New wave is a broad music genre that encompasses numerous pop-oriented styles from the late 1970s and the 1980s. It was originally used as a catch-all for the music that emerged after punk rock, including punk itself, but may be viewed retrospectively as a more accessible counterpart of post-punk. Although new wave shared punk's DIY philosophy, the artists were more influenced by the lighter strains of 1960s pop while opposed to mainstream "corporate" rock, which they considered creatively stagnant, and the generally abrasive and political bents of punk rock.
Common characteristics of new wave music include a humorous or quirky pop approach, the use of electronic sounds, and a distinctive visual style featured in music videos and fashion. In the early 1980s, virtually every new pop/rock act – and particularly those that featured synthesizers in their sound – were tagged as "new wave". By the 2000s, critical consensus favored "new wave" to be an umbrella term that encompassed power pop, synth-pop, ska revival, and the softer strains of punk rock.
New wave peaked commercially in the late 1970s and the early 1980s with numerous major artists and an abundance of one-hit wonders.