Genre of the Week 5: New Wave (Part 6)

Today we are gonna look at how new wave branched out into the mainstream and internationally.

One of the first bands to do this was The Cars. Formed in Boston, The Cars new wave style combined a 70’s guitar rock sound with a more 80’s synth-driven pop sound.

All in all, they combined the best bits of the past and present, and did it very well.

The Pretenders were another band who had mainstream success with their brand of new wave. Their sound had a harder, punkier edge to it than a lot of new wave. However, at other times they also explored jangle pop.

Apart from a couple of hits in the States, the band did better commercially in the UK, but were generally hailed critically by both American and British critics.

The Police were probably the most commercially successful new wave band, if you can call them new wave. Technically they were, but they quickly transitioned into the classic rock/stadium rock goldfish bowl by the time the 80’s came along, and in turn were subsequently hated by a lot of their music contemporaries.

But, in saying that, their early material was very much influenced by reggae and punk and you can certainly see this in tracks such as “Roxanne”, “So Lonely” and…this track.

New Wave wasn’t just a UK-US thing, it also went international, even reaching New Zealand.

Although they formed before new wave, Split Enz quickly developed a quirky-pop sound that combined with a very unique visual look.

Their style and sound was eclectic and it was hard to really pin point them to a particular style, but hey they fitted very well within new wave, because new wave as a movement was eclectic also.

– Sam

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