What are songs are currently trending on TikTok and beyond? Well, the path to virality, chart domination, and TikTok hits is no longer reserved for new, popular songs. The industry has seen an uptick in renewed interest around classic tracks that re-emerge in pop culture thanks to social media, soundtrack syncs, and commercial placements, and sometimes purely by chance. Look no further than the time a man went cruising on his longboard listening to Fleetwood Mac’s “Dreams.” This column will break down all of the older songs that are trending on TikTok again (and explain why they became popular one more time).
Eve – Let Me Blow Ya Mind
Released in 2001, this Gwen Stefani-featuring single from Eve’s second album Scorpion gave the Pennsylvania rapper her joint highest-charting song. The track peaked on the Billboard Hot 100 at No.2 – the same position its successor “Gangsta Lovin’” would reach the following year – while also collecting acclaim from the likes of the Grammys, where “Let Me Blow Ya Mind” won the trophy for Best Rap/Sung Collaboration,” and the MTV VMAs, where it collected the prize for Best Female Video. Over 20 years after its original release, “Let Me Blow Ya Mind” is still wowing music fans and is now experiencing a resurgence after London MC Central Cee sampled it on his new track “Doja.”
Flyleaf – All Around Me
In 2007, Texas rock band Flyleaf released “All Around Me” as a single, two years after it appeared on their self-titled debut album. The ripping rock song went on to become the band’s biggest release, rocketing through the Billboard charts until it crashed into the Top 40 of the Hot 100, scoring Platinum status and achieving success on the Venezuelan Pop Rock chart, peaking at No.2. Creators on TikTok are now rediscovering the song and using it as the centerpiece to a new trend, where users film themselves lip-syncing to the verse before their friends throw in some new lighting effects as the chorus hits.
Kelis – Milkshake
“My milkshake brings all the boys to the yard/And they’re like, ‘It’s better than yours,’” Kelis boasted on her 2003 hit single “Milkshake.” The track previewed the album Tasty and gave her her highest charting song on the Billboard Hot 100, peaking at No.3. Its relevance was felt far beyond the charts, though – it also received a nomination for Best Urban/Alternative Performance at the 2004 Grammys, and has become a fixture of movie and TV soundtracks int the near-two-decades since its release. It recently experienced a resurgence thanks to Beyoncé sampling it on her new song “Energy,” although the sample has since been removed from the track.
Eminem – Superman ft. Diana Rae
Featured on 2002’s The Eminem Show, “Superman ft. Diana Rae” detailed Marshall Mathers' romantic history, focusing on ups and downs in his past relationships, including his own issues with commitment. “I can’t be your Superman, can’t be your Superman,” he warns women who are interested in him. The track is trending on TikTok thanks to fans setting the song to aesthetic edits of photo montages and videos.
Rick James – Super Freak
Released in 1981, this Rick James classic quickly became known as one of the artist’s best-loved songs. It’s not just the fans who rate it, though, with the track featured on Rolling Stone’s Greatest Songs Of All Time list – rising from No.477 in 2004 to No.153 in 2021 – and being nominated for a Grammy for Best Male Rock Vocal Performance in 1982. “Super Freak” has become the latest track to receive a bump from Stranger Things. While it didn’t feature on the soundtrack of the fourth season, it has become a trending song on TikTok thanks to fans using it in videos of the character Eddie Munson, widely regarded by his classmates to be a “freak.”
ABBA – Chiquitita
One of ABBA’s biggest hits, “Chiquitita,” arrived in 1979 as the first single from the Swedish icons’ sixth album, Voulez-Vous. It went on to be one of the group’s biggest hits, scoring the No.1 spot in Belgium, Finland, the Netherlands, New Zealand, and Switzerland, as well as a No.2 position in the UK. Its original release raised money for UNICEF, while in 2020, Cher released a cover version to benefit the same organization. Two years later, the track is now trending on TikTok thanks to a mash-up with Elton John’s “Bennie And The Jets,” with the band’s Benny Andersson sharing his own piano version of “Chiquitita” adding to the resurgence.
Elton John – Bennie & The Jets
Taken from 1973’s Goodbye Yellow Brick Road, “Bennie & The Jets” might have been released in most countries as a B-side to “Candle In The Wind,” but in 1974 it got its dues in the US and Canada with its own single release. A satire of the music industry in the 1970s, the track went on to become one of Elton John’s beloved songs, whose popularity is still felt today. As well as at the icon’s live shows, that love can be felt online, too, with the track being mashed up on TikTok with ABBA’s “Chiquitita” and John creating his own duet on the app with Benny Andersson.
Kendrick Lamar – Alright
This To Pimp A Butterfly single is often considered one of Kendrick Lamar’s finest works so far. It has the plaudits – including four nominations and two wins at the Grammys and multiple spots on 2015’s end-of-year lists – and it has the power, too. The song has largely come to be associated with protest and the Black Lives Matter movement after protestors began chanting it while fighting for the cause. Recently, the track was featured at the end of the trailer for the upcoming Marvel movie Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, inspiring fans on TikTok to create new edits of the teaser featuring more of the song.
Kanye West – Heartless
Released in 2008 as a single from Kanye West’s fourth album 808s & Heartbreak, “Heartless” had an unusual premiere. Instead of being unveiled to the public via radio, music video, or website, the rapper gave his first performance of it at the 2008 Democratic National Convention. That out-of-the-ordinary approach didn’t stop it from being another hit for the legendary musician, though. It peaked at No.2 on the Billboard Hot 100 and topped the Rhythmic Songs and Hot Rap Songs charts. Nearly 14 years later, fans are celebrating the track with videos on TikTok of performances of it over the years.
George Strait – Carrying Your Love With Me
Taken from the 1997 album of the same name, “Carrying Your Love With Me” details the relationship of a man who has to be away from his partner for stretches of time. A message to the person left behind at home, “king of country” George Strait promises: “I’m carrying your love with me, West Virginia down to Tennessee/I’ll be moving with the good Lord’s speed, carrying your love with me.” Users on TikTok have been sharing the original version of the track after a cover of it went viral for leaving people unimpressed, helping Strait’s classic to trend on the app.
Katy Perry – Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F)
In 2011, Katy Perry released this pop classic and an ode to cutting loose with your friends. Inspired by her own girls’ trip to Santa Barbara with her pals, the pop icon has said that “most of the song is actual truth” and was written the day after the group had a big night out. TikTok users have since started a new trend set to the song, which centers around them making videos with their friends depicting the events in the lyrics.
Corey Hart – Sunglasses At Night
A new wave classic, Corey Hart’s “Sunglasses At Night” was first released back in 1984 and became a hit for the Canadian singer, landing in the Top 10 of the Billboard Hot 100. It had its genesis in the recording studio where Hart was working on his album First Offense – a place where vents blew air into the faces of those working in the control room, prompting them to wear sunglasses to protect their eyes. Hart is said to have come up with the song’s central line – “I wear my sunglasses at night” – because of that, crafting the rest of the track around it. “Sunglasses At Night” is one of the many 80s songs to feature in the latest season of Stranger Things, helping it reach a new audience and experience a resurgence on TikTok.
Lady Gaga – LoveGame
Written about being attracted to someone at a nightclub, “LoveGame” continued Lady Gaga’s ascent as she rode the wave of success from her debut album The Fame into 2009. It went on to be one of the most popular tracks of that year, landing in the Top 40 of the year-end charts of the Billboard Hot 100. As Gaga kicked off her Chromatica Ball tour in Germany earlier this month, “LoveGame” made its way onto the setlist, inspiring fans on TikTok to share videos of the performance on the platform and catapult it into the trending tracks on the app.
Eminem – Business
“Business” served as the final single from Eminem’s fourth studio album The Eminem Show, and found the hip-hop icon comparing himself and fellow legend – and the song’s producer – Dr. Dre to Batman and Robin. “Chip off the old block, but old Doc is back/Looks like Batman brought his own Robin,” he raps on the opening verse. Fans have been celebrating the track of late, making edits of the song that highlights its rapid-pace lyrics.
Sam Smith – I’m Not The Only One
Taken from Sam Smith’s 2014 debut album In The Lonely Hour, “I’m Not The Only One” continued the British star’s ascent as a songwriter with a knack for emotionally and sensitively capturing heartache in their songs. The single tackled infidelity in a relationship, Smith putting themselves in the shoes of a married woman they knew. Fans have recently been sharing edits of the song, highlighting their soulful vocals and rich lyricism on TikTok, helping it to become a popular soundtrack on the app.
Lil Baby & Gunna – Drip Too Hard
A single from Lil Baby and Gunna’s 2018 collaborative album Drip Harder, “Drip Too Hard” saw two of Atlanta’s hottest rising talents teaming up to create a hit. The track peaked at No.4 on the Billboard Hot 100, scoring a chart best for Gunna, while it also went onto be nominated at the 2020 Grammy Awards for Best Rap/Sung Performance. Four years later, it is trending again on TikTok following Lil Baby’s performance of the song at London’s Wireless Festival going viral online.
Chaka Demus & Pliers – Murder She Wrote
Often called one of the best and most important dancehall tracks of all time, Chaka Demus & Pliers’ 1992 single brought global attention to the Jamaican musical method of toasting and inspiring the likes of Shaggy in the process. “Murder She Wrote” was based on The Maytals’ 1966 track “Bam Bam,” while it has helped other songs find their form since via being sampled by artists including Pitbull, French Montana, and Jason Derulo. Now, it is experiencing a resurgence on TikTok, with creators taking on a dance challenge set to the song.
Summer Walker – Session 32
This raw and emotional 2018 track found Summer Walker confronting an ex over their treatment of her and their unwillingness to work through the difficult times together. “And I need you to know/You don’t know what love is,” she sings in the chorus. The track has become the subject of newfound attention after videos of Walker tearing up while performing it at London’s Wireless Festival this summer – and the crowd’s impassioned singing along – went viral on TikTok.
Lana Del Rey – Young And Beautiful
In 2013, Lana Del Rey contributed “Young And Beautiful” – an elegant, timeless pop song – to the soundtrack of Baz Luhrmann’s The Great Gatsby adaptation. The track was written from the perspective of the novel’s Daisy Buchanan, taking inspiration from F. Scott Fitzgerald’s plot to craft a desperate and wistful classic. It’s something that’s now being recognised again on TikTok, with users making edits set to the song celebrating its emotional grace and beauty. – Rhian Daly
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