From Seapunk to Hyperpop, we take a look at 4 brand new music genres that have emerged since the early 21st century.
In psychology, the end-of-story illusion is a phenomenon in which people believe that they have already experienced all the significant growth and development in their lives. It’s an illusion I’ve certainly fallen in love with: the long-haired, bearded music writer I am now is almost unrecognizable from the shy, shabby-dressed computer science student I was in my college days; However, if you had asked that nineteen-year-old boy if he would change that much by the time he reached my age, he would have flatly told you that he would “not.”
For many of us, it’s easy to fall into the traps of a similar delusion with music: pop, rock, jazz, blues… they’ve all been around for decades! I’m sure all the genres have already been invented, right? WRONG. New genres and subgenres continue to emerge from the soil of the music world with as much frequency and vitality today as they did in the 20th century. Today I would like to share with you four of the most interesting and significant new genres.
First, a disclaimer: could some of the following musical movements that I list technically be classified as subgenres rather than entirely new genres? Maybe. Do I care about that kind of nomenclature enough to argue about it? No. So, without further ado, let’s get started.
In the late 2000s and early 2010s, a subculture known as “Seapunk” emerged on Tumblr, the subculture being largely defined by its aesthetic: ’90s-style animated 3D sea creatures, cyan and pink. diamonds, palm trees, etc.
Seapunk began to gain popularity in 2011 when it was first mentioned in a tweet by musician and internet personality Lil Internet. It then quickly spread to other social media platforms like Twitter, with many users creating and sharing seapunk-inspired art, fashion, and (most importantly for today) music. Seapunk music blended hip hop and R&B with EDM, then drenched it all with reverb-drenched edits of ’90s pop and dance samples.
By late 2012, the movement had gained enough traction that artists like Rihanna, Lady Gaga, Azealia Banks, and Katy Perry began to embrace and commodify its aesthetic. This killed Seapunk almost overnight, as the last thing niche internet users who thought they were too cool for school wanted was to be copied by Katy Perry.
From the ashes of seapunk rose vaporwave; a less marketable evolution of the now “mainstream” genre that became distinct enough to be classified as a genre of its own. Aesthetically, Vaporwave embraces seapunk-like ’90s imagery, but leans more, swapping ocean imagery for software logos and ’90s graphic design elements.
Sonically, Vaporwave music is much lower tempo, and its vocal samples (mostly drawn from ’80s and ’90s pop and R&B) are much more cut and manipulated. In general, it’s a less danceable, fun and pop sound than Seapunk; a decision made intentionally to prevent Vaporwave from suffering the same “primary” fate as its progenitor.
Vaporwave also incorporates metatextual critique and satire of modern consumerism, taking the sights and sounds of ’90s software and mall culture and twisting them into something dystopian. The name “Vaporwave” itself is derived from “Vaporware”, a term applied to rogue software (primarily from the 1990s and 2000s) that never lived up to the promises its marketing made.
Vaporwave’s most famous artists include Saint Pepsi, Blank Banshee and Vektroid, though arguably the most essential pioneer of the movement is Macintosh Plus with his record flower shop; a record that became vaporwave what In the Court of the Crimson King Was it progressive rock, or Nirvana’s It doesn’t matter went to grunge
Dubstep is a genre almost everyone is familiar with, at least on a superficial level, thanks to acts like Skrillex, Knife Party, and Nero; Therefore, I will not be treading on familiar ground here again.
What most casual listeners not What I do know, though, is that “brostep” – the bombastic, bass-filled cacophony that made dubstep the butt of so many Internet jokes – is just a subgenre of the movement, one that broke away from the genre’s more subtle British roots. .
Emerging from the UK garage scene in the 2000s and led by acts like Skream, Mala, Coki and Burial (Yes, Iconic Burial Record False many argue that it is technically a dubstep album); the original Dubstep lacked the absurd bass drops the genre would later become known for, focusing more on creating mesmerizing soundscapes of haunting quasi-808 bass and reverb-drenched melodies with an ominous sound.
YouTube video essayist Timbah.On.Toast has done an exceptional job of exploring the history of dubstep in much more depth than this article format allows; so if you are interested in learning more about the vibrant and interesting world of TRUE dubstep, I urge you to check out his video essay below.
Hyperpop is to pop music what punk music is to rock and roll; it takes the conventions of the genre and stretches them to their abrasive extremes. In the case of hyperpop, that usually means basslines so loud they cut up and distort, the Antares auto tune is set to its most robotic settings, and tempos ramp up to hyperactive levels.
The genre emerged in the 2010s and was popularized by artists like SOPHIE with her album OIL FROM THE INTERIOR OF EACH PEARL and Charli XCX with her Vroom Vroom EP (which was also co-produced by SOPHIE); However, it is the eccentric duo of 100 Gecs who form the archetypal modern vision of hyperpop with their bombastic debut album. 1000 gecks.
Hyperpop has become increasingly popular in recent years, with many mainstream pop artists beginning to incorporate elements of the genre into their more traditional music. This has led to a greater acceptance and recognition of the genre, and its influence can be heard in the music of many popular artists today.