An Introduction to Hyperpop

Camryn Davis | September 14, 2020

Picture this: You’re scrolling through TikTok for the fifth time today when you run across another video of someone using the glitched-out, autotuned sound from NEVER MET! by Cmten feat. Glitch Gum that proclaims, “I wish we never met! We broke up on Pictochat crying on my DS!” It’s one of 643.6k videos on TikTok featuring the song. NEVER MET! is one of many songs that fall under the hyperpop genre finding popularity on TikTok currently, and because of the app, hyperpop as a genre has completely blown up over the last year. But what is hyperpop?

100 gecs

Hyperpop is an incredibly broad and experimental genre that is united by its use of extreme pitching, warping of low bass and loud rhythm, and a homemade feel, which leads to the music having a futuristic and chaotic atmosphere. Beyond those credentials, which are loose at best, hyperpop extends from dark, conceptual projects, such as SOPHIE’s debut studio album, Oil of Every Pearl’s Un-Insides, to light-hearted, computer-pop singles, like the work of David Shawty and Yungster Jack. Its beginnings can be traced back to the artists under PC Music in the early 2010s. This record label and art collective run by A.J. Cook left a foundation of exaggeration and flamboyance still embraced within hyperpop today.

SOPHIE, Oil of Every Pearl’s Un-Insides

As an emerging genre, hyperpop is incredibly interesting because of its inclusion and promotion of smaller artists, which is a rarity for most other forms of pop. On the official Spotify hyperpop playlist, a majority of artists have under 50k monthly listeners, with exceptions from genre juggernauts like Charli XCX and 100 gecs. Because of the genre’s stray away from traditional conventions and its emphasis on collaboration, a hyperpop hit could be created by anybody, anywhere, on any computer with just a microphone, GarageBand, and a few file shares.

The popularization of hyperpop has allowed artists outside of the genre to experiment with their sound, like Rico Nasty’s new single, IPHONE or Fall Out Boy’s feature on the 100 gecs remix album. This brings interesting questions to the table of what exactly hyperpop’s place in pop music is and how other mainstream artists will incorporate aspects of hyperpop into their traditionally pop music.

If you want to jump into hyperpop, from the classics to our new favorite singles, we’ve included a curated playlist on our Spotify.