A Metamodernist Playlist

Evan Atlas
22 min readMay 20, 2021

I didn’t know there was a name for it. But when I started reading about metamodernism, it gave me a new tool to describe something I had deeply internalized to the point that it had faded into the background.

The broader applications of metamodernism inspired me to write this. But this annotated playlist could not possibly attempt to spell out the full scope of change which could come about in a metamodern era. Rather, in the spirit of this way of feeling/seeing/being, this is a lighthearted introduction to something very serious. My intention today is simply to introduce you to metamodernism through my own musical interpretation. In this way, I hope it will be more resonant and easily embodied in real life, where I see it having a profound impact on you, your relationships, and the world we share.

“Metamodernism, as we see, it is not a philosophy. In the same vein, it is not a movement, a programme, an aesthetic register, a visual strategy, or a literary technique or trope… For us, it is a structure of feeling.” — Timotheus Vermeulen & Robin van den Akker

Learning about this subject has helped me reflect on my personal development (and deficits) and how I can be a positive force in the lives of all — people, animals, and planet. I grew up surrounded by left-leaning memetic tribes, and felt sure about the importance of having a society with a strong social foundation. I was drawn to the scientific worldview and the so-called “grand narratives” of modernism. And I was also aware of postmodernism’s deconstruction of these along with objectivity, history, and progress. But I never felt settled in one or the other — both seemed incomplete. Modernism was too bull-headed, and postmodernism too indiscriminately destructive. Vermeulen and van den Akker write:

“Indeed, if, simplistically put, the modern outlook vis-à-vis idealism and ideals could be characterized as fanatic and/or naive, and the postmodern mindset as apathetic and/or skeptic, the current generation’s attitude — for it is, and very much so, an attitude tied to a generation — can be conceived of as a kind of informed naivety, a pragmatic idealism.”

And Hanzi Freinacht adds:

“Each of them is a kind of underlying structure of the symbolic universes that constitute our lived and shared realities. So each one of them roughly have an ontology (theory of reality and what is ‘really real’), an ideology (‘theory of what is right and good’) and an identity, an idea of who…

Evan Atlas

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