Tuesday, January 23, 2007

The Royal Court Of Twee: Results!


The Final Top Ten!

The results are in! First of all, I just want to thank all of you that contributed. I never expected to have that many nominations/votes, it was just fantastic! So thanks! But enough of that, below is the Top Ten you've all been waiting to see. You all chose these bands, and thusly, according to you, this is the Royal Court Of Twee!

If you're unfamiliar with these bands, or wondering why they, out of all the bands, belong in the spot they're in, please refer to the MP3 below each band. These songs should more than prove the greatness of each band in the "court." Okay, well here it is!

1. The Field Mice (48 votes!)
[MP3]: The Field Mice :: Sensitive

2. Beat Happening (46 votes!)
[MP3]: Beat Happening :: Indian Summer

3. The Pastels (43 votes!)
[MP3]: The Pastels :: Truck Train Tractor

4. Heavenly (42 votes!)
[MP3]: Heavenly :: Shallow

5. Tullycraft (40 votes!)
[MP3]: Tullycraft :: Twee

6. The Lucksmiths (34 votes!)
[MP3]: The Lucksmiths :: Adolescent Song Of Mindless Devotion

7. Tiger Trap (27 votes!)
[MP3]: Tiger Trap :: For Sure

8. Talulah Gosh (24 votes!)
[MP3]: Talulah Gosh :: Talulah Gosh

9. 14 Iced Bears (21 votes!)
[MP3]: 14 Iced Bears :: Come Get Me

10. Cub (20 votes!)
[MP3]: Cub :: New York City

I also asked you guys to tell me what "twee" means to you, and a few of you were kind enough to humour me. Except, you more than humoured me, you expressed yourselves perfectly! Here's what some people wrote:

Karen Jeannette wrote,
"When I think of twee, I think of a few things:

* "Sensitive" by The Field Mice. The idea of that song, basically being militantly sensitive and proud of it, is kind of revolutionary.

* Beat Happening and subversive naivete.

* Postpunk like the Raincoats and the Marine Girls. People, including women, including men who don't fit a rock & roll mold, making music in an honest way with what resources they have. Looking at big ideas and trying to make them your own without being intimidated.

* Keading the K Records catalog in high school and reading slogans like "Punks Not Dead" next to the picture of the K Records kitty cat. Realizing that playing simple, kind of goofy songs about playing house really is punk rock.

* Sunday records bands with sweet voices singing cute songs about things like bitterness and betrayal (and about some other nicer things, too).

All in all, the idea that it could be subversive and revolutionary to be pretty / cute / childish / feminine / sensitive / vulnerable / yourself. That in order to be punk in the best possible sense of the term, not only did you not have to be aggressive and hard but in fact it would be more brave and more punk not to be either of those things."


David Lush of The Airfields wrote,
"I've never understood why "twee" is a such a universally applied synonym for "indie-pop", especially when it essentially means "cute". Cute music is usually quite boring and good indie-pop is never boring and is much more than cute sounding. Most songs by The Wake or The Field Mice, for example, are much too gloomy at heart to be cute."

Ken Norcross wrote,
"Like everybody, I listen to different kinds of music for different reasons, but I'm mostly drawn to songs that are bright, quick, and jangly. I like bands that play these songs with honesty, passion, and sincerity. Happy or sad, mad or glad, in love or heartbroken - I want the emotion to be real. I don't like posturing, I don't like anger without a point, and I like things to be genuine. I like music made by people that seem to be like me and the people I know, not some pasteboard caricatures. I'm glad that 14 Iced Bears recorded "Balloon Song" in 1987 and that the Math and Physics Club recorded "Darling, Please Come Home" in 2006. I like it when me, my wife, and my four-year old daughter all enjoy the same song for entirely different reasons. I like it when I get to share a song with a friend - something that they would probably never find on their own. I don't like music that's engineered for a mass appeal, but it's nice when a good song gets some attention. I like songs that are clever and literate. I like it when someone I don't know recognizes the band on my t-shirt. I like it when the same song can be part of the soundtrack to a bad day or a great day. Cuddle-core, dream pop, jangle pop, power pop, indie pop, shambling, C86, or Twee, - whatever you call it - does it make the world a better place, can pop music really make a difference? Yeah, it makes a difference in my world everyday."

You guys had some great insight to share, so thanks again for taking the time to write it all down. I guess that's pretty much it. Nothing left to do but look back and say, "Hey, we did this together, that was pretty cool." Please feel free to comment and discuss in the comments. I'd like to hear what you all think of this.
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25 Comments:

Anonymous Carolyn said...

Great list Matt!

12:48 PM  
Anonymous Ben said...

This is pretty spot-on. The final standings turned out very well and this is by far one of the best pollings I've seen on any blog. Good idea and way to carry it out well!

1:35 PM  
Anonymous ministerium said...

Terrific Royal Court!

2:28 PM  
Anonymous jack Burgess said...

When musicologists of the future look back on the cult phenomenon known as twee pop, they need look no further than the handful of its most important pioneers chosen here. Love it or hate it, it can't be said that this list doesn't showcase twee's brightest bands. It does. Good job Matt.

4:37 PM  
Blogger mp3hugger said...

Kudos Matt, but no Rocketship...boo hoo.

5:06 PM  
Anonymous peter said...

Rocketship? You can't be serious! Dustin released one good album back in 1996 and has since put out a series of self-indulgent very-questionably songs. In NO WAY does he deserve to be on this list.

5:34 PM  
Blogger jess manuel said...

hey how about another one? like a list of criminally ignored bands or forgotten favorites or 'no hits wonder' or 'one-hit no wonder' or 'bet-you-don't-know-this-band-so-screw-you-and-your-pants-yell-cd' list. on second thought never mind, my fave bands might not make it again(pipas,they go boom,fat tulips).

7:50 PM  
Anonymous mark griffey said...

They Go Boom did pretty well I think? But you're right, Pipas ARE a no-hit wonder.

8:22 PM  
Blogger Matt said...

they go boom wouldve been at number 12. thewy were pretty close.

9:32 PM  
Blogger The Rain Fell Down said...

I think there's a difference between bands that can simply be described as 'twee' (the adjective) and bands that belong to a supposed 'tweepop' or 'tweepunk' genre. obviously a song like "sensitive" by the field mice can be called twee, but it is no more tweepop than the wake or new order. it's also strange to see 14 iced bears on the list. of course there were pop elements in their first singles, but they were really a psych revival band.

my list of tweepop bands would include:
talulah gosh
heavenly
fat tulips
tullycraft
tiger trap
cub
free loan investments
all girl summer fun band
another sunny day
bubblegum splash!
the bartlebees
brighter
bunnygrunt
razorcuts
the carousel

etc. good work anyways!

8:46 AM  
Anonymous jimmy said...

i'm a bit surprised, and slightly disappointed that of the ten bands picked only one is still active (and, maybe, kinda past their best...). one is on not-sure hiatus, and the other eight split up years ago.

i really like all the bands picked, and i understand the poll and what you are doing with it but...it just seems so backward looking. like a big nostalgia fest. unlike many other things on your site and the wider twee scene.

just my two cents, as they say.

12:57 PM  
Blogger Matt said...

it was a total nostalgia fest. thats why it was so fun! :D

1:04 PM  
Blogger LindseyBee said...

Jimmy,
I hope you're not saying that Tullycraft are "past their best." If so, you need to update your record collection my friend! I'm a fan of the "old" Tullycraft as well, but there's no way you can say that their first two albums are as good as their second two albums. Their most recent cd "Disenchanted Hearts Unite" is by far the best Tullycraft album to date. How can a band that keeps getting better be past their best? Jimmy, name an active, current twee band that you think can compete with Tullycraft?

4:48 PM  
Anonymous davekim said...

That last Tullycraft album is pretty terrific!

6:27 PM  
Blogger Matt said...

indeed it is!

7:03 PM  
Anonymous nicorimemo said...

Great 'Top Ten Of Twee' Matt!

11:18 AM  
Blogger Arpit Mehta said...

Forgot to post back then, but here's my 2 cents:

Twee is a branch of Indie Pop that is characterized by it's cuteness and sweetness which is often found in children's music. This pertains to sounds and instrumentals (Jim Noir), lyrics (Gruff Rhys), and even appearance (The Boy Least Likely To). Not all Indie Pop is Twee, but all Twee is Indie Pop (for those that enjoy set theory). And there's my take on Twee.

:)

1:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

neat little experiment.
personally i kind of hate the field mice. well not hate. but they're kind of bad. their lyrics are awful, like a middle school emo-boy's in-class poetry!

14 iced bears are pretty good. but kind of boring. i can't listen to their whole discography cd without yawning a lot.

HEAVENLY is unstoppable tho.
fun stuff!
h

4:50 PM  
Blogger Matt said...

middle school emo boy poetry?!?!?!

whoa man.
whoaaaaa.

5:35 PM  
Anonymous cyndi said...

Actually, they're sort of right!

"Of her perfumed,
Her perfumed body, oiled
The bedclothes smell,
The bedclothes smell.
And I'm sleeping well.

I've never been more lonesome,
Life's never been less fun.
She's no longer here--
She's gone.

She's no longer here--
She's gone"
- The Field Mice
"A Wrong Turn and Raindrops"

6:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

FYI: twee= insatiably cute indie pop. Bands that are so sugary you get a contact high and a tooth ache just being around the band members. Music that is played with passion, energy, enthusiasm, and cuteness! Bands who are twee include the All Girl Summer Fun Band, the Smittens, and the Icicles! Beat Happening?! POSH. The least twee thing about them is that they're fucking BORING. Come on. If you have to ask, you'll never know.

This is the least twee thing ever. Just so you know.

1:24 AM  
Blogger Matt said...

Sorry you got so upset about an internet blog, man.

9:21 AM  
Anonymous thom said...

The Smittens and The Icicles hardly deserve to be spoken in the same sentence as BEAT HAPPENING. Boring? Are you kidding me? Did you ever see Beat Happening? As crazy as Calvin Johnson may be, when he was on stage he was easily one of the most charismatic lead singers of ALL TIME! You can call Beat Happening many things. Fucking hate them! But you can never call them boring! Read the book 'Our Band Could Be Your Life' and you will see how much more twee/punk Beat Happening were than those pussies Black Flag!

2:47 PM  
Anonymous Lexapro said...

Great blog! Thanks

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