This article investigates various aspects of the popular online music genre known as vaporwave in order to understand how it functions as a form of socio-economic critique while problematizing aspects of identity. It begins by discussing some of the prominent features and objectives of vaporwave. Although there is much ambiguity in the overall attitude and message of vaporwave, its main unifying ideology is the re-configuration of pop music from the 1970s and ‘80s in order to critique and parody consumerism and corporate culture. With an analysis of one of the most well-known examples of vaporwave, Macintosh Plus’ Floral Shoppe (2011), the article explores the relationship of vaporwave to techno-Orientalism and the genre’s recent pernicious co-option by the conservative alt-right movement in the forms of Fashwave and Trumpwave.
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Research Article| December 04 2018
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Ken McLeod; Vaporwave: Politics, Protest, and Identity. Journal of Popular Music Studies 4 December 2018; 30 (4): 123–142. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/jpms.2018.300409
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