Wellbeing / Wellness

What is ‘corecore,’ the melancholic trend that has entered TikTok’s lexicon


We are all very well acquainted with the endless doom scrolling that haunts the late hours of the evening. Your eyes and brain are slowely shutting down, but the reflection of the blue light keeps you swiping, watching the endless videos of whatever your FYP is serving up to you. (For me that would be recipes, get ready with while I get ready to — insert literally any activity here — and storytimes.)

On TikTok, some have had enough of the constant flow of content that the algorithm is constantly feeding up, and as is TikTok lore at this point, have created a new core. They're calling it corecore. We've had Kidcore, balletcore, cottagecore, and now it seems this new core has outpaced its predecessors. Corecore videos at their essence are cobbled-together internet clips playing over the sound of some very melancholy music, usually Aphex Twin’s “QKThr”.

Watching the corecore videos make you feel like you're walking into the Mubi of TikTok. Or at least if film school assignments were required to be edited solely using TikTok's editing features. The tone is a diversion from the usual peppy, informative energy of most TikToks. They contain a collage of newscasts, viral challenges, and clips from popular tv shows. The effect is discerning, not unlike watching a Black Mirror episode, or a clip from Years and Years, the dark and frighteningly realistic British sci-fi about modern life 10 years from now.


@sebastianvalencia.mp4 Wake up. #corecore #nichetok ♬ original sound - Sebastian V

What are the origins of corecore?

Many have compared #corecore to Dada in the sense that after witnessing the horrors of World War 1. An embrace of the feeling that nothing means anything, and producing work around that. They are comments on the overexposure to contentification of our lives.

Kieran Press-Reynolds, a digital culture blogger who wrote about corecore explains that "they're like meme-poems, rife with short movie clips, music, and soundbites that are often somewhat nostalgic, nihilistic, or poignant," in an interview with Mashable.

Alongside #corecore, you'll usually see other accompanying hashtags. These are cousins to corecore like nichetok. The two of those should not be interchanged. According to Knowyourmeme "nichetok" made up mostly of shitposts that reference multiple fandoms, subcultures, and genres — requiring one to have a niche understanding of TikTok trends.

The ironic turn of events #corecore is how the trend has now in fact gone viral. With over 1.2 billion views across the hashtag at the time of writing, corecore is hitting at something that people are hooked to in some way.

So, will corecore stick around, or just short-fuse itself and fizzle out like the other cores left in TikTok's graveyard? Corecore does offer something different to the cores — an artistic expression that is shaping its own form of art. We watch them and reflect for a moment, as they allow us to look backwards and forwards and ruminate.

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