|Cultural origins||Early 1980s, United Kingdom|
Electropop is a hybrid music genre combining elements of electronic and pop genres. Writer Hollin Jones has described it as a variant of synth-pop with heavy emphasis on its electronic sound. The genre was developed in the 1980s and saw a revival of popularity and influence in the late 2000s.
During the early 1980s, British artists such as Gary Numan, the Human League, Soft Cell, John Foxx and Visage helped pioneer a new synth-pop style that drew more heavily from electronic music and emphasized primary usage of synthesizers, while the electro style was largely developed by Afrika Bambaataa, who was heavily influenced by Yellow Magic Orchestra and Kraftwerk, and in turn influenced the 1980s pop-music style of Madonna.
Some fascinating new music began arriving on these shores; it was dubbed electropop, because electronic instrumentation — mainly synthesizers and syndrums — was used to craft pop songs. "Pop Muzik" by M was one of the first. There was a gradual accumulation of worthy electropop discs, though they were still mostly heard only in rock discos. But in 1981, the floodgates opened, and "new music" at last made a mighty splash. The breakthrough song was "Don't You Want Me" by the Human League.
Britney Spears' influential fifth studio album Blackout (2007) incorporated elements of the genre, catapulting electropop to mainstream significance. The media in 2009 ran articles proclaiming a new era of different electropop stars, and indeed the times saw a rise in popularity of several 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 from 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". The Korean pop music scene has also become dominated and influenced by electropop, particularly with boy bands and girl groups such as Super Junior, SHINee, f(x) and Girls' Generation.
In 2009 The Guardian quoted James Oldham—head of artists and repertoire at A&M Records—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."
In 2019 Kenneth Womack wrote that singer and songwriter Billie Eilish had "staked her claim as the reigning queen of electropop" with her critical and commercial hit album When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?.
- Jon Pareles (March 21, 2010). "Spilling Beyond a Festival's Main Courses". The New York Times.
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- Jones 2006, p. 107.
- Reynolds 2005, pp. 296–308. sfn error: no target: CITEREFReynolds2005 (help)
- David Toop (March 1996), "A-Z Of Electro", The Wire, no. 145, retrieved 2011-05-29
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- UK gaga for electro-pop, guitar bands fight back Archived 2009-07-23 at the Wayback Machine, The Kuwait Times, January 28, 2009
- The 1980s revival that lasted an entire decade by Simon Reynolds for The Guardian, 22 January 2010.
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- Neil McCormick (5 August 2009). "La Roux, Lady Gaga, Mika, Little Boots: the 80s are back". Telegraph.co.uk. Archived from the original on 2022-01-11.
- Womack, Kenneth (May 10, 2019). "Billie Eilish is the new pop intelligentsia". Salon. Retrieved February 2, 2020.
- Jones, Hollin (2006). Music Projects with Propellerhead Reason: Grooves, Beats and Styles from Trip Hop to Techno. PC Publishing. ISBN 978-1-870775-14-4.