TikTok has made its mark in every lifestyle, keeping viewers hooked on ever-flowing content with wide-ranging appeal. Whether it's food, comedy, advice or beauty secrets, there's something for everyone on the app.
Interestingly enough, the app has impacted the popularity of music, catapulting unknown artists into stardom or bringing an old hit to the attention of new generations. These songs often correspond with viral dances or memes, used either sincerely or with a level of irony.
As a fan of both social media trends and music, I've found many great songs through this phenomenon. Here are some of my favorite trending songs I discovered through the app.
"Supalonely" by BENEE featuring Gus Dapperton
I actually discovered this song in a Yahoo article back in 2020. The article referenced a viral video with this song of a mother and daughter doing a trending dance to it. Hearing the short sample deepened my interest in BENEE, a New Zealand artist.
My favorite thing about "Supalonely" is its electro-disco sound that backs the melody. I'd never heard of Gus Dapperton before this, but his voice has an indie quality with a bit of country twang — a great addition to this modern hit.
"The Box" by Roddy Ricch
The beginning draws you in immediately as the lyrics repeat a haunting sound across the backdrop of dark lo-fi melodies. Once Ricch starts the rhythm, the song instantly becomes infectious.
Ricch's wit and creativity in the lyrics reveal the artisan in him, and it seems he's ahead of the curve when it comes to music trends. The hip-hop sound swells in a matter of seconds after the initial orchestral swell, allowing people to connect to the incredible lyrics or the amazing background instrumentals.
"Escapism" by RAYE featuring 070 Shake
This hip-hop electro-pop tune is one of the most creative songs I've heard as of late, exploring dark themes with a sharp-edged focus. The sound is futuristic and metallic and reminiscent of 90s hip-hop soul, a combination of styles that conceptualizes the complex emotions of the song.
After hearing the song, I watched a live video on The Late Show With Stephen Colbert's YouTube channel where RAYE gave a passionate performance of "Escapism." In the song, RAYE expresses the feeling of being tired in a relationship and wanting to escape a painful experience. Her raw perspective influenced me to learn more about her story, and it seems she found healing and happiness after troubling setbacks.
New Jersey artist 070 Shake shines in her verses, discussing the issues that come with reminiscing about past mistakes. We cannot reverse our harmful actions, but we can make peace and learn from the moment. I'm always a fan of emotionally raw songs, so "Escapism" takes the cake as one of my new modern pop favorites.
"Bad Habit" by Steve Lacy
A member of a band called The Internet, Lacy released his third album, "Gemini Rights," after this single blew up on TikTok. The track has a light, bright, synth-rock sound, and considering how good it is, it's no wonder thousands of videos use the song.
Prior to Lacy's popularity, I knew of him through his band as well as being featured on Kali Uchis's "Just A Stranger," but never his or the group's discography. And the themes of the song really drew me in as Lacy describes the feelings of falling in love but never expressing your feelings.
"If We Ever Broke Up" by Mae Stephens
Similar to BENEE in sound, Stephens' hit is a catchy pop song with a funky edge. I've noticed a lot of music moving toward this addicting style, quickly pulling in listeners.
The beginning of the track also reminds me of another popular TikTok song, Doja Cat's "Say So," with a more synth sound. I also get Dua Lipa vibes from the vocals, making this song feel familiar to me before I even listened to it.
"Boy's A Liar" by PinkPantheress
Whenever I hear this song, it's mostly the Ice Spice version, but PinkPantheress first released it as a track with just herself on it. The song gives me a lot of childhood nostalgia as the gaming sounds in the background bring me back to times I spent playing with a toy keyboard. The resemblance is uncanny, highlighting a light-hearted, youthful nature to the song.
The song began growing on me once I played it on my radio show. The theme celebrated Black artists, so I decided to put this song on the setlist. It quickly became a staple of mine and many other people's playlists this past summer as PinkPantheress and Ice Spice blew up with the track.
TikTok isn't just a platform where trends are born — it's also a great way to introduce yourself to new music. I've gotten to know some great artists that I never would have heard of before this way, and these are just a few of the amazing tracks that were brought into the spotlight through the app.