TikTok’s potential for quick viral hits has been revolutionary for musicians. It’s easy to tell when an artist’s song has blown up on Tiktok – their top song will often have a stream count that hits hundreds of millions or more in contrast to their other releases. Although samples of these songs are used in countless video trends, there is always more to them than meets the ear.
These TikTok tunes may have an easily recognizable chorus or hook (perhaps even annoyingly so), but they have lots more to offer.
Chinese New Year by SALES
This song blends right in with today’s modern bedroom pop genre, but it was released in 2014. SALES is a two-piece band named “Ones to Watch” by Hype Machine music blog the same year Chinese New Year was released. This title still rings true – these lo-fi indie-pop icons are as popular as ever.
Crimewave by Crystal Castles
A familiar song for late 2000s scene/emo kids, Crimewave might be a blast from the past for some millennials. Ironically enough, the catchy 2008 electronic beat is now sampled by TikTok users in a video trend where they play a montage of “throwback” images.
Space Girl by Frances Forever
Space Girl is a sweet and summery love tune made famous by a TikTok dance trend in 2020. The song’s talk of astrology and astronomy makes it a danceable anthem for manic pixie dream girls everywhere.
Scary Garry by Kaito Shoma, DJ Paul, and Kingpin Skinny Pimp
This short song is so good that there are YouTube videos of it playing for an entire hour. Scary Garry has an addicting beat and an unforgettable drop about 40 seconds into the song. Artists and cosplayers use it on TikTok by playing it until the drop hits, where there is a dramatic costume or scene transition the second the beat changes.
Roses (Imanbek Remix) by SAINt JHN and Imanbek
It’s impossible not to dance when this remix of SAINt JHN’s 2018 song Roses plays. With more than a billion streams on Spotify, there’s no mystery why this remix, initially posted by Imanbek on a Russian social media site, has grown out of TikTok and into the radio mainstream.
Figure It Out by Blu DeTiger
DeTiger’s sexy and aesthetically pleasing bass-playing covers became popular through her TikTok videos. Then she released this original song that many users ended up using in their own videos. DeTiger’s voice is lovely, but obviously, her bass line completely steals the show.
Violent by carolesdaughter
This sad and straightforward tune, which now airs on popular alt-radio stations, harbours vulnerable lyrics. carolesdaughter draws inspiration from Lil Peep, who is known for his legacy in emo rap, lo-fi and trap subgenres.
Supalonely by BENEE and Gus Dapperton
With over 500 million streams on Spotify, Supalonely somehow makes romantic pining sound chic, stylish, and upbeat. BENEE took classic pop music styles and created something new and unforgettable with singer Gus Dapperton, whose jazzy part isn’t typically heard in the TikToks the song is featured in.