Out of the underground, hyperpop emerges


Jackson Bechtold

Hyperpop has an overall unique aesthetic combining music flavors of pop and vaporwave.

Levi Xayachack, Staff Writer

Amongst the more popular genres emerging on the internet in the 2010s, such as vaporwave, trap and dubstep, one overlooked group of artists has been thriving in the underground. The hyperpop community is here to make their mark on the music scene, bringing listeners a new realm of energetic and expressive music to the ear.

Hyperpop began as a rough label attached to a niche genre of music which has since grown to new heights that members of the community never thought would have been achieved. In fact, the term did not start to gain much notoriety until 2019 with the creation of Spotify’s “hyperpop” playlist. Many people point towards a select few artists and collectives as being the creators of the genre, namely the likes of SOPHIE, Charli XCX and A. G. Cook with his label “PC Music” founded in 2013. At the time, the genre was less defined by its youthful energy and more as being a unique and avant garde take on the genre of pop. 

9th grade English teacher, Alex Stewart, views hyperpop as a refreshing genre.

“I think [hyperpop] has given us a refreshed view of pop in general,” said Stewart. “I listen to hyperpop, and then think of Britney Spears or Lady Gaga, and then go ‘oh, hyperpop was inevitable!’ because of them.” 

Nowadays with artists like 100 gecs, the nightcore music scene on Soundcloud and the growing influence of the internet and memes, hyperpop is more so looked at as an intense display of online traditions and culture.

Hyperpop music itself sources inspiration from pre-existing genres, such as EDM, future bass, hip hop, trap, punk rock and pop. The aforementioned acts of SOPHIE, A. G. Cook and Charli XCX also played a significant role in the genre’s upbringing and sound. 

Stewart considers hyperpop as a fun and bubbly take on the pop genre. 

“You take the bubbliness of pop, you take the simple beats of pop, and then you kind of turn it on its head and you crank some of that up,” said Stewart. “You make it really loud, you make it really dancey, [and] you make it really glitchy.” 

The characteristics that define the sound (heavy beats, heavily distorted bass-lines, bold synths and loud, autotuned vocals) is substantially different to what listeners hear in music typically, and that has helped captivate the millions who listen to hyperpop today.

Along with hyperpop being a refreshing take on music in general, the internet’s ability to spread ideas around the world like wildfire also contributes to the fame of the genre. 

Stewart believes that the internet is beneficial in hyperpop’s success.

“I know at least getting it started, the internet has been so helpful in getting different artists to collaborate, maybe coast to coast … would we have collaborations like we have with Charli XCX featuring Latin American drag queens on her music if it weren’t for the internet?” Stewart said.

Despite being such a thriving and deep genre it is still a massively unknown community. 

Senior Conner Lawson thinks only a certain threshold of people are willing to be involved with hyperpop.

“I think it’s considered to be very underground simply because there is a certain, not ‘kind’ of people, but ‘amount’ of people that will decide to listen to [hyperpop],” Lawson said. 

Some of the most popular artists associated with hyperpop are considered by most to fit under different genres, and it is hard to place such artists under one or two specific categories. 

What is argued more is whether or not hyperpop is even a genre of music, or more so an entire culture filled with differing artists and varying sounds and aesthetics. The term “hyperpop” can be seen as mostly an indefinite descriptor for what encompasses an entire world of music and culture as a whole. 

Lawson believes that as the hyperpop community grows, more and more posers join.

“I’ve seen recently that it’s more you like hyperpop for the aesthetic,” said Lawson. “People don’t really listen to [the music], but they’ll say they do based on who they’re with.” 

Additionally, hyperpop caters to a specific demographic of listeners with a special knack for unique sound, and it is regarded by many to be quite unconventional.

Stewart argues that the innovative side of hyperpop deters many people from getting involved.

“There’s still that avant garde aspect to it, and for many people, that’s going to be maybe a bit too much … if you turn up all the different aspects of pop up to eleven, maybe it’s just less pleasant to people,” said Stewart. 

The perception of the hyperpop community as being a terminally online conglomerate of abnormal and exclusionary humor and culture also has a significant negative impact on the genre’s growth. 

Lawson believes that the internet has both helped and hindered the community as a whole. 

“Some people stray away from it simply because of its [negative] reputation online,” Lawson said.

The confusion amongst the hyperpop community along with the unorthodox type of music and culture has likely contributed to hyperpop being such an unknown genre. Regardless, the genre remains massively successful. As of writing this, the editorial “hyperpop” playlist on Spotify has over 340,000 likes. Social media platforms such as Discord, Instagram and Twitter have also fueled the spread of hyperpop; numerous popular hyperpop songs have been generalized to being a “TikTok song” because of the genre being nearly synonymous with the app. The community’s booming success has left many people wondering: where is a good place to start listening? Lawson suggests artists like ericdoa and glaive, while those who want to discover more about the genre should head towards blackwinterwells and quinn. Mr. Stewart recommends the forenamed Charli XCX and SOPHIE.

For further interest in the genre of hyperpop, here is a curated playlist of quality songs: