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December 4, 2014 9:33 PM   Subscribe

"Every Night" by Hannah Diamond is a perfect piece of 21st Century Twee. The song is the first official, find-it-in-shops single from PC Music (previously, previouslier and thoroughlier), and an ideal example of the sound. Diamond is a key member of the (small) music collective and a designer for LOGO Magazine. She has previously dropped two tracks: Attachment and Pink and Blue, and was featured featured on label founder A.G. Cook's Keri Baby ). All four songs are delicious. posted by Going To Maine (18 comments total) 14 users marked this as a favorite
It seems I don't know what "twee" means anymore.
posted by escabeche at 9:58 PM on December 4, 2014 [3 favorites]

escabeche, I think maybe it lost some of its negative connotation when it jumped the pond. I have been seeing it a lot recently, though. I'm a saccharine man, myself, but I can understand the twee crowd. The word seems more phonetically evocative, probably because, if the rumors are true, it derives from sweet.
posted by johnnydummkopf at 10:07 PM on December 4, 2014

I've always considered the essence of "twee" to be both "perfect pop", cloying sweetness, and simplicity, properties that I think this music has in spades. While PC Music is certainly much less analogue than the the 90s idea of twee in terms of sound (no guitars here) or aesthetics (this isn't the faux 1950's of Beat Happening fans -maybe faux 1980s, given Diamond's photos), it still sounds pretty technically simple and home-made. Very lap-pop, even in its slickness.
posted by Going To Maine at 10:12 PM on December 4, 2014 [1 favorite]

For those of you wanting to delve deeper into the weird, fascinating music of PC Music: their recent Halloween set had some odd and beautiful moments. Here's the video. [YT Link]!

Oh and the recent Anamanaguchi single [YT Link] sounds like the perfect cross section of their usual 8-bit tunes and the twee / bubblegum bass / "pc music music" (or however one would like to call it) linked above. I so want their whole next record to sound like this.
posted by bigendian at 10:43 PM on December 4, 2014 [2 favorites]

PC music is neat but this is not Twee. Let's call it QT?
posted by Potomac Avenue at 3:18 AM on December 5, 2014 [1 favorite]

I like Friday by Rebecca Black better than these songs
posted by Flood at 4:13 AM on December 5, 2014 [1 favorite]

So, it's like 90's techno with 80's lyrics/vocals and an early MTV meets Beyond the Mind's Eye visual sensibility?
posted by oddman at 4:52 AM on December 5, 2014

Speaking of Anamanaguchi, their recently released cover of Girls Just Wanna Have Fun is really fucking fantastic and you should listen to it very loud.
posted by cortex at 6:31 AM on December 5, 2014

It seems like we've had a decade and a half of 80's retro. The retro fad has lasted longer than the decade. And not the cool, sexy, neon and chrome 80's, oh no. The dayglow and plastic jewelry 80's. How does that I can't even actually???
posted by Slap*Happy at 7:02 AM on December 5, 2014

This isn't 80s retro yo. It's early 2000s retro. Welcome to it.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 7:14 AM on December 5, 2014 [2 favorites]

From Urban Dictionary:
Something that is sweet, almost to the point of being sickeningly so. As a derogatory descriptive, it means something that is affectedly dainty or quaint, or is way too sentimental.

In American English it often refers to a type of simple sweet pop music, but in British English it is used much more widely for things that are nauseatingly cute or precious. It comes from the way the word sweet sounds when said in baby talk.

"Belle and Sebastian are the Beatles of twee."
posted by Thorzdad at 7:22 AM on December 5, 2014

What is twee?

Let us go to the pages of British humor magazine “Punch” on March 8, 1905. In a serialized story called “At a moment’s notice,” an author named “M.A.” quotes a cousin, Phyllis, a member of England’s smart society, who tends to speak in adoring contractions. “Do look at this sweet little monkey on the organ! Isn’t he deevie!” she cries out, and the author interjects to inform us that “deevie” is short for “divine.” “He’s quite too trotty for words,” Phyllis adds later. She calls his ear “ducky.” And she says “I call him perfectly twee!”

And there we have it. As far as anyone call tell, this is the first appearance in print of the word “twee,” and the author of the story confesses he hasn’t as clue what it means.

The word makes another appearance years later, in 1917, again spoken by a young woman, again a slangy expression of delight, and again meant comically. In this instance, the author was M.T. Hainsselen, a vicar who wrote light comic fiction, sometimes about the Royal Navy. In this instance, in a book called “Grand Fleet Days,” he offer a dialogue between a girl, described as “bewitchingly pretty and young,” and a Staff Paymaster named Dibbs, also known as “Toodle-ums.” In the scene, Dibbs offers the girl a tour of his ship. Dibbs, who has never really looked around the ship, is at a loss as to what to tell her, and the girl scouts around eagerly, offering bombastic approval to everything she sees.

“Oh, here's another little gun; isn't it a darling!” she cries out at one point. “Isn't it just too twee for words!”

“It's only a practice gun,” Dibbs responds, and he’s probably wrong about that.

Some have theorized that “twee” is meant to represent the way children say “sweet”; they may be wrong about that. What we do know is that it started out as an expression of approval, but, at least as represented by the authors who documented the word, spoken by the sort of people who use perfectly silly words when they could instead use perfectly ordinary ones. It obviously kicked around London society for a while – it makes appearances hither and thither in print throughout the 20th century.

The word may or may not have enjoyed a renaissance in the swinging London of the 60s. At the very least, that’s when we know the word jumped the puddle to America. Buoyed by the international success of “Alfie,” Paramount Pictures acquired the American distribution rights to a film called “Smashing Time.”

This 1967 comedy starred Lynn Redgrave and was intended as a satire of the youth scene in London at the time, and was scripted by film critic George Melly. George was, at that time, well into his 40s, and he spiked his lampoon with a number of antiquated references (including naming many of the characters after Lewis Carrol’s classic nonsense poem “Jabberwocky.”) The film is loaded with young people speaking in slang, but it is entirely possible that George Melly invented some of it and borrowed other from his own childhood. At one point, the phrase “the spadiest freak-out of all time” appears, and if slang ever sounded made up, that sounds the most made up of all.

Nonetheless, Paramount seemed to think it would be a good idea to create a glossary of the phrases that appear in the film, which they distributed to American film critics. The glossary included the word “twee,” which they defined as “camp.”

It definitely started to reach its apogee in the 90s, when bands like Belle and Sebastian were described as part of twee pop (Pitchfork article) and films like those of Wes Anderson also became known as twee (Salon article). This usage was ambiguous -- sometimes people used it as an expression of dismissal, sometimes approval.

Twee does tend to refer to an overly precious approach to things, which also might repulse or delight you, depending on your tastes. I'm pretty much full-blown twee -- enough to write a scholarly thousand word essay on an online forum on the subject -- so I fall squarely into the delight camp.
posted by maxsparber at 8:36 AM on December 5, 2014 [5 favorites]

All this talk of twee and no one's brought up Tullycraft yet?
posted by Gortuk at 8:52 AM on December 5, 2014 [3 favorites]

Twee as a genre of music is pretty solidly defined though. PC Music is great, but it ain't twee.
Gortuk holds the key. That song is the answer.
posted by wyndham at 9:53 AM on December 5, 2014 [1 favorite]

And just in case anyone needs more clarification from Tullycraft, this might help as well.
posted by wyndham at 9:59 AM on December 5, 2014

And more to the point of the original post, does "find-it-in-shops single" mean something different these days? I cannot find any trace of a physical release for this. Is it a 7"? Could someone help me out with a link?
posted by wyndham at 10:03 AM on December 5, 2014

And more to the point of the original post, does "find-it-in-shops single" mean something different these days?

I was being a little liberal; meant that it's the first track that, in addition to being available on soundcloud and for free download, can actually be purchased on the Itunes Store. Correspondingly, PC Music also gave it a different release number than their other stuff: "PC001" as opposed to "pc-<lowercase letter><int>"
posted by Going To Maine at 10:58 AM on December 5, 2014

Ahh, I get you. Thanks for the explanation. I sure wish they would release something though!
posted by wyndham at 1:12 PM on December 5, 2014

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