|Stylistic origins||Synthpop, EDM, electronica, pop, disco|
|Cultural origins||Late 1970s - early 1980s, primarily Germany, Japan, United Kingdom, and United States|
|Typical instruments||Synthesizer - Vocals - Drum machine - Tape loops - Drums - Guitar - Sequencer - Keyboard - Sampler - Vocoder - Personal computer|
Electropop is a pop-oriented form of electronic music primarily consisting of the use of synthesizers. The genre has seen a revival of popularity and influence since the late 2000s. "Electropop" is the short form of "electronic pop".
The term was used during the 1980s to describe a form of synthpop 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 laid the groundwork for a mass market in chart-oriented synthpop.[original research?]
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.. Electropop is characterized by a distinctive low frequency synthesizer sound which might variously be described as crisp, crunchy, crackly, fuzzy, warm, distorted or dirty.
In 1969, the German musician Gershon Kingsley wrote a dance instrumental song using the moog synthesizer. In 1972, Japanese musician Isao Tomita's Electric Samurai: Switched on Rock featured electronic renditions of contemporary rock and pop songs, while utilizing speech synthesis in place of a human voice. He also made use of analog music sequencers in his early albums.
Electropop music eventually began appearing in the late 1970s, with the "robot pop" of German band Kraftwerk, the "technopop" of Japanese band Yellow Magic Orchestra, and the electronic music of British artists who took inspiration from David Bowie's "Berlin period" albums Low, Heroes, and Lodger, as well as late 70s electronic disco, especially Germany's Munich Machine led by Giorgio Moroder and Donna Summer. Some groups also took inspiration from the NYC synthpunk group Suicide, 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 Western 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, Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark 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).
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. During the early 1980s, the electro style was largely developed by Afrika Bambaata, who was heavily influenced by Yellow Magic Orchestra and Kraftwerk.
21st century revival
In the late 2000's , many mainstream pop artists began to make electropop songs. Australian singer Kylie Minogue utilized a strong electropop sound for her tenth studio album X in 2007. It was shortly after that many other pop artists began incorporating the genre into their music. The second album by British singer Lily Allen released in 2009 called It's Not Me, It's You is largely electropop as opposed to her first ska album.
Current wave of electro pop artists
The British and other media in 2009 ran articles proclaiming a new era of the female electropop star and indeed 2009 saw a rise in popularity of female electropop artists. 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. Lady Gaga had major commercial success since 2008 with her debut album The Fame. Music writer Simon Reynolds noted that "Everything about Gaga came from electroclash, except the music, which wasn't particularly 1980s". Other female electropop acts that emerged were Ladyhawke, Ke$ha, Elly Jackson of La Roux, and Perfume. A video by Little Boots, who topped the BBC poll for 2009, showed her using a Tenori-on.
Male acts that have emerged included British writer and producer Taio Cruz who charted well in the U.S., One man act Owl City who had a number 1 US single, and another one man act Kaskade, and LMFAO. Singer Michael Angelakos of the Passion Pit said in a 2009 interview that while playing electro pop was not his intention, the limitations of dorm life made the genre more accessible. Some artists have used music technology to convert songs from other genres into electropop; for example, Paul Duncan of Warm Ghost took a record by indie folk artists Mountain Man and turned it into an electropop song.
In 2009, James Oldham—head of artists and repertoire at A&M Records—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."
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