Hoobastank Delighted by TikTok Popularity as ‘The Reason’ Goes Viral, Signaling Resurgence of ’00s Hits

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Ellise Shafer
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“I’m not a perfect person / There’s many things I wish I didn’t do.” These are the opening lyrics to Hoobastank’s 2004 hit “The Reason” — and, somewhat surprisingly, the basis for a new viral trend on TikTok.

Perhaps due to the song’s wide range of lyrical relatability and its nostalgia factor, TikTok users have posted over 64,000 videos using the tune in the past few weeks. It also sparked a new hashtag — #NotAPerfectPerson — which has 434 million views, with most of the videos using the song. You read that right: 434 million.

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TikTok users have used the song to embrace (and publicly admit) their imperfections or misunderstandings, ranging from “When I order an iced oatmilk latte and a bacon egg and cheese bagel” to “Me thinking a life sentence was someone’s whole life and when someone got 3 life sentences it was for dramatic effect.”

@aidan_langford

I just found this out like a week ago….

♬ The Reason – Hoobastank

Hoobastank lead singer Doug Robb tells Variety that he was first made aware of the trend from guitar player Dan Estrin, as well as their management.

“It started just like, ‘Hey, you know, there’s this thing they’re doing on TikTok using ‘The Reason,’ and it was building and building to a point where it was like, ‘Yo, you’ve got like 300,000,000 people using your song for this thing; maybe you guys should chime in.'”

And so they did. On Jan. 28, Hoobastank — which is celebrating the 20th anniversary of its debut album this year — launched its own TikTok account with the members’ take on the trend, poking fun at their name. The video shows Robb looking at Hoobastank’s RIAA plaques as the song plays, with the caption: “Realizing 20 years later that you named your band Hoobastank.” The band’s first foray on TikTok and self-aware spin on “The Reason” trend was welcomed with open arms, earning them over 2 million views so far, and almost half a million likes.

“Immediately when I heard about [the trend], the first idea that came to my head was the name,” Robb says. “It’s weird. We as a band have never taken ourselves super seriously. The music, yes, but almost every other aspect, no. I thought it would be a perfect choice to clown on the name a little bit.”

So why did the band coin itself Hoobastank?

“The real story is that it’s a nonsensical word that a friend of ours in high school made up, literally on the spot. We did spend a lot of time like ‘Let’s be this’ or ‘Let’s be that,’ and everything was either taken or we overanalyzed it,” Robb says. “Not that Hoobastank negates all those problems; it kind of made everything worse.”

Robb says when the band originally signed a recording contract in 2000, the members didn’t sign under a specific name. But, after their former A&R person saw them play, he convinced them to stick with the stank.

“He came backstage and basically said, ‘You guys cannot change the name. It is you guys.’ And they’re really good at convincing you to do things sometimes against your will,” Robb says. “And so we kept our name, and for better or worse, it is what it is. Like, none of us waste any time going, ‘Oh my gosh, the name’s so dumb.’ I realize that in one sense, it’s a silly-sounding name, but in another sense people don’t forget the name.”

Robb is right: Hoobastank enjoyed plenty of mainstream success in the 2000s, particularly “The Reason,” which hit No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100 and held the top spot on the U.S. Modern Rock chart (now known as Alternative). The song also scored a song of the year nomination at the 2005 Grammys, and made waves internationally, too, peaking within the top 10 in 10 other countries.

Hoobastank’s TikTok success further adds to a growing resurgence of Y2K era hits on the app, which are proving to be quite popular with the app’s Gen Z users. In fact, the most popular song on TikTok right now per Tokboard, “Buss It” by Erica Banks, samples Nelly’s 2002 hit “Hot in Herre.” Other notable Oughties songs making waves on the app include a mashup of Britney Spears’ “Toxic” and “Love Shack” by the B-52s, a remix of D4L’s “Laffy Taffy,” Nelly’s “Dilemma” featuring Kelly Rowland and an honorable mention for Wale’s 2011 song, “Lotus Flower Bomb,” featuring Miguel.

Other acts with 2000s hits have also joined the platform, like Gwen Stefani, Nickelback and Aqua of “Barbie Girl” fame, perhaps hoping to spark a resurgence. In fact, up next might be Stefani’s “Cool” from 2004, which has already gained some appreciation from Haim in one of the group’s most recent posts. Stefani’s “Bubble Pop Electric” is also growing in popularity, with almost 10,000 videos made to her 2004 collaboration with Johnny Vulture, better known as André 3000.

The trend has also carried over to Twitter, with late-’90s/early-’00s favorites Eve 6 going viral for a slew of self-deprecating tweets after frontman Max Collins revived the band’s account. Collins’ tweets reminisce about Eve 6’s early days as a band with ironic twists – including gems like “I was literally a virgin when I wrote the heart in a blender song,” referring to the band’s 1998 hit “Inside Out.”

Robb says that as a band from an older generation, being self-aware on social media is key.

“We’ve been at this long enough to know that there’s an ebb and flow to it. You’re not always hot and you’re not always hated,” Robb says. “So we’re wise enough to be able to appreciate it when people appreciate the music, and also be able to have enough self-confidence and thick skin to know when it’s not your turn, when something else is happening.”

But so far, Robb says that Hoobastank’s launch on TikTok has only been met with positivity, both from Gen Z and those who were old enough to remember when “The Reason” came out.

“What I have noticed from now having an account for all of less than a week is that it seems like the people who use TikTok are nicer,” Robb says. “That sounds like a blunt statement, but I feel like either we’re so new to this that eventually the mean people will come out, so it’s just too soon, or like I said, maybe the whole community’s just a nicer, more laid-back thing. Of all the comments, and there have been a lot, 99.9% have been very complimentary or very nostalgic.”

Since posting that first video, Hoobastank has uploaded three more to its TikTok account, and Robb says the band plans to “let it happen” and see where the app takes it. As for connecting with the many Gen Z users on TikTok, Robb says he doesn’t feel that distant from the demographic.

“I don’t feel so removed from being a 20-year-old. I may be in age, but I still remember what it felt like emotionally,” Robb says. “I remember what it felt like to be that age and to have the world at your hands, and your whole life ahead of you and not a care. I vividly remember that, and maybe that will come out in our music or our TikTok videos.”

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