Are these visuals of the seapunk variety or vaporwave?
  • Are these visuals of the seapunk variety or vaporwave?

It’s been a hot minute since Rihanna’s Saturday Night Live performance turned seapunk into the kind of subculture that the whole family could enjoy making fun of, which has led to this hellish postseapunk wasteland where the term is applied to anything new that uses outmoded, chintzy looking graphics. It’s as if no one cares about the mechanics of URL-derived pop terminology!

For example take the new video for “Jealousy,” a track British producer the Purist cut with Danny Brown, which includes all sorts of harshly colored 3D images that look like a clip show of some top-of-the-line computer animation circa 1984. Pitchfork called the clip “a vivid 16-bit karaoke clip that proves the Seapunk aesthetic isn’t quite dead (yet).” Sure, the video may appear to be under the influence of seapunk to the untrained eye, but anyone familiar with the short life of online microscene vaporwave can see characteristics of that cheesy “retro” artistic milieu in the visuals for “Jealousy.” (If you’re unfamiliar with vaporwave be sure to read my B Side feature on the scene from last month.) The video is submerged in the toxic DayGlo hue of vaporwave more often than it uses the preferred color of seapunk, turquoise, and the intro—a title-card for the company behind the graphics, Globodigital Home Video—includes the kind of chintzy 80s lounge music the vaporwave set liked to sample during the style’s salad days. Perhaps I’m splitting hairs, but the “Jealousy” clip includes only a few short scenes that show bodies of water, and I’m not entirely sure those were seas!