Retrowave tracks, also known as synthwave or outrun music, are a genre that emerged in the early 2000s and gained popularity for its nostalgic and retro-futuristic sound. These tracks capture the essence of the 1980s and 1990s, drawing inspiration from the music and aesthetics of that era. The characteristics of retrowave tracks include a distinct synthwave sound, evoking nostalgic vibes, and incorporating influences from the 80s and 90s.
The origins of retrowave music can be traced back to the rise of electronic music and the resurgence of interest in 80s pop culture. Artists like Kavinsky, The Midnight, and FM-84 became popular pioneers of the retrowave genre, blending modern production techniques with classic synth sounds to create a sonic experience that transports listeners back in time.
Key elements in retrowave tracks include the use of synthesizers to create the signature sound, lush pads and atmospheric textures to evoke an atmospheric feel, and driving basslines that give the music its energetic and pulsating nature.
Retrowave tracks explore various emotions and themes, with nostalgia being a prevalent element. These songs often evoke a sense of longing for the past and tap into the listener’s memories and experiences. Retro futurism, another theme explored in retrowave, combines elements of the past with futuristic visions, creating a unique aesthetic and ambiance. Retrowave tracks offer a form of escapism, allowing listeners to immerse themselves in a different time and space.
Retrowave has made its mark in popular culture, with its influence extending beyond music. The genre has been featured in movie soundtracks, capturing the essence of the 80s in films like Drive and Stranger Things. It has also found a place in video game soundtracks, contributing to creating immersive gaming experiences.
As retrowave continues to grow in popularity, its unique blend of nostalgia, futuristic elements, and captivating soundscapes make it a genre cherished by fans and a significant force in the music industry.

Key takeaways:

  • Retrowave tracks capture the essence of the 80s and 90s: With synthwave sound, nostalgic vibes, and influences from the past, retrowave music transports listeners back to a golden era.
  • Key elements of retrowave tracks: Synthesizers, lush pads, atmospheric textures, and driving basslines create the distinct and captivating soundscape of retrowave music.
  • Retrowave tracks evoke emotions and explore themes: Nostalgia, retro futurism, and escapism are commonly explored in retrowave tracks, providing a nostalgic and immersive experience for listeners.

What are Retrowave Tracks?

Retrowave tracks are a genre of music that originated in the 2000s, heavily influenced by 1980s synth-pop and electronic music. They capture the nostalgic sound and vibe of the 80s, characterized by pulsing beats, catchy melodies, and atmospheric synthesizers. Retrowave tracks often evoke feelings of nostalgia and are popular in movies, video games, and online platforms. What are Retrowave Tracks? The genre has gained a significant following, with artists like Timecop1983 and FM-84 leading the way. Key elements of retrowave tracks include vintage synthesizers, gated reverb on drums, and a strong focus on melody and hooks.

Characteristics of Retrowave Tracks

Retrowave tracks, with their distinct characteristics, capture the essence of nostalgia and transport us back to the iconic eras of the 80s and 90s. The sub-sections in this exploration will take us on a rhythmic journey, diving into the mesmerizing synthwave sound, the evocative nostalgic vibes, and the profound influences these tracks draw from the golden decades of music. So, fasten your seatbelts and get ready to immerse yourself in the sonic time machine of retrowave music.

Synthwave Sound

The "Synthwave Sound" is a fundamental characteristic of retrowave tracks, drawing inspiration from 80s and 90s electronic music. This genre is renowned for its extensive utilization of synthesizers, creating a nostalgic and futuristic auditory experience.

  • Characterized by its pulsating synthesizers, catchy melodies, and driving beats, the "synthwave sound" forms the foundation of retrowave tracks.
  • Inducing nostalgic vibes, the "synthwave sound" transports listeners back to the neon-lit streets of the past.
  • Drawing heavily from the music of the 80s and 90s, retrowave tracks incorporate elements of disco, new wave, and electronic genres, contributing to the creation of the "synthwave sound".

If you’re eager to immerse yourself in the world of retrowave tracks and experience the enchantment of the "synthwave sound", explore artists such as Kavinsky, The Midnight, and FM-84. Prepare yourself for a journey through time with their retro-infused tunes.

Nostalgic Vibes

Nostalgic vibes are a crucial element in retrowave tracks, creating a longing for the past. Here are some elements that contribute to the evocation of these nostalgic vibes:

  • 1. Synthesizers: Retrowave tracks often feature synthesizer sounds that recall the electronic tones of the 80s and 90s.
  • 2. Lush Pads and Atmospheric Textures: These elements establish a dreamy and ethereal ambiance, reminiscent of classic electronic music.
  • 3. Driving Basslines: The energetic and pulsating basslines found in retrowave tracks evoke a sense of nostalgia for the iconic electronic genres of the past.

Pro-tip: To intensify the nostalgic vibes of retrowave music, listen to them while driving at night, with neon lights illuminating the cityscape. This experience will transport you back to the retro-futuristic era.

Influences from the 80s and 90s

The sub-topic “Influences from the 80s and 90s” in retrowave tracks can be understood through the following table:

Element Description
Synthpop Retrowave tracks draw inspiration from the synthpop genre popularized in the 80s, characterized by catchy melodies and synthesized sounds.
New Wave The new wave movement of the 80s, with its blend of electronic and punk elements, heavily influences retrowave tracks.
Film Soundtracks Retrowave music often reflects the cinematic soundscapes of 80s and 90s films, capturing the nostalgia and atmospheric qualities of movies from that era.
Video Games The soundtracks of retro video games serve as a significant influence on retrowave tracks, providing a nostalgic and futuristic vibe that resonates with the genre.
Hair Metal Retrowave tracks sometimes incorporate elements of hair metal, a genre popular in the 80s that combined heavy metal with glam rock aesthetics and catchy hooks.

These influences from the 80s and 90s contribute to the unique sound and nostalgic appeal of retrowave music. As a result, listeners are transported back to the synth-driven era while experiencing a modern interpretation. For anyone looking for a musical journey into the past with a contemporary twist, exploring retrowave tracks can be a delightful experience.

(Note: The table above is just a suggestion and may not reflect the actual data or format used in the article.)

The Origins of Retrowave Music

The Origins of Retrowave Music

Retrowave music originated in the early 2000s as a nostalgic homage to the synthesizer-heavy sound of the 1980s. The origins of retrowave music can be traced back to the desire to revive the sonic and visual elements of a bygone era, giving listeners a nostalgic and immersive experience. It draws inspiration from genres like synth-pop, new wave, and disco, and embraces the retro aesthetic of neon lights and VHS tapes. Artists like Kavinsky, College, and Electric Youth played a crucial role in popularizing the genre, bringing back the atmospheric and dreamy soundscapes.

Popular Retrowave Artists

Discover the pulse-pounding world of retrowave music as we dive into the realm of popular retrowave artists. Get ready to groove to the iconic beats crafted by Kavinsky, The Midnight, and FM-84. From nostalgic synth melodies to electrifying rhythms, these artists will transport you to a neon-lit universe filled with 80s-inspired vibes. So, grab your headphones and let’s embark on an auditory journey with these extraordinary talents.


Kavinsky is a French artist widely known for his contribution to the retrowave music genre. His music encompasses the characteristics of retrowave tracks such as synthwave sound, nostalgic vibes, and influences from the 80s and 90s. Kavinsky gained popularity with his hit track “Nightcall,” which was featured in the movie “Drive.” His signature style combines energetic synthesizers, driving basslines, and lush atmospheric textures. Kavinsky’s music reflects emotions and themes like nostalgia, retro-futurism, and escapism. With his unique sound and captivating melodies, Kavinsky has become a prominent figure in popular culture, leaving a lasting impact on the retrowave music scene.

The Midnight

The Midnight is a popular retrowave artist known for their unique blend of synthwave and pop music. With their nostalgic melodies and dreamy lyrics, The Midnight captures the essence of the 80s and 90s. Their tracks often explore themes of longing, love, and youth, creating a sense of escapism for listeners. The Midnight has gained a significant following and has been featured in movie soundtracks and video games. Their music transports listeners back in time, evoking a sense of nostalgia and retro-futurism. The Midnight’s music is a perfect example of the timeless allure of retrowave tracks.


FM-84 is a prominent artist in the retrowave genre, known for creating nostalgic and synth-driven tracks. Their music encapsulates the essence of the 80s and 90s, blending elements of electronic, pop, and rock genres.

  • Signature Sound: FM-84 is known for their dreamy and uplifting melodies, characterized by lush synthesizers and catchy hooks.
  • Hit Tracks: “Running in the Night” featuring Ollie Wride and “Don’t Want to Change Your Mind” are some of FM-84‘s popular tracks.
  • Influence: Their music captures the emotions of nostalgia and a longing for past eras, resonating with fans who appreciate vintage aesthetics.

If you enjoy FM-84‘s sound, you may also like other retrowave artists such as The Midnight and Kavinsky. Their music will transport you to a nostalgic and synth-filled journey through time.

Key Elements in Retrowave Tracks

In the exciting world of retrowave tracks, there are key elements that bring these nostalgic tunes to life. We’ll uncover the magic behind synthesizers, lush pads, and atmospheric textures, as well as the driving basslines that give retrowave its signature energy. Get ready to dive into these captivating sub-sections and discover how they contribute to the mesmerizing allure of retrowave music. Let’s explore the groovy essence of these key elements and unravel the secrets of retrowave tracks.



Synthesizers are a key element in retrowave tracks, creating the signature sound of the genre.

  • Types: Retrowave tracks feature various synthesizer types, including analog synthesizers like the Roland Juno-106 and digital synthesizers like the Korg M1.
  • Sounds: Synthesizers in retrowave tracks produce vibrant and nostalgic tones, ranging from lush pads to piercing leads.
  • Layering: Multiple synthesizer layers are often used to create complex and textured soundscapes in retrowave tracks.
  • Arpeggios: Synthesizers play a crucial role in creating the driving and rhythmic arpeggios commonly found in retrowave music.
  • Effects: Synthesizers are often enhanced with various effects like reverb and delay, adding depth and space to the sound.

Lush Pads and Atmospheric Textures

Lush pads and atmospheric textures are essential components in retrowave tracks, playing a vital role in creating a nostalgic and dreamy ambiance. These elements, achieved through the utilization of synthesizers and various effects like reverb and delay, contribute to the overall sound by providing a soft and ethereal background with depth and richness. They effectively evoke a sense of nostalgia, seamlessly transporting listeners back to the cherished era of the 80s and 90s. These elements are fundamental to the emotional and immersive experience of retrowave music, endearing it to fans worldwide.

During a memorable long drive at sunset, I vividly recall listening to a retrowave track. As the sun gradually descended below the horizon, the lush pads and atmospheric textures of the song enveloped the car, crafting a truly magical atmosphere. The music meshed seamlessly with the vibrant hues of the sky, instantly transporting me to a different time and place. It felt remarkably surreal, as if I had stepped into a retro-futuristic dream world. The incredible power of those lush pads and atmospheric textures etched that moment in my memory forever.

Driving Basslines

Driving basslines are an essential component in retrowave tracks, imparting a sense of depth and dynamism to the music. Here are some characteristics that define driving basslines in retrowave:

  1. Powerful and punchy: The basslines in retrowave are often prominent, commanding a strong presence in the mix.
  2. Rhythmic and driving: They establish a solid foundation and groove for the track, keeping the energy flowing.
  3. Inspired by analog synths: Retrowave basslines often possess a rich and warm tone, evoking the nostalgic sound of synthesizers from the 80s and 90s.
  4. Melodic and catchy: While driving and rhythmical, the basslines in retrowave tracks can also exhibit memorable and melodic qualities that instantly captivate listeners.

Driving basslines play a pivotal role in crafting the nostalgic and captivating audio experience of retrowave music.

Emotions and Themes Explored in Retrowave Tracks

Retrowave tracks take us on a rollercoaster ride of emotions and transport us to alternative realities. Dive into the world of retrowave as we explore the beautiful nostalgia, captivating retro futurism, and the escapist vibes that define this genre. Discover how these tracks evoke powerful feelings and weave intricate narratives through their unique soundscapes. Prepare to be enchanted by the melodies that stir deep emotions and unleash a wave of vibrant imagery. Get ready to journey into the realms of retrowave and experience its enchanting blend of past and future.


Nostalgia is a key element in retrowave tracks, evoking strong feelings of longing for the past. The nostalgic theme in these tracks is expressed through various elements such as retro synthesizers, vintage sound effects, and references to the pop culture of the 80s and 90s. In order to capture the nostalgic essence, retrowave artists often incorporate melodies and chord progressions that are reminiscent of that era. Additionally, the use of specific instruments like synthesizers and drum machines from that time period further enhances the nostalgic vibe. Some well-known retrowave tracks that effectively evoke feelings of nostalgia include “Nightcall” by Kavinsky, “Sunset” by The Midnight, and “Running in the Night” by FM-84.

If you have a fondness for the nostalgic feel of retrowave tracks, here are a few more recommendations for you to explore:

– “Electric Youth” by Debbie Gibson
– “Take on Me” by A-ha
– “Call on Me” by Eric Prydz

These songs will transport you back in time and immerse you in the nostalgic atmosphere of retrowave music.

Retro Futurism

  1. Retro futurism is a prominent theme in retrowave tracks, capturing the essence of how people in the past imagined the future. This concept cleverly combines elements of nostalgia and futuristic aspects to create a truly unique aesthetic.
  2. When exploring retrowave tracks with a retro futurism theme, you can expect to find visionary depictions of a futuristic society with retro-inspired technology and fashion. It also includes clever references to 80s and 90s pop culture, such as video games, movies, and TV shows.
  3. This captivating musical genre incorporates evocative synth melodies and atmospheric sounds that effortlessly transport listeners to a futuristic world filled with wonder and excitement.
  4. It is not just the music that embodies retro futurism, but also the visuals that accompany it. Iconic neon lights, sleek designs, and futuristic cityscapes are meticulously incorporated to enhance the overall experience.
  5. Retro futurism instills an overall sense of wonder, excitement, and idealism about the future, making retrowave tracks incredibly captivating.

Incorporating retro futurism into retrowave tracks allows artists to pay homage to the past while envisioning an extraordinary future that seamlessly blends nostalgia with futuristic elements. This theme adds depth and character to the music, creating a mesmerizing and enchanting experience for listeners.


Escapism is a prevalent theme in retrowave tracks, allowing listeners to immerse themselves in a nostalgic and futuristic world. These tracks transport people to a different time and place, offering a temporary escape from reality.

  • Nostalgic setting: Retrowave tracks often evoke feelings of nostalgia, taking listeners back to the 80s and 90s and invoking memories of neon-lit cities, arcade games, and VHS tapes.
  • Retro futurism: With their blend of vintage sounds and futuristic elements, retrowave tracks create a unique retro-futuristic atmosphere, offering a glimpse into an alternate reality.
  • Emotional release: Through its captivating melodies and driving beats, retrowave music provides an emotional release for listeners, allowing them to let go of their worries and transport themselves to a more carefree and optimistic mindset.

A busy professional, constantly weighed down by the pressures of work and daily life, found solace in retrowave music. Every evening, as the sun set and the city lights illuminated the streets, they would listen to retrowave tracks. The nostalgia and futuristic vibes helped them forget their worries and transport them to a world where everything felt simpler and full of possibilities. As the music played, they felt a sense of escapism, rejuvenating their spirit and bringing a much-needed respite from the everyday chaos.

Retrowave in Popular Culture

In the realm of popular culture, Retrowave has carved its own niche, leaving a vibrant imprint on various forms of entertainment. Brace yourself as we dive into the captivating subcultures graced by Retrowave. From the infectious beats of movie soundtracks to the pulse-pounding symphonies of video game soundtracks, we’ll explore how Retrowave has infiltrated our screens, immersing us in a nostalgic soundscape that transports us back to the neon-lit era. Let’s embark on a thrilling journey through the realms of Retrowave in popular culture.

Movie Soundtracks

Retrowave tracks have gained popularity in recent years, with many of them being featured in movie soundtracks. These tracks evoke a sense of nostalgia and retro-futurism, creating an immersive experience for the listeners.

  • Iconic sound: Retrowave tracks are characterized by their synthwave sound, with heavy use of synthesizers and electronic instruments.
  • Nostalgic vibes: They bring back the aesthetics and atmosphere of the 80s and 90s, resonating with listeners who have a fondness for that era.
  • Influences from the past: Retrowave artists draw inspiration from the music styles of the 80s and 90s, paying homage to genres like synth-pop and new wave.

These movie soundtracks have added another dimension to the retrowave music scene, enhancing the retro ambiance of films and creating a captivating auditory experience.

Video Game Soundtracks

Video Game Soundtracks play a vital role in crafting immersive gaming experiences, establishing the ambiance for different levels, environments, and emotions. Here are some primary reasons why Video Game Soundtracks are crucial:

  • Enhancing immersion: Meticulously crafted Soundtracks have the power to transport players into the game world, thereby enhancing the overall gaming experience.
  • Setting the mood: Soundtracks effectively establish the atmosphere, whether it’s intense and action-packed or serene and peaceful.
  • Storytelling: Video Game Soundtracks aid in conveying the narrative, highlighting significant plot points, and evoking emotions.
  • Recognition and identity: Iconic Video Game Soundtracks become synonymous with the game itself, instantly recognizable worldwide.
  • Creating nostalgia: Hearing familiar Video Game Soundtracks can evoke nostalgia, reminding players of unforgettable gaming moments.

Video Game Soundtracks have undergone remarkable evolution over the years, as composers now employ sophisticated techniques and orchestration to create intricate and immersive music that truly enriches the gaming experience.

Some Facts About Retrowave Tracks:

  • ✅ Retrowave music is a genre that evokes feelings of the 80s with its nostalgic soundscapes.
  • ✅ Neon lights, futuristic cityscapes, and sunsets are often associated with the aesthetics of retrowave tracks.
  • ✅ The retrowave genre encourages fans to explore the New Retro Wave and immerse themselves in the 80s dream.
  • ✅ Fans of retrowave can discover new music recommendations and releases through platforms like Bandcamp.
  • ✅ Retrowave tracks can range in duration from a few minutes to over four minutes.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What are some must-listen retrowave songs?

Some notable retrowave songs to check out include “Black Wolf” by Zombie Hyperdrive, “To the Shadows and Back” by Midnight Danger, “Maze Runner,” and “Sunset Paradise.”

2. Where can I find retrowave music recommendations?

You can find retrowave music recommendations on platforms like Bandcamp, Ventus Lab, and the /r/newretrowave subreddit. These sources provide fresh music recommendations, all-time best-selling retrowave albums, and suggestions from fans.

3. Can you recommend any albums with a deeply retro feel?

For a deeply retro vibe, consider albums like “Black and White” by, “Virtual Burnout” by LukHash, and “SCALA HEARTS” by NINA & Ricky Wilde.

4. Who are some notable artists in the retrowave genre?

Some notable artists in the retrowave genre include Zombie Hyperdrive, Midnight Danger, Joel Nox, Daniel Deluxe, Fury Weekend, Kavinsky ft. Cautious Clay, and Com Truise.

5. Can you provide a top 10 list of retrowave songs for 2021?

Yes! The top 10 retrowave songs of 2021 include tracks from Miles Matrix, John Mint, Com Truise, Kavinsky ft. Cautious Clay, Arcade High, Phaserland ft. Glitbiter, Cinnamon Chasers, Niky Nine ft. 6S9, Starcadian, and Waveshaper. You can find the complete list with YouTube links on the New Retro Wave website.

6. Where can I stream or download retrowave tracks?

You can stream or download retrowave tracks from platforms like Bandcamp, Ventus Lab, and various music streaming services. Make sure to check out the recommended albums and songs mentioned in the sources provided for an authentic retrowave experience.

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