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Electropop is a form of electronic music that is made with synthesizers, and which first flourished from 1978 to 1983. Electropop laid the groundwork for a mass market in chart-oriented pop and dance music. Numerous bands have since carried on the electropop tradition into the 1990s and 2000s.

Electropop is characterized by an emphasized electronic sound — often described as cold and robotic — and by minimal arrangements. This was mainly due to the limitations of the analog synthesizers and recording techniques used at the time, but has since become a stylistic choice.

Electropop songs are pop songs at heart, often with simple, catchy hooks and dance beats, but differing from those of electronic dance music genres which electropop helped to inspire — techno, house, electroclash, etc. — in that songwriting is emphasized over simple danceability. They often feature alienated deadpan lyrics with a futuristic sci-fi edge.

1970s and 1980s

Many early electropop artists were British and were inspired by David Bowie's "Berlin period" albums Heroes and Low,[1] the German band Kraftwerk,[2] late 70s Electronic Disco (Giorgio Moroder in particular) and the Japanese group Yellow Magic Orchestra.[3] Some groups also took inspiration from the NYC synthpunk group Suicide,[4] and the Krautrock groups Neu!, Cluster, and Can.

By the early 1980s there had been a long history of experimental avant-garde electronic music, notably in northern Europe that provided access to a bank of technical expertise built up over decades, via organisations such as the BBC Radiophonic Workshop, and the London Electronic Music Studios. These institutions were patronised by early rock synth pioneers such as Brian Eno, Roxy Music, Tangerine Dream, and Pink Floyd.

The first bands to be labeled as "Electro-Pop" by media were The Human League, Depeche Mode and Soft Cell in 1980-1981. The term became widely adopted in British media to set apart these bands from the previous post-punk, futurists and new wave acts which didn't use a fully electronic set-up or simply were not regarded as Pop.

Electropop's early steps, and the Numan Futurist movement in particular, were strongly disparaged in the British music press of the late 1970s and early 1980s as the "Adolf Hitler Memorial Space Patrol" (Mick Farren).[5]

Despite this Electropop flourished in the United States in black culture, particularly in Detroit. Musicians such as A Number of Names and Cybotron pursued a version of the style inflected by R&B and funk which eventually established the Detroit techno scene. Afrika Bambaata, from New York, also invented the electro style of hip-hop by sampling Kraftwerk.


A number of electropop musicians came out of the electroclash scenes of the early 2000s, going on to make popular albums from 2002 to present, from London, New York, Berlin, and Ann Arbor. These have included Fischerspooner,[6] Ladytron, Melnyk, Temposhark, Peaches, Gonzales, The Whip, Dragonette, Matthew Dear,[7] T. Raumschmiere,[8] Ellen Allien,[9] Miss Kittin[10] Owl City,[11][12],Pussycat DollsTemplate:Citation needed and The Knife.[13]. Norwegian singer Annie also came out during this period.[14] Other artists including Goldfrapp, Sweden's BWO (Bodies Without Organs) and Terry Poison from Israel are sometimes included in this genreTemplate:Citation needed, as well as the female acts discused below.

Influence on mainstream pop music

In recent years, the electropop sound and style have also arguably influenced many mainstream pop artists such as Christina Aguilera (evident in her 2008 song "Keeps Gettin' Better" and by the artist's collaboration with a number of electronic-oriented artists for her fourth studio album[15]), Rihanna[16], Sophie Ellis-Bextor and Kylie Minogue[17].

One Los Angeles Times reviewer describes The Black Eyed Peas' 2009 album The E.N.D. as "taking on electro, deep house, dancehall and dance-punk, to name just a few trends."[18] In an interview with Billboard magazine, group member will.i.am summed up the album's music as "a lot of dance stuff, real melodic, electronic, soulful. We call it, like, electric static funk, something like that."[19]

Current wave of electropop artists

2009 saw a huge increase of electropop artists such as Owl City, Kesha,[20][21] 30H!3,Template:Citation needed and LMFAO.[22] Adam Lambert's music is a hybrid of 1970s-styled rock from which he gained his fame and the electropop sounds he currently listens to.[23]

2009 saw a rise in popularity of female electropop artists, particularly in the UK,[24] United States, France, Italy, and Sweden.Template:Citation needed In the Sound of 2009 poll of 130 music experts conducted for the BBC, ten of the top fifteen artists named were of the electropop genre.[24] Lady Gaga had major commercial success in several countries in 2008 and 2009 with her debut album The Fame achieving massive success worldwide.[25][26][27][28][29] Music writer Simon Reynolds noted that "Everything about Gaga came from electroclash, except the music, which wasn't particularly 1980s".[30] Other female electropop acts that emerged were Ladyhawke,[31] Elly Jackson of La Roux[31] and Perfume.[32] A video by Little Boots, who topped the BBC poll for 2009, showed her using a Tenori-on.[24] Other acts include Ladytron, The Knife and Pixie Lott.Template:Citation needed

In 2009 James Oldham, head of artists and repertoire at A&M Records (UK) was quoted as saying "All A&R departments have been saying to managers and lawyers: 'Don't give us any more bands because we're not going to sign them and they're not going to sell records.' So everything we've been put on to is electronic in nature."[31][33]

2010 Developments

The BBC "Sound of 2010" list was again dominated by electropop acts and female singer songwriters although the feel was more dreamy and escapist. The one man United States act Owl City who had a number 1 hit there in 2009 was described as representative of this feel. [12]

See also


  1. ^ Greg Villepique, Salon, January 25, 2000. [1] Access date: August 11, 2008.
  2. ^ Rachel Devitt, "Geeks of electro-pop meld man, machine in mind-blowing show", The Seattle Times, April 28, 2004. [2] Access date: August 11, 2008.
  3. ^ "Yellow Magic Orchestra reunite for Massive Attack's Meltdown." Side-Line. [3] Access date: August 11, 2008.
  4. ^ Scott Thill, "All-Star Admirers Resuscitate Suicide", Wired Listening Post, June 24, 2008. [4] Access date: August 13, 2008.
  5. ^ The Seth Man, Julian Cope Presents Head Heritage, June 1, 2004. [5] Access date: August 14, 2004
  6. ^ Daniel Mumford, Fischerspooner review, May 6, 2002. [6] Access date: August 14, 2004.
  7. ^ Blender Blog, "Live: The Electro-Pop George Clooney", [7] Access date: August 14, 2008.
  8. ^ John Sobolewski, "WZBC Recommends Electropop Radio Blackout", The Heights, September 29, 2003. [8] Access date: August 14, 2008.
  9. ^ Don Crispy, Metropolis. [9] Access date: August 14, 2008.
  10. ^ Christen Reutens, "Sonar 2008: Miss Kittin Interview", Beatportal, June 19, 2008. [10] Access date: August 14, 2008.
  11. ^ Maybe I'm Dreaming: Owl City [11] Access date: July 9, 2009.
  12. ^ a b Pop's space cadets set to blast off BBC 1 January 2010
  13. ^ Drowned in Sound: The Knife [12] Access date: August 20, 2008.
  14. ^ Asked and Answered | Annie The New York Times Magazine November 27, 2009
  15. ^ http://www.billboard.com/bbcom/news/article_display.jsp?vnu_content_id=1003888666#/bbcom/news/article_display.jsp?vnu_content_id=1003888666
  16. ^ http://www.spin.com/reviews/rihanna-rated-r-def-jam
  17. ^ http://www.rollingstone.com/reviews/album/19781398/review/19935822?utm_source=Rhapsody&utm_medium=CDreview
  18. ^ http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/music_blog/2009/06/album-review-black-eyed-peas-the-end.html
  19. ^ http://www.billboard.com/bbcom/news/black-eyed-peas-tap-into-new-energy-1003919858.story
  20. ^ Review KE$HA 'Animal' Pittsburgh Post Gazette January 14, 2010
  21. ^ Ke$ha's 'Animal' a digital monster Los Angeles Times January 13, 2010
  22. ^ Party" just beginning for electro-pop duo LMFAO Billboard reprinted by Reuters January 4, 2010
  23. ^ Adam Lambert Had An Identity Crisis Before Recording For Your Entertainment MTV November 30, 2009
  24. ^ a b c UK gaga for electro-pop, guitar bands fight back The Kuwait Times January 28, 2009
  25. ^ Number one single for Lady GaGa BBC 11 January, 2009
  26. ^ Lady GaGa holds onto chart crown BBC 29 March, 2009
  27. ^ Lady GaGa, Calvin Harris Top U.K. Charts Billboard 13 April, 2009
  28. ^ 25 faces to watch in 2009 The Times 8 January, 2009
  29. ^ Lady GaGa: pop meets art to just dance The Telegraph 21 January, 2009
  30. ^ The 1980s revival that lasted an entire decade by Simon Reynolds for The Guardian 22 January, 2010
  31. ^ a b c Gaga for girl power Sydney Morning Herald 28 February, 2009
  32. ^ Template:Ja icon <templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>"Perfumeが1位獲得!YMO以来約25年ぶりの快挙". Oricon. 2008-04-22. Retrieved 2009-10-17.
  33. ^ La Roux, Lady Gaga, Mika, Little Boots: the 80s are back The Telegraph 5 August, 2009


  • Depeche Mode & The Story of Electro-Pop, Q/Mojo magazine collaboration, 2005.
  • Electronic Music: The Instruments, the Music & The Musicians by Andy Mackay, of Roxy Music

External links

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