|Stylistic origins||Electronic music, disco, new wave, pop, post-punk, glam rock, krautrock, space disco|
|Cultural origins||1977–80 in Germany, Japan, United Kingdom|
|Typical instruments||Synthesizer, drum machine, bass guitar, tape loops, drums, guitar, sequencer, keyboard, vocoder, sampler, vocals|
|Derivative forms||House, trance, dance-pop, electropop, indietronica, futurepop|
|Electroclash – Electro house – Techno|
|Electropunk – Industrial music|
Synthpop (also known as technopop) is a genre of popular music that first became prominent in the 1980s, features the synthesizer as the dominant musical instrument. It was prefigured in the 1960s and early 1970s by the use of synthesizers in progressive rock, electronic art rock, disco and particularly the "Krautrock" of bands like Kraftwerk. It arose as a distinct genre in Japan and the United Kingdom in the post-punk era as part of the new wave movement of the late-1970s to the mid-1980s.
Early synthpop pioneers included Japanese group Yellow Magic Orchestra and British bands Ultravox and The Human League; the latter largely used monophonic synthesizers to produce music with a simple and austere sound. After the breakthrough of Tubeway Army and Gary Numan in the British Singles Chart, large numbers of artists began to enjoy success with a synthesizer-based sound in the early 1980s, including Soft Cell, Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark and Depeche Mode in the United Kingdom, while in Japan, Yellow Magic Orchestra's success opened the way for synthpop bands such as P-Model, Plastics, and Hikashu. The development of inexpensive polyphonic synthesizers, the definition of MIDI and the use of dance beats, led to a more commercial and accessible sound for synthpop. This, its adoption by the style-conscious acts from the New Romantic movement, together with the rise of MTV, led to success for large numbers of British synthpop acts, including Duran Duran and Spandau Ballet, in the United States.
In the late 1980s, duos such as Erasure and Pet Shop Boys adopted a sound that was highly successful on the US dance charts, but by the end of the decade synthpop had largely been abandoned. Interest began to be revived in the indietronica and electroclash movements in the late 1990s and, in the first decade of the 21st century, it enjoyed a widespread revival with commercial success for acts including La Roux, Lady Gaga, Kesha, and Owl City.
The genre has received criticism for alleged lack of emotion and musicianship; prominent artists have spoken out against detractors who believed that synthesizers themselves composed and played the songs. Some artists like Depeche Mode, who helped popularise the genre, were criticised for gender bending. Synthpop helped to establish the place of the synthesizer as a major element of pop and rock music, directly influenced subsequent genres including house music and Detroit techno, and has indirectly influenced many other genres and individual recordings.
Synthpop was defined by its primary use of synthesizers, drum machines and sequencers, sometimes using them to replace all other instruments. Borthwick and Moy have described the genre as diverse but "...characterised by a broad set of values that eschewed rock playing styles, rhythms and structures", which were replaced by "synthetic textures" and "robotic rigidity", often defined by the limitations of the new technology, including monophonic synthesizers (only able to play one note at a time). Many synthpop musicians had limited musical skills, relying on the technology to produce or reproduce the music. The result was often minimalist, with grooves that were "typically woven together from simple repeated riffs often with no harmonic 'progression' to speak of". Early synthpop has been described as "eerie, sterile, and vaguely menacing", using droning electronics with little change in inflection. Common lyrical themes of synthpop songs were isolation, urban anomie, and feelings of being emotionally cold and hollow.
In its second phase in the 1980s, the introduction of dance beats and more conventional rock instrumentation made the music warmer and catchier and contained within the conventions of three-minute pop. Synthesizers were increasingly used to imitate the conventional and clichéd sound of orchestras and horns. Thin, treble-dominant, synthesized melodies and simple drum programmes gave way to thick, and compressed production, and a more conventional drum sound. Lyrics were generally more optimistic, dealing with more traditional subject matter for pop music such as romance, escapism and aspiration. According to music writer Simon Reynolds, the hallmark of 1980s synthpop was its "emotional, at times operatic singers" such as Marc Almond, Alison Moyet and Annie Lennox. Because synthesizers removed the need for large groups of musicians, these singers were often part of a duo where their partner played all the instrumentation.
Although synthpop in part arose from punk rock, it abandoned punk's emphasis on authenticity and often pursued a deliberate artificiality, drawing on the critically derided forms such as disco and glam rock. It owed relatively little to the foundations of early popular music in jazz, folk music or the blues, and instead of looking to America, in its early stages, it consciously focused on European and particularly Eastern European influences, which were reflected in band names like Spandau Ballet and songs like Ultravox's "Vienna". Later synthpop saw a shift to a style more influenced by other genres, such as soul music.
Electronic musical synthesizers that could be used practically in a recording studio became available in the mid-1960s, around the same time as rock music began to emerge as a distinct musical genre. The Mellotron, an electro-mechanical, polyphonic sample-playback keyboard was overtaken by the Moog synthesizer, created by Robert Moog in 1964, which produced completely electronically generated sounds. The portable Mini-moog, which allowed much easier use, particularly in live performance was widely adopted by progressive rock musicians such as Richard Wright of Pink Floyd and Rick Wakeman of Yes. Instrumental prog rock was particularly significant in continental Europe, allowing bands like Kraftwerk, Tangerine Dream, Can and Faust to circumvent the language barrier. Their synthesizer-heavy "Kraut rock", along with the work of Brian Eno (for a time the keyboard player with Roxy Music), would be a major influence on subsequent synth rock.
In 1971 the British movie A Clockwork Orange was released with a synth soundtrack by American Wendy Carlos. It was the first time many in the United Kingdom had heard electronic music. Philip Oakey of the Human League and Richard H. Kirk of Cabaret Voltaire, as well as music journalist Simon Reynolds, have cited the soundtrack as an inspiration. Electronic music made occasional moves into the mainstream, with jazz musician Stan Free, under the pseudonym Hot Butter, having a top 10 hit in the United States and United Kingdom in 1972, with a cover of the 1969 Gershon Kingsley song "Popcorn" using a Moog synthesizer, which is recognised as a forerunner to synthpop and disco.
The mid-1970s saw the rise of electronic art musicians such as Jean Michel Jarre, Vangelis, and Tomita. Tomita's album Electric Samurai: Switched on Rock (1972) featured electronic renditions of contemporary rock and pop songs, while utilizing speech synthesis and analog music sequencers. In 1975, Kraftwerk played their first British show and inspired concert attendees Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark to throw away their guitars and become a synth act. Kraftwerk had its first hit UK record later in the year with "Autobahn", which reached number 11 in the British Singles Chart. The group was described by the BBC Four program Synth Britannia as the key to synthpop's future rise there. Italy's Giorgio Moroder paired up with Donna Summer in 1977 to release the electronic disco song "I Feel Love", and its programmed beats would be a major influence on the later synthpop sound. David Bowie's Berlin Trilogy, comprising the albums Low (1977), Heroes (1977), and Lodger (1979), all featuring Brian Eno, would also be highly influential.
Early guitar-based punk rock that came to prominence in the period 1976–77 was initially hostile to the "inauthentic" sound of the synthesizer, but many new wave and post-punk bands that emerged from the movement began to adopt it as a major part of their sound. British punk and New wave clubs were open to what was then considered an "alternative" sound. The do it yourself attitude of punk broke down the progressive rock era's norm of needing years of experience before getting up on stage to play synthesizers. The American duo Suicide, who arose from the post-punk scene in New York, utilised drum machines and synthesizers in a hybrid between electronics and post-punk on their eponymous 1977 album.
The Cat Stevens album Izitso, released in April 1977, updated his pop rock style with the extensive use of synthesizers, giving it a more synthpop style; "Was Dog a Doughnut" in particular was an early techno-pop fusion track, which made early use of a music sequencer. Izitso reached No. 7 on the Billboard 200 chart, while the song "(Remember the Days of the) Old Schoolyard" was a top 40 hit. That same month, The Beach Boys released their album Love You, performed almost entirely by bandleader Brian Wilson with Moog and ARP synthesizers, and with arrangements somewhat inspired by Wendy Carlos's Switched-On Bach (1968). Although it was highly praised by some critics and musicians (including Patti Smith and Lester Bangs), the album met with poor commercial reception. The album has been considered revolutionary in its use of synthesizers, while others described Wilson's extensive use of the Moog synthesizer as a "loopy funhouse ambience" and an early example of synthpop. Also in 1977, Ultravox member Warren Cann purchased a Roland TR-77 drum machine, which was first featured in their October 1977 single release "Hiroshima Mon Amour".
Japanese band Yellow Magic Orchestra (YMO) with their self-titled album (1978) and Solid State Survivor (1979), developed a "fun-loving and breezy" sound, with a strong emphasis on melody. They introduced the TR-808 rhythm machine to popular music, and the band would be a major influence on early British synthpop acts. 1978 also saw the release of UK band The Human League's début single "Being Boiled", and in the US Devo began moving towards a more electronic sound. At this point synthpop gained some critical attention, but made little impact on the commercial charts.
British punk-influenced band Tubeway Army, intended their debut album to be guitar driven. In 1978, Gary Numan, a member of the group, found a minimoog left behind in the studio by another band, and started experimenting with it. This led to a change in the album's sound to electronic new wave. Numan later described his work on this album as a guitarist playing keyboards, who turned "punk songs into electronic songs". A single from the album, "Are Friends Electric?", topped the UK charts in the summer of 1979. The discovery that synthesizers could be employed in a different manner from that used in progressive rock or disco, prompted Numan to go solo. On his futuristic album The Pleasure Principle (1979), he played only synths, but retained a bass guitarist and a drummer for the rhythm section. A single from the album, "Cars" topped the charts.
Giorgio Moroder collaborated with the band Sparks on their album No. 1 In Heaven (1979). That same year in Japan, the synthpop band P-Model made its debut with the album In a Model Room. Other Japanese synthpop groups emerging around the same time included the Plastics and Hikashu. This zeitgeist of revolution in electronic music performance and recording/production was encapsulated by then would-be record producer Trevor Horn of The Buggles in the international hit "Video Killed the Radio Star" (1979).
1980 also saw the release of where "Video Killed the Radio Star" came from, the Buggles' debut album The Age of Plastic, which some writers have labeled as the first landmark of another electropop era, as well as what for many is the defining album of Devo's career, the overtly synthpop Freedom of Choice.
Commercial success (1981–85)
The emergence of synthpop has been described as "perhaps the single most significant event in melodic music since Mersey-beat". By the 1980s synthesizers had become much cheaper and easier to use. After the definition of MIDI in 1982 and the development of digital audio, the creation of purely electronic sounds and their manipulation became much simpler. Synthesizers came to dominate the pop music of the early 1980s, particularly through their adoption by bands of the New Romantic movement.
The New Romantic scene had developed in the London nightclubs Billy's and The Blitz and was associated with bands such as Duran Duran, Visage, and Spandau Ballet. They adopted an elaborate visual style that combined elements of glam rock, science fiction and romanticism. Duran Duran have been credited with incorporating dance beats into synthpop to produce a catchier and warmer sound, which provided them with a series of hit singles. They would soon be followed into the British charts by a large number of bands utilising synthesizers to create catchy three-minute pop songs. A new line-up for the Human League along with a new producer and a more commercial sound led to the album Dare (1981), which produced a series of hit singles. These included "Don't You Want Me", which reached number one in the UK at the end of 1981.
Synthpop reached its commercial peak in the UK in the winter of 1981–2, with bands such as Soft Cell, Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark, Japan, Ultravox, Depeche Mode and even Kraftwerk, enjoying top ten hits. In early 1982 synthesizers were so dominant that the Musicians Union attempted to limit their use. By the end of 1982, these acts had been joined in the charts by synth-based singles from Thomas Dolby, Blancmange, and Tears for Fears. The proliferation of acts led to an anti-synth backlash, with groups including Spandau Ballet, Human League, Soft Cell and ABC incorporating more conventional influences and instruments into their sounds.
In the US, where synthpop is considered a subgenre of new wave and was described as "technopop" by the press at the time, the genre became popular due to the cable music channel MTV, which reached the media capitals of New York City and Los Angeles in 1982. It made heavy use of style-conscious New Romantic synthpop acts, with "I Ran (So Far Away)" (1982) by A Flock of Seagulls generally considered the first hit by a British act to enter the Billboard Top Ten as a result of exposure through video. The switch to a "new music" format in US radio stations was also significant in the success of British bands. The success of synthpop and other British acts would be seen as a Second British Invasion. Synthpop was taken up across the world, with international hits for acts including Men Without Hats and Trans X from Canada, Telex from Belgium, Propaganda and Alphaville from Germany, and Yello from Switzerland.
In the mid-1980s, key artists included solo performer Howard Jones, who S.T. Erlewine has stated to have "merged the technology-intensive sound of new wave with the cheery optimism of hippies and late-'60s pop", (although with notable exceptions including the lyrics of "What Is Love?" – "Does anybody love anybody anyway?") and Nik Kershaw, whose "well-craft synthpop" incorporated guitars and other more traditional pop influences that particularly appealed to a teen audience. Pursuing a more dance-orientated sound were Bronski Beat whose album The Age of Consent (1984), dealing with issues of homophobia and alienation, reached the top 20 in the UK and top 40 in the US. and Thompson Twins, whose popularity peaked in 1984 with the album Into The Gap, which reached No.1 in the UK and the US top ten and spawned several top ten singles. Initially dismissed in the music press as a "teeny bop sensation" were Norwegian band a-ha, whose use of guitars and real drums produced an accessible form of synthpop, which, along with a MTV friendly video, took single "Take On Me" (1985) to number two in the UK and number one in the US.
Declining popularity (1986–2000)
Synthpop continued into the late 1980s, with a format that moved closer to dance music, including the work of acts such as British duos Pet Shop Boys, Erasure and The Communards. The Communards' major hits were covers of disco classics "Don't Leave Me This Way" (1986) and "Never Can Say Goodbye" (1987). After adding other elements to their sound, and with the help of a gay audience, several synthpop acts had success on the US dance charts. Among these were American acts Information Society who had two top 10 singles in 1988, Anything Box, and Red Flag. British band When In Rome scored a hit with their debut single "The Promise". Several German synthpop acts of the late 1980s included Camouflage, Cetu Javu, CCCP and Celebrate the Nun. Canadian duo Kon Kan had major success with their debut single, "I Beg Your Pardon".
An American backlash against European synthpop has been seen as beginning in the mid-1980s with the rise of heartland rock and roots rock. In the UK the arrival of indie rock bands, particularly The Smiths, has been seen as marking the end of synth-driven new wave and the beginning of the guitar-based music that would dominate rock into the 1990s. By 1991, in the United States synthpop was losing its commercial viability as alternative radio stations were responding to the popularity of grunge rock. Exceptions that continued to pursue forms of synthpop or rock in the 1990s were Savage Garden, The Rentals, and The Moog Cookbook. Electronic music was also explored from the early 1990s by indietronica bands like Stereolab and Disco Inferno, who mixed a variety of indie and synthesizer sounds.
21st century revival
Indietronica began to take off in the new millennium as the new digital technology developed, with acts such as Broadcast from the UK, Justice from France, Lali Puna from Germany, and Ratatat and The Postal Service from the US, mixing a variety of indie sounds with electronic music, largely produced on small independent labels. Similarly, the electroclash subgenre began in New York at the end of the 1990s, combining synthpop, techno, punk and performance art. It was pioneered by I-F with their track "Space Invaders Are Smoking Grass" (1998), and pursued by artists including Felix da Housecat, Peaches, Chicks on Speed, and Fisherspooner. It gained international attention at the beginning of the new millennium and spread to scenes in London and Berlin, but rapidly faded as a recognizable genre as acts began to experiment with a variety of forms of music.
In the new millennium, renewed interest in electronic music and nostalgia for the 1980s led to the beginnings of a synthpop revival, with acts including Adult and Fischerspooner. In 2003–04 it began to move into the mainstream with Ladytron, the Postal Service, Cut Copy, the Bravery and The Killers all producing records that incorporated vintage synthesizer sounds and styles that contrasted with the dominant genres of post-grunge and nu-metal. In particular, The Killers enjoyed considerable airplay and exposure and their debut album Hot Fuss (2004) reached the top ten of the Billboard 200. The Killers, the Bravery and the Stills all left their synthpop sound behind after their debut albums and began to explore classic 1970s rock, but the style was picked up by a large number of performers, particularly female solo artists. Following the breakthrough success of Lady Gaga with her single "Just Dance" (2008), the British and other media proclaimed a new era of female synthpop stars, citing artists such as Roisin Murphy, Little Boots, La Roux, and Ladyhawke. Male acts that emerged in the same period include Calvin Harris, Empire of the Sun, Frankmusik, Hurts, Kaskade, LMFAO, and Owl City, whose single "Fireflies" (2009) topped the Billboard Hot 100 chart. In 2009, an underground subgenre with direct stylistic origins to Synthpop became popular, Chillwave. It sprouted new stars in the independent music scene like Washed Out, Neon Indian, and Toro Y Moi.
|Problems playing this file? See media help.|
American singer-songwriter Kesha has also been described as a synthpop artist, with her synthesized debut single "Tik Tok" topping the Billboard Hot 100 for nine weeks in 2010. She also used the genre on her comeback single "Die Young". Mainstream female recording artists who have had success in the genre in the 2010s are Madonna, Nicki Minaj, Katy Perry, Jessie J, Christina Aguilera, and Beyonce.
A 2008 song by Japanese singer Saoriiiii displaying elements of dance-oriented synthpop.
|Problems playing this file? See media help.|
In Japan, girl-group Perfume, along with producer Yasutaka Nakata of capsule, produced technopop music combining 1980s synthpop with chiptunes and electro house from 2003. Their breakthrough came in 2008 with the album Game, which led to a renewed interest in technopop within mainstream Japanese pop music. Other Japanese female technopop artists soon followed, including Aira Mitsuki, immi, Mizca, SAWA, Saoriiiii and Sweet Vacation. Model-singer Kyarypamyupamyu also shared the same success as Perfume's under Nakata's production with the album Pamyu Pamyu Revolution in 2012, which topped electronic charts on iTunes as well as the Japanese Albums chart. Much like Japan, Korean pop music has also become dominated by synthpop, particularly with girl groups such as Girls' Generation and Wonder Girls. Other 2010s synthpop acts include Chvrches, M83 and The C.I.P.
Synthpop has received considerable criticism and even prompted hostility among musicians and in the press. It has been described as "anaemic" and "soulless". Synthpop's early steps, and Gary Numan in particular, were also disparaged in the British music press of the late 1970s and early 1980s for their German influences and characterised by journalist Mick Farren as the "Adolf Hitler Memorial Space Patrol". In 1983, Morrissey of The Smiths stated that "there was nothing more repellent than the synthesizer". During the decade, objections were raised to the quality of compositions and the limited musicianship of artists. Gary Numan observed "hostility" and "a lot of ignorance" toward synthpop, with detractors erroneously believing that "machines did it".
Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark frontman Andy McCluskey recalled a great many people "who thought that the equipment wrote the song for you", and asserted: "Believe me, if there was a button on a synth or a drum machine that said 'hit single', I would have pressed it as often as anybody else would have – but there isn't. It was all written by real human beings, and it was all played by hand".
According to Simon Reynolds, in some quarters synthesizers were seen as instruments for "effete poseurs", in contrast to the phallic guitar. The association of synthpop with an alternative sexuality was reinforced by the images projected by synthpop stars, who were seen as gender bending, including Phil Oakey's asymmetric hair and use of eyeliner, Marc Almond's "pervy" leather jacket, skirt wearing by figures including Martin Gore of Depeche Mode and the early "dominatrix" image of Annie Lennox of the Eurythmics. In the US this led to British synthpop artists being characterised as "English haircut bands" or "art fag" music. Although some audiences were overtly hostile to synthpop, it achieved an appeal among those alienated from the dominant heterosexuality of mainstream rock culture, particularly among gay and female audiences.
By the mid-1980s, synthpop had helped establish the synthesizer as a primary instrument in mainstream pop music. It also influenced the sound of many mainstream rock acts, such as Bruce Springsteen, ZZ Top and Van Halen. It was a major influence on house music, which grew out of the post-disco dance club culture of the early 1980s as some DJs attempted to make the less pop-oriented music that also incorporated influences from Latin soul, dub reggae, rap music, and jazz.
Musicians such as Juan Atkins, using names including Model 500, Infinity and as part of Cybotron, developed a style of electronic dance music influenced by synthpop and funk that led to the emergence of Detroit techno in the mid-1980s. The continued influence of 1980s synthpop could be seen in various incarnations of 1990s dance music including trance. Hip hop artists such as Mobb Deep have sampled 1980s synthpop songs. Popular artists such as Rihanna, UK stars Jay Sean and Taio Cruz, as well as British pop star Lily Allen on her second album, have also embraced the genre.
- Schaffel beat – triplet feel popularised in electronic music
- Wonky pop
- Glenn Appell, David Hemphill (2006). American popular music: a multicultural history. Belmont, CA: Thomson Wadsworth. p. 423. ISBN 0155062298. Retrieved 12 May 2012.
The 1980s brought the dawning age of the synthesizer in rock. Synth pop, a spare, synthesizer-based dance pop sound, was its first embodiment.
- T. Cateforis (2011), Are We Not New Wave?: Modern Pop at the Turn of the 1980s, Ann Arbor MI: University of Michigan Press, p. 52,62, ISBN 0-472-03470-7
- S. Borthwick and R. Moy (2004), Popular Music Genres: an Introduction, Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, pp. 121–3, ISBN 0-7486-1745-0
- Barry R. Parker, Good Vibrations: the Physics of Music (Boston MD: JHU Press, 2009), ISBN 0-8018-9264-3, p. 213.
- M. Spicer (2010), "Reggatta de Blanc: analysing style in the music of the police", in J. Covach and M. Spicer eds, Sounding Out Pop: Analytical Essays in Popular Music, University of Michigan Press, pp. 124–49, ISBN 0-472-03400-6
- "Synth pop", Allmusic, archived from the original on 10 March 2011.
- S. Reynolds (22 January 2010), "The 1980s revival that lasted an entire decade", Guardian.co.uk (London), archived from the original on 2 August 2011
- S. Reynolds (10 October 2009), "One nation under a Moog", Guardian.co.uk (London), archived from the original on 3 August 2011
- T. Cateforis, The Death of New Wave, archived from the original (PDF) on 5 August 2011
- S. Reynolds (2005), Rip It Up and Start Again Postpunk 1978–1984, London: Faber and Faber, p. 327, ISBN 0-571-21570-X
- J. Stuessy and S. D. Lipscomb (2008), Rock and Roll: its History and Stylistic Development (6 ed.), London: Pearson Prentice Hall, p. 21, ISBN 0-13-601068-7
- R. Brice (2001), Music Engineering (2 ed.), Oxford: Newnes, pp. 108–9, ISBN 0-7506-5040-0
- T. Pinch and F. Trocco (2004), Analog Days: The Invention and Impact of the Moog Synthesizer, Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, pp. 214–36, ISBN 0-674-01617-3
- P. Bussy (2004), Kraftwerk: Man, Machine and Music (3 ed.), London: SAF, pp. 15–17, ISBN 0-946719-70-5
- R. Unterberger (2004), "Progressive rock", in V. Bogdanov, C. Woodstra and S. T. Erlewine, eds, All Music Guide to Rock: the Definitive Guide to Rock, Pop, and Soul, Milwaukee, WI: Backbeat Books, pp. 1330–1, ISBN 0-87930-653-X
- Synth Britannia, BBC Four, 2 August 2010
- B. Eder, "Hot Butter: Biography", Allmusic, archived from the original on 4 August 2011.
- M. Jenkins (2007), Analog Synthesizers: Understanding, Performing, Buying: from the Legacy of Moog to Software Synthesis, Amsterdam: Elsevier, pp. 133–4, ISBN 0-240-52072-6
- T. J. Seabrook (2008), Bowie in Berlin: A New Career in a New Town, Jawbone Press, ISBN 1-906002-08-8
- D. Nicholls (1998), The Cambridge History of American Music, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, p. 373, ISBN 0-521-45429-8
- We were synth punks’ Interview with Andy McCluskey by the Philadelphia Inquirer 5 March 2012
- D. Nobakht (2004), Suicide: No Compromise, London: SAF Publishing, p. 136, ISBN 0-946719-71-3
- Ruhlmann, William. "Review". Izitso. AllMusic. Retrieved 20 May 2012.
- "Cat Stevens – Izitso". Island Records. Discogs. Retrieved 20 May 2012.
- David Toop (March 1996), "A-Z Of Electro", The Wire (145), retrieved 29 May 2011
- "Cat Stevens – Izitso". A&M Records. Discogs. Retrieved 20 May 2012.
- Kempke, D. Erik (15 August 2000). "The Beach Boys: 15 Big Ones/Love You: Album Reviews". Pitchfork Media Inc. Retrieved 27 October 2012.
- "Brian Wilson — Caroline Now! Interview". Marina Records. 2000. Retrieved 13 September 2013.
- Smith, Patti (October 1977). "october 1977 hit parader selection". Hit Parader.
- Phipps, Keith (19 June 2007). "The Beach Boys: Love You". The A.V. Club. Retrieved 28 October 2012.
- Scott Schinder; Andy Schwartz (2008). Icons of Rock: Elvis Presley; Ray Charles; Chuck Berry; Buddy Holly; The Beach Boys; James Brown; The Beatles; Bob Dylan; The Rolling Stones; The Who; The Byrds; Jimi Hendrix. ABC-CLIO. pp. 124–. ISBN 978-0-313-33846-5. Retrieved 9 September 2013.
- "The Beach Boys Biography". Apple Inc. Retrieved 1 July 2012.
- T. Maginnis, The Man Who Dies Every Day: Ultravox, Allmusic, archived from the original on 5 August 2011.
- A. Stout (24 June 2011), "Yellow Magic Orchestra on Kraftwerk and How to Write a Melody During a Cultural Revolution", SF Weekly, archived from the original on 5 August 2011
- S. T. Erlewine (2001), "Yellow Magic Orchestra", in V. Bogdanov, ed., All Music Guide to Electronica: the Definitive Guide to Electronic Music (4 ed.), Milwaukee, WI: Backbeat Books, p. 516, ISBN 0-87930-628-9
- J. Anderson (28 November 2008), "Slaves to the rhythm: Kanye West is the latest to pay tribute to a classic drum machine", CBC News, archived from the original on 5 August 2011
- J. Lewis (4 July 2008), "Back to the future: Yellow Magic Orchestra helped usher in electronica – and they may just have invented hip-hop, too", Guardian.co.uk (London), archived from the original on 5 August 2011
- S. Reynolds (2005), Rip It Up and Start Again Postpunk 1978–1984, London: Faber and Faber, pp. 340 and 342–3, ISBN 0-571-21570-X
- Cateforis, pp. 168 and 247
- S. Reynolds (2005), Rip It Up and Start Again Postpunk 1978–1984 US Edition, London: Faber and Faber, p. 298 US Edition, ISBN 0-571-21570-X
- S. Reynolds (2005), Rip It Up and Start Again Postpunk 1978–1984, London: Faber and Faber, p. 298 US Edition, ISBN 0-571-21570-X
- J. Miller, Stripped: Depeche Mode (3 ed.), London: Omnibus Press, p. 21, ISBN 1-84772-444-2
- I. Martin, "P-Model", Allmusic, archived from the original on 21 August 2011
- Peel, Ian (1 January 2010). "From the Art of Plastic to the Age of Noise". trevorhorn.com. Retrieved 13 May 2015.
- "Buggles Rehearsal – Sarm West – Geoff Downes". sonicstate.com. 24 September 2010. Retrieved 13 May 2015.
- S. Huey, "Freedom of Choice: Devo", Allmusic, archived from the original on 5 August 2011
- S. Reynolds (2005), Rip It Up and Start Again Postpunk 1978–1984, London: Faber and Faber, p. 328, ISBN 0-571-21570-X
- M. Russ (2004), Sound Synthesis and Sampling (3 ed.), Burlington MA: Elsevier, p. 66, ISBN 0-240-52105-6
- N. Rama Lohan (2 March 2007), "Dawn of the plastic age", Malaysia Star, archived from the original on 5 August 2011
- D. Rimmer (2003), New Romantics: The Look, London: Omnibus Press, ISBN 0-7119-9396-3
- S. Reynolds (2005), Rip It Up and Start Again Postpunk 1978–1984, London: Faber and Faber, pp. 320–2, ISBN 0-571-21570-X
- S. Reynolds (2005), Rip It Up and Start Again Postpunk 1978–1984, London: Faber and Faber, pp. 334–5, ISBN 0-571-21570-X
- S. Reynolds (2005), Rip It Up and Start Again Postpunk 1978–1984, London: Faber and Faber, p. 342, ISBN 0-571-21570-X
- J. Bush, "Propaganda", Allmusic, archived from the original on 13 December 2011
- M. Jenkins (2007), Analog Synthesizers: Understanding, Performing, Buying: from the Legacy of Moog to Software Synthesis, Amsterdam: Elsevier, p. 171, ISBN 0-240-52072-6
- S. T. Erlewine, "Howard Jones", Allmusic, archived from the original on 5 August 2011
- S. Bultman, "The Riddle: Nik Kershaw", Allmusic, archived from the original on 5 August 2011
- J. Berens (July 1985), "What makes Nik tick, a tiny teen idol speaks out", Spin 1 (3): 14, ISSN 0886-3032
- A. Kellman, "Bronski Beat", Allmusic, archived from the original on 6 August 2011
- S. T. Erlewine, "Thompson Twins", Allmusic, archived from the original on 5 August 2011
- K. Hayes, "a-ha", Allmusic, archived from the original on 6 August 2011
- J. Ankeny, "Pet Shop Boys", Allmusic, archived from the original on 6 August 2011
- S. T. Erlewine, "Erasure", Allmusic, archived from the original on 6 August 2011
- A. Kellman, "The Communards", Allmusic, archived from the original on 6 August 2011
- S. Thornton (2006), "Understanding Hipness: 'Subcultural capital' as feminist cultural tool", in A. Bennett, B. Shank and J. Toynbee, eds, The Popular Music Studies Reader, London: Routledge, p. 102, ISBN 0-415-30709-0
- John Bush. "Information Society – Music Biography, Streaming Radio and Discography – AllMusic". AllMusic.
- G. McNett (12 October 1999), "Synthpop Flocks Like Seagulls", Long Island Voice, archived from the original on 6 August 2011
- N. Forsberg, "Synthpop in the USA", Release Music Magazine, archived from the original on 6 August 2011
- S. Reynolds (2005), Rip It Up and Start Again Postpunk 1978–1984, London: Faber and Faber, p. 535, ISBN 0-571-21570-X
- S. T. Erlewine, "The Smiths", Allmusic, archived from the original on 27 July 2011
- S. T. Erlewine, "R.E.M.", Allmusic, archived from the original on 27 July 2011
- M. Sutton, "Celebrate the Nun", Allmusic, archived from the original on 6 August 2011
- "Indietronica", Allmusic, archived from the original on 16 February 2011
- S. Leckart (28 August 2006), "Have laptop will travel", MSNBC, archived from the original on 16 February 2011
- D. Lynskey (22 March 2002), "Out with the old, in with the older", Guardian.co.uk (London), archived from the original on 16 February 2011
- M. Goldstein (16 May 2008), "This cat is housebroken", Boston Globe, archived from the original on 16 February 2011
- J. Walker (5 October 2002), "Popmatters concert review: ELECTROCLASH 2002 Artists: Peaches, Chicks on Speed, W.I.T., and Tracy and the Plastics", Boston Globe, archived from the original on 16 February 2011
- "Fischerspooner's electroclash revenge". Retrieved 3 December 2012.
- J. Harris (2009), Hail!, Hail! Rock 'n' Roll, London: Sphere, p. 78, ISBN 1-84744-293-5
- T. Cateforis (2011), Are We Not New Wave?: Modern Pop at the Turn of the 1980s, Ann Arbor MI: University of Michigan Press, pp. 218–9, ISBN 0-472-03470-7
- T. Cateforis (2011), Are We Not New Wave?: Modern Pop at the Turn of the 1980s, Ann Arbor MI: University of Michigan Press, p. 223, ISBN 0-472-03470-7
- Sullivan, Caroline (17 December 2008). "Slaves to synth". The Guardian (London: guardian.co.uk). Retrieved 20 June 2011.
- Collett-White, Mike; Martin, Cindy (27 January 2009). "UK gaga for electro-pop, guitar bands fight back". Reuters. Retrieved 20 June 2011.
- Guha, Rohin (2 October 2009). "Calvin Harris: The New King of Electropop". BlackBook. BlackBook Media Corporation. Retrieved 10 June 2011.
- "Empire of the Sun's Electro-Pop Is Huge in Australia and Heading Your Way". Rolling Stone. Wenner Media. 8 January 2009. Retrieved 9 February 2012.
- Murray, Robin (1 June 2009). "Frankmusik Album Update". Clash. Retrieved 20 June 2011.
- "BBC Sound of 2010: Hurts". BBC News. BBC News Online. 5 January 2010. Retrieved 20 June 2011.
- Woo, Jen (29 June 2010). "Electric Daisy Carnival at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum". Santa Barbara Independent. Retrieved 13 July 2010.
- Lipshutz, Jason (4 January 2010). ""Party" just beginning for electro-pop duo LMFAO". Billboard (Reuters). Retrieved 31 January 2010.
- Menze, Jill (9 August 2009). "Electro-Pop Act Owl City Takes Off With 'Fireflies'". Billboard. Nielsen Business Media, Inc. Retrieved 20 June 2011.
- Pietroluongo, Silvio (29 October 2009). "Owl City's 'Fireflies' Lands At No. 1 On Hot 100". Billboard. Nielsen Business Media, Inc. Retrieved 20 June 2011.
- McIntyre, Hugh. "Ke$ha Debuts 'Die Young' Single: Listen". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved 29 September 2012.
- Ratliff, Ben (14 April 2011). "Who Needs a Beach When Life's a Goof?". The New York Times (The New York Times Company). Retrieved 30 May 2012.
- "Ke$ha — Tik Tok — Song Review". AllMusic. Rovi. Retrieved 29 September 2012.
- Trust, Gary. "PSY Still Stuck At No. 2 as Maroon 5 Tops Hot 100 – "One More Night" spends a fifth week in the top spot, while Ke$ha crashes the Top 10.". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved 17 October 2012.
- Jaksich, Jessica. "The Party Doesn't Stop With Ke$ha's New Single!". Seventeen. Hearst Corporation. Retrieved 29 September 2012.
- McCormick, Neil. "Madonna, Hyde Park, review". The Daily Telegraph (London: Telegraph Media Group). Retrieved 2 November 2012.
- Graham, Mark. "My 53 Favorite Madonna Songs (In Honor Of Her 53rd Birthday)". VH1. Viacom. Retrieved 2 November 2012.
- ClevverMusic. "Madonna New Album Will Be Electro-Pop". Daily Motion. Orange. Retrieved 2 November 2012.
- Distant, Daniel. "Madonna in Legal Trouble Over 'Girls Gone Wild'". The Christian Post. The Christian Post Company. Retrieved 2 November 2012.
- Rogulewski, Charley. "Nicki Minaj's 'Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded' Album Track-by-Track Preview". The Boom Box. AOL. Retrieved 3 November 2012.
- "50 Best Songs of 2010 – Katy Perry — Teenage Dream". Rolling Stone. Jann Wenner. p. 4. Retrieved 3 November 2012.
- Anderson, Sara D. "Top 10 Katy Perry Songs". PopCrush. Retrieved 3 November 2012.
- Montgomery, James. "New Katy Perry Songs Hit The Net". MTV. Viacom. Retrieved 3 November 2012.
- "Jessie J — Biography". Virgin Records. Virgin Media. Retrieved 1 November 2012.
- Young, Matt. "Reviewed: Christina Aguilera, Bionic". Village Voice. Village Voice Media. Retrieved 2 November 2012.
- Lamb, Bill. "Christina Aguilera — Bionic A Great: Album Buried In Here". About.com. IAC. Retrieved 2 November 2012.
- Petridis, Alexis (13 November 2008). "Pop review: Beyoncé, I Am ... Sasha Fierce". The Guardian (London: Guardian News and Media Limited). Retrieved 2 November 2012.
- "Perfume Interview" (in Japanese). bounce.com. 7 February 2008. Archived from the original on 9 December 2008. Retrieved 2 June 2009. (English translation)
- "Charts: Perfume becomes first technopop group at #1 since YMO". Tokyograph. 22 April 2008. Retrieved 12 August 2011.
- Shikata, Hiroaki (11 January 2009). "'08年Post Perfume～J-ポップ歌姫編" ['08 Post-Perfume J-pop Diva Guide]. All About. Retrieved 12 August 2011.
- "Will the world soon wake up to the scent of Perfume? (Daniel Robson)". The Japan Times. 18 May 2012. Retrieved 5 July 2012.
- "Perfume needs to walk a fine line on its path overseas (Ian Martin)". The Japan Times. 31 May 2012. Retrieved 5 July 2012.
- "Oricon Weekly Albums May 21st–27th, 2012". Oricon. 4 June 2012. Retrieved 5 July 2012.
- Mullins, Michelle (15 January 2012). "K-pop splashes into the west". The Purdue University Calumet Chronicle. Retrieved 22 June 2012.
- Patrick Ryan, USA TODAY (10 August 2013). "On The Verge: Chvrches give synthpop intelligence". USA TODAY.
- Sam Richards. "M83's Anthony Gonzalez is ready for the fast lane". the Guardian.
- "The C.I.P – Artisti del Mese". New Generation.
- A. De Curtis (1992), Present Tense: Rock and Roll and Culture, Duke University Press, p. 9, ISBN 0-8223-1265-4
- M. Ribowsky (2010), Signed, Sealed, and Delivered: The Soulful Journey of Stevie Wonder, John Wiley and Sons, p. 245, ISBN 0-470-48150-1
- The Seth Man (June 2004), "Bill Nelson's Red Noise – Sound-On-Sound", Julian Cope Presents Head Heritage, archived from the original on 5 August 2011
- S. Reynolds (2005), Rip It Up and Start Again Postpunk 1978–1984, London: Faber and Faber, p. 337, ISBN 0-571-21570-X
- T. Cateforis (2011), Are We Not New Wave?: Modern Pop at the Turn of the 1980s, Ann Arbor MI: University of Michigan Press, p. 59, ISBN 0-472-03470-7
- "Gary Numan interview". BBC Breakfast. 15 May 2012. Event occurs at 8:56 am. BBC One. British Broadcasting Corporation.
There was a certain amount of hostility to electronic music when it first came along. People didn't think it was real music; they thought machines did it. There was a lot of ignorance, to be honest.
- "Synth Britannia (Part Two: Construction Time Again)". Britannia. 16 October 2009. 26 minutes in. BBC Four. British Broadcasting Corporation.
- S. Reynolds (2005), Rip It Up and Start Again Postpunk 1978–1984, London: Faber and Faber, p. 536, ISBN 0-571-21570-X
- "House", Allmusic, archived from the original on 10 March 2011
- J. Bush (2001), "Juan Atkins", in V. Bogdanov, ed., All Music Guide to Electronica: the Definitive Guide to Electronic Music (4 ed.), Milwaukee, WI: Backbeat Books, p. 27, ISBN 0-87930-628-9
- C. Gordon (23 October 2009), "The decade that never dies Still ’80s Fetishizing in ’09", Yale Daily News, archived from the original on 6 August 2011
- McCormick, Neil (24 March 2010). "Jay Sean and Taio Cruz wowing America". Daily News (New York). Retrieved 12 September 2011.
- Edwards, Gavin (1 July 2008). "In the Studio: Lily Allen Makes "Naughty" Follow-Up". Rolling Stone. Wenner Media. Retrieved 3 April 2010.
- S. Borthwick and R. Moy (2004), Popular Music Genres: an Introduction, Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press
- P. Bussy (2004), Kraftwerk: Man, Machine and Music (3rd ed.), London: SAF
- T. Cateforis (2011), Are We Not New Wave?: Modern Pop at the Turn of the 1980s, Ann Arbor MI: University of Michigan Press
- B. R. Parker (2009), Good Vibrations: the Physics of Music, Boston MD: JHU Press
- Simon Reynolds (2005), Rip It Up and Start Again Postpunk 1978–1984, London: Faber and Faber
- J. Stuessy and S. D. Lipscomb (2008), Rock and Roll: its History and Stylistic Development (6th ed.), London: Pearson Prentice Hall
- Speak & Spell Depeche Mode 1982 Rolling Stone review English synthpop acts and the genre David Fricke for Rolling Stone Magazine 13 May 1982
- We Are Also the Robots: 8 Essentials of Post-Kraftwerk Pop by Chuck Eddy for Spin Magazine 22 June 2012