The year is 2032. Capitalism fell a long time ago, and needless to say pleasure is dead.
This is the opening dialogue to Metallic Ghosts‘ latest EP/album/internet-only cassette tape titled SkyTower 2032. Entirely miserable, entirely ridiculous. It’s 50% a narrative, 50% a satirical look at the concept of dystopia, 100% the most enthralling piece of… media you’ll hear this week. I hesitate even to call it music.
No matter how ready you are, Metallic Ghosts’ SkyTower 2032 is an album you won’t be able to take standing up. Or sober.
Now, it’s very difficult to write an article on vaporwave that is objectively correct. Factually, all sources on the origins of the genre are lost in the backrooms of various comments sections and reddit threads, and its seminal artists and the sound that makes it unique are equally difficult to define. I dare not risk the wrath of the same internet wizards who defined the genre in the first place and emplore you to do some independent research on the various genres.
That said, if you are coming into the vaporwave world from this base, you’re probably not going to enjoy SkyTower 2032 to the same extent. It plays off tropes and the subtleties of the various conflicts and pretenses within the scene – namely the infinite superiority of the original eccojams over the less musical, more juvenile vaporwave. The former is the official genre of the album’s concept – the fictional future SkyTower in which all humans now live. Throughout, the narrator longs for the last days of capitalism (as documented in Metallic Ghosts 2013 release The Pleasure Centre), her comically slowed down computer voice yearning to listen to vaporwave and “fucking party”.
Do you remember the rain? I barely do.
The tragedy of our protagonist’s nostalgic struggle is entirely undercut by the sheer ham-handedness of the lines being delivered by Microsoft Sam on codeine. The concept behind SkyTower is farfetched to the point that its vague satire is the art itself, a very confused form of dark comedy where it is impossible to identify the butt of the joke. At first I thought it was those who consider eccojams the be-all and end-all of vaporwave, but as the EP progesses, you get the feeling that Metallic Ghosts are poking more fun at themselves than anyone else.
Hey kid, you want to listen to some Saint Pepsi?
By far the best part of the album however is the Saint Pepsi cameo, as a “pepsi dealer” offers the unnamed protagonist a quick listen to the single from 2013’s Hit Vibes in exchange for the currency used in the virtual pet website Neopets. Although the album is only 9 tracks long, I’d hazard a guess at the work having more lore and backstory that that of Tolkein and the extended Star Wars Universe combined.
Even if you only have a fleeting understanding of vaporwave, this album will put a smile on your face. If you don’t, this will be a very strange introduction to a very deep rabbithole.
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