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What style of music is synthwave?

Have you ever wondered what style of music can transport you back to the neon-lit streets of the 1980s, even if you weren't born yet? Well, look no further than synthwave! This genre of music has been making a comeback in recent years, capturing the essence of the retro-futuristic soundscape that defined the era. But what exactly is synthwave, and why is it so popular?

What Defines Synthwave?

Synthwave, also known as retrowave or outrun, is a genre of electronic music that emerged in the late 2000s. It draws heavy inspiration from the music, movies, and video games of the 1980s and early 1990s. Synthwave artists aim to recreate the nostalgic sounds of that era using modern technology, particularly synthesizers and drum machines.

One of the defining characteristics of synthwave is its heavy use of synthesizers, which produce those iconic, lush, and often dreamy melodies. The music is often accompanied by pulsating basslines, catchy hooks, and electronic drums that transport listeners to a time when arcade games and VHS tapes reigned supreme.

Why is Synthwave So Popular?

Synthwave has gained a massive following in recent years, and it's not hard to see why. This genre offers a unique blend of nostalgia and futuristic vibes that resonates with a wide audience. It's like stepping into a time machine and experiencing the past through a modern lens.

Many people are drawn to synthwave because it evokes a sense of nostalgia for a time they may not have even lived through. It taps into the collective memory of the 1980s, a decade known for its iconic movies, fashion, and, of course, music. Synthwave allows listeners to relive those memories or imagine what it would have been like to live in that era.

Exploring the Subgenres

Within the synthwave genre, there are various subgenres that cater to different tastes. Here are a few notable ones:

1. Outrun:

Outrun is the most recognizable subgenre of synthwave. It takes its name from the retro racing video game "Out Run" and often features fast-paced, energetic tracks that make you feel like you're cruising down a neon-lit highway in a sports car.

2. Chillwave:

Chillwave, as the name suggests, offers a more relaxed and laid-back take on synthwave. It combines nostalgic melodies with downtempo beats, creating a soothing and atmospheric listening experience.

3. Darkwave:

Darkwave takes synthwave into a darker and more mysterious territory. It often incorporates elements of gothic and industrial music, creating a haunting and atmospheric sound.


Synthwave is a genre of music that pays homage to the 1980s and early 1990s, capturing the essence of that era's electronic soundscapes. With its nostalgic melodies, pulsating beats, and futuristic vibes, synthwave has become a beloved genre for those seeking a taste of the past with a modern twist. So, put on your headphones, close your eyes, and let the synthwave transport you to a neon-drenched world of retro-futurism.