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What is Vaporwave?

Vaporwave is a genre of music and visual art that began in 2011. The term vaporwave comes from the term "vaporware", which refers to a computer product that is announced to the public, but has never and may never be released. This sentiment can be seen throughout the genre, where pieces of art from the 80s and 90s are anachronized, inducing a feeling of nostalgia for a style that never really existed. Vaporwave takes elements from consumer media from the 80s and 90s and distorts them to create something uncanny out of something familiar and nostalgic. At its inception, the genre was mainly satirical in nature, although it later started to be created and consumed unironically.


A number of themes and imagery consistently appear in vaporwave art. These include but are not limited to:

  • Consumerism
  • 3d Computer Graphics
  • Windows 95-98
  • Advertising
  • Palm Trees/ Tropical Flora
  • Roman Sculpture/ Architecture
  • Japanese Language
  • Blue and Pink Color Scheme
  • Water
  • Video Games
  • VHS
  • Dated Technology
  • Skeletons

Vaporwave Classics


In the year 2022, more than a decade after the genre's inception, new vaporwave music is still being created, although it is far past its peak. Many other similar genres that emerged from or alongside the vaporwave sound have caught on in recent years such as "future funk" and "mallsoft". Still, the popularity of vaporwave and its associated sounds have waned so far that it finally may be fair to say: VAPORWAVE IS DEAD.

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