14 Best TikTok Songs of All Time
Go, Little Rockstar.
I’m now of the age where I no longer get all the trends, and I’m more apt to shake my fist than hop on anything popular. As such, I get my TikToks through Instagram and other platforms, where I watch them with the scrutinizing eye of a granny stuck in the body of a 24-year-old.
And while much of the content baffles me, I cannot deny that TikTok is a decent modern tool for finding new music. I don’t exactly like how the trends are altering how we make music, but unfortunately, all I can be is an observer in this situation. Here are the best TikTok songs, based on the trends they inspired, as well as the fact that they never really went stale. YMMV, so be sure to leave a comment with your own favorites if I left any out.
“Go Down on You,” The Memories
As a longtime voyeur of the LA music scene, I was a bit surprised to see this song take off. The Memories were part of a larger takedown of problematic bands and misogynistic labels, so I wasn’t exactly keen on getting into their music on my own.
But in separating the art from the artist, this is a sweet, nostalgic-sounding song, which was often used to accompany travelogues a lá the “Don’t be surprised if I just take off” trend. The filmmaker @emogoatmom used this song quite a bit in her ranching videos, and I have to say, the vicarious joy I got from those videos really made me want to up and flee for the hills, too.
“Looking Out For You,” Joy Again
I’ve loved every single video I’ve seen with this song because they’re all so joyful and fun to watch. It’s the perfect song to pair with people dancing, enjoying themselves, or showing off their pets goofing around and being silly. What’s particularly adorable is the trend of people using this song for outfit hauls.
The song itself (and the music video for it) is so evocative of those fun, carefree younger days, when you and your friends would bum around and go to shows. Plus, the lyrics—unfortunately relatable, right?
“Buttercup,” Jack Stauber
This song got pretty popular around the time quarantine first started, which I’d consider a blessing, since it meant we got a helluva lot of funny videos to watch while we puttered around indoors. Jack Stauber’s got a pretty unique sound to him, something like a sillier version of the Talking Heads, and while a few of his songs have gained traction on TikTok, none took off quite like “Buttercup.”
I mean, damn, it even got a KK Slider cover. Mee neh weh oop me woh, indeed.
“Cha Cha,” Freddie Dredd
It’s been awesome seeing Freddie blow up the past couple of years, thanks in large part to TikTok. I remember when the “Cha Cha” music video first came out, it was just a project of love between various content creator friends, and now it’s proven to be one of the most-used songs on TikTok.
Freddie isn’t the first to sample samba in his beats, but “damn, son,” he does it well. Everyone’s been using this song, from anime fans to e-girls, and it’s understandable why. The song is fun, easy to jam to, and especially satisfying to belt out.
“Get Into It (Yuh),” Doja Cat
Okay, yes, every Doja Cat song does well on TikTok, but I’m giving special points to this song because folks went NUTS over it. “What did Doja put in this song?!” was a common phrase I saw for at least a solid month, and even now, I find myself thinking it whenever this song comes on.
It’s hard not to shake and shimmy a little when “Get Into It” plays, and it’s especially hard not to try and imitate the way Doja moves (as @cristiandennis showed us!). But even if you don’t feel like dancing, I saw a lot of videos where this song was used as peppy background music, and it did the job perfectly.
“Baby My Phone,” Yameii
A friend described this song as being “a communication attempt from friendly aliens,” and I think that’s apt. Since the lines between weeby and arty are blurrier than ever, it makes sense that even Vocaloids are being revitalized into mainstream media now. And the people are here for it.
I saw all kinds of videos with this song: indie animations, makeup transitions, break-up slams, and so much more. This song was so cool and versatile to work with, and it made any and all situations both cute and trippy. Love that for you, Yameii!
“The Less I Know The Better,” Tame Impala
This song has been remixed so many times, I can hardly even associate it with Tame Impala anymore. Back in my day, Tame was the poster child of indie rock. Now it’s being used for self-help reels and being sampled in nearly every genre out there. It’s wild!
And it’s also understandable. This song is a banger, and it’s been used in all sorts of media since it first came out. I first heard it on Vine, and I think it’s incredible that its relevancy and popularity has persisted for as long as it has.
Words cannot express how much joy I felt every time I heard this song pop up on my FYP. It was always the same refrain—”Watch yourself!”—but the contexts were always so fun and hilarious to watch. On top of that, the energy from these reels was infectious to the point where I still drop it to this song whenever I hear it.
It’s also just cool seeing an older song have a resurgence in popularity. I first heard it as a kid, watching the show Undeclared, when Jason Segel shouts it in his car. I still have to hold myself back from shouting “STEVEN KARP” when hearing it now.
“Thot Shit,” Megan Thee Stallion
Of COURSE this list features Hot Girl Meg, what did you expect? This song was never not relevant, in any capacity. And this music video … iconic.
Therefore, it should go without saying that even the most “basic” creations on TikTok could be amplified by this song. It’s debatable whether or not we, as a society, deserve Megan Thee Stallion, but we’re certainly better off having her music—if only because “Thot Shit” helps us realize that we gotta step up our game if we ever hope to throw it back better than cartoon boys.
“Pope Is a Rockstar,” SALES
I swear, this is my last “back in my day”-ism, but: back in my day, “Pope Is a Rockstar” was one of the less popular tracks on a quasi-obscure indie duo’s debut LP. I’ve followed SALES since their first singles, and it really warms my heart to see this track get so much positive attention.
Yes, people have mistaken the lyrics and most people know this song as the “Go Little Rockstar” song, but considering how they’re using it, I don’t think it’s a crime. Folks use this song to gas themselves up, showing how they’ve grown up and achieved whatever goals they wanted, and I think that’s really wonderful. It’s also adorable when they show their pets’ transitions from baby to Big Baby. Go, Little Rockstars, go.
“More Than a Woman,” Bee Gees
There’s been a cover going around with a girl saying, “Oh my god, I’m totally buggin’,” in the background of this song, but it works fairly well. I’m just happy to hear this song get played so often again. It reminds me of early mornings getting ready for school, when my mom would blast her R&B radio station.
Did I hate it then? Yes, because I was a baby who had no swag. Now I’ve developed my momma’s hips and a sense of style. Thanks, Mama. Thanks, Bee Gees.
“Mary,” Alex G
It feels like a cycle where every couple of years, the new generation of Alt Teens discovers Alex G and makes a big deal about it. Understandably so—the guy’s incredibly talented. But come on, kids, do you really have to speed up the song and put Alvin at the helm?
This is a cool, sexy song in its own right. It’s a song about wanting to not just smoke weed, but know it carnally. Or something like that. I just know it loses some of its panache when Theodore and/or Simon get a turn on the mic.
“Material Girl,” Saucy Santana
Apparently among certain dude bros, listening to “Material Girl” and saying “Slaaaay” is a red flag when on a date. Can you imagine hating the girlies when they’re just having fun? Lol. Wipe your dirty little butt cracks, bros.
“Beef FloMix,” FloMilli
IT’S JUST GOOD, I DUNNO WHAT TO SAY. I like cash and my hair to my ass!
(featured image: TikTok)
Have a tip we should know? [email protected]