Synthwave is Cringe!
Synthwave is a music genre that emerged in the mid-2000s, drawing heavily on the sounds and aesthetics of 1980s electronic music. While it has gained a devoted following in recent years, there are some who argue that synthwave aesthetics have ended up being cheesy and cringe. In this essay, I will explore some of the reasons why this might be the case.
One of the primary criticisms of synthwave aesthetics is that they are overly fixated on surface-level nostalgia for the 1980s, without engaging with the deeper cultural and political meanings of the era. While the 80s were marked by important cultural shifts such as the rise of hip-hop and the emergence of new technologies like personal computers and video games, many synthwave artists seem to be more interested in replicating the synth-heavy sound of 80s pop music than in engaging with the broader cultural context of the era.
Cheesy and cringe
Another reason why synthwave aesthetics can come across as cheesy and cringe is that they often rely on the most cliched and over-the-top elements of 80s culture. This can include everything from neon colors and cheesy fonts to references to popular movies and TV shows from the era. While these elements may have been cutting-edge and innovative in the 80s, they can come across as tacky and dated to modern audiences.
Caricature of 80s culture
Perhaps the biggest reason why synthwave aesthetics can be cheesy and cringe is that they often feel like a caricature of 80s culture, rather than a genuine expression of creativity and innovation. While there is certainly value in revisiting the music and aesthetics of past decades, it is important to do so in a way that adds something new and interesting to the conversation, rather than simply replicating what has come before.
It’s not all bad
Despite these criticisms, it is worth noting that there are many synthwave artists who are able to use 80s aesthetics in a way that feels fresh and innovative. By incorporating elements from a variety of different genres and time periods, these artists are able to create music that is both nostalgic and forward-thinking. However, it is important for artists and fans alike to recognize the limitations of 80s nostalgia and to work to push the genre forward, rather than simply rehashing what has come before.
While synthwave aesthetics can sometimes come across as cheesy and cringe, this is not necessarily a reflection of the genre as a whole. By engaging with the deeper cultural and political meanings of the 80s, and by pushing the boundaries of what is possible within the genre, synthwave artists can continue to create exciting and innovative music that captures the spirit of the era without relying on tired cliches and tired tropes.
Top Synthwave Tracks
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