Twee pop may seem an obvious go-to for a Valentines Day playlist, with its reputation for painfully sweet melodies and lyrics coupled with cutesy instrumentation and aesthetics. However, as we’ve explained before, this genre isn’t just Zooey Deschanel and heart-shaped sugar cookies. With this playlist for your indie-pop Valentine’s Day, we’ve rounded up the best twee music both for basking in love and wallowing in heartbreak — or, you know, just telling it all to go to hell. As with all music in this genre, whatever the subject, if it’s not making you feel at least a bit warm and fuzzy, it should start looking for new work. … Read More
A few years ago, the always insightful music critic Nitsuh Abebe wrote an in-depth piece titled “Twee as Fuck” in which he proclaimed that “indie pop is not just ‘indie’ that is ‘pop.’” He went on to say that very few people knew this, or even cared. Though we agree that most people, even big music fans, are seriously uninformed about cultural history of “indie pop,” or “twee,” we aren’t so sure that it’s because they don’t care. Over and over, we see “twee” come up in cultural discussions, usually when it’s being used as an insult, or berated as an aesthetic. In any case, it’s almost always oversimplified. See, for example, a recent Thought Catalog piece by former Hipster Runoff model Bebe Zeva, where she instructs readers on “How To Be Twee,” based on the most basic and stereotypical ideas of what that means.
Now, it seems to us that the hatred of twee culture stems from its connection with “cuteness,” a trait that is generally linked closely with the concept of femininity. It’s a little concerning that this “feminine” subculture is treated with such derision. Twee was popular in the early ’90s, as was riot grrrl. They both put stock in a DIY, punk aesthetic, were grassroots and fan-fueled, and, in their own ways, both fought against gender norms. Though riot grrrl was more obvious in its loud protest of women’s subjugation in both in the music industry and the world, twee attacked gender roles more subtly. Twee suggested that it’s all right for people, including straight men, to be as cutesy as they want to be and not always adhere to the restraints of masculinity. With that in mind, and just in time for the NYC Popfest, Flavorpill presents an alternative guide to being Twee As Fuck. After the jump, we go far deeper into twee than posting a sepia-tone picture on your Tumblr. … Read More