Sovietwave and melancholic nostalgia for what never was to be

When it comes to the many new music genres that end in ‘wave’, they all cover quite specific themes. Retrowave is – as the name suggests – a genre that brings to mind the sights and sounds of the 1980s and 1990s, with Synthwave diving deep into the specific genre of synthesizer music and related explorations. What these all have in common, however, is that they all refer to a period or something equally concrete that was and can continue to exist in this new form.

Sovietwave on the other hand does not refer to a period or style, but to a feeling. A feeling about the worlds that we imagined as children during the 1980s, the 1990s and before, a world in which humankind would travel among the stars, in which peace would reign and human ingenuity would gradually resolve all ills that plague the world. A fantasy which we came to realise as we grew up was just that, and although the illusion faded, the feeling and the nostalgia for such a fictional world remained.

Although it’s a genre that’s most strongly associated with post-Soviet nations, it has found strong resonance around the world, where generations of people who grew up during the second half of the 20th century have found themselves disillusioned with the world they were promised they’d inherit once they became adults. Today, amidst the ruins of a world fought over for shallow power gains, it is the faint echo of a bright future – as once foretold – maintaining the tiny flame which keeps up our spirits. It is the feeling that resonates within the souls of all of us who crave a higher future for humankind.

Sovietwave is the nostalgia for what was never to be, and the painful hope that it may still be within our reach.


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