It’s rare for artists to confine themselves to one genre anymore, even on one track. That’s led to a bunch of more specific but still just as confusing genre names we use in an attempt to narrow down the type of music we’re talking about.
An example would be dark pop, which we’d describe as songs that have a pop structure but contain an overall dark, often sad, vibe. These tracks are far from your typical pop songs, implementing elements of electronic, rap, punk and more.
We decided to shine a light on 10 rising dark-pop artists you should listen to, some of which qualify in our 100 Artists You Need To Know issue, out now.
Maggie Lindemann is an anti-pop star redefining the genre on her own terms. She’s unapologetically herself, addressing relationships, sexuality, female empowerment and more. She just released her debut EP, PARANOIA, at the beginning of this year, filled with alt anthems that are scary relatable. Check out “Crash And Burn” from the new EP or listen to “Pretty Girl,” which propelled her to stardom.
zeph is a total DIY artist who makes music that soundtracks your feelings, even the ones you didn’t know you have. Her haunting vocals make every word that comes out of her mouth sound downright beautiful, even if it’s heartbreaking. Take a listen to “Lucky” or her demo “i’ll never fall in love with myself” to get yourself acquainted.
If you like dreamy, ambient sounds mixed with powerhouse electro-pop vocals, you need to add VÉRITÉ to your playlist. You can hear her artistry in the power behind her delivery in “body in my bed” or her songwriting talent in “Underdressed.”
The only way to truly describe GIRLI’s music is authoritative because it’s its own enigma. By changing up her style, she’s emerged as a powerhouse pop artist unabashedly inspired by grunge and punk. You can listen to the way the artist proclaims her independence in tracks such as “Hot Mess” or “Passive Aggressive.”
It doesn’t get more raw and deep than Jack Kays. In his folk meets SoundCloud rap style, he raises awareness about drug addiction, mental health issues and recovery in purely honest tracks. Listen to “MORBID MIND” or “BOTTOM OF THE BOTTLE” and you’ll immediately get what we’re talking about.
If you’re a K-pop fan, you need to check out suggi. The artist gained fame from his YouTube channel, where he posted covers of American and Korean pop songs. Now, he’s started making his own electro-pop-influenced tracks that will completely break your heart. Check out “ur just a fan” or “astroboy.”
Rina Sawayama is another artist who’s completely redefining pop music. There doesn’t seem to be a genre that Sawayama’s music doesn’t take inspiration from, including R&B, club music, 2000s pop and more. Her music grapples with identity conflicts and complex relationships that can only be understood by listening to her latest album, SAWAYAMA, in full.
Bedroom-pop duo flora cash not only make a great artistic team, but they’re also married. Their dreamy bedroom-pop style takes a stripped-down approach to songs that are guaranteed to put you in your feels. Listen to “Love Is In The Small Things” or “Missing Home” if you just need to have a moment to feel sad.
Alaina Castillo has many identities. The Mexican-American pop star got her start on YouTube making covers and ASMR videos of all things. Now, she makes emotional bilingual pop tracks with seemingly never-ending influences. If you need a good cry, just put on “i don’t think i love you anymore” and prepare for all the feelings.
The Kid LAROI
The Kid LAROI became popular for his connections to Juice WRLD and is making dark hip-hop that’s all his own. “WITHOUT YOU” and “SO DONE” sound like Post Malone meets Dashboard Confessional meets twenty one pilots but in a totally modern and unique way.