I don’t normally buy into generational arguments, but I have a theory that chillwave is a result of millennial anxiety around unstable social circumstances. Rough economy, hard to get jobs, and the ones you get are low-paying with seemingly little room for upward mobility. With all this anxiety plus the general noise of a society awash in media, music provides solace, explaining chillwave’s general inoffensiveness: straightforward major-key melodies, soothing vocals, layers upon layers of synth pads, beats that are the epitome of fluid. It’s relaxing – honestly not that far away from new age. Turn on Washed Out, smoke a bowl, leave this grating world for a while.
Basically, it’s the new new age music.