Perhaps you have heard of the song ‘420’ by Macintosh Plus from the 15th studio album ‘Floral Shoppe’, if not then most likely you’ve come across their aesthetically pleasing album cover with a faceless statue, making it appear super ‘avant-garde’.
Just like many other aesthetically pleasing album covers that you may come across when looking for some Macintosh Plus on youtube, you will find that this is all part of a genre called ‘vaporwave’. The name vaporwave derives from the marketing term ‘Vapourware’, which gives vaporwave it’s purpose of uprising against Capitalism. In a nutshell, vaporwave’s looped tunes that are taken from other artists, but are later unrecognizable tunes after the intensive editing that each sample undergoes, can either be catchy, kill your braincells, or make you laugh. Just like other bizarre genres such as seapunk and witch house that were allegedly a thing at the start of the 2010’s, this is also just a fad brought to us (and it is rude to generalise) by a bunch of hipsters sitting behind their computer screens and moaning about being born in the wrong generation.
However, there is something increasingly appealing about vaporwave. Despite it being optimised music for musty and empty shopping malls, its looped synthesised samplers combined with a handful of commercial jingles from the 80s and 90s in every song create a certain feeling of nostalgia, even if you weren’t exactly walking in the 80s. It may not be the most ‘original’ music at first sight, but something about the fact behind its production raises awareness of how sick today’s consumer society is. The only skeptical thing is the ‘vintage’ samplers that are repeated in almost every song without (or with little) vocals, of course all taken from some underrated 80s artist or Japanese commercial.
If you haven’t noticed already, vaporwave is all about the aesthetics, without the aesthetics vaporwave would not be the same. It is true that some songs may drive you insane with their ‘soulless’ messages to go against Capitalism, but some songs are pretty rad. There are actually good vaporwave musicians who don’t just make a living out of the vintage-anime-like aesthetics of their music, Saint Pepsi (AKA. Skylar Spence) is one of these good artists with good vaporwave music.
This ironic genre vaporwave, is worth a try and worth a laugh. It’s somehow an indication to anyone sitting in front of their computer screens to go out and experiment some samples on their own laptop and just try to be as creative as possible in between the lines of vaporwave and some revolutionary/ fashion statement. Personally, I don’t listen to vaporwave too often in fear that it might devour my soul, but a bit of vaporwave is relaxing to have in the background. There’s been a number of people on the internet saying that vaporwave has changed their lives, to an extend it is agreeable that vaporwave is pretty awesome, but then again sometimes it is in need of some originality.