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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Hyperpop is a microgenre[2] characterized by a maximalist or exaggerated take on pop music[3] which may draw on an eclectic range of influences across electronic, hip hop, and dance styles.[4] The genre first emerged in the mid-2010s among artists associated with the UK-based record label PC Music and label head A. G. Cook.[5] It received notoriety once Spotify launched a "Hyperpop" playlist in August 2019 featuring artists such as 100 Gecs, Charli XCX, and Dorian Electra.[2]


Hyperpop reflects an exaggerated, eclectic, and self-referential approach to pop music and typically employs elements such as brash synth melodies, Auto-Tuned "earworm" vocals, and excessive compression and distortion, as well as surrealist or nostalgic references to Noughties Internet culture and the Web 2.0 era.[4] Despite the genre's wide breadth, some typical elements include: vocals that are heavily processed; metallic, melodic percussion sounds; pitch-shifted synths; catchy choruses; short song lengths; and "shiny, cutesy aesthetics" juxtaposed with angst-ridden lyrics.[4] The Wall Street Journal described the genre as intensifying the "artificial" tropes of popular music, resulting in "a cartoonish wall of noise that embraces catchy tunes and memorable hooks. The music zooms between beauty and ugliness, as shimmery melodies collide with mangled instrumentation."[6] Artists often "straddle the avant-garde and the pop charts simultaneously."[4]

The style may blend elements from an eclectic range of pop, dance, hip hop, and electronic music styles, including bubblegum pop, trance, Eurohouse, emo rap, nu-metal, cloud rap, and J- and K-pop.[4] The influence of cloud rap, emo and lo-fi trap, trance music, dubstep, and chiptune are evident in hyperpop, as well as more surreal and haphazard qualities that are pulled heavily from hip hop within the last half-decade.[5] The Atlantic noted the way the genre "swirls together and speeds up Top 40 tricks of present and past: a Janet Jackson drum slam here, a Depeche Mode synth squeal there, the overblown pep of novelty jingles throughout," but also noted "the genre's zest for punk’s brattiness, hip-hop's boastfulness, and metal’s noise."[7]

Hyperpop has been associated with the LGBTQ+ community and queer aesthetics.[4] Several of its key practitioners identify as gender fluid, gay, or transgender,[7] and the genre's emphasis on vocal modulation has allowed artists to experiment with the gender presentation of their voices.[4]


Term and scope

The word "hyperpop" was first used within SoundCloud's nightcore scene.[5] Spotify “data alchemist" Glenn McDonald stated that he first saw the term used in reference to the PC Music label in 2014 but that the name didn't qualify as a microgenre until 2018.[2] Spotify editor Lizzy Szabo and her colleagues landed on the name for their August 2019 playlist after McDonald noted the term in the website's metadata and classified it as a microgenre.[2]

In the belief of Vice journalist Eli Enis, hyperpop itself cannot be limited to one strict word or definition. She writes that its identity is less so rooted in musical technicalities and more so is "a shared ethos of transcending genre altogether, while still operating within the context of pop."[5] Writing for American Songwriter, Joe Vitagliano described "hyperpop" as a movement that flourished throughout 2020. He added that he was uncertain whether it should be considered a genre.[3]


Sophie (left) and A.G. Cook (right) have been described as progenitors of hyperpop.
Sophie (left) and A.G. Cook (right) have been described as progenitors of hyperpop.

The immediate roots of the style lie in the UK label PC Music, whose influential mid-2010s output blended "exuberant melodies and eccentric electronic production."[5] PC Music label head and producer A.G. Cook has been referred to as the "godfather" of hyperpop.[5][4] Artists associated with the term include Cook's frequent collaborators Charli XCX and Sophie.[4] Variety and The New York Times described the work of Sophie as pioneering the style.[8][9] Charli XCX's 2017 mixtape Pop 2 set a template for the style, featuring "outré" production by Cook, Sophie, umru, and EasyFun as well as "a titular mission to give pop – sonically, spiritually, aesthetically – a facelift for the modern age."[5]

Other artists associated with the term include 100 Gecs, Rina Sawayama, and Dorian Electra.[4][10] 100 Gecs' debut album 1000 Gecs (2019) amassed millions of listens on streaming services and helped to consolidate the style by taking it "to its most extreme, and extremely catchy, conclusions: stadium-sized trap beats processed and distorted to near-destruction, overwrought emo vocals and cascades of ravey arpeggios."[4] In August 2019, Spotify launched the "Hyperpop" playlist which further cemented the genre, and featured guest curation from 100 Gecs and others.[2] Other artists featured on the playlist included Cook, Slayyyter, gupi, Caroline Polachek, Hannah Diamond, and Kim Petras.[11]

Hyperpop albums like Charli XCX's Mercury-nominated How I'm Feeling Now (2020), Rina Sawayama’s Sawayama (2020), and A.G. Cook's Apple (2020) appeared on 2020 end-of-year lists.[4] In 2021, The Atlantic listed XIX's "Kismet" and Slayyyter's "BFF" as "signature songs" in the style.[7] The genre's development has also been aided by popular trends on social media apps such as TikTok and Twitter, with artists such as osquinn(a.k.a p4rkr) gaining popularity through these sites.[4]

See also


  1. ^ a b c "The rise and rise of hyperactive subgenre glitchcore". NME. Retrieved 14 January 2021.
  2. ^ a b c d e Dandridge-Lemco, Ben (10 November 2020). "How Hyperpop, a Small Spotify Playlist, Grew Into a Big Deal". The New York Times.
  3. ^ a b "A. G. Cook Is Changing Popular Music As We Know It". American Songwriter. Retrieved 2020-09-20.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m Pritchard, Will. "Hyperpop or overhyped? The rise of 2020's most maximal sound". The Independent. Retrieved 13 February 2021.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g Enis, Eli (27 October 2020). "This is Hyperpop: A Genre Tag for Genre-less Music". Vice.
  6. ^ Richardson, Mark. "Hyperpop's Joyful Too-Muchness". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 22 February 2021.
  7. ^ a b c Kornhaber, Spencer. "What is Hyperpop?". The Atlantic. Retrieved 22 February 2021.
  8. ^ Amorosi, A.D. "Sophie, Grammy-Nominated Avant-Pop Musician, Dies at 34". Variety. Retrieved 31 January 2021.
  9. ^ Pareles, Jon. "Sophie, Who Pushed the Boundaries of Pop Music, Dies at 34". The New York Times. Retrieved 31 January 2021.
  10. ^ Ravens, Chai (August 13, 2020). "7G". Pitchfork.
  11. ^ D'Souza, Shaad. "Charli XCX's 'Futurist' Pop Is Just Our Present Dystopia". Paper. Retrieved 14 February 2021.
This page was last edited on 6 March 2021, at 13:57
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