IMO this genre started going viral around the time of Stranger Things season 1, with initial support likely dating as far back as the hype surrounding vaporwave and the announcement of Cyberpunk 2077 (and the release of other cyberpunk-y games).
This is one of my favorite tracks from synthwave. It definitely has a futuristic city, Blade Runner-esque feel to it, but it also feels like what would play in a movie cyberpunk nightclub.
Got to listen to a few of stunning albums in my synthwave phase. Will post those later, but first things first, Junkie XL's Distance Between Dreams OST is just pure synth heaven. It doesn't have that synthwavey 80s happy feel to it, but it's amazing nonetheless and something I can listen to all the time.
So recommendations, huh? Anything by The Midnight really. Especially the stuff on their Endless Summer and Nocturnal releases. Not a single bad track on those releases if you ask me. Their newer stuff are also great, this includes their album Monsters, which was just released earlier this month.
Yeah I'm not sure how I'd classify it myself. But, it features a lot of legendary synths (some from the 80s), a modular wall and maybe some software. It's just pure synth heaven for me. If you're into this, Junkie XL had a lot of videos featuring his most used hardware synths on his YouTube channel.
There's not much. I would say vaporwave is more ambient-oriented and has a bit of a political connotation and meme culture around it, whereas synthwave can be danceable. Both are inspired from '80s/'90s popular culture, but vaporwave draws more from
whereas synthwave also draws from house, synth, and nu-disco. Vaporwave became huge in the early 2010s with the release of Floral Shoppe, several years before Stranger Things boosted synthwave's popularity.