In essence, New Wave maintained the rebellious and energetic side of punk rock, yet was less raw and aggressive. Whilst a lot of New Wave was lyrically complex, much New Wave was pop-based, containing simple melodies and catchy hooks. Additionally, New Wave music was also very electronic in nature, and made strong usage of synthesizers. New Wave is a broad term, and as such, New Wave artists varied greatly in style, ranging from pure rock, to synthpop, to reggae-influenced music. New Wave, as a genre, additionally had a strong visual aesthetic, and is noted for the colourful fashions which New Wave artists would sport in the 1980s.
When MTV started broadcasting in 1981, many New Wave bands had their music videos played on television. This made New Wave music more popular. A well-known New Wave video is Whip It by Devo.