Synth-pop (short for synthesizer pop; also called techno-pop) is a subgenre of new wave music that first became prominent in the late 1970s and features the synthesizer as the dominant musical instrument. It was prefigured in the 1960s and early 1970s by the use of synthesizers in progressive rock, electronic, art rock, disco, and particularly the "Krautrock" of bands like Kraftwerk. It arose as a distinct genre in Japan and the United Kingdom in the post-punk era as part of the new wave movement of the late 1970s to the mid-1980s.
|Cultural origins||1977–80 in United Kingdom and Japan|
Electronic musical synthesizers that could be used practically in a recording studio became available in the mid-1960s, while the mid-1970s saw the rise of electronic art musicians. After the breakthrough of Gary Numan in the UK Singles Chart in 1979, large numbers of artists began to enjoy success with a synthesizer-based sound in the early 1980s. In Japan, Yellow Magic Orchestra introduced the TR-808 rhythm machine to popular music, and the band would be a major influence on early British synth-pop acts. The development of inexpensive polyphonic synthesizers, the definition of MIDI and the use of dance beats, led to a more commercial and accessible sound for synth-pop. This, its adoption by the style-conscious acts from the New Romantic movement, together with the rise of MTV, led to success for large numbers of British synth-pop acts in the US during the Second British Invasion.
"Synth-pop" is sometimes used interchangeably with "electropop", but "electropop" may also denote a variant of synth-pop that places more emphasis on a harder, more electronic sound. In the mid to late 1980s, duos such as Erasure and Pet Shop Boys adopted a style that was highly successful on the US dance charts, but by the end of the decade, the 'new wave' synth-pop of bands such as A-ha and Alphaville was giving way to house music and techno. Interest in new wave synth-pop began to revive in the indietronica and electroclash movements in the late 1990s, and in the 2000s synth-pop enjoyed a widespread revival and commercial success.
The genre has received criticism for alleged lack of emotion and musicianship; prominent artists have spoken out against detractors who believed that synthesizers themselves composed and played the songs. Synth-pop music has established a place for the synthesizer as a major element of pop and rock music, directly influencing subsequent genres (including house music and Detroit techno) and has indirectly influenced many other genres, as well as individual recordings.
Synth-pop was defined by its primary use of synthesizers, drum machines and sequencers, sometimes using them to replace all other instruments. Borthwick and Moy have described the genre as diverse but "...characterised by a broad set of values that eschewed rock playing styles, rhythms and structures", which were replaced by "synthetic textures" and "robotic rigidity", often defined by the limitations of the new technology, including monophonic synthesizers (only able to play one note at a time).
Many synth-pop musicians had limited musical skills, relying on the technology to produce or reproduce the music. The result was often minimalist, with grooves that were "typically woven together from simple repeated riffs often with no harmonic 'progression' to speak of". Early synth-pop has been described as "eerie, sterile, and vaguely menacing", using droning electronics with little change in inflection. Common lyrical themes of synth-pop songs were isolation, urban anomie, and feelings of being emotionally cold and hollow.
In its second phase in the 1980s, the introduction of dance beats and more conventional rock instrumentation made the music warmer and catchier and contained within the conventions of three-minute pop. Synthesizers were increasingly used to imitate the conventional and clichéd sound of orchestras and horns. Thin, treble-dominant, synthesized melodies and simple drum programmes gave way to thick, and compressed production, and a more conventional drum sound. Lyrics were generally more optimistic, dealing with more traditional subject matter for pop music such as romance, escapism and aspiration. According to music writer Simon Reynolds, the hallmark of 1980s synth-pop was its "emotional, at times operatic singers" such as Marc Almond, Alison Moyet and Annie Lennox. Because synthesizers removed the need for large groups of musicians, these singers were often part of a duo where their partner played all the instrumentation.
Although synth-pop in part arose from punk rock, it abandoned punk's emphasis on authenticity and often pursued a deliberate artificiality, drawing on the critically derided forms such as disco and glam rock. It owed relatively little to the foundations of early popular music in jazz, folk music or the blues, and instead of looking to America, in its early stages, it consciously focused on European and particularly Eastern European influences, which were reflected in band names like Spandau Ballet and songs like Ultravox's "Vienna". Later synth-pop saw a shift to a style more influenced by other genres, such as soul music.
Electronic musical synthesizers that could be used practically in a recording studio became available in the mid-1960s, around the same time as rock music began to emerge as a distinct musical genre. The Mellotron, an electro-mechanical, polyphonic sample-playback keyboard was overtaken by the Moog synthesizer, created by Robert Moog in 1964, which produced completely electronically generated sounds. The portable Minimoog, which allowed much easier use, particularly in live performance was widely adopted by progressive rock musicians such as Richard Wright of Pink Floyd and Rick Wakeman of Yes. Instrumental prog rock was particularly significant in continental Europe, allowing bands like Kraftwerk, Tangerine Dream, Can and Faust to circumvent the language barrier. Their synthesizer-heavy "Kraut rock", along with the work of Brian Eno (for a time the keyboard player with Roxy Music), would be a major influence on subsequent synth rock.
In 1971 the British movie A Clockwork Orange was released with a synth soundtrack by American Wendy Carlos. It was the first time many in the United Kingdom had heard electronic music. Philip Oakey of the Human League and Richard H. Kirk of Cabaret Voltaire, as well as music journalist Simon Reynolds, have cited the soundtrack as an inspiration. Electronic music made occasional moves into the mainstream, with jazz musician Stan Free, under the pseudonym Hot Butter, having a top 10 hit in the United States and United Kingdom in 1972, with a cover of the 1969 Gershon Kingsley song "Popcorn" using a Moog synthesizer, which is recognised as a forerunner to synth-pop and disco.
The mid-1970s saw the rise of electronic art musicians such as Jean Michel Jarre, Vangelis, and Tomita. Tomita's album Electric Samurai: Switched on Rock (1972) featured electronic renditions of contemporary rock and pop songs, while utilizing speech synthesis and analog music sequencers. In 1975, Kraftwerk played their first British show and inspired concert attendees Andy McCluskey and Paul Humphreys (who would later found Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark) to 'throw away their guitars' and become a synth act. Kraftwerk had its first hit UK record later in the year with "Autobahn", which reached number 11 in the British Singles Chart. The group was described by the BBC Four program Synth Britannia as the key to synth-pop's future rise there. Italy's Giorgio Moroder paired up with Donna Summer in 1977 to release the electronic disco song "I Feel Love", and its programmed beats would be a major influence on the later synth-pop sound. David Bowie's Berlin Trilogy, comprising the albums Low (1977), "Heroes" (1977), and Lodger (1979), all featuring Brian Eno, would also be highly influential.
Early guitar-based punk rock that came to prominence in the period 1976–77 was initially hostile to the "inauthentic" sound of the synthesizer, but many new wave and post-punk bands that emerged from the movement began to adopt it as a major part of their sound. British punk and New wave clubs were open to what was then considered an "alternative" sound. The do it yourself attitude of punk broke down the progressive rock era's norm of needing years of experience before getting up on stage to play synthesizers. The American duo Suicide, who arose from the post-punk scene in New York, utilised drum machines and synthesizers in a hybrid between electronics and post-punk on their eponymous 1977 album.
The Cat Stevens album Izitso, released in April 1977, updated his pop rock style with the extensive use of synthesizers, giving it a more synth-pop style; "Was Dog a Doughnut" in particular was an early techno-pop fusion track, which made early use of a music sequencer. Izitso reached No. 7 on the Billboard 200 chart, while the song "(Remember the Days of the) Old Schoolyard" was a top 40 hit. That same month, the Beach Boys released their album Love You, performed almost entirely by bandleader Brian Wilson with Moog and ARP synthesizers, and with arrangements somewhat inspired by Wendy Carlos's Switched-On Bach (1968). Although it was highly praised by some critics and musicians (including Patti Smith and Lester Bangs), the album met with poor commercial reception. The album has been considered revolutionary in its use of synthesizers, while others described Wilson's extensive use of the Moog synthesizer as a "loopy funhouse ambience" and an early example of synth-pop. In July 1977, Donna Summer released "I Feel Love", written and produced by Giorgio Moroder, pioneering the Hi-NRG genre, and influencing later synth-pop acts such as Divine and Dead or Alive. Around this time, Ultravox member Warren Cann purchased a Roland TR-77 drum machine, which was first featured in their October 1977 single release "Hiroshima Mon Amour".
Be-Bop Deluxe released Drastic Plastic in February 1978, leading off with the single "Electrical Language" with Bill Nelson on guitar synthesizer and Andy Clark on synthesizers. Japanese band Yellow Magic Orchestra (YMO) with their self-titled album (1978) and Solid State Survivor (1979), developed a "fun-loving and breezy" sound, with a strong emphasis on melody. They introduced the TR-808 rhythm machine to popular music, and the band would be a major influence on early British synth-pop acts. 1978 also saw the release of UK band the Human League's début single "Being Boiled", while American post-punk band Devo began moving towards a more electronic sound. At this point synth-pop gained some critical attention, but made little impact on the commercial charts.
—This quote is a take on the punk manifesto This is, a chord, this is another, this is a third...now start a band celebrating the virtues of amateur musicianship first appeared in a fanzine in December 1976.
British punk-influenced band Tubeway Army, intended their debut album to be guitar driven. In 1978, Gary Numan, a member of the group, found a minimoog left behind in the studio by another band, and started experimenting with it. This led to a change in the album's sound to electronic new wave. Numan later described his work on this album as a guitarist playing keyboards, who turned "punk songs into electronic songs". A single from the album, "Are Friends Electric?", topped the UK charts in the summer of 1979. The discovery that synthesizers could be employed in a different manner from that used in progressive rock or disco, prompted Numan to go solo. On his futuristic album The Pleasure Principle (1979), he played only synths, but retained a bass guitarist and a drummer for the rhythm section. A single from the album, "Cars" topped the charts.
Giorgio Moroder collaborated with the band Sparks on their album No. 1 In Heaven (1979). That same year in Japan, the synth-pop band P-Model made its debut with the album In a Model Room. Other Japanese synth-pop groups emerging around the same time included the Plastics and Hikashu. This zeitgeist of revolution in electronic music performance and recording/production was encapsulated by then would-be record producer Trevor Horn of the Buggles in the international hit "Video Killed the Radio Star" (1979).
1980 also saw the release of where "Video Killed the Radio Star" came from, the Buggles' debut album The Age of Plastic, which some writers have labeled as the first landmark of another electropop era, as well as what for many is the defining album of Devo's career, the overtly synth-pop Freedom of Choice.
Commercial success (1981–85)
The emergence of synth-pop has been described as "perhaps the single most significant event in melodic music since Mersey-beat". By the 1980s synthesizers had become much cheaper and easier to use. After the definition of MIDI in 1982 and the development of digital audio, the creation of purely electronic sounds and their manipulation became much simpler. Synthesizers came to dominate the pop music of the early 1980s, particularly through their adoption by bands of the New Romantic movement.
The New Romantic scene had developed in the London nightclubs Billy's and the Blitz and was associated with bands such as Duran Duran, Visage, and Spandau Ballet. They adopted an elaborate visual style that combined elements of glam rock, science fiction and romanticism. Duran Duran have been credited with incorporating dance beats into synth-pop to produce a catchier and warmer sound, which provided them with a series of hit singles. They would soon be followed into the British charts by a large number of bands utilising synthesizers to create catchy three-minute pop songs. A new line-up for the Human League along with a new producer and a more commercial sound led to the album Dare (1981), which produced a series of hit singles. These included "Don't You Want Me", which reached number one in the UK at the end of 1981.
Synth-pop reached its commercial peak in the UK in the winter of 1981–2, with bands such as Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark, Japan, Ultravox, Soft Cell, Depeche Mode and even Kraftwerk, enjoying top ten hits. In early 1982 synthesizers were so dominant that the Musicians Union attempted to limit their use. By the end of 1982, these acts had been joined in the charts by synth-based singles from Thomas Dolby, Blancmange, and Tears for Fears. The proliferation of acts led to an anti-synth backlash, with groups including Spandau Ballet, Human League, Soft Cell and ABC incorporating more conventional influences and instruments into their sounds.
In the US, where synth-pop is considered a subgenre of new wave and was described as "technopop" or "electropop" by the press at the time, the genre became popular due to the cable music channel MTV, which reached the media capitals of New York City and Los Angeles in 1982. It made heavy use of style-conscious New Romantic synth-pop acts, with "I Ran (So Far Away)" (1982) by A Flock of Seagulls generally considered the first hit by a British act to enter the Billboard Top Ten as a result of exposure through video. The switch to a "new music" format in US radio stations was also significant in the success of British bands. The success of synth-pop and other British acts would be seen as a Second British Invasion. Synth-pop was taken up across the world, with international hits for acts including Men Without Hats and Trans-X from Canada, Telex from Belgium, Peter Schilling, Sandra, Modern Talking, Propaganda and Alphaville from Germany, Yello from Switzerland  and Azul y Negro from Spain.
In the mid-1980s, key artists included solo performer Howard Jones, who S.T. Erlewine has stated to have "merged the technology-intensive sound of new wave with the cheery optimism of hippies and late-'60s pop", (although with notable exceptions including the lyrics of "What Is Love?" – "Does anybody love anybody anyway?") and Nik Kershaw, whose "well-craft synth-pop" incorporated guitars and other more traditional pop influences that particularly appealed to a teen audience. Pursuing a more dance-orientated sound were Bronski Beat whose album The Age of Consent (1984), dealing with issues of homophobia and alienation, reached the top 20 in the UK and top 40 in the US. and Thompson Twins, whose popularity peaked in 1984 with the album Into The Gap, which reached No.1 in the UK and the US top ten and spawned several top ten singles. Initially dismissed in the music press as a "teeny bop sensation" were Norwegian band a-ha, whose use of guitars and real drums produced an accessible form of synth-pop, which, along with an MTV friendly video, took their 1985 single "Take On Me" to number two in the UK and number one in the US.
Declining popularity (1986–2000)
Synth-pop continued into the late 1980s, with a format that moved closer to dance music, including the work of acts such as British duos Pet Shop Boys, Erasure and the Communards. The Communards' major hits were covers of disco classics "Don't Leave Me This Way" (1986) and "Never Can Say Goodbye" (1987). After adding other elements to their sound, and with the help of a gay audience, several synth-pop acts had success on the US dance charts. Among these were American acts Information Society who had two top 10 singles in 1988, Anything Box, and Red Flag. British band When In Rome scored a hit with their debut single "The Promise". Several German synth-pop acts of the late 1980s included Camouflage, Cetu Javu, CCCP and Celebrate the Nun. Canadian duo Kon Kan had major success with their debut single, "I Beg Your Pardon" in 1989.
An American backlash against European synth-pop has been seen as beginning in the mid-1980s with the rise of heartland rock and roots rock. In the UK the arrival of indie rock bands, particularly the Smiths, has been seen as marking the end of synth-driven new wave and the beginning of the guitar-based music that would dominate rock into the 1990s. By 1991, in the United States synth-pop was losing its commercial viability as alternative radio stations were responding to the popularity of grunge. Exceptions that continued to pursue forms of synth-pop or rock in the 1990s were Savage Garden, the Rentals and the Moog Cookbook. Electronic music was also explored from the early 1990s by indietronica bands like Stereolab, EMF, the Utah Saints, and Disco Inferno, who mixed a variety of indie and synthesizer sounds.
Indietronica began to take off in the new millennium as the new digital technology developed, with acts such as Broadcast from the UK, Justice from France, Lali Puna from Germany, and Ratatat and the Postal Service from the US, mixing a variety of indie sounds with electronic music, largely produced on small independent labels. Similarly, the electroclash subgenre began in New York at the end of the 1990s, combining synth-pop, techno, punk and performance art. It was pioneered by I-F with their track "Space Invaders Are Smoking Grass" (1998), and pursued by artists including Felix da Housecat, Peaches, Chicks on Speed, and Fischerspooner. It gained international attention at the beginning of the new millennium and spread to scenes in London and Berlin, but rapidly faded as a recognizable genre as acts began to experiment with a variety of forms of music.
In the new millennium, renewed interest in electronic music and nostalgia for the 1980s led to the beginnings of a synth-pop revival, with acts including Adult and Fischerspooner. Between 2003 and 2004, it began to move into the mainstream with Ladytron, the Postal Service, Cut Copy, The Bravery and The Killers all producing records that incorporated vintage synthesizer sounds and styles that contrasted with the dominant genres of post-grunge and nu metal. In particular, The Killers enjoyed considerable airplay and exposure and their debut album Hot Fuss (2004) reached the top ten of the Billboard 200. The Killers, The Bravery and the Stills all left their synth-pop sound behind after their debut albums and began to explore classic 1970s rock, but the style was picked up by a large number of performers, particularly female solo artists. Following the breakthrough success of Lady Gaga with her single "Just Dance" (2008), the British and other media proclaimed a new era of female synth-pop stars, citing artists such as Little Boots, La Roux, and Ladyhawke. Male acts that emerged in the same period include Calvin Harris, Empire of the Sun, Frankmusik, Hurts, Ou Est Le Swimming Pool, Kaskade, LMFAO, and Owl City, whose single "Fireflies" (2009) topped the Billboard Hot 100 chart. In 2009, an underground subgenre with direct stylistic origins to synth-pop became popular, chillwave. It sprouted new stars in the independent music such as Washed Out, Neon Indian, and Toro y Moi. Other 2010s synth-pop acts include The Naked and Famous, Chvrches, M83, and Shiny Toy Guns.
American singer Kesha has also been described as an electropop artist, with her electropop debut single "Tik Tok" topping the Billboard Hot 100 for nine weeks in 2010. She also used the genre on her comeback single "Die Young". Mainstream female recording artists who have dabbled in the genre in the 2010s include Madonna, Katy Perry, Jessie J, Christina Aguilera, and Beyoncé. In Japan, girl group Perfume, along with producer Yasutaka Nakata of capsule, produced technopop music combining 1980s synth-pop with chiptunes and electro house from 2003. Their breakthrough came in 2008 with the album Game, which led to a renewed interest in technopop within mainstream Japanese pop music. Other Japanese female technopop artists soon followed, including Aira Mitsuki, immi, Mizca, SAWA, Saoriiiii and Sweet Vacation. Model-singer Kyary Pamyu Pamyu also shared the same success as Perfume's under Nakata's production with the album Pamyu Pamyu Revolution in 2012, which topped electronic charts on iTunes as well as the Japanese Albums chart. Much like Japan, Korean pop music has also become dominated by synth-pop, particularly with girl groups such as f(x), Girls' Generation and Wonder Girls.
Synth-pop has received considerable criticism and even prompted hostility among musicians and in the press. It has been described as "anaemic" and "soulless". Synth-pop's early steps, and Gary Numan in particular, were also disparaged in the British music press of the late 1970s and early 1980s for their German influences and characterised by journalist Mick Farren as the "Adolf Hitler Memorial Space Patrol". In 1983, Morrissey of the Smiths stated that "there was nothing more repellent than the synthesizer". During the decade, objections were raised to the quality of compositions and the limited musicianship of artists. Gary Numan observed "hostility" and what he felt was "ignorance" regarding synth-pop, such as his belief that people "thought machines did it".
Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark frontman Andy McCluskey recalled a great many people "who thought that the equipment wrote the song for you", and asserted: "Believe me, if there was a button on a synth or a drum machine that said 'hit single', I would have pressed it as often as anybody else would have – but there isn't. It was all written by real human beings, and it was all played by hand".
According to Simon Reynolds, in some quarters synthesizers were seen as instruments for "effete poseurs", in contrast to the phallic guitar. The association of synth-pop with an alternative sexuality was reinforced by the images projected by synth-pop stars, who were seen as gender bending, including Phil Oakey's asymmetric hair and use of eyeliner, Marc Almond's "pervy" leather jacket, skirt wearing by figures including Martin Gore of Depeche Mode and the early "dominatrix" image of the Eurythmics' Annie Lennox. In the U.S. this led to British synth-pop artists being characterised as "English haircut bands" or "art fag" music, though many British synth-pop artists were highly popular on both American radio and MTV. Although some audiences were overtly hostile to synth-pop, it achieved an appeal among those alienated from the dominant heterosexuality of mainstream rock culture, particularly among gay and female audiences.
By the mid-1980s, synth-pop had helped establish the synthesizer as a primary instrument in mainstream pop music. It also influenced the sound of many mainstream rock acts, such as Bruce Springsteen, ZZ Top and Van Halen. It was a major influence on house music, which grew out of the post-disco dance club culture of the early 1980s as some DJs attempted to make the less pop-oriented music that also incorporated influences from Latin soul, dub, rap music, and jazz.
American musicians such as Juan Atkins, using names including Model 500, Infinity and as part of Cybotron, developed a style of electronic dance music influenced by synth-pop and funk that led to the emergence of Detroit techno in the mid-1980s. The continued influence of 1980s synth-pop could be seen in various incarnations of 1990s dance music including trance. Hip hop artists such as Mobb Deep have sampled 1980s synth-pop songs. Popular artists such as Rihanna, UK stars Jay Sean and Taio Cruz, as well as British pop star Lily Allen on her second album, have also embraced the genre.
- Fisher, Mark (2010). "You Remind Me of Gold: Dialogue with Simon Reynolds". Kaleidoscope (9).
- Glenn Appell; David Hemphill (2006). American popular music: a multicultural history. Belmont, CA: Thomson Wadsworth. p. 423. ISBN 978-0155062290. Retrieved 12 May 2012.
The 1980s brought the dawning age of the synthesizer in rock. Synth pop, a spare, synthesizer-based dance pop sound, was its first embodiment.
- Trynka & Bacon 1996, p. 60.
- "unknown". Stereo Review. 48: 89. 1983.
- Collins, Schedel & Wilson 2013, p. 97, "synth pop (also called electro pop, techno pop, and the like)"; Hoffmann 2004, p. 2153, "Techno-pop, also termed synth-pop or electro-pop"
- Synth Pop at AllMusic
- Huang, Hao; Walser, Robert; DiMartino, Dave; Kaliss, Jeff; Weber, Michael (eds.). "Lionel Bart". Music in the 20th Century. 1. Routledge. p. 44.
- Jones 2006, p. 107.
- S. Borthwick & R. Moy (2004), Popular Music Genres: an Introduction, pp. 121–3, ISBN 978-0-7486-1745-6
- Barry R. Parker, Good Vibrations: the Physics of Music (Boston MD: JHU Press, 2009), ISBN 0-8018-9264-3, p. 213.
- M. Spicer (2010), "Reggatta de Blanc: analysing style in the music of the police", in J. Covach; M. Spicer (eds.), Sounding Out Pop: Analytical Essays in Popular Music, pp. 124–49, ISBN 978-0-472-03400-0
- "Synth pop", Allmusic, archived from the original on 11 March 2011 Cite uses deprecated parameter
- S. Reynolds (22 January 2010), "The 1980s revival that lasted an entire decade", Guardian.co.uk, London, archived from the original on 6 September 2011 Cite uses deprecated parameter
- S. Reynolds (10 October 2009), "One nation under a Moog", Guardian.co.uk, London, archived from the original on 13 May 2011 Cite uses deprecated parameter
- T. Cateforis, The Death of New Wave (PDF), archived from the original (PDF) on 23 July 2011 Cite uses deprecated parameter
- S. Reynolds (2005), Rip It Up and Start Again Postpunk 1978–1984, p. 327, ISBN 978-0-571-21570-6
- J. Stuessy & S. D. Lipscomb (2008), Rock and Roll: its History and Stylistic Development (6 ed.), p. 21, ISBN 978-0-13-601068-5
- R. Brice (2001), Music Engineering (2 ed.), pp. 108–9, ISBN 978-0-7506-5040-3
- T. Pinch & F. Trocco (2004), Analog Days: The Invention and Impact of the Moog Synthesizer, pp. 214–36, ISBN 978-0-674-01617-0
- P. Bussy (2004), Kraftwerk: Man, Machine and Music (3 ed.), pp. 15–17, ISBN 978-0-946719-70-9
- R. Unterberger (2004), "Progressive rock", in V. Bogdanov; C. Woodstra; S. T. Erlewine (eds.), All Music Guide to Rock: the Definitive Guide to Rock, Pop, and Soul, Milwaukee, WI: Backbeat Books, pp. 1330–1, ISBN 978-0-87930-653-3
- Synth Britannia, 2 August 2010
- B. Eder, "Hot Butter: Biography", Allmusic, archived from the original on 4 August 2011 Cite uses deprecated parameter
- M. Jenkins (2007), Analog Synthesizers: Understanding, Performing, Buying: from the Legacy of Moog to Software Synthesis, pp. 133–4, ISBN 978-0-240-52072-8
- T. J. Seabrook (2008), Bowie in Berlin: A New Career in a New Town, ISBN 978-1-906002-08-4
- D. Nicholls (1998), The Cambridge History of American Music, p. 373, ISBN 978-0-521-45429-2
- We were synth punks’ Interview with Andy McCluskey by the Philadelphia Inquirer 5 March 2012
- D. Nobakht (2004), Suicide: No Compromise, p. 136, ISBN 978-0-946719-71-6
- Ruhlmann, William. "Review". Izitso. AllMusic. Retrieved 20 May 2012.
- "Cat Stevens – Izitso". Island Records. Discogs. Retrieved 20 May 2012.
- David Toop (March 1996), "A-Z Of Electro", The Wire (145), retrieved 29 May 2011
- "Cat Stevens – Izitso". A&M Records. Discogs. Retrieved 20 May 2012.
- Kempke, D. Erik (15 August 2000). "The Beach Boys: 15 Big Ones/Love You: Album Reviews". Pitchfork Media Inc. Retrieved 27 October 2012.
- "Brian Wilson — Caroline Now! Interview". Marina Records. 2000. Retrieved 13 September 2013.
- Smith, Patti (October 1977). "october 1977 hit parader selection". Hit Parader.
- Phipps, Keith (19 June 2007). "The Beach Boys: Love You". The A.V. Club. Retrieved 28 October 2012.
- Scott Schinder; Andy Schwartz (2008). Icons of Rock: Elvis Presley; Ray Charles; Chuck Berry; Buddy Holly; The Beach Boys; James Brown; The Beatles; Bob Dylan; The Rolling Stones; The Who; The Byrds; Jimi Hendrix. ABC-CLIO. pp. 124–. ISBN 978-0-313-33846-5. Retrieved 9 September 2013.
- "The Beach Boys Biography". Apple Inc. Retrieved 1 July 2012.
- T. Maginnis, The Man Who Dies Every Day: Ultravox, archived from the original on 5 August 2011 Cite uses deprecated parameter
- A. Stout (24 June 2011), "Yellow Magic Orchestra on Kraftwerk and How to Write a Melody During a Cultural Revolution", SF Weekly, archived from the original on 3 September 2011 Cite uses deprecated parameter
- S. T. Erlewine (2001), "Yellow Magic Orchestra", in V. Bogdanov (ed.), All Music Guide to Electronica: the Definitive Guide to Electronic Music (4 ed.), Milwaukee, WI: Backbeat Books, p. 516, ISBN 978-0-87930-628-1
- J. Anderson (28 November 2008), "Slaves to the rhythm: Kanye West is the latest to pay tribute to a classic drum machine", CBC News, archived from the original on 15 August 2012 Cite uses deprecated parameter
- J. Lewis (4 July 2008), "Back to the future: Yellow Magic Orchestra helped usher in electronica – and they may just have invented hip-hop, too", Guardian.co.uk, London, archived from the original on 11 November 2011 Cite uses deprecated parameter
- S. Reynolds (2005), Rip It Up and Start Again Postpunk 1978–1984, pp. 340 and 342–3, ISBN 978-0-571-21570-6
- Cateforis, pp. 168 and 247
- S. Reynolds (2005), Rip It Up and Start Again Postpunk 1978–1984 US Edition, p. 298 US Edition, ISBN 978-0-571-21570-6
- S. Reynolds (2005), Rip It Up and Start Again Postpunk 1978–1984, p. 298 US Edition, ISBN 978-0-571-21570-6
- J. Miller (2008), Stripped: Depeche Mode (3 ed.), London, p. 21, ISBN 978-1-84772-444-1
- I. Martin, "P-Model", Allmusic, archived from the original on 29 July 2017 Cite uses deprecated parameter
- Peel, Ian (1 January 2010). "From the Art of Plastic to the Age of Noise". trevorhorn.com. Archived from the original on 11 November 2013. Retrieved 13 May 2015. Cite uses deprecated parameter
- "Buggles Rehearsal – Sarm West – Geoff Downes". sonicstate.com. 24 September 2010. Retrieved 13 May 2015.
- S. Huey, "Freedom of Choice: Devo", Allmusic, archived from the original on 9 October 2011 Cite uses deprecated parameter
- S. Reynolds (2005), Rip It Up and Start Again Postpunk 1978–1984, p. 328, ISBN 978-0-571-21570-6
- M. Russ (2004), Sound Synthesis and Sampling (3 ed.), Burlington MA, p. 66, ISBN 978-0-240-52105-3
- N. Rama Lohan (2 March 2007). "Dawn of the plastic age". Malaysia Star. Archived from the original on 9 June 2012. Cite uses deprecated parameter
- D. Rimmer (2003), New Romantics: The Look, London, ISBN 978-0-7119-9396-9
- S. Reynolds (2005), Rip It Up and Start Again Postpunk 1978–1984, pp. 320–2, ISBN 978-0-571-21570-6
- S. Reynolds (2005), Rip It Up and Start Again Postpunk 1978–1984, pp. 334–5, ISBN 978-0-571-21570-6
- S. Reynolds (2005), Rip It Up and Start Again Postpunk 1978–1984, p. 342, ISBN 978-0-571-21570-6
- T. Cateforis (2011), Are We Not New Wave?: Modern Pop at the Turn of the 1980s, p. 52,62, ISBN 978-0-472-03470-3
- "Anglomania: The Second British Invasion". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 3 May 2019.
- J. Bush, "Propaganda", Allmusic
- M. Jenkins (2007), Analog Synthesizers: Understanding, Performing, Buying: from the Legacy of Moog to Software Synthesis, p. 171, ISBN 978-0-240-52072-8
- S. T. Erlewine, "Howard Jones", Allmusic, archived from the original on 17 February 2011 Cite uses deprecated parameter
- S. Bultman, "The Riddle: Nik Kershaw", Allmusic, archived from the original on 12 May 2011 Cite uses deprecated parameter
- J. Berens (July 1985), "What makes Nik tick, a tiny teen idol speaks out", Spin, 1 (3): 14, ISSN 0886-3032
- A. Kellman, "Bronski Beat", Allmusic, archived from the original on 3 August 2011 Cite uses deprecated parameter
- S. T. Erlewine, "Thompson Twins", Allmusic, archived from the original on 5 August 2011 Cite uses deprecated parameter
- K. Hayes, "a-ha", Allmusic, archived from the original on 28 August 2011 Cite uses deprecated parameter
- J. Ankeny, "Pet Shop Boys", Allmusic, archived from the original on 2 August 2011 Cite uses deprecated parameter
- S. T. Erlewine, "Erasure", Allmusic, archived from the original on 4 August 2011 Cite uses deprecated parameter
- A. Kellman, "The Communards", Allmusic, archived from the original on 20 May 2012 Cite uses deprecated parameter
- S. Thornton (2006), "Understanding Hipness: 'Subcultural capital' as feminist cultural tool", in A. Bennett; B. Shank; J. Toynbee (eds.), The Popular Music Studies Reader, London, p. 102, ISBN 978-0-415-30709-3
- John Bush. "Information Society – Music Biography, Streaming Radio and Discography – AllMusic". AllMusic.
- G. McNett (12 October 1999), "Synthpop Flocks Like Seagulls", Long Island Voice, archived from the original on 22 May 2012 Cite uses deprecated parameter
- N. Forsberg, "Synthpop in the USA", Release Music Magazine, archived from the original on 27 September 2011 Cite uses deprecated parameter
- S. Reynolds (2005), Rip It Up and Start Again Postpunk 1978–1984, p. 535, ISBN 978-0-571-21570-6
- S. T. Erlewine, "The Smiths", Allmusic, archived from the original on 16 July 2011 Cite uses deprecated parameter
- S. T. Erlewine, "R.E.M.", Allmusic, archived from the original on 28 June 2011 Cite uses deprecated parameter
- M. Sutton, "Celebrate the Nun", Allmusic, archived from the original on 11 March 2016 Cite uses deprecated parameter
- "Indietronica", Allmusic, archived from the original on 16 February 2011 Cite uses deprecated parameter
- S. Leckart (28 August 2006), "Have laptop will travel", MSNBC, archived from the original on 15 July 2011 Cite uses deprecated parameter
- D. Lynskey (22 March 2002). "Out with the old, in with the older". The Guardian. London. Archived from the original on 3 August 2012. Cite uses deprecated parameter
- M. Goldstein (16 May 2008), "This cat is housebroken", Boston Globe, archived from the original on 12 May 2011 Cite uses deprecated parameter
- J. Walker (5 October 2002), "Popmatters concert review: ELECTROCLASH 2002 Artists: Peaches, Chicks on Speed, W.I.T., and Tracy and the Plastics", Boston Globe, archived from the original on 13 May 2011 Cite uses deprecated parameter
- "Fischerspooner's electroclash revenge". Archived from the original on 9 January 2009. Retrieved 3 December 2012. Cite uses deprecated parameter
- J. Harris (2009), Hail!, Hail! Rock 'n' Roll, London, p. 78, ISBN 978-1-84744-293-2
- T. Cateforis (2011), Are We Not New Wave?: Modern Pop at the Turn of the 1980s, pp. 218–9, ISBN 978-0-472-03470-3
- T. Cateforis (2011), Are We Not New Wave?: Modern Pop at the Turn of the 1980s, p. 223, ISBN 978-0-472-03470-3
- Sullivan, Caroline (17 December 2008). "Slaves to synth". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 20 June 2011.
- Collett-White, Mike; Martin, Cindy (27 January 2009). "UK gaga for electro-pop, guitar bands fight back". Reuters. Retrieved 22 December 2017.
- Guha, Rohin (2 October 2009). "Calvin Harris: The New King of Electropop". BlackBook. Retrieved 10 June 2011.
- "Empire of the Sun's Electro-Pop Is Huge in Australia and Heading Your Way". Rolling Stone. 8 January 2009. Retrieved 9 February 2012.
- Murray, Robin (1 June 2009). "Frankmusik Album Update". Clash. Retrieved 20 June 2011.
- "BBC Sound of 2010: Hurts". BBC News. 5 January 2010. Retrieved 20 June 2011.
- Woo, Jen (29 June 2010). "Electric Daisy Carnival at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum". Santa Barbara Independent. Retrieved 13 July 2010.
- Lipshutz, Jason (4 January 2010). ""Party" just beginning for electro-pop duo LMFAO". Billboard. Retrieved 31 January 2010 – via Reuters.
- Menze, Jill (9 August 2009). "Electro-Pop Act Owl City Takes Off With 'Fireflies'". Billboard. Retrieved 20 June 2011.
- Pietroluongo, Silvio (29 October 2009). "Owl City's 'Fireflies' Lands At No. 1 On Hot 100". Billboard. Retrieved 20 June 2011.
- Geslani, Michelle (7 July 2016). "The Naked and Famous announce new album, Simple Forms, premiere "Higher" — listen". Consequence of Sound. Retrieved 22 December 2017.
- Patrick Ryan, USA TODAY (10 August 2013). "On The Verge: Chvrches give synthpop intelligence". USA TODAY.
- Sam Richards. "M83's Anthony Gonzalez is ready for the fast lane". The Guardian.
- "Shiny Toy Guns: III". Popmatters.com. 9 January 2013. Retrieved 4 August 2018.
- "Shiny Toy Guns' 'III': Track-By-Track Video". Billboard.com. Retrieved 4 August 2018.
- McIntyre, Hugh. "Ke$ha Debuts 'Die Young' Single: Listen". Billboard. Retrieved 29 September 2012.
- Ratliff, Ben (14 April 2011). "Who Needs a Beach When Life's a Goof?". The New York Times. Retrieved 30 May 2012.
- "Ke$ha — Tik Tok — Song Review". AllMusic. Retrieved 29 September 2012.
- Trust, Gary. "PSY Still Stuck At No. 2 as Maroon 5 Tops Hot 100 – "One More Night" spends a fifth week in the top spot, while Ke$ha crashes the Top 10". Billboard. Retrieved 17 October 2012.
- Jaksich, Jessica. "The Party Doesn't Stop With Ke$ha's New Single!". Seventeen. Retrieved 29 September 2012.
- McCormick, Neil (17 July 2012). "Madonna, Hyde Park, review". The Daily Telegraph. London. Retrieved 2 November 2012.
- Graham, Mark. "My 53 Favorite Madonna Songs (In Honor Of Her 53rd Birthday)". VH1. Viacom. Archived from the original on 28 March 2014. Retrieved 2 November 2012. Cite uses deprecated parameter
- ClevverMusic. "Madonna New Album Will Be Electro-Pop". Daily Motion. Orange. Retrieved 2 November 2012.
- Distant, Daniel. "Madonna in Legal Trouble Over 'Girls Gone Wild'". The Christian Post. Retrieved 2 November 2012.
- "50 Best Songs of 2010 – Katy Perry — Teenage Dream". Rolling Stone. p. 4. Retrieved 3 November 2012.
- Anderson, Sara D. "Top 10 Katy Perry Songs". PopCrush. Retrieved 3 November 2012.
- Montgomery, James. "New Katy Perry Songs Hit The Net". MTV News. Retrieved 3 November 2012.
- "Jessie J — Biography". Virgin Media. Retrieved 1 November 2012.
- Young, Matt. "Reviewed: Christina Aguilera, Bionic". The Village Voice. Retrieved 2 November 2012.
- Lamb, Bill. "Christina Aguilera — Bionic A Great: Album Buried In Here". About.com. Archived from the original on 21 September 2012. Retrieved 2 November 2012. Cite uses deprecated parameter
- Petridis, Alexis (13 November 2008). "Pop review: Beyoncé, I Am ... Sasha Fierce". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 2 November 2012.
- "Perfume Interview" (in Japanese). bounce.com. 7 February 2008. Archived from the original on 9 December 2008. Retrieved 2 June 2009. (English translation)
- "Charts: Perfume becomes first technopop group at #1 since YMO". Tokyograph. 22 April 2008. Retrieved 12 August 2011.
- Shikata, Hiroaki (11 January 2009). "'08年Post Perfume～J-ポップ歌姫編" ['08 Post-Perfume J-pop Diva Guide]. All About. Retrieved 12 August 2011.
- "Will the world soon wake up to the scent of Perfume? (Daniel Robson)". The Japan Times. 18 May 2012. Retrieved 5 July 2012.
- "Perfume needs to walk a fine line on its path overseas (Ian Martin)". The Japan Times. 31 May 2012. Retrieved 5 July 2012.
- "Oricon Weekly Albums May 21st–27th, 2012". Oricon. 4 June 2012. Retrieved 5 July 2012.
- Mullins, Michelle (15 January 2012). "K-pop splashes into the west". The Purdue University Calumet Chronicle. Archived from the original on 4 June 2013. Retrieved 22 June 2012. Cite uses deprecated parameter
- A. De Curtis (1992), Present Tense: Rock and Roll and Culture, p. 9, ISBN 978-0-8223-1265-9
- M. Ribowsky (2010), Signed, Sealed, and Delivered: The Soulful Journey of Stevie Wonder, p. 245, ISBN 978-0-470-48150-9
- The Seth Man (June 2004), "Bill Nelson's Red Noise – Sound-On-Sound", Julian Cope Presents Head Heritage, archived from the original on 4 August 2011 Cite uses deprecated parameter
- S. Reynolds (2005), Rip It Up and Start Again Postpunk 1978–1984, p. 337, ISBN 978-0-571-21570-6
- T. Cateforis (2011), Are We Not New Wave?: Modern Pop at the Turn of the 1980s, p. 59, ISBN 978-0-472-03470-3
- "Gary Numan interview". BBC Breakfast. 15 May 2012. Event occurs at 8:56 am. BBC One. British Broadcasting Corporation.
There was a certain amount of hostility to electronic music when it first came along. People didn't think it was real music; they thought machines did it. There was a lot of ignorance, to be honest.
- "Synth Britannia (Part Two: Construction Time Again)". Britannia. 16 October 2009. 26 minutes in. BBC Four. British Broadcasting Corporation.
- S. Reynolds (2005), Rip It Up and Start Again Postpunk 1978–1984, p. 536, ISBN 978-0-571-21570-6
- "House", Allmusic, archived from the original on 14 March 2011 Cite uses deprecated parameter
- J. Bush (2001), "Juan Atkins", in V. Bogdanov (ed.), All Music Guide to Electronica: the Definitive Guide to Electronic Music (4 ed.), Milwaukee, WI: Backbeat Books, p. 27, ISBN 978-0-87930-628-1
- C. Gordon (23 October 2009), "The decade that never dies Still '80s Fetishizing in '09", Yale Daily News, archived from the original on 14 August 2011 Cite uses deprecated parameter
- McCormick, Neil (24 March 2010). "Jay Sean and Taio Cruz wowing America". Daily News. New York. Retrieved 12 September 2011.
- Edwards, Gavin (1 July 2008). "In the Studio: Lily Allen Makes "Naughty" Follow-Up". Rolling Stone. Wenner Media. Retrieved 3 April 2010.
- S. Borthwick and R. Moy (2004), Popular Music Genres: an Introduction, Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press
- P. Bussy (2004), Kraftwerk: Man, Machine and Music (3rd ed.), London: SAF
- T. Cateforis (2011), Are We Not New Wave?: Modern Pop at the Turn of the 1980s, Ann Arbor MI: University of Michigan Press
- Collins, Nick; Schedel, Margaret; Wilson, Scott (2013). Electronic Music. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-1-107-24454-2.
- Hoffmann, Frank (2004). Encyclopedia of Recorded Sound. Routledge. ISBN 978-1-135-94950-1.*
- B. R. Parker (2009), Good Vibrations: the Physics of Music, Boston MD: JHU Press
- Simon Reynolds (2005), Rip It Up and Start Again Postpunk 1978–1984, London: Faber and Faber
- J. Stuessy and S. D. Lipscomb (2008), Rock and Roll: its History and Stylistic Development (6th ed.), London: Pearson Prentice Hall
- Trynka, Paul; Bacon, Tony, eds. (1996). Rock Hardware. Balafon Books. ISBN 978-0-87930-428-7.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Synthpop.|