Off the bat, you might be thinking to yourself what’s hyperpop? You will have most definitely heard the music categorised by this genre, likely online on platforms like TikTok. However, it’s a variation of Pop that’s commonly misunderstood within the modern music scene.
Essentially, hyperpop is a microgenre that emerged from the vast realm of pop culture during the 2010s. But, recently it blew up as a result of the phenomenon that is TikTok. This pop subgenre is typically categorised as an experimental pop sound, offering a distorted twist on conventional pop music. Hyperpop heavily relies on the use of autotune, creating a sound high in pitch and tempo, and heavy on the synth and catchy beat. It is far from the acoustic, stripped-back style of music commonly and traditionally considered by other generations as ‘proper music’. Instead, it actively breaks every rule we know about music, showing what you can do with music is limitless.
The term itself came from a Spotify Playlist that was made in 2019 titled ‘hyperpop‘. The playlist features artists like Shygirl; Elko; Charli XCX; and SOPHIE. What brings them all together is the glitchy, electric sound we now associate with hyperpop.
The origin of hyperpop stems from English producer and artist, A. G. Cook. Alongside his accomplished music career, he also founded a UK record label in 2013 called, PC Music. The label soon became a genre of music within itself due to the collection of artists signed to it all being of that unique hyperpop style.
PC Music as a whole, headed by Cook, has confidently established a new kind of Pop. It’s something fundamentally related to the genre, but on a different scale entirely.
The reason for its exponential rise
Hyperpop entered the scene in the mid-2010s, facing much criticism and discussion amongst music fans and critics. Despite this controversy, it’s unsurprising that this type of music came about in this decade and was picked up by a niche sub-culture.
The genre itself makes you consider the nature of the music industry over the last 10 years. Music fans will question how much music, (specifically Pop music) is ever-changing and what is causing this change. It can be suggested that the recent surge in usage of social media platforms like TikTok over the last 3 years has had a monumental influence on the way we obtain, discover, and share music. Therefore, it’s no surprise that today’s music that is being created, has evolved alongside our climate and in a way that follows suit of the electronic, digital style. After all, these are the platforms it’s mostly advertised, played, and shared on.
As society progresses and becomes increasingly more digitally advanced, so will our music and the arts. For instance, NFT art. This digital art form has radically revolutionised the way art is created and consumed. As a result of the huge influence of the internet and technology on our society, it was bound to bleed into the arts, and have an impact on the mainstream.
Pop has always been an eclectic genre and ever-expanding, with subgenres like indie-pop, dance-pop, and folk-pop surfacing over time. Hyperpop is a demonstration of the technological evolution in Pop music in the 21st century.
Its impact on Pop itself
A key impact that hyperpop has had on the pop scene is creating a more electronically curated, outlandish sound..
Many artists today are eager to be a lot more experimental with their music, popstars especially as it’s a genre with a lot of room for originality. Hyperpop artists are actively doing something different and new with the electronic flair they blend into traditional catchy pop beats. Therefore, revolutionising the pop scene and the way we view music in general, as they’re having fun with the way they create music.
Hyperpop is notorious for its engagement with the LGBTQ+ community, through its wealth of queer artists and consumers of the music. This makes it an inclusive and diverse genre. Pop has always had an element of queerness to it, with popstars like Prince, Madonna, and Elton John being queer icons of their generations. Hyperpop has further contributed to this inclusive ethos in music and made a positive impact on the pop scene, with a lot of hyperpop tracks vocalising social and political matters like gender identity.
Who popularised the sound of hyperpop?
Along with PC Music, artists like Charli XCX, Sophie, and 100 Gecs have been at the forefront in bringing hyperpop into the mainstream.
Charli XCX is probably the largest mainstream artist to be categorised as hyperpop, popularising the distinctive sound and aesthetic, through her frequent appearances in mainstream media, press, and radio. Although hyperpop has been met with claims of being overly auto-tuned and too extreme, Charli demonstrates that it is a genre that is taken seriously in Pop today because of the wealth of success and fame she’s gained throughout her career. This proves her impact on Pop as a hyperpop artist is highly valued, being one of the biggest UK popstars today.
Recently described as the ‘World’s No.1 based pop girl’ by Matty Healy of The 1975, Charli XCX has found a perfect middle ground between the sound of hyperpop and Pop. Having previously worked with the highly acclaimed hyperpop artist, SOPHIE, on some of her earlier works, she’s had that hyperpop style ingrained into her brand for a large portion of her career. Although her recent album ‘CRASH‘ features certain hyperpop characteristics, it is a slightly more agreeable version of the genre to a mainstream crowd. The combination of high energy, experimental sounds merged with classic pop ballads and dance tracks, makes for a unique record but one that appeals to the mainstream.
Is it still having an impact on mainstream pop music or could it do so again in the future?
Hyperpop has become a new wave, not just as a genre but as an entire aesthetic. Although it’s not for everyone, there is definitely a demographic for it within Gen Z’s appreciation for new music.
Dazed called it “the sound for a post-pandemic world”
Over time Pop will continue to grow and expand into other subgenres, like hyperpop itself, further saturating the pop market. As it is everchanging, hyperpop may just remain a microtrend and in today’s fast-paced society other variations of it will come and go in the future. Furthermore, it’s suggested the genre has taken a fall in popularity, mimicking the nature of microtrends in the media today.
Is it the future of pop? Hyperpop at its core is immensely modern and experimental, making it part of something new and ultimately the future.