What is Corecore at its core?

What is Corecore at its core?

If you’ve spent any time in the world of social media within the last 3 years, you’re aware of TikTok’s continued dominance. We saw it with Vine, and we’re seeing it here: short form content remains king. Compound that with a global pandemic and we find ourselves asking “what effect will this have on us?” 

Before I get ahead of myself, there’s a million aesthetics on TikTok and the internet, with seemingly endless categories being born each day. 

While I’m sure this will be a conversation for the rest of our lives, (get ready to read a “How Social Media Shaped my Brain Development” piece in the New York Times over and over again) — we can already see how people are processing. 

It’s in the form of another “-core.” I know… it’s all so meta (read: not Meta).

Corecore is a trend that has taken off in recent years, as it allows creators to share how they’re handling the current state of the world. Picture a collage of different audios and clips, set to instrumental or often nostalgic music, pointing at the struggles and triumphs of humanity. 

Urban Dictionary defines Corecore as “Kind of a deconstructed art. Basically evoking emotion out of a series of (visual) clips that you develop your own meaning to. Corecore content is introspective.” 

Corecore has quickly become a viral sensation, leaving users intrigued and eager to dive into its unique aesthetic. In this blog post, we’ll explore the essence of Corecore, its origins, and why it has become a defining trend on the platform.

Understanding Corecore:

Corecore is a trend that revolves around a distinct aesthetic: blending nostalgic, dreamy, and sometimes surreal elements that create a visually stunning and emotionally resonant experience. The term “core” itself refers to a style or theme that defines a particular genre or trend. See #cottagecore, #blokecore and even #girlcore for previous examples of -cores. 

Caption: A prime example of the famous #cottagecore trend, for reference.

In the case of Corecore, it encompasses a blend of nostalgic, dreamy, and sometimes surreal elements that create a visually stunning and emotionally resonant experience.

Origins of Corecore:

Like many trends on TikTok, pinpointing the exact origins of Corecore can be challenging due to its organic growth within the community. However, it is believed to have emerged from a fusion of various existing aesthetics, such as cottagecore, dark academia, and vaporwave. Users began experimenting with combining elements from these styles back in 2021, giving birth to the unique and eclectic nature of Corecore. It’s since evolved with both the platform itself and the current events unfolding in the world at any given moment. 

Visual Elements of Corecore:

One of the defining features of Corecore is its emphasis on visually appealing content. TikTok users engaging in the trend often incorporate soft color palettes, vintage filters, and creative editing techniques to evoke a sense of nostalgia and whimsy. Scenes may include dreamy landscapes, fairy lights, and carefully curated props that contribute to the overall enchanting atmosphere.

Additionally though, they can include clips of modern movies with important dialogue. Take this example of a Corecore edit about Fantastic Mr. Fox:

While it centers around the film for the entire 0:28 duration, the overall message and ethos is larger. That’s what makes it so viable even two years after becoming a “trend” and solidified its spot as a niche.

The Soundtrack of Corecore:

In addition to its visual components, Corecore places a significant emphasis on music. Creators leverage a diverse range of genres, from lo-fi beats to ambient soundscapes, to complement the dreamlike visuals. The audio choices often play a crucial role in setting the mood and enhancing the emotional impact of the content, creating a seamless blend of sight and sound that actually resonates with viewers.

Songs like Need 2 by Pinegrove, Limernece by Yves Tumor, and Inside Out by Duster often find themselves as the backing track for these clips. There’s a certain sadness each of these songs carries, without being too distracting to the content that is playing on the screen. Since often times it’s a movie clip where the dialogue is what’s important, the background music plays a small but pivotal role. Hear more of these songs in this Spotify playlist I found: 

Community Engagement and Participation:

What sets Corecore apart from other trends is the active participation and engagement of the TikTok community. The hashtag #CoreCore has gained billions of views (9.1b to be exact), indicating that the trend works because it’s so relatable. Users from all walks of life are joining the movement, adding their unique twists to the aesthetic and contributing to the ever-expanding tapestry of Corecore content.

Oftentimes you’ll find comments like “real”, “one life, I wanna live it to the fullest”, and even things like “I needed this.” 

Why Corecore Matters:

The appeal of Corecore lies in its ability to transport viewers to a different world, offering an escape from the mundane realities of everyday life. The trend provides a canvas for self-expression, allowing users to showcase their creativity and individuality within the framework of a shared aesthetic. The sense of community that has formed around Corecore fosters a supportive environment where users can inspire and uplift each other. It matters mainly because it’s another unifying niche on the internet, that can constantly adapt based on the creator’s specific worldview.

As Corecore continues to gain momentum, it is influencing the broader TikTok culture. The trend’s versatility allows it to permeate different niches, making it a unifying force within the diverse TikTok community.

As all things online do, this niche is constantly evolving. The most popular offspring I’ve seen has been “#hopecore” which as the name implies— hope! What a fun spin. 

Hopecore takes the melodramatic spin that has almost become synonymous with Corecore and makes it inspirational. 


Notice the difference in music and content between hopecore and traditional corecore. Content that began as an existential outcry for community and the harshness of the human condition has turned into motivation for breaking out of the TikTok/social media “loop” and taking control of your life. Woof.

At this point, it could be argued that Corecore is more than just a typical trend; it’s a niche that speaks to the power of creativity and community, especially amidst a world-shared stress. 

As users continue to explore and contribute to the ever-evolving world of Corecore, it’s clear that this trend has left an indelible mark on TikTok culture, shaping the way we engage with and appreciate content on the platform. Whether you’re a seasoned TikTok user or a newcomer, diving into the world of Corecore is an enchanting journey worth taking.