Explaining corecore, TikTok’s newest aesthetic

Infinite doom-scrolling on TikTok at 2am has become a common experience for many these days, and if you’re one of them (myself included), you’ve probably seen a video like this:

“Okay,” you say to yourself. “It’s kind of sad, but also, the same thing.” You keep scrolling and then you find another one. And another. And another. All of these TikToks share the same characteristics: lovingly edited found media videos, a fast-paced editing style, and depressing, melancholic music. They all share the same hashtag: #corecore.

Before you start assuming I’m just making words up, the hashtag #corecore, and its cousin #nichetok, have a combined 600 million social media views at the time of writing. At first glance, #corecore videos appear to be a pointless collage of videos linked by a common message. However, it is the idea of ​​the core and what it can (or could) represent that has given rise to what some consider genuine post-Gen-Z art.

What is corecore?

Corecore is an aesthetic development on TikTok that takes its name from the sarcastic use of the -core suffix. In the modern internet age, the -core suffix is ​​used to describe shared ideas about cultures, genres or aesthetics, lumping them all into one category – think cottagecore or goblincore (which in turn come from the music genre hardcore, and the tendency of new hardcore-related subgenres to use -core as a suffix, as in “emo-core”). So with its name, corecore makes itself sound like the opposite of the genre itself; Its content can be anything, and its authors can use any medium to convey its central premise. The core page at Know Your Meme then states that the evolution “plays on the -core suffix by creating a ‘core’ from the collective consciousness of all ‘cores’.”


Dear Spotify Wrapped, what the hell is Goblincore?

Kieran Press-Reynolds, a digital culture blogger who first wrote about corecore back in November 2022, is a sharp-eyed trendsetter who writes extensively about niches on the internet. He told Mashable that corecore is essentially an anti-trend that can be loosely defined as similar and different video and audio clips that are meant to evoke some kind of emotion.

“They’re like meme poems, full of short film clips, music and sound bites that are often quite nostalgic, nihilistic or poignant,” Press-Reynolds told me via email. “When I wrote about the genre in late November, most of the popular clips I saw were really cool — they were these quick-start 15-second montages of surreal memes (like cute cats, alpha wolf clips) with heavy music (Drain Geng and other cyber rap) that had not much significant meaning beyond the satisfying rush of recognizable audio and visual content.”

While the style of short-form meme montages has been around since the early days of Youtube (remember Youtube Poop), according to Know Your Meme, the corecore hashtag was first seen on Tumblr in 2020. However, corecore on Tumblr, and specifically Twitter, existed exclusively as a pun on the literal definition of kernel, created due to user frustration with the oversaturation of the term “-kernel.”

Corecore, by the way, is not the same as nichetok, although for many users on TikTok, the terms are apparently interchangeable. To clarify, Know Your Meme says that nichetok is an aesthetic movement consisting mainly of shitposts that refer to multiple fandoms, subcultures, and genres—requiring one to have niche understanding of TikTok development.

New life on TikTok

As Chase DiBenedetto wrote for Mashable , “TikTok has moved many Gen Z users toward a romanticized Millennial (and Tumblr) aesthetic, from fashion to technology. Just like the YouTube poop before it, the core is essentially a new take on an old premise. While #corecore existed on Twitter and Tumblr as a fun leap towards a saturated naming trend, the aesthetic itself took on new life with its launch on TikTok.


TikTok breathes new life into the old internet

Some of the first core videos to hit TikTok were posted around January 2021, according to Press-Reynolds and Know Your Meme. These first interconnected TikToks found the media to convey certain messages, either anti-capitalist or environmentalist. When done right, an author can sequentially weave together a clip from a 30-year-old movie, an interview with an unrelated actor, and a random snippet from a house tour to create a compelling effect that suggests meaning, but may be nothing more than emotion. .

“I think there’s a kind of therapeutic quality to these videos for some people,” Press-Reynold said. “The chaotic and irregular structure of these videos […] deftly captures the feelings of technological chaos and ennui that I think a lot of young people relate to nowadays. It’s like a balm for a TikTok-broken brain.”

Corecore changes, however, do not exist in binary. Some can be unintelligible meme dumps that are upbeat, bordering on dada-style collage art, and other edits are just bits of cats and Fortnite mashed together (aka #pinkcore). Some of the most common symbols of core change were British football clips, Family Guy, blade runner 2049, any picture of Jake Gyllenhaal screaming, and melancholic music (usually soft piano music or Aphex Twin).

This is what makes corecore so interesting: one’s feelings that could not be expressed in words are instead expressed in images. Whether that feeling is happiness, fear of the future, or the excitement of falling in love, core transformations, through the use of multimedia, speak to our collective experience. It’s what one YouTube creator describes as “a beautiful art form that fits our generation so perfectly.”

Corecore stands as the complete opposite of what we consider memes. With memes, a piece of film or television is separated from its source material and takes on a life of its own until you don’t even know what the original context was. In a core post, the fragments individually don’t make sense, but when connected, the video gives them a common context and therefore a certain power. Corecore cuts as a whole create that stronger affinity among fans of the genre, something like nothing Breaking Bad memes on Twitter can offer.

Press-Reynolds says he considers corecore to be a genuine art movement, though not in the traditional sense. “The videos are simple but they have a lot of emotional expression – or if they don’t, it’s still expressing something, the absurd reality of vibeless.”


Is the TikTok trend dead?

Wasted potential, or natural evolution?

The hashtags for corecore and nichetok have around 600 million views, making it an increasingly popular trend on TikTok. Ironically, however, the promise of what corecore can be, as both an art form and an anti-trend, is arguably destroyed by its trendiness.

As fans and critics of corecore point out, one of the problems with every trend that becomes popular on TikTok, and social media in general, is that eventually the rat race to reproduce content that is already in vogue leads to a dilution of the original purpose of corecore.

I don’t see how a culture can continue to fracture and become more and more fragmented without reaching some kind of impasse – people can’t keep making cores and cores and cores forever.

– Kieran Press-Reynolds

Matt Lorence points this out in his TikTok about kernel abuse. He says in his video that “people are taking these movements with strong political ideologies, completely separating them from it, and turning them into soulless and meaningless aesthetic trends.” He concludes that although he doesn’t know the reason for this, he believes that users do not want to be intellectually involved in the art they consume.

In his video on the topic of corecore and Gen-Z’s self-pity obsession, a YouTuber known as angle says that TikTok has become a dumping ground for “super self-pity content” and expresses his disappointment with where the corecore trend is headed.

“Gen-Z as a whole is constantly taking things from older ideas and modernizing them in ways that are socially acceptable, only to get over it and tackle the next thing in a few months,” he says in his video. “Me and my worries are less [corecore] is that something so unique and different, which is only for internet kids in our time, is wasted because of the habits of the same generation to drive things to the ground for internet points.”

He goes on to say that when he comes across core videos now, they are lazy attempts to convey a feeling (using the same clips and music) that usually revolve around “she went and took the kids.”

“It can start to feel like just listlessly browsing, your mind overwhelmed by hashtags, drowning in the digital darkness of media that never deeply affects you but floats over you like a limp tide,” said Press-Reynolds. “I don’t see how a culture can continue to fracture and become more and more dispersed without reaching some kind of impasse – people can’t keep making cores and cores and cores forever.”

Corecore hasn’t exactly hit the mainstream yet, but there’s already a burning question about what will happen when it does: can it avoid being yet another in the endless revolving door of fashions and aesthetics that float by pointlessly, and rather depressingly, like, well , core video?


Also Read :  Way Station opens used book store | News, Sports, Jobs

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Related Articles

Back to top button