Modern popular music has moved away from what was once seen as “traditional” pop — the end of the 2010s marked an end to pop music produced by artists like Lady Gaga, Katy Perry and Rihanna that experienced its heyday during the decade.
A newer genre that found its mainstream footing in the 2010s was EDM/Techno, with the likes of Diplo, Major Lazer and Skrillex becoming household names. The two genres have morphed together to create “Hyperpop,” a form of music that has not yet reached the mainstream but influenced some of the the biggest albums of 2019.
In a Reddit thread on the genre, hyperpop is described as “experimental music that pushes pop themes and tropes to parody, with some dance/electronic undertones.” Parody is key to the genre, as it often pushes music boundaries with a randomness that almost feels reckless. Artists like Melanie Martinez and Marina and the Diamonds have been described as early versions of hyperpop, with their partiality to referencing motifs and dramatic transitions mid-song.
The genre is often also hailed as “PC Music” due to its homemade origins, similar to that of bedroom pop. Many hyperpop pioneers from the early 2000s were just playing with DJ kits on their computers when they came upon the new genre. The early 2000s are a popular motif throughout the hyperpop genre; the aesthetic of artist “Slayyyter” can be described as unequivocally MySpace.
Perhaps the biggest name in hyperpop is Charli XCX, whose 2019 album “Charli” was an ode to the genre. It was produced by A.G. Cook, an innovative London-based producer, whose label PC Music has produced for many other popular hyper pop artists including Tommy Cash, Caroline Polachek and 100 Gecs.
Caroline Polachek found her way into the industry through producing and songwriting, after working with Beyoncé and Travis Scott on their respective projects. 100 Gecs, in particularly, have been hailed for embracing the genre, most notably on their most recent album titled “1000 Gecs.” The album features extreme voice distortion and long song outros that sound similar to construction site noises.
Another mainstream name in the genre is Grimes. Grimes, who has experienced a lot of her recognition due to her fascinating relationship with Elon Musk, set many of the tropes of hyperpop in her 2015 album, “Art Angels.” From its puzzling interludes, to its partiality to vocal fry, “Art Angels” led the way for the next few years of the genre.
Hyperpop’s larger-than-life nature allows for a lot of diversity, especially in that of gender identity. Kim Petras, Laura Les of 100 Gecs, and SOPHIE are all openly transgender women who have found success in the genre. SOPHIE, one of hyperpop’s go-to figures, used the genre’s voice-masking techniques in her act long before she came out.
With every new genre, no one knows the exact direction the sound will take, but hyperpop is on its way up.