It’s indisputable that TikTok is the current trendsetter — from popularizing recipes like Emily Mariko’s salmon bowl or Gigi Hadid’s pasta to catapulting dancers like Charli D’Amelio and Addison Rae to stardom.
But when it’s not creating new mega-influencers or putting a dent in your grocery budget, what TikTok is doing is changing the music landscape. And regardless of whether you think the app has any value in the entertainment world, there are some certified bangers that have come to fruition.
Whether they’re old classics or Top 40 hits that have been used to death for viral meme trends or creations by small-time artists that found fame within the app, these are the best of the best.
PinkPantheress’ “Just for me” has been used more than 2 million times on the app, including in videos by celebrities like Madison Beer and TikTok stars like Bella Poarch, both of whom have millions of followers on the app.
While there’s no specific trend attached to “Just for me,” the song went viral this summer, and the English singer’s bedroom-pop/hyper-pop hybrid is an earworm that showcases genuine talent and excellent production.
TikTok catapulted Glass Animals to their greatest success, even as an already incredibly successful group. “Heat Waves”, their most commercially successful song, to Top 100 charts in the U.K., Ireland and the U.S. It’s listed as a popular sound on TikTok, and the British indie-pop band doesn’t only have a hit on their hands due to its virality but also because it’s a genuinely good song.
Doja Cat is basically the undisputed queen of TikTok-assisted hits, with a whopping 5 songs on this playlist — and that’s a limited number. “Kiss Me More,” along with other hits like “Woman” and “Ain’t Sh*t,” dominate both meme trends and dance trends on the app and are used by all sorts of different groups.
And while the snippets that trend are certainly catchy, the entire song is the perfect pop-rap track, as many of Doja Cat’s are. All hail the new queen of TikTok.
“SOUR” was the undisputed sad girl album of this spring and summer — whether you were raging to “brutal” or croon-crying to “drivers license” in your own car, it was inescapable.
And that’s true of TikTok, too, considering multiple songs from the album went viral on the app. But “good 4 u” is the undisputed queen. Used 2.5 million times on TikTok, the Paramore-esque throwback and catchiness made it the perfect song of the summer on the app.
While the mega-viral version of “Meet Me At Our Spot” on TikTok isn’t the album recording, and only a live version available on YouTube, both versions certainly hold up on their own as incredibly listenable.
WILLOW’s vocals, especially on the live version, are a high point, and the way she and Cole sing together is also mesmerizing. Add a catchy beat and relatable lyrics revolving around anxiety, and it’s no wonder the duo has a hit on their hands.
Yes, really. Would it be a TikTok list without a meme song? This song throws it all the way back to a 2005 cast album of the Nickelodeon cartoon “The Backyardigans,” where the remarkably musical little creatures on the show create a pretty catchy tune about trekking through the jungle. Give it one listen, and you won’t be able to stop — rest in peace to the integrity of Spotify Wrapped’s everywhere.
What does it say about the state of music today that I heard mega-star and multiple Grammy award-winning artist Eilish’s new (at the time) song on TikTok before I heard it on the radio or on any streaming platform?
To me, it says that TikTok is a force to be reckoned with in the music world — and that Eilish’s song, which balances a slow, melodic half with a crescendo-ing dramatic latter half — is perfect viral fodder, with thousands upon thousands of videos under different edits and cuts of the song on TikTok.
Maybe this one is a bit of a cop-out because it shared its virality on TikTok and Twitter, but “Immune” is too good not to share. What started out as a Phoebe Bridgers parody video, wondering what the artists’ style would sound like in a song about the vaccine, turned into a hit for Jensen Mcrae, who has amassed a large following on TikTok for her covers and snippets of her original songs, all incredible and posted with remarkable consistency.
“Immune” is arguably the only good pandemic-themed song, and the Bridger-ian vibe with the ironic lyrics makes it worth a listen.
Listen to more viral hits here.