There’s perhaps no social media app that has a greater influence on music right now than TikTok, so it only makes sense to define the year (so far) through the songs we can’t escape on our FYPs.
Here are the best TikTok songs of 2022. If you just got these out of your head… Sorry!
“So Hot You’re Hurting My Feelings” by Caroline Polachek
The 2019 song had its moment back in January when TikTokkers brought Polachek’s “So Hot You’re Hurting My Feelings” choreography to the platform. It’s an uncharacteristically easy TikTok dance, which allowed Polachek’s reverberated vocals to dominate the app for several weeks.
“We Don’t Talk About Bruno” from Encanto
Remember the death grip Encanto had on pop culture in February? Nothing is more representative of Encanto‘s success than the viral hit, “We Don’t talk about Bruno.” The song rose to the top of the Billboard Hot 100 and soundtracked just shy of a million TikToks. The track was not only the go-to song for children and parents, but the Encanto jam also inspired its own trend.
TikTokkers isolated the most dramatic part of the song where the cast transitions from singing, “Like the grapes that thrive on the vine/ Óye, Mariano’s on his way” to “He told me that…” To follow this trend, users typically posted two clips. In the first snippet, they tried to get something done, then in the second, they walked slowly into the room as something inhibiting them from doing the task at hand. The walk itself was inspired by the choreography in the musical.
“Major Bag Alert” ft. Migos by DJ Khaled
Major bag alert! Major bag alert! This 2017 banger had its comeback thanks to a TikTok trend in which users posted about (mostly exploitative) situations where people or corporations raked in a lot of money set to this DJ Khaled track featuring Migos. The trend is funny and critical of the ways individuals and companies make their money. An example is @jacimariesmith’s video that reads, “Mommy bloggers when they get pregnant again.”
The Reading Rainbow theme song
The most obscure song that popped off on the clock app this year is the theme song from Reading Rainbow, a popular PBS educational show that aired from 1983 to 2006. Users isolated the portion of the song that goes, “Butterfly in the sky / I can go twice as high,” and paired it with a confusing sentiment. To top it off, TikTokkers who engaged in this educational trend accompanied the audio with the Space Filter, which duplicated their face and placed it in — you guessed it — space.
“Just A Cloud Away” by Pharrell Williams
TikTok reminded us that “Happy” isn’t the only upsettingly catchy Pharrell song from the Despicable Me 2 when “Just A Cloud Away” went viral on the platform in March. The groovy song didn’t soundtrack any particular trend, but rather briefly became the song of the moment on our FYPs.
“As It Was” by Harry Styles
As much as it physically pains me to call a Harry Styles track a TikTok song, the popularity of “As It Was” on the platform is undeniable. “As It Was” has been used in over 2 million TikToks since its release on April 1, and the platform will never be the same as it was.
“First Class” by Jack Harlow
No other song caused quite the tizzy that Jack Harlow’s “First Class.” The Louisville rapper teased a 13-second snippet of the song a week before its release, and it quickly became the most anticipated song on TikTok with 50,000 TikToks being made using the track in that initial tracking period. “First Class” owes its success to a genius sample of Fergie’s “Glamorous” and Harlow’s unabashed charm.
Unfortunately, the TikTok’s love of “First Class” didn’t guarantee Harlow’s album, Come Home the Kids Miss You, any critical success. It received a 2.9 rating from Pitchfork.
“About Damn Time” by Lizzo
Lizzo’s “About Damn Time” is poised to be the song of the summer. The upbeat track took off on TikTok thanks to its infectious beat and a fun dance created by @jaedengomezz. “About Damn Time” has been used in a whopping 3 million videos since its release in April.
“Jiggle Jiggle” by Duke & Jones and Louis Theroux
This wasn’t a song until TikTok made it one. The “my money don’t jiggle jiggle” audio is an Autotuned snippet of British American journalist Louis Theroux on Chicken Shop Date with Amelia Dimoldenberg. In the original Chicken Shop Date clip he’s remembering a rap he wrote for an episode of Louis Theroux’s Weird Weekends in 2000. Music producers @dukeandjones got a hold of the clip of Theroux and leveled it up by adding Autotune and backing music as part of their “Adding auto tune to random videos” series on TikTok.
The clip exploded in popularity, and Duke, Jones, and Theorux have since released it as a single. The track is currently the soundtrack to over 5.5 million videos.
“Material Girl” by Saucy Santana
For the gworls who like the finer things, “Material Girl” took over TikTok with its catchy hook and MUA-turned-rapper Saucy Santana’s charismatic vocal delivery. It’s the audio you use when you want to flaunt your wealth and financial savvy — in whatever form that takes, from showing off your designer bags to shopping on a budget while looking fabulous. So far, more than 1.2 million videos have used the song, and Santana is now gracing the covers of Teen Vogue and PAPER.
“Running Up That Hill (A Deal with God)” by Kate Bush
Who knew all Stranger Things needed to get back into mainstream public consciousness would be a key Kate Bush needle drop during a poignant scene in the Upside Down? And now Bush is running back up those charts and all over our FYPs — as she should be! — thanks to a TikTok trend that finds users recounting their “Vecna songs,” or the tracks that would save them from the show’s current Big Bad.