Best New Retro Wave Albums of All Times
A new musical movement has been steadily growing over the past years and it’s not showing any signs of slowing down. This movement is called “new retro wave” and it takes its cues from the 1980s.
The music is often synthesizer-based and incorporates elements of pop, rock, and electronica. It is a combination of electronic music and nostalgia.
In this blog post, we’ll bring you what we consider to be the top 10 best new retro wave albums ever created: for this list we’ve researched and listened to more than 100 records and, in the end, only the ones that managed to get approval by both of us made it in the list.
The criteria in the selection process were related to: quality, emotion, and replayability of the music and nothing else. We made a point not to consider the artist’s popularity.
After number 1, we’ll also share with you the 5 albums that were super close to being included but just barely missed placement.
Please remember that tastes are very subjective, so should you not see your favorite album on the list we invite you to leave a comment at the end of the post so that we’ll be able to consider it for future updates!
And should you be interested in knowing what “retrowave” actually is, you can do so by clicking in the box below!
#10 THE G: WANDERERS
Published on NewRetroWave Records (the label taking the name from the genre), Wanderers by The G is an amazing album blending together chill tracks with very energetic ones.
Very arp-centric and powerful it features a vast range of amazing guest artists such as Dimi Kaye, Mint Simon, Vandal Moon, JJ Mist, and Vampire Step-Dad.
The album is very varied in style and mood, yet it is coherent and consistent throughout the release.
The G has made a great album here, one that I would recommend to everyone who likes the genre.
#9 FM84: Atlas
If you’re a fan of retrowave you’ve almost certainly heard the amazing “Running In The Night“, from FM84 and Ollie Wride.
Even tho that’s the most renowned song, there’re 10 more from where it comes! Each one is better than the other!
The atmosphere of this album is warm, sentimental, and nostalgic, but also very driving and energetic
This album is like a comforting blanket, wrapping its listener in a tender embrace and reminding them of the past.
The synth arrangements are so perfect that any song could be a hit single.
If you’re a fan of Retrowave, Synthwave, Dreamwave, or any other music that s reminiscent of the 80s, you’re gonna love this!
#8 MAGIC SWORD: ENDLESS
Some classic new retro wave sounds mixed with a composition that’s at times cinematic and at times videogame-like, creating a unique and unforgettable experience, like riding a roller coaster through a video game world made up of many different elements, changing all around you as you venture deeper in.
I can definitely see this beautiful music in both adventurous movies and top-notch video games, as the perfect soundtrack for epic magical adventures full of quests, emotions, and struggle.
Purely instrumental, this magnificent work is sure the bring emotions to the heart of every listener.
#7 SYST3M GLITCH: BEYOND STARS
Released via Aztec Records, Syst3m Glitch Beyond Stars is not just another new retro wave album: it is a journey inside all of us, in the part of ourselves that just wants to keep going and live, no matter the hardships.
Everyone has had those times full of unfulfilled desires, with a heart that fills itself with despair, not knowing what to do, with uncertainty filling every cell of our being but with the very strong certainty that what we want is to push through and keep living, driving full speed towards our dreams.
This is the perfect track for those moments, igniting the inner fire that’ll keep you going.
A tale from outer space, resonating in every one of us and our desires with power and emotion, bringing dreams to life, gifting courage and motivation.
#6 MORPHOICE:VYNIL CITY
Yet another Aztec Records release, Morphoice’s Vynil City contains songs that are a personal all-time favorite of us in the new retrowave category: one above all the magnificent: “City Lights” featuring the amazing talents of Mayah Camara.
Mayah’s voice is perfectly suited for this concept and her performance is nothing short of mesmerizing.
I honestly don t think I can praise this song enough, but I m going to try anyway by saying that it definitely is one of our most-listened songs.
Inspired by Morphoice’s own work-in-progress novel, Vynil City is a story of love and oppression in a futuristic world run by corporations (so not that different from our own I’d say), a fight against the imposed fate, a quest to really break free and live, drenched in powerful emotions from start to finish.
#5 THE MIDNIGHT: ENDLESS SUMMER
The Midnight’s Endless Summer is a new retrowave album that’s very dear to me as the song: “The Comeback Kid“, is the very first retro song I’ve ever heard and what got me into the genre.
We could go as far as saying that the whole eLxAr project would not exist without that song and this album.
Still, The Comeback Kid or not, Endless Summer is one of those albums that will never cease to amaze. Delving deep into nostalgic memories of the past and almost forcing into the listener’s minds all the hopeful but forgotten dreams, every single listen to this masterpiece of retro music is an almost perfect experience everyone should live for themselves at least once in his/her lifetime.
#4 NINA: SLEEPWALKING
Maybe not as energetic as the previous albums, NINA’s Sleepwalking is a new retrowave album that should be considered a masterwork in emotional songwriting.
To be honest, we’ve been extremely unsure about which NINA album to place in this top 10, with the choice being between “Sleepwalking” and “Synthians“, and in the end, we decided for the first considering the strongest emotional impact it had on us lyric-wise and the replayability of it.
Lush synths powerful rhythms, a super sweet and expressive voice, and deep lyrics everyone should be able to connect with at some point make “Sleepwalking” a must-listen for everyone.
BONUS #1 ELXAR: BEYOND THE EMOTIONS
Before the top 3 of the list let us take a second to suggest our own album!
Beyond The Emotions, released via Retro Reverb Records, is inspired by the sad statistic showing that during the lockdown 1 out of 5 couples broke up.
In this album, we re-created a full love story, from first sight to forever happy, but treating love in a very real fashion; from the sweetest moments to the fears to the willpower and rational parts of it.
Not saying that it belongs on the list, but give it a listen and decide for yourself!
Remember: all of our creations are 100% free! But should you want to support us, making it possible for us to survive, keep creating new music and keeping this website open, you can do so of your own free will by clicking here.
#3 KALAX: III
Kalax’s way of producing music has always been a favorite: energetic, ethereal, and magical.
As such I’ve always found it strange that the favorite track from this album, and one of my all-time favorites, is a quiet emotional one: Kawasaki Warehouse connects with my inner soul on so many emotional levels it just feels like magic.
But do not stop at that one single track: III is a new retrowave album that’s just close to perfection from start to finish!
I’ve actually lost count of how many times I’ve listened to this album on repeat! You can trust me when I tell you that this is a powerful and beautiful experience from start to end!
#2 TIMECOP1983: NIGHT DRIVE
Timecop1983 is often considered to be the absolute king of Dreamwave, the lushest and dreamy part of the new retrowave genre, and for good reasons.
All of his productions just feel, well, dreamy, and emotional, like very few others manage to.
Night Drive is probably the best example of his master skills at crafting emotional soundtracks, so it should not come as a surprise that this is definitely an album not to pass on seeing how in between all the tracks in it, not a single one appeared to be of a lower quality compared to the others.
This is the perfect music to listen to as you drive, when you just want to relax, and when you need that alone time with your eyes closed, dreaming about a different reality.
#1 GUNSHIP: GUNSHIP
When we first heard this album, Alex immediately stated: “this is perfect!“
It’s very hard finding an album that has no flaws whatsoever from start to finish but “Gunship” definitely managed it.
Perfect retro vibes, perfect voice, perfect vibes, not a single bad track in the entire album.
We really believe that this is worthy of taking the number 1 spot as the best new retro wave albums ever created as of today.
It’ll be like eating cherries: taste it once, and you won’t be able to stop anymore, at least this is how it was for us, with many repeated listens to prove it.
This album is just that good it really deserves a spot in every music fan collection and we can’t recommend this enough: just click play in the Spotify box below and be amazed.
TOP 10 Best New Retro Wave Albums - Runner Ups
The top 10 is full of amazing music, sure, but what about those artworks that, for one reason or another, just barely didn’t make it in?
We believe it would be a real disrespect towards both them and you not to mention them, stealing away your chance at discovering more outstanding music!
In order to come up with this top 10, we’ve listened to countless albums and, of course, we’ve had to debate over a great number of them.
In between these, there are 5 specific ones that were extremely close to making it into the main list, but just barely missed their placement.
Even if not included in the top 10, we still consider them to be absolutely amazing and worth being in this best new retro wave albums list, as such we’ve decided to create this little section in order to bring them to your attention but starting with a special bonus one!
Also please note: these are not in any special order
BONUS #2 SOYLENT CHIBA: APOCALYPSE 1998
We’ve lost count of how many times we’ve listened to this album.
It is the kid’s all-time favorite, which means that every single time we enter the car, it goes on repeat.
EVERY. SINGLE. TIME.
I say this is enough to give it a special mention in this top!
Sadly: it’s not on Spotify, so you can only listen and buy on Bandcamp.
MICHAEL OAKLEY: INTROSPECT
Another amazing album published via New Retro Wave Records, Michael Oakley’s Introspect is what I consider to be “summer energy-synthwave”.
Michael’s music is just super energetic and catchy, an instant go-to for when you’re in need of these kinds of vibes.
In fact, we usually consider it to be “summertime synthpop“, and it’s usually our go-to music during summer travels, as we drive to reach the sea.
Shadowrunner: The Stranger
Shadowrunner’s The Stranger is a remarkable new retro wave album that’s not only highly emotional and catchy but also tackles a very important subject.
All of us have a dark side as a part of our personality, this album aims at showing through music how that side can replace our real personality and, by twisting our mind and perception, condemn us to eternal darkness.
Many people listen to music just to vibe with the rhythms and melodic, but this excellent work should teach everyone to try and go a little more “in-depth” about things, trying to align our minds with their impactful and important meanings.
THE FUTURE KIDS: 80S DREAMS
Published by Outland Recordings, The Future Kids 80s dreams is an outstanding Dreamwave album that perfectly tackles the nostalgia for the 80s.
Lush and dreamy musical textures make it a perfect artwork to vibe to when in need to escape reality and take refuge in sweet memories of the past.
OCTAL DRIVE: EVENTIDE
Octal Drive is, in our humble opinion, the perfect example of how nowadays the quality of music means almost nothing and all that matter is the advertisement that’s done for it.
As of today with us writing this article, Octal Drive has fewer monthly streams than ourselves on Spotify and just a handful of albums sold on Bandcamp.
Considering how amazingly good this music is, even if compared to top names in the genre “family“, this is to be considered a crime in itself.
It’ll be up to you to turn this wrong into a right! By listening to it and supporting this amazing project!
L'AVENUE: INTO THE NIGHT
Lush and evocative, yet tense and drenched in warmness, L’Avenue’s Into The Night is an outstanding new retro wave album.
It’s a little hard perfectly describe the different emotions that this album evokes in a listener: I’d say it’s a sense of mystery and wonder, mixed with tension and the subtle sensation that there’s something more to watch catch the eye in the world.
If you’ve ever “lived the night”, riding in between the curtains of the darkness, feeling the cold air on your face, enjoying the sensation of silent vastness all around you, it’ll probably easier for you to understand the strong emotional impact of this work.
TOP 10 Best New Retro Wave Albums - Conclusions
And this is it, our top 10 + bonuses + runner-ups!
The creation of this top really took a lot of time and our promise is we’ll keep updating it every time a new, worthy entry shows up, ready to steal some spotlight from the current winners.
What’s really important tho is: was this top of benefit to you? Did it help you find music that resonates with your heart?
What did you think of the list? Do you agree with it? Or perhaps there’s something that you feel we should have kept in consideration?
Let us know it all in the comments below! We’ll be glad to know how you vibed with our picks, your favorite ones and we’ll consider all of your suggestions for when it’s time to update this top in the coming years.
Music enriches lives and heals souls, let’s give it the importance it deserves!
Remember: Art Can Be More!
Luca and Alex