Though I often cringe at the genre slapped on artists like Toro Y Moi, Neon Indian, and Washed Out, chillwave isn't changing its name, and this article on the Teshno blog argues that the fledgling style will be remembered as the music of Summer 2010. Even though the sounds were first heard around last summer, they seem to more recently be growing legs. But I can see why it's being claimed as this year's sunny sound; the music feels born from exuberant youth without a thing to do; it's as dreamy as beat-centric music is likely to get; and it makes an ideal middle ground between electronic sounds and the structured pop beloved by indie kids. Still, chillwave also feels very temporary. One of its most respected progenitors, Chaz Bundik (a.k.a. Toro Y Moi), has already switched out much of his computerized compositions for straight-up live music on his lastest single, "Leave Everywhere," and many artists associated with the sound refuse to brand themselves "chillwave."
Kristan JC, author of the aforementioned article, writes, "Whether [chillwave] turns out to be a passing ripple or of the all-consuming Tsunami-type, only time will tell." You could say that about any new genre. But a year of existence doesn't quite establish a sound -- I'd venture that chillwave's feeling of impermanence helps it claim the crown of this summer's soundtrack. The style has basically peaked (Neon Indian is making deals with Mountain Dew, guys), so it ought to remain in the hearts and minds of its listeners as romantically elusive and hazy as the songs sound when they're first heard. And in summers to come, we can return to them like unburied time capsules waiting to conjure the memories of years past.
Follow us on Twitter @SFAllShookDown and @PatricFallon