Does it deserve all the slander?
I’m not sure how I got into hyperpop, but now I’m addicted. My deep dive began after seeing a tweet mentioning the genre and I’m easily manipulated, so I thought I’d give it a try. With only a little experience of 100 gecs, I had lots of new artists to explore. Luckily, Spotify had already made an 8-hour long playlist to collect the top tracks of the genre into one easy listening spot (linked at the bottom of this article). Let’s begin.
I was introduced to hyperpop by Laura Les’ viral TikTok track ‘Haunted’. I’d heard the ten-second clip dozens of times on TikTok and the full song is just as infectious as the clip. Making up one half of hyperpop royalty 100 gecs, the band’s influences can be heard in Les’ solo work. The vocals could be described as anything from a chipmunk on acid to an EDM ghost trapped inside your phone. Far from a psychedelic remake of Alvin and the Chipmunks, Les’ hit solo single surpasses any 100 gecs track released thus far.
Easing in gently, I found Glitch Gum’s remixes of ‘Kyoto’ by Phoebe Bridgers and ‘Just For Me’ by PinkPantheress. It physically pains me to say it, but I prefer them to the originals. ‘Kyoto’ sounds like you’ve zoned out walking through an arcade in the 80s, think Stranger Things but it’s one of those film sequences just focusing on someone’s face as they walk around. A magnificent outro combines beautifully over-produced, pitch-shifted vocals accompanied by huge percussive synth stabs that remind me of the King Frog ride at the fair that comes to my hometown once a year. These stabs make the once-horn-now-synth riff seem soft and wavy in comparison.
With similarly morphed vocals, ‘Just For Me’ is also transformed into a new beast (although closer to its original than ‘Kyoto’). Complete with fairground-ride-style crushing synths, Glitch Gum transitions between the verses and choruses with ease, making the track even more danceable than it was.
It would be blasphemous to write a hyperpop article and not mention SOPHIE. Tragically, SOPHIE died in January 2021 but her influence on the music industry was immense. After receiving attention for ‘BIPP’, a single that blends electronic music and pop – revitalising both genres – SOPHIE went on to collaborate and produce with names from Madonna to Charlie XCX. “I can make you feel better”, SOPHIE promises in ‘BIPP’, going on to fulfil that straight away. The snagging synths rise and fall sounding like a window is being polished and simultaneously I have a new song on my I-want-to-hear-this-in-a-club-one-day wish list.
I listened to so many more good songs and a few shit ones too so here’s a quick tour through some of my other favourites. ‘It gets lonely’ by kmoe sounds like a glitching LCD Soundsystem. ‘NEVER FUCKIN KNOW’ by poutyface is a hazy stream of consciousness memory of a house party, which is one of the catchiest tracks in my new favourite genre. ‘They were deleted you say?’ by dashie is the sound if you cover and uncover your ears quickly at a club and can only hear intermittent beats. ‘Big Boy’ by Payday takes on haters at breakneck speed, rushing from insult to insult – think the ‘Money Machine’ intro by 100 gecs times 100.
Hyperpop is an overarching term covering possibly hundreds of niche subgenres someone, somewhere on the internet could (and would) immediately describe for you. I am not that person. Some songs I’ve listened to deserve the slander the genre receives but there are some gems hidden away that I am desperate to hear at a club. Watch me bribe the guy who presses play on the Slug playlist to add some hyperpop.