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Flamboyant and in your face, the recent wave of music known as “hyperpop” has taken the world by storm, redefining the pop genre. The style has been seen on the infamous hyperpop Spotify playlist, yet the genre transcends algorithmic playlists. Known for intense basslines and extreme synthesizers, the “boop beep bop” sound of hyperpop is better described by way of its innovators and pioneers.
On January 30th, 2021, a hyperpop visionary Sophie Xeon left this world. While Sophie produced music for icons like Charli XCX, Vince Staples, and Madonna, she left a mark on this world forever transforming how we produce and digest pop music. In that spirit, Arts’ Interrupted proudly presents our ode to hyperpop.
First, senior editor Max Rosenzweig gave us a look into the theory of why hyperpop is so extreme. Pushing the boundaries of pop music, Sophie and her frequent collaborator and founder of PC music, A.G. Cook, formed their own idea of the ultimate synthetic popstar QT. The concept was inspired by the notion that major singer-songwriters in the mainstream pop arena appear to be the most relatable creators in music, yet they tend to have the most people constructing their art with business models. On the other hand, musicians known for bizarre robotic content turn out to be the most authentic in their making of transparently fake music. Ultimately, Sophie and A.G. worked on this project together to highlight the authenticity that goes into the synthetic sounds of hyperpop and parody mainstream pop music.
Once the crew oriented everyone on the origins of the genre, producer Max Schabel broke down the intricacies of the recent poster child of the genre, 100 gecs. Capturing the melancholy of growing up in the digital age, Laura Les and Dylan Brady have accompanied relatable dark themes with the expressive uses of stylistic autotune and harsh synthesizers. Often seen as just party music, Laura and Dylan have traversed through shit-talking to raw and earnest emotion.
Another key performer credited with bringing hyperpop to the forefront of music is Miss Charlotte Aitchison, or to most people, Charli XCX. Here, producer Sam Goldenberg explores the gateway drug that Miss XCX is to the world of hyperpop. From her “bad girl leather jacket, I have sex” days to her more current Vroom Vroom era, Charli has explored and experimented with the pop genre.
Bringing in the fluidity of the genre and its ties to the Queer community, resident musicologist Juan Gonzalez discussed artists like Dorian Electra who have been accepted in the hyperpop community and celebrated for their gender fluidity and uniqueness. Another recent example is Rebecca Black, the “Friday” phenomenon, who has recently revamped her career entering the hyperpop arena and coming out as queer. Black has elevated beyond her 15 minutes of fame, fulfilling her life vision, both personally and professionally.
In the end, editor Emily Ohl closed off the ode with a bit of meaningful analysis: to try to live as our most hyperpop selves, as honest, and exciting, and intense and full of energy and curiosity as we can be. This was the spirit that Sophie embodied, and will live on in the art and love that she left behind.
This episode was brought to you by executive producer Emily Ohl, senior editor Max Rosenzweig, content producers Max Schabel, Sam Goldenberg, and Juan Gonzalez, audio producers Ben Schrier, Sam DuBose, and Will Pederson, and audio engineer Spencer Harris. Thanks for choosing us, folks!
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