Since its 2016 launch, TikTok has grown tremendously in popularity, with its usage skyrocketing over the last year. Now, the video-sharing app boasts at least 100 million users in the U.S. and at least 689 million international users. This boom has led to the resurgence in popularity of a number of vintage artists, songs and albums, either through users creating new clips or adding original songs. A lot of these have also generated dance challenges and memes — both planned and improvised — resulting in these iconic recordings and artists once again being pushed to the forefront of cultural trends.
Let’s take a look at some of the most popular TikTok videos that have contributed to this vintage resurgence.
TikTok user @doggface208’s video of him skateboarding while mouthing the lyrics to Fleetwood Mac’s “Dreams” and drinking a jug of Cran-Raspberry juice became a viral sensation last year, when everyone was still reeling. Though it was improvised, watching doggface208 at his most carefree and relaxed was the panacea everyone needed at that difficult time. In fact, his video became so big that Fleetwood Mac’s Mick Fleetwood did his own rendition, though it appears he’s on the back of a truck instead of skateboarding. Fleetwood Mac’s song “Dreams” was included on the band’s eleventh studio album, Rumours, which was released in 1977. That year, the song peaked at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 as well as the Billboard 200. After the TikTok video came out, the song went from streaming at around 490,000 times a day to over a million times a day, while sales tripled in less than a week.
Billy Ray Cyrus’ career saw a resurgence when he hopped on the remix to Lil Nas X’s breakout hit “Old Town Road.” While the song soundtracked a number of TikTok videos, the remix also spawned one challenge in particular, which involves dance moves for spending money, playing a guitar and driving a car. Lil Nas X released the original version of the song in December 2018, which saw so much popularity that he recorded and released the remix with Cyrus in April 2019. Both peaked at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 and appeared on Lil Nas X’s debut EP 7 in 2019 as well.
The Chordettes’ 1954 hit song “Mr. Sandman” saw a resurgence on TikTok in 2019 with two popular videos making the rounds online. TikTok user @enochtrue videoed himself lip-syncing the song’s iconic “bum bum bum,” as well as the first chorus, using the app’s nine-split-screen filter, making it look like he was an entire barbershop quartet (plus five). That same year, user @jade13tr created a similar video with her cat Ed performing a dazzling dance routine.
While TikTok user @marie.brukerikkemer created the remix of Gwen Stefani’s “Hollaback Girl” and Beyoncé’s “Yoncé,” it’s unclear how the song clip became popular on the platform. The beginning of the mashup features the intro to “Hollaback Girl,” which then flows into the second verse from “Yoncé. The sound generated a number of complex dance challenges that younger girls and women have gravitated towards. “Hollaback Girl” appeared on Gwen Stefani’s debut studio album Love. Angel. Music. Baby. in 2004, while “Yoncé” was a hidden track on Beyoncé’s song “Partition” from her 2013 self-titled album.
TikTok was responsible for the revival of Jason Derulo’s 2006 single “Ridin’ Solo,” which appeared on his debut and eponymous album. While the song didn’t garner a challenge per se, a lot of the videos that employ the sound clip hinge on dating and relationships. Derulo also teamed up with influencer Addison Rae — a member of the TikTok collective The Hype House — for a video that shows Rae sitting alone at first and mouthing the lyrics to the song, with Derulo soon joining her. In another viral video using the same sound clip, user @mootopia and a plastic fish in her lap are sitting on a couch mouthing the lyrics.
While it’s unclear when or how Salt ‘N’ Pepa’s 1993 song “Whatta Man” first saw a comeback on TikTok, it does seem that a majority of the videos have to do with women lusting after a man. A number of them specifically reference actor Chris Evans — who played Captain America in the Marvel Cinematic Universe — and a particular video of him walking down a hallway. “Whatta Man” featuring En Vogue appeared on Salt ‘N’ Pepa’s fourth studio album Very Necessary, which peaked at No. 4 on the Billboard 200. “Whatta Man” also reached No. 3 on the Billboard Hot 100.
TikTok users love to blend songs, and a perfect example is the mashup of Ariana Grande’s “Motive” and Nelly Furtado’s “Promiscuous.” They were given the challenge treatment earlier this year, with @samobam0 choreographing a dance that includes the tornado arm move. While Grande’s song “Motive” with Doja Cat arrived on Grande’s 2020 album Positions, Furtado’s older song “Promiscuous” saw a full revival: the version featuring Timbaland was released on her 2006 album Loose.
Britney Spears recently re-emerged into the cultural zeitgeist following the New York Times documentary Framing Britney Spears, which examines her career and delves into the complexities of her father’s conservatorship. Around that same time, her song “I’m a Slave 4 U” also saw a renaissance on TikTok. While the track led to several dance routines, one of the more popular ones was choreographed by @thesharptwins; another, similar challenge was created by user @ssneha.r. “I’m a Slave 4 U” was the first single released from Britney’s 2001 album Britney, which hit No. 1 on the Billboard 200.
Another good mashup that TikTok has spawned is the lyrics from Soulja Boy’s “Pretty Boy Swag” superimposed over the beat from Two Door Cinema Club’s “What You Know.” The remix led to several variations of a dance challenge, with one of the first and most popular coming from users @sharlizetrue_, @pressleyhosbach and @shariahtrue. Soulja’s “Pretty Boy Swag” was the first single from his 2010 album The DeAndre Way, while “What You Know” appeared on Soulja Boy’s debut album Tourist History.
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