While the media would later have a huge role to play in the acceptance of New Wave, as was proven by its discovery in Newsweek and Time, the media in the U.S. was initially against the genre. Lee Abrams was significant in American radio airplay in 1980. The established media executive is known for or developing the Album Oriented Rock (AOR) format that is still used by numerous radio stations today.
Abrams had a large influence on many radio stations and didn’t seem to have much faith that New Wave would endure. So, while the genre had been recognised in print media years before, it seemed that broadcast media would have the final say.
While this wasn’t the greatest period for New Wave, its 1981 MTV debut was significant in the genre making its way into the mainstream. Hundreds of New Wave acts, along with related genres, thrived up until 1987, which was when MTV began to focus on Heavy Metal and Rock. The development and progression of the music video was significant in the development and progression of New Wave.New Wave eventually reached a place where it had become so well-known that Hollywood movies featuring the “Brat Pack” were heavily focused on the music genre. In some cases, they made up the entire soundtrack. There was no doubt at this point that New Wave would endure, which has proven to be the case. It’s been influential in a range of genres from Post-Punk to today’s Indie acts, many of which cite New Wave albums and acts as major musical influences.
Two shining examples
Let’s look at two examples of significant New Wave songs, beginning with the aforementioned “My Sharona” by The Knack. The song bears influences from, and similarities with, Punk. The guitarist, for example, uses a distorted sound, which was common in Punk. Further, the drums, besides being simple, drove the song, which, again, was common in the Punk genre. While these similarities exist, however, there were also a number of differences that make it a bona fide New Wave song. For example, the guitar riff is a broken rhythm that creates an effect you wouldn’t find in Punk. The second example is “Ever Fallen In Love (With Someone You Shouldn’t)” by “Buzzcocks”. The song again shows clear similarities and differences between New Wave and punk, which allows us to easily see how music had evolved. To begin with, the band’s instrumental arrangement is the same as you’d find from a punk band.
The drums are again simple but are accompanied by a fast and powerful beat, followed by a bass that adheres to the same chord structure and progression as the guitar, which is, again, commonplace in punk. The major difference that this song has with punk lies in the vocals. Punk vocals tend to be very loud and very rough, with most of the words being shouted. In New Wave, the vocals are more melodic and are typically sing in a higher pitch.