Vaporwave isn’t just a genre; it’s an approach and an attitude—not just to music, but to popular culture. Vaporwave is often identified with particular sounds and stylings—slowed arown hits and muzak from the ’80s and ’90s—yet what’s also essential to it is the highly self-conscious, critical stance it takes to its source material. It remodels and repackages it, adding implicit layers of social commentary.
Vaporwave artists have been quick to branch out, rising and falling in popularity until another supplants them. What began as an innocent practical joke early in the millennium has grown into a fully fledged genre that is entirely self-aware. And despite proclamations that “vaporwave is dead” by artists and critics, it seems that new subgenres, from mallsoft to vaportrap, pop up every day. This is why, in a bid to keep up with vaporwave’s expanding universe, we’ve outlined ten of its most pivotal subgenres.