Synthwave Single Review: "Cruise Control" (Neon Arcadia feat. Tom Selica)

Updated on July 2, 2019
KPM2017 profile image

Karl has been a freelance writer for over 10 years. He's passionate about music, art, and writing!

Cookie-cutter synthwave songs are becoming an unfortunate reality as the genre becomes more popular. People can, if they’re so inclined simply find some drum patches, some synth patches and VSTs and kind of assemble all of the elements into something roughly approximating synthwave. This, thankfully, is not what Neon Arcadia does. Their latest single "Cruise Control," in collaboration with Tom Selica, is far from a clichéd synthwave song. It isn’t a stereotypical piece from many angles. From the very beginning, the drums are not what one would necessarily expect from a traditional synthwave song. This, of course, is down to actually using a real drummer, as opposed to using virtual drums on the song. The drummer’s metal background comes through and adds a nice edge to the music.

The synth riff that underpins the track is rocking but also has a bright quality that contrasts with the darker washes of sound that drift underneath. The overall sonic effect is to generate a mental picture of the road unfurling like a grey and black ribbon under the wheels of a car speeding heedlessly on and on.

There’s a balance between a sound that lifts you high into the air and the darker undertones that are delivered by the lyrics. I also rather enjoyed the “break” section with the piano lines and synth melody that drifts over them. After the break, the jazzy synth line that kicks in adds to the sonic quality of the music. Overall, the effect manages to generate strong images in the mind’s eye.

The vocals are strong and delivered with a real punch. The sense of being on the edge between darkness and light, control and loss of control comes across well in the music. The image that leaps into my head is that of a car rolling down an endless freeway. I got lost in the reverie of pavement blurring under the wheels and tin he sense of ceding control to forces that cause us to drift onwards down this road, regardless of our will and intent.

At the end of the day, so much of synthwave comes down to generating images and producing an effect of filmic quality. One of the reasons why I personally enjoy the genre is the fact that the songs tell stories or more accurately, snippets of a larger story. I always feel like I’m seeing clips from a film that paint one clear image when I hear a good synthwave song. I’d have to say that, in my view, Neon Arcadia and Tom Selica have created such a piece with Cruise Control. I hope that there will be more collaborations between the two artists in the future!


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)