Vaporwave: Where Nostalgia And Postmodernism Collide

Vaporwave: Where Nostalgia And Postmodernism Collide

This music is meta and it's awesome.
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So, it's 2016 and we are pretty far out from the genesis of rock 'n' roll in the '50s. Since then, pop music has become a mainstay genre that has evolved many times through the decades and descending from that are many sub-genres of music aimed at targeting specific audiences. None, though, could be as oddly specific or as spot-on as vaporwave. This semi-obscure music genre has gained popularity in recent years and for interesting reason.

Vaporwave parodies pop music, specifically older styles from the '80s. Through the use of sampling and computer made music, vaporwave pushes music to some interesting places. It combines popular or obscure songs from the '80s with a commercial or lounge jazz sound. What you get is a very meta piece of music that not only asks you to take it how it is, but also consider what it was made from and what those musical materials mean. It's almost as if aliens were asked to make an example of human music and for reference were given stock corporate music, some not-very-popular '80s pop songs and elevator music all on worn-out cassettes and CDs with scratches on them. It's pretty bizarre and hard to explain, so below is a video of a popular vaporwave song.



Moving on, I'm specifically going to focus on the album "Floral Shoppe" by Macintosh Plus. It's one of the more popular vaporwave albums and the best example of the potential of the genre. It's a good place to start, though, as just the artist name and album cover give us an interesting idea of what this genre is about.



First off, the fact that the artist's name is Macintosh Plus is an obvious throwback to the popular Apple computer line from the '80s and our first introduction into the commercial themes. The album artwork itself is a conjuration of imagery meant to give a mindset of what this music represents. There is a focus on older technology. The word "MAC" next to the Japanese text evokes the idea of innovative tech products from Japan. Under it, the image of New York is another throwback to old tech. The pixelated image quality and the presence of the Wold Trade Center is there to remind us of something we would find on an old computer before the turn of the century. Dominating the left side of the cover is a marble sculpture which juxtaposes the pixelated art, checkerboard pattern and Japanese text. The sculpture itself, which would be popularly considered as art, is placed next to graphics that stem from the creation of consumer culture. Taking old computer graphics and putting it next to the sculpture is challenging you to consider: what is art? The computer graphics are a result of hundreds of years of human progress and were made by artists for commercial purposes. It isn't the traditional idea of art but falls in the definition, yet as a society we do not praise it like the sculpture. What you get is an image that's a bit hard to understand without listening to the music, but it's totally what this entire genre is about.

Now switch out the re-use of old graphics with the re-use of old music: pop songs, lounge music, synthesizers, etc. Taking all this and re-contextualizing it into something new is the bare bones of vaporwave. This isn't a recent development in music, artists have sampled older material for decades, but what vaporwave does and specifically this album is very interesting. "Floral Shoppe" makes the sampled music sound older.

The "Floral Shoppe" song "Lisa Frank 420/ Modern Computing" samples music from this Diana Ross song. If you listen to just the first few seconds of both, the similarity is pretty clear. Instead of taking the Diana Ross song and remixing it into something new (maybe a modern dance remix or something) the melody gets slowed down. There is even probably a filter that makes it sound grainier and the result is this song that is reminiscent of popular music trends of the '80s/'90s. The song sounds as if it came out of an old TV commercial and that is totally the point. It's oddly nostalgic and hypnotic.

The first song in the album "Booting" has skips in the music that you would find on scratched CDs. Instead, though, it uses those skips to further the song and create rhythm. The album is filled with these sort of things. It takes old sounds or music ideas birthed from consumer culture and re-contextualizes them out of the music computing limitations of the time.

Many are quick to judge vaporwave as it being a "joke". Not that the music is bad, but it itself is a joke. I really disagree with this statement. Behind the memes and aesthetic, vaporwave wants you to seriously consider what has been forgotten. The "consumer culture" music, the music that was made for advertisements and corporate videos that have been forgotten, are remembered here. The music is sincere and there are some beautiful songs in this album.

Jonathan Dean of Tiny Mix Tapes put it best, "['Floral Shoppe' is] one of the best single documents of the vaporwave scene yet, a series of estranged but soulful manipulations of found audio that carefully constructs its own meditative headspace through the careful accretion of defamiliarized memory triggers." Vaporwave is innovative and unique. It'll probably never be mainstream, but it is definitely the best example of postmodern music yet.

Cover Image Credit: derpibooru.org

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35 Major Life Facts According To Nick Miller

"All booze is good booze, unless it's weak booze."
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Fact: If you watch "New Girl," you love Nick Miller.

You can't help it. He's an adorable, lovable mess of a man and you look forward to seeing him and his shenanigans each week. While living the infamous and incomparable life of Nick Miller, and obviously Julius Pepperwood— he has learned many valuable laws of the land. And, although Nick refuses to learn anything from anyone besides his mysterious, old Asian friend Tran, he does have a few lessons he'd like to teach us.

Here are 35 facts of life according to 'Nick Milla Nick Milla':

1. Drinking keeps you healthy.

"I'm not gonna get sick. No germ can live in a body that is 65% beer."

2. Dinosaurs never existed.

"I don't believe dinosaurs existed. I've seen the science. I don't believe it."


3. A paper bag is a bank.

"A bank is just a paper bag but with fancier walls."


4. Having sex is similar to delivering mail.

"I'm like a mailman, except instead of mail it's hot sex that I deliver."

5. Moonwalking is a foolproof way to get out of any awkward situation.

Jess (about Nick): "Now he won't even talk to me. I saw him this morning and he just panic moonwalked away from me. He does that sometimes."

6. Using a movie reference is also a great way.

Cece: "Come on, get up!"

Nick: "No, I don't dance. I'm from that town in "Footloose."

7. There's no reason to wash towels.

Nick: "I don’t wash the towel. The towel washes me. Who washes a towel?"

Schmidt: "You never wash your towel?"

Nick: "What am I gonna do? Wash the shower next? Wash a bar of soap?"

8. Exes are meant to be avoided at all costs (especially if/unless they're Caroline)

"I don't deal with exes, they're part of the past. You burn them swiftly and you give their ashes to Poseidon."

9. IKEA furniture is not as intimidating as it looks.

"I'm building you the dresser. I love this stuff. It's like high-stakes LEGOs."

10. You don't need forks if you have hands.

Jess: "That's gross. Get a fork, man."

Nick: "I got two perfectly good forks at the end of my arms!"

11. Sex has a very specific definition.


"It's not sex until you put the straw in the coconut."

12. Doors are frustrating.

"I will push if I want to push! Come on! I hate doors!"

13. All booze is good booze.

"Can I get an alcohol?"

14. ...unless it's weak booze.

"Schmidt, that is melon flavored liquor! That is 4-proof! That is safe to drink while you're pregnant!"

15. Writers are like pregnant women.

Jess: "You know what that sound is? It's the sound of an empty uterus."

Nick: "I can top that easily. I'm having a hard time with my zombie novel."

Jess: "Are you really comparing a zombie novel to my ability to create life?"

Nick: "I'm a writer, Jess. We create life."

16. All bets must be honored.

"There is something serious I have to tell you about the future. The name of my first-born child needs to be Reginald VelJohnson. I lost a bet to Schmidt."

17. Adele's voice is like a combination of Fergie and Jesus.

"Adele is amazing."

18. Beyoncé is extremely trustworthy.

"I'd trust Beyoncé with my life. We be all night."

19. Fish, on the other hand, are not.


“Absolutely not. You know I don’t trust fish! They breathe water. That's crazy!"

20. Bar mitzvahs are terrifying.

Schmidt: "It's a bar mitzvah!"

Nick: "I am NOT watching a kid get circumcised!"

21. ...so are blueberries.

Jess: "So far, Nick Miller's list of fears is sharks, tap water, real relationships..."

Nick: "And blueberries."

22. Take your time with difficult decisions. Don't be rash.


Jess: "You care about your burritos more than my children, Nick?"

Nick: "You're putting me in a tough spot!"

23. Getting into shape is not easy.

"I mean, I’m not doing squats or anything. I’m trying to eat less donuts."

24. We aren't meant to talk about our feelings.

"If we needed to talk about feelings, they would be called talkings."


25. We're all a little bit too hard on ourselves.

"The enemy is the inner me."

26. Freezing your underwear is a good way to cool off.


"Trust me, I'm wearing frozen underpants right now and I feel amazing. I'm gonna grab some old underpants and put a pair into the freezer for each of you."

27. Public nudity is normal.

"Everbody has been flashed countless times."

28. Alcohol is a cure-all.


"You treat an outside wound with rubbing alcohol. You treat an inside wound with drinking alcohol."

29. Horses are aliens.

"I believe horses are from outer-space."


30. Turtles should actually be called 'shell-beavers.'

Jess: "He calls turtles 'shell-beavers."

Nick: "Well, that's what they should be called."

31. Trench coats are hot.


"This coat has clean lines and pockets that don't quit, and it has room for your hips. And, when I wear it, I feel hot to trot!"


32. Sparkles are too.

"Now, my final bit of advice, and don't get sensitive on this, but you've got to change that top it's terrible and you've got to throw sparkles on. Sparkles are in. SPARKLES ARE IN."

33. Introspection can lead to a deeper knowing of oneself.

"I'm not convinced I know how to read. I've just memorized a lot of words."


34. It's important to live in the moment.

"I know this isn't gonna end well but the middle part is gonna be awesome."


35. Drinking makes you cooler.

Jess: "Drinking to be cool, Nick? That's not a real thing."

Nick: "That's the only thing in the world I know to be true."

Cover Image Credit: Hollywood Reporter

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