Eyeliner – High Fashion Mood Music

Recommendation: ☀☀☁

High Fashion Mood Music is 80s retro-synth music made to elicit early new wave instrumentals and the beginning of corporate muzak. The album artwork calls to mind all of those dance records that had a young, attractive woman staring into the camera, often with a bit of sultriness and stylization.1 It’s also a bit bland, suggesting that High Fashion Mood Music is yet another cog in the multitude of corporate shell-out aimed at making a quick buck or licensing product. It betrays High Fashion Mood Music‘s simplicity, but that very simplicity is what makes it a surprisingly fun and conceptually interesting album.

Eyeliner purposely produced High Fashion Mood Music in a low bitrate and high compression to enhance sterility and artificiality of sound. It’s like how most listeners can tell the difference between 128kbps and 320kbps sound: the former is less paunchy and less full, and individual tones have a wet-blanket effect to them. High Fashion Mood Music also utilizes the same ultra-peppiness as did James Ferraro on Far Side Virtual, but where the latter album was virtuosic2, Eyeliner’s strength lies in the lack of flamboyancy. Tracks such as “America” rock their goofy synth lead and reverb-so-heavy-Martin-Hannet-is-spinning-in-his-grave without unnecessary flourish or ridiculousness; it’s all about the fun and jam of the track that draws the listener into their ostensible bareness. These tracks are feel-good melodies (and a couple minor ones, but always in resolve) to which one could totally dance – especially that Seinfeld bass fun on “Scenery”.

Eyeliner is commonly discussed in the realm of vaporwave, but that’s not entirely accurate. It’s more of a classic throwback album of synthpop that tries its best to tap into that wacky, if charming, glut of New Wave dance music with which eighties club music is almost synonymous. If it sounds average, that’s because it’s supposed to be so – not just sound, but really, actually be in that forgettable haze of corporate pop. Generally, that kind of irony is annoying and too self-indulgent, but it helps Eyeliner’s case that so much obvious thought went into making the music sound low-effort when it’s clearly constructed with each memorable key, progression, and gated reverb in mind. Other albums that just go for the low-effort might just be low-effort, but here – just like with the corporate music that preceded it – High Fashion Mood Music is composed with the care to become de facto successful. The music might seem mindless if you pick it apart, but there’s a reason why you can’t stop listening – and that’s because Eyeliner is damn good at picking addicting sounds.

Maybe it’s not too interesting in terms of pure listening due to the album’s sheer sonic modesty – and maybe the joke is on people like me who choose to praise it nonetheless- but High Fashion Mood Music flawlessly executes its concept. If you like James Ferraro’s muzak and want more of a taste of that MIDI greatness but want something a bit more retro, then this is an excellent place at which to begin.



1. Closeness – (2:36)
2. Scenery – (3:07)
3. America – (3:27)
4. Earth – (2:16)
5. Devotion – (3:09)
6. Eyeliner – (3:08)
7. Realdoll – (3:16)
8. Rouge – (2:37)
9. Antivirus – (2:41)
10. Reflection – (2:30)
11. Cleopatra – (2:00)
12. Homo Electronicus – (5:47)


1Examples include Culture Club’s Kissing to Be Clever, Duran Duran’s Rio, and – more obtusely – Talk Talk’s self-titled album.
2No pun intended.


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