New wave is a genre of music that was borne out of the punk rock scene in the late-1960s, but the artists put more emphasis on pop music themes and less of punk's anti-authority themed. This is in part to the genre being culturally very white, suburban, and male oriented, but there have been a handful of popular female-fronted new wave bands. New wave became especially popular in the early 1980s due in part to MTV promoting the artists, and the genre spawned several one-hit wonders at this time. Throughout the 1980s, most synth bands were labeled as new wave, even if they didn't have any attachment to punk rock. By the end of the 1980s, new wave was in a decline. In the 2000s, music writers began applying the term new wave more as a blanket term for 1980s music encompassing genres like power pop, synth-pop, ska revival, and pop punk. In the 2010s, there are very few new wave groups, but the genre still sees a few new bands like The Sounds, and, from time-to-time old bands regroup to put out another album, like The Cars.
As a child of the 1980s, I heard my fair share of new wave music on the radio and, on the rare chance that I had access to MTV, saw their music videos. The genre also made frequent appearances in 1980s films I watched. As a white suburban male, I was the target demographic for the music, and it certainly appealed to me, however, most of the new wave songs I liked were just single songs out of a band's entire catalog, so, even though I don't like that many new wave artists, I do like a lot of new wave songs.
These are new wave bands and artists that are important to me.
- See New wave songs.