Level 42 - The Sun Goes Down (Living It Up) - Polydor - Synth Pop
Track ListingA The Sun Goes Down (Living It Up) (5:58)
B Can\'t Walk You Home (6:57)
Media Condition » Very Good Plus (VG+)
Sleeve Condition » Very Good Plus (VG+)
|Title||The Sun Goes Down (Living It Up)|
|Format||Vinyl 12 Inch|
Other Titles by Level 42
Information on the Synth Pop GenreSynthpop is a genre of pop music in which the synthesizer is the dominant musical instrument. It originated as part of the New Wave movement of the late 1970s and to mid-1980s, and it has continued to exist and develop ever since. It has seen a rise in popularity in the 21st century.
First wave: 1977-1990
Depeche Mode, one of the most successful synthpop bands of all time.
Giorgio Moroder paired up with Donna Summer in 1977 to release the electronic disco song I Feel Love. While a disco song first and foremost, the programmed, arpeggiated beats had a profound impact on the bands which would soon be known as synthpop. That same year, Ultravox member Warren Cann purchased a Roland TR-77 drum machine, which was first featured in their October 1977 single release Hiroshima Mon Amour.
In 1978, the first incarnation of the Human League of Sheffield, England released their debut single "Being Boiled". In the United States, Devo, who had been using synthesizers since their beginnings in 1975, moved towards a more electronic sound.
In the UK, the original synthesizer bands had a sound that was generally dark, moody and robotic and were more founded in an avant-garde, art rock aesthetic. In 1979, Tubeway Army, a little known outfit from West London, who dropped their initial punk rock image and topped the UK charts in the summer of 1979 with the single "Are Friends Electric?" and their album Replicas. This prompted the singer/songwriter, Gary Numan to go solo and in the same year he released the Kraftwerk inspired album, The Pleasure Principle which was another number one album, and he topped the singles charts for the second time with "Cars".
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".
Giorgio Moroder collaborated with the band Sparks on their album, No. 1 In Heaven. Others were soon to follow, including Frank Tovey, who performed under the name Fad Gadget. Tovey who was signed to Daniel Miller's Mute Records and made use of "found objects" in his recordings such as bottles and razors. Daniel Miller himself had a role in the emerging futurist movement as a performer under the name The Normal which released a one-off single Warm Leatherette. Although the single did not chart, it became a cult favorite and has been covered by many artists since its release, including Grace Jones, Duran Duran and Nine Inch Nails.
The sounds of synthesizers came to dominate the pop music of the early 1980s as well as replacing disco in dance clubs in Europe. Other successful synthpop artists of this era included Soft Cell, Depeche Mode, Yazoo, Heaven 17, Japan, Eurythmics, and Tears For Fears (though the latter two would branch out into a wider rock/pop sound). Real Life, Camouflage, Real Life, Modern Talking, Bananarama and others are bands of Synthpop style.
In early synthpop the synthesizer stood out and the music sounded eerie, sterile and slightly menacing. By the mid 1980's the technology had improved to the point that synthpop acts used the instrument to create a sound that resembled many instruments and allowed mainstream rock and pop acts to incorporate the synthesizer into their sound. At this point the synthesizer did not stand out and the differences between synthpop and mainstream music started to decrease. According to music writer Simon Reynolds the hallmark of original synthpop was its "emotional, at times operatic singers" such as Mark Almond, Alison Moyet and Annie Lennox.
In the United States, where synthpop is considered a sub genre of New Wave, the genre became popular in large part due to the cable music channel MTV. Real Life, Camuoflage, Real Life, Modern Talking, Bananarama and others are bands of Synthpop style.
Second wave, 2004 to present
Lights, Canadian synthpop singer who became popular in the late 2000s.
La Roux, British synthpop duo who achieved critical acclaim with their eponymous debut album in 2009.
Synthpop has also begun to re-emerge as some indie artists have incorporated the sound, slowly increasing the popularity of the genre. Some of the bands during the early-to-mid 2000s that helped the development of the genre have included Goldfrapp, The Postal Service, the Junior Boys, The Knife, and particularly The Killers, whose 2004 debut album Hot Fuss achieved widespread popularity and was considered an authentic throwback to 80s synthpop by many. However, their later works have moved away from the genre. LCD Soundsystem is another key artist in synthpop's development during the 21st century. MGMT's debut album Oracular Spectacular, originally released digitally in late 2007, achieved unprecedented success with their lead single "Kids" and has led the way for chart success for other synthpop and indie electronic acts such as Hot Chip, Cut Copy, Lights, Metric, Owl City (number 1 US single), Phoenix, Passion Pit, La Roux, and even the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, who switched to an almost entirely electronic sound for their 2009 album It's Blitz! after being part of the garage rock revival movement earlier in the decade.
Out of all of the original 80s synthpop bands, New Order, Pet Shop Boys, Duran Duran, and particularly Depeche Mode, although nowhere near the peak of their popularity during the '80s and early '90s, are among the only ones that continue to achieve international success.