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New Wave is an umbrella term used to describe late 1970s to mid-1980s rock and pop music that had ties to the original wave of punk rock. The term at first generally was synonymous with punk rock before being considered a genre in its own right that incorporated aspects of electronic and experimental music, mod subculture, disco and 1960s pop music. New Wave, as a term, has been used to describe all post-punk rock music, yet, it distances itself from other post-punk movements as it displays characteristics common to pop music, rather than the more “arty” post-punk.
As a genre, it incorporates much of the original punk rock sound and ethos yet it is characterized by greater complexity in both music and lyrics. Common characteristics of New Wave music, aside from its punk influences, include the use of synthesizers and electronic productions, the importance of styling and the arts, as well as a great amount of diversity. As a term, New Wave is often used to describe music which was quirky and eccentric, yet also catchy and pop at heart, incorporating clear melodious hooks. In such a way, its style varies greatly, ranging from 1950s and 60s rock revivalism, ska and reggae-styled music, to synthpop-oriented dance.
New Wave is seen as one of the definitive genres of the 1980s; at the time, it enjoyed commercial success as several of the major artists and groups of the time were labelled New Wave. The genre became a fixture on MTV, and the popularity of several New Wave artists has been partially attributed to the exposure that was given to them by the channel.In the mid-1980s differences between New Wave and other music genres began to blur. New Wave has enjoyed resurgences since the 1990s, after a “nostalgia” for New Wave swept across the music scene, influencing several artists.The revivals in the 1990s and early 2000s were small, but became popular by 2004; subsequently, the genre has influenced a variety of music genres.