started making a very comfortable living, and they refused to go back........they refused to take risks, refused to innovate, refused to produce, succeed, and excel in music. They grew lazy and complacent. It was far easier, after all, to simply replicate the same song over and over again with the same template, with a few minor key changes. They churned out, instead, Pulp Trance, manufactured assembly line McTrance, commercial schlock intended for mass consumption.
The music, like breads and circuses, distracted the ignorant peons from what trance was supposed to be doing to them. They ate it all, of course. Like greedy little consumers, they swallowed the tra(sh)nce whole and asked for more, never thinking about the care or quality of the culture that once fostered it. Like a seed passing undigested through the body of a bird, they drifted in and out of the rave scene, devouring the products of trance but never thinking to enrich and strengthen the community; like parasites, they became docile spectators, free to engorge themselves on the superscene they're told to worship; never to participate, never to involve, never to self-actualize.
And then they proceeded to think that they were (and still are) somehow more cultured and evolved than the rest of society because they listen to this bumping underground trance music, unaware that trance is utilizing essentially the exact same tricks, techniques and sacharine schmaltz that they so loathed about the pop music world. Trance became instrumental pop music in 1998. That's why it became so popular.
Nothing "beautiful" or "magical" about that.
Trance is indisputably one of the most emotional genres that actually exists, because it is all self-interpretation. There are no instrumental or musical limits to trance, and rather than listening to some random guy screaming about his life, associating with a trance progression or hookline is much more deep, and much more personal.
Like other genres, trance has many subgenres, some of which have become very commercialised to the extent where the musical merit of some tracks must be questioned (eg. Flip'n'Fill, Scooter etc.)
At the higher end of the more uplifting, melodic (and relatively popular) styles of trance are DJs such as Tiesto, Armin van Buuren, and Ferry Corsten. These DJs in particular can make beautifully structured mixes their own music, and the music of others, building it into a euphoric collage which spans multiple energy levels, in order to provide the listener with peak/trough feelings, and carry them through numerous emotions and mental states.
The creation and spread of trance music is mainly down to machinery such as the Roland JP-8000 (providing the prominently manipulated supersaw wave), and experimental DJs such as Sasha & John Digweed.
Trance has a strong influence from early Detroit techno, but tends to be more dramatic or "emotional" than the minimalism of earlier techno. Common elements in trance include heavy, compressed kick drums, dramatic sweeping pads, and cascading synth arpeggios.
As with any kind of music, there are a billion sub-classifications possible -- hard trance, psytrance, acid trance, goa trance, etc. Trance has been one of the most popular forms of club music over the past few years, and has arguably produced more mainstream appeal (Oakenfold, Van Dyk, etc.) than most other electronic sub-genres.