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If you could put vaporwave albums on a tier list, where would you rank them?


I'll start.
[S+] Hit Vibes (Saint Pepsi)

[A] Freed From The World (New Deluxe Life)

[B-] Solanin (Mere), Rotti (Mere) Reluctantly

[C] Chuck Person's Echojams Vol 1., CONTRAST (Pad Chennington),

[D] n/a

[E] n/a

[F] Floral Shoppe 2 (The Darkest Future)

obviously not all the vapor releases i've listened too, but the ones I feel deserve their spots in the tier list the most.[/s][/s]


The Taste of Late Capitalism
I've seen a couple of these lists floating around on reddit and discord, but they give me an uncomfortable feeling similar to when that battle between the vaporwave albums was going on a year ago. Lets try put this into words:
  • The idea of ranking in tiers creates a hierarchy. besides issues I have with the desirability of that outcome, it requires something we as Vaporwave community never had a coherent answer to: What makes vaporwave GOOD? It is such a personal and intimate genre that everyone has their own unique answer to this. I love the personal stories of what people feel when they listen to vaporwave. just factors like "significance to the development of vaporwave", "accessibility", "story" and "consistency" don't cut it.
  • As a musician I feel entitled to say that a lot of vaporwave is objectively bad from a musical standpoint. Tho that is sometimes the very reason I love some vaporwave tracks! (It's so bad, its good!). The fact that it sounds like it was thrown together by some kid in 15 minutes can add to the experience.
  • As an anarchist I don't like hierarchies. One of the beautiful things of Vaporwave is that the next big thing can come from an absolute nobody. Creating an elite subset of "vaporwave superstars" (I know, I'm exaggerating) is a threat to the horizontal quality of vaporwave

If its not quality by which to rank vaporwave, is the amount of feels the vaporwave unleashes in you? The thing with feelings and music is that it requires a click that is very moment-dependent. I've fallen in love with a lot of vaporwave on a second listen. I simply wasn't ready for it. Also this metric would lead to some surprising results, as of the albums you've listed Floral Shoppe 2 evokes the strongest feelings. My visceral response to that record is "oh F no, please make it stop, please, please, turn it off, i beg you, nooooooooooooo". Which is a response that, as far as I know, closely corresponds with the authorial intent of HKE. So yes, it is highly effective in conjuring up a specific feeling.

Vaporwave is such an a-typical form of music that ranking it wouldn't make as much sense as it would in other genre's. Its quality is strongly dependent on the listener. I therefore suggest to not rank the vaporwave albums, but Vaporwave LISTENERS. This might seem silly, but within the listener is where the magic happens and we can learn a lot from the people who understand on an emotional level better than the most of us. It is not the vaporwave itself that is good or bad, it is our skill to understand and appreciate the vapor that is adequately developed or not to comprehend the album. Because lets be real, a lot of the appeal of vaporwave boils down to "feeling the wave, breathing the vapor", whether ironically or not.
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