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The genre of the Sovietwave earned relative popularity in the past decade and it is one of its kind. Imagine a country that you know existed 30 years ago, but all you can find about it is a mostly bias opinion that either praises the Soviet era or on the opposite, tries to criticize it. Sovietwave music is apolitical and it generally creates a dreamy, nostalgic feeling that makes young people feel good about the Soviet Union and even makes them feel a certain nostalgy towards this era.
It is no surprise that the Sovietwave phenom is mostly common in the Post-Soviet space and as a person that was born in the final years of the existence of the Soviet Union, I clearly understand why. The childhood in the ’90s was more or less the same as the Soviet one. I clearly remember that until some point I had a strong feeling that this is still the Soviet Union outside the window, even though these were the crazy ’90s. However, the music and films shown on TV were mostly made in USSR, so all the cultural vibes were not as different as it became in the 2000s. Overall, life was relatively simple in the way that all the Post-Soviet countries were in a deep economic crisis and we did not have anything fancier than our parents back in the ’60s & ’70s. We weren’t pioneers and the statues of Lenin got removed – those might be the biggest differences compared to the Soviet childhood from a ’90s child’s perspective.
For the generation that fully enjoyed the Soviet era, it makes even more sense to get caught in a sentimental mood while listening to the Sovietwave. While the ’90s at that time felt like a fresh start and long-awaited freedom was finally achieved, after 30 years situation & opinions have changed. Nowadays you can see a disappointment in the capitalism system in the eyes of many common, working-class people. And that is not even an idealization of the Soviet Union or anything related to that. There is a simple logic behind it.
Sovietwave makes all the historic Soviet propaganda & Communist utopia aspects apolitical and aesthetically attractive through its strong nostalgic feelings
People in the former Soviet republics still remember the times, when they were a part of the utopian Communism dream and there was a powerful country that took care of them. Such nostalgy is understandable. For a simple working-class people, life was easier than in the wild capitalism environment. They had a guaranteed job, utility prices were low and other costs were adequate compared to the salaries. Of course, the Soviet-era can be split into several periods or decades – some were tough and full of grief, some were stable and prosperous. There is plenty of contrasts.
With the Sovietwave – it is all about the dreamy feeling of nostalgy that no human being from the Western world can truly understand. This music touches a unique, deeply personal feeling, mixed with a complex mentality that can be found only in the Post-Soviet space. For this reason, the Sovietwave genre will remain more of an underground and mainstream public most likely won’t be interested in it.
Nevertheless, Sovietwave remains unique because of its connection to the phenom of nostalgia for the Soviet Union. Dreamy synth sounds mixed with the speeches from the Soviet radio and television does its job and brings the listeners somewhere in the middle of the space race and colorful futurism that was once meant to become a reality, but it turned out to the odd dystopia of the ’90s.
To catch these unique vibes, you can check out the Sovietwave radio or such musical projects as Mаяк, НАУКОГРАД or Импульс-80, as well as the several Sovietwave mixes on YouTube. There are plenty of good tracks to enjoy.
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