Synthpop (1976-1989)

Synthpop is a style of hook-laden popular music led by a prominent, melodic synthesizer sound. It gained huge commercial success in the 1980s, dominating the UK charts throughout most of the decade, whilst its origins can be traced back to the early to mid-1970s. It developed alongside New Wave and Minimal Synth, drawing influences from Moog-heavy Space Age Pop and various keyboard-orientated styles associated with the Progressive Rockmovement, particularly Progressive Electronic. The genre was initially spearheaded by Krautrock band Kraftwerk, as well as other such early examples as Hot Butter. 

Historically, the categorization of the terms synthpop and 'electropop' in relation to each other have led to some confusion. The two genres have sometimes been used interchangeably, but they are not synonyms: Electropop has similar roots, but gained its most widespread exposure in the 21st century, typically consisting of a heavily-produced, stereophonic 'wall of sound' mix; dense layers of arrangement and electronic textures; and crisp, warm low-frequency synthesizer sounds, drawing more from various Electronic Dance Music styles, such as Electro House. 

Synthpop, meanwhile, sounds sparser in relation, mechanical-yet-atmospheric, often with a colder, minimal, more detached feel. Due to when the bulk of the music was made, the synthesizer sound and overall production and arrangement is recognizable as sounding "quintessentially 1980s" (or late 1970s): in general terms, the sound of synthpop can be considered more primal and less 'up-to-date'. This applies to both the original huge wave of the style and more modern artists, the latter often due to a degree of nostalgia and/or emulation and imitation (though sometimes elements of electropop are inherently present due to modern production techniques and recording technology).

Other common tropes include complementary electric guitar licks; funky basslines (often played on a synthesizer); pulsating drum machine patterns, regularly provided by the Simmons kit; use of sequencers; and quasi-robotic, off-key vocals. The introduction of new computer technology, digital synths (e.g. the Fairlight CMI) and MIDI greatly influenced the development and future of synthpop's sound during 1983 and 1984. 

Representative artists include Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark, The Human League, Yazoo, Depeche Mode, Pet Shop Boys, Gary Numan (and Tubeway Army), Thomas Dolby, John Foxx, Soft Cell and Tears for Fears, whilst more modern examples of the sound are Ladytron, Cut Copy, CHVRCHES, Grimes, Crystal Castles and La Roux. 

The style was predominantly exemplified by British acts, but various other notable synthpop scenes appeared on a global scale, such as Sandii & the Sunsetz, early Yellow Magic Orchestra and Plastics from Japan, and European bands a-ha, Alphaville, Propaganda and Camouflage. 


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A
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The Adventures (UK)
Afterimage
Alaska Y Los Pegamoides (Spain)
The Alphabet
Alphaville
Altered Images (UK)
Alternative TV
Anna Curra
Antibiøtik (France)
Artiphax (USA)
B
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Bananarama (UK)
Barcelone (France)
​Bert Barten (The Netherlands)
​Big (UK)

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Ce Soir (France)
Congressmen Of Dance (UK)
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Data (UK)
D'Denzz (The Netherlands)
​Deux (France)
​Duran Duran (UK)

E
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East Wall (UK)
East Wall (Italy)
Else Nabu (Germany)
Endgames (Scotland)

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Falco (Austria)
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Gina X (Germany)
Gina X Performance (Gemany)
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Illustrated Man (UK )
​Indochine (France)

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Kid Montana (Belgium)
Kuruki (Belgium)
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Madame Edwarda [Japan]
Made In Poland [Poland]
Magazine [UK]
Manicured Noise [UK]
​Marathon [T.B.A.]
Marquee Moon [Germany]
Marquis De Sade [France]
Marte In Ariete [Italy]

Mecano [The Netherlands]
Mekanik Kommando [The Netherlands]
The Mekons [UK]
The Membranes [UK]
Message [France]
Messageros Killers Boy [France]

Metro Decay [Greece]
Mickeranno [Italy]
​Mick Ness [The Netherlands]
Middle Class [USA]
Militia [Italy]
Minny Pops [The Netherlands]
Mission [Canada]
Mission Of Burma [The Netherlands]
Modern English [UK]
Modern Eon [UK]
Modern Times [The Netherlands]
The Modernaires [UK]
Modest Proposal [The Netherlands]
Moloko + [Germany]
The Monochrome Set [UK]
Month Of Sundays [UK]
Morituri [Portugal]
Move [Italy]

Movement [France]
Musta Paraati [Finland]
Mutabor! [UK]

Muzak [Brazil]
My Captains [UK]
My Dad Is Dead [USA]
Mydolls [USA]

 
Mystery Date [USA] 

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Matt Fretton (UK)
Mecano (Spain)
Megumi Satsu (Japan_
​Metal Y Ca (Spain)
Minks (USA)
​Minor Detail (Ireland)
​The Mo (The Netherlands)
Monuments (Italy)
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New Musik (UK)
New Order (UK)
Nova (The Netherlands)
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One Blood (Finland)
Opposition (UK)
​Original Mirrors (UK)
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Quickflight (Canada)
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Renée (The Netherlands)
​Romantične Boje (Serbia)


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Scatterbrain (Denmark)
The Secret Seven (UK)
Six Sed Red (UK)
Small Affairs (Norway)
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Tears For Fears
Times (USA)
The Toy Shop (UK)
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UV Pop (UK)
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Virgin Dance (UK)
​Vitamin Z (UK)
​The Vyllies (Switzerland)
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The Wild Swans (UK)
Wire Train (USA)
Wolf & Wolf (Austria)
​World At A Glance (USA)
X
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Abecedarians (USA)
​Actifed (UK)
Acute Logic (UK)
ADS (Denmark)
​After Budapest (Italy)
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Abecedarians (USA)
​Actifed (UK)
Acute Logic (UK)
ADS (Denmark)
​After Budapest (Italy)
Z
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Abecedarians (USA)
​Actifed (UK)
Acute Logic (UK)
ADS (Denmark)
​After Budapest (Italy)
?/!
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Форум (Russia)