Hypnagogic pop (often abbreviated as h-pop) is a style of psychedelic music with influences from pop music that evokes cultural memory and nostalgia for the popular entertainment of the past, principally the 1980s. It emerged in the mid to late 2000s as American lo-fi and noise musicians began adopting the music of retro aesthetics remembered from their childhood, such as radio rock, new wave pop, soft rock, video game music, synth-pop, and R&B. Recordings circulated on cassette or Internet blogs and were typically marked by the use of outmoded analog equipment and DIY experimentation.
|Etymology||Hypnagogia, the transitional state from wakefulness to sleep|
|Cultural origins||Mid to late 2000s, United States|
The genre's name was coined by journalist David Keenan in an August 2009 issue of The Wire to label the developing trend, which he characterized as "pop music refracted through the memory of a memory." It was used interchangeably with "chillwave" or "glo-fi" and gained critical attention through artists such as Ariel Pink and James Ferraro. The music has been variously described as a 21st-century update of psychedelia, a reappropriation of media-saturated capitalist culture, and an "American cousin" to British hauntology.
In response to Keenan's article, The Wire received a slew of hate mail that derided hypnagogic pop as the "worst genre created by a journalist". Some of the tagged artists rejected the label or denied that such a unified style exists. During the 2010s, critical attention for the genre waned, although the style's "revisionist nostalgia" sublimated into various youth-oriented cultural zeitgeists. Hypnagogic pop is now considered to have evolved into vaporwave, with which it is sometimes conflated.