(It's Day Six of our look at some quality songs that couldn't crack the Top 100. The full list of my 100 Songs for 2010 will be available December 6.)
So ... chillwave was a thing that happened in 2010. I think we'll have a hard time explaining it in the years to come.
Where do you start? Musically? Well, it sounds like 1980s synth-pop, but like it was recorded in some guy's bedroom on really cheap equipment. Culturally? Well, it started as a joke genre (and apparently could have been called GorillaVsBearCore) which is awesome. I would say that I am pro-joke-genres, and generally pro-anything they're doing over at Hipster Runoff.
More than that, though, if we want to take chillwave seriously as a cultural artifact, it doe seem possible to do so. David over at Pitchfork Reviews Reviews wrote a very interesting essay about how a bad economy creates music like this, and I think it's entirely possible we'll look back on chillwave decades from now the same way we look at some of the freakier hippie music of the 1960s and say, "Well, yeah, it would never work now, but you can kinda see how they'd be into that at the time."
So there aren't any chillwave songs on the Top 100. "Sleep Paralysist" and "Low Shoulder" were included in early versions of the list, but in the end there were just too many other good songs. Also, it's possible that ceo* and Delorean aren't really chillwave (people on the internet actually make charts about stuff like that - ceo is a Tough Alliance** side project if you're trying to figure out where they fit), but I think they sound similar enough to be included here.
Neon Indian - "Sleep Paralysist"
Toro y Moi - "Low Shoulder"
Washed Out - "You and I"
ceo - "Come With Me"
Delorean - "Stay Close"
** Also Sweden!