Twee pop

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Twee pop is a subgenre of indie pop[1] that originates from the 1986 NME compilation C86. Characterised by its simplicity and perceived innocence, some of its defining features are boy-girl harmonies, catchy melodies, and lyrics about love. For many years, most bands were distributed by the independent record labels Sarah Records (in the UK) and K Records (in the US).[3]


The definition of twee is something "excessively or affectedly quaint, pretty, or sentimental," supposedly born from a childish mispronunciation of the word sweet. While the terms "twee" or "twee pop" are considered pejorative in the UK[citation needed], a retrospective fascination with the genre in the US saw Americans eagerly defining themselves as twee.[4] According to The A.V. Club's Paula Mejia:

The difference between “twee” and “indie pop” is slight but polarizing. Both styles of music transcended genre, became a tape-trading lifestyle, and have similar influences, drawing from the Ramones’ minimalist three-chord structures as much as The Jesus And Mary Chain’s salty pop harmonies. Everyone varies slightly on origins ... Twee itself began as a vast collection of sounds, gathering the threads where luminaries left off, and carving out divergent avenues in their wake.[2]

AllMusic says that twee pop is "perhaps best likened to bubblegum indie rock – it's music with a spirit of D.I.Y. defiance in the grand tradition of punk, but with a simplicity and innocence not seen or heard since the earliest days of rock & roll".[3] The author Marc Spitz suggests that the roots of twee stem from the post-war 1950s music.[5] While the culture categorized itself under the moniker of "indie" (short for independent), many major twee powerhouses gained mainstream critical acclaim for their contributions to the twee movement.[6]

Related movements[edit]

Cuddlecore is a movement that emerged as a consequence of twee pop[2] that was briefly prominent in the mid-1990s.[7] This label described a style marked by harmony vocals and pop melodies atop a punk-style musical backing.[8] Cuddlecore bands were usually, although not always, all-female and essentially represented a more pop-oriented variation on the contemporaneous riot grrrl scene.[7]

List of artists[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Indie Pop". AllMusic.
  2. ^ a b c d Mejia, Paula (May 1, 2014). "A wistful walk through the precious world of twee pop". The A.V. Club.
  3. ^ a b c d "Twee Pop". AllMusic.
  4. ^ "Twee; Paul Morley's Guide to Musical Genres", BBC Radio 2, 10 June 2008
  5. ^ Spitz, Marc (2014). Twee: The Gentle Revolution in Music, Books, Television, Fashion, and Film. It Books. p. abstract. ISBN 0062213040.
  6. ^ a b Abebe, Nitsuh (24 October 2005), "Twee as Fuck: The Story of Indie Pop", Pitchfork Media
  7. ^ a b "Cute. Real Cute : The Look Is Dainty, but Cuddle Core Followers Are Brashly Telling the World They'll Grow Up the Way They Please". Los Angeles Times, 28 June 1995.
  8. ^ Kaitlin Fontana, Fresh at Twenty: The Oral History of Mint Records. ECW Press, 2012. ISBN 978-1770900523.
  9. ^ Goodrich, Matthrew (7 September 2017), "Anti-Social Antisocialites: Alvvays On Their Sophomore Record", Brooklyn Magazine, retrieved 2017-10-03
  10. ^ Hoffman, K. Ross, "Allo Darlin'", All Music Guide
  11. ^ Fink, Matt, "Architecture in Helsinki – Fingers Crossed", Paste Magazine
  12. ^ a b c d e f g h Carew, Anthony, "Top 10 Twee Albums", ThoughtCo
  13. ^ Dorr, Nate, "Camera Obscura", All Music Guide
  14. ^ "The 10 Best Twee Pop Albums to Own on Vinyl". Vinyl Me Please. 2016-11-18. Retrieved 2017-07-28.
  15. ^ Breihan, Tom, "New She & Him Album Due Next Year", Pitchfork
  16. ^ Colly, Joe, "Higher Than the Stars EP", Pitchfork
  17. ^ Cosores, Philip, "Veronica Falls: Waiting for Something to Happen", Paste