9 TikTok Songs That Are Actually Good – VICE

For more end of year essays and analysis on VICE, check out 2022 in Review.
It’s human instinct to occasionally assume the online role of “hater”, especially if you only associate TikTok with dance trends and weird prank videos. But don’t let the discourse come between you and a cultural tidal wave of viral music – because, occasionally, the songs TikTok rallies behind are actually pretty good. 
If you’re still convincing the algorithm that you’re not actually interested in cleaning product ASMR or keeping up with Gen Z’s nostalgic fashion trends, it’s easy to scoff at the idea of TikTok offering anything of value to your life. Songs like “Remember (Walking In The Sand)” – more commonly known as that heinous “oh no no no” trending sound – have acted as the forward-facing representatives of TikTok’s musical integrity, which makes the idea of listening to TikTok music through your own free will an understandably repulsive notion.
Fortunately, there’s a whole extended musical universe of gems to uncover, and with over one billion users scrolling the app regularly, you’d wager that at least half of the people contributing to the app’s popular sounds have a semi-respectable music palette. 
No one with a full-time job and any semblance of self-love is about to trawl through a middle-schooler’s “TikTok Songs I Love <3” Spotify playlist in the hopes of finding something inspiring, so we’ve taken one for the team to list the tracks worth listening to. Take a look at our picks for 2022 (you can always tell people that you discovered this track on Soundcloud way before TikTok, anyway).
Lo-fi, catchy and just the right amount of forlorn – “Bad Habit” is the closest a song can get to sounding like it was made for TikTok without sounding like it was made for TikTok. Music history will remember it fondly for uniting astrology girlies with faux softbois who fear said astrology girlies. Hopeless romantics on and off TikTok unite – Lacy will soundtrack your yearning well into 2023.
The viral revival of this decade-old song begins with Reddit, when someone on the TIFU subreddit claimed he played the song during sex every day for two years straight. Naturally, the internet then piled in to mock the guy who openly admitted to fucking his girl to the sound of a drum machine and rhythmic door-creaking. 
The viral origin story of “Cbat” may be more infamous than the song itself, but it makes the anecdote all the more satisfying when you realise you’ve played it on repeat six times in a row and only half of those replays were actually ironic. Sure, the squeaking of “robot dolphins” might stop it from landing on your sex playlist, but it sure as hell still slaps. Glaswegian producer Hudson Mohawke has called the sudden popularity of the song “the dumbest timeline of all”. He’s not wrong, but we’re glad that it happened.
A munch is basically like an eater—someone that’s obsessed with you. It could be a hater, too,” Ice Spice once explained. Sure, offering TikTokers shiny new niche slang to file away in their internet-poisoned vocabulary is probably enough to propel any song to viral fame. By the end of your first listen, though, you’ll probably feel like you too have always been an unbothered Bronx native baddie who was never, ever feeling that guy in your DMs.
How can I be homophobic? / My bitch is gay.” Gay rights, simping for Doja Cat and an obligatory 00s hip-hop sample – Cench lays down the precise formula for getting the TikTok masses on side. Thanks to his trademark self-assured flow over a drill-infused “Let Me Blow Ya Mind” sample, though, the track is more Billboard Top 100 than a FYP hashtag bingo. Slightly.
Afrobeats’ whirlwind takeover of TikTok in 2022 has been a sight to behold, and Oxlade’s impossible-to-miss contribution provided the suave backing track for aesthetic summer holiday vlogs and genuinely impressive dance trends alike. “KU LO SA” sounds like summer condensed into two and a half minutes. Add it to your predrinks playlist, convince your flatmate to put the heating on, and you’re basically halfway to an aperol spritz.
If you finally ditched the fuckboy and found self-love in your friends, the club, or both, you have GloRilla to thank. This monster hit – with Hitkidd on slick production duties – was singlehandedly responsible for igniting Bad Bitch Freedom this summer. That friend of a friend who’s been more active than ever on IG Stories, hard-launching their post-break-up glow-up? GloRilla’s impact. 
“BIZCOCHITO” was inescapable this year, thanks to the now-iconic clips of Rosalía passive-aggressively chewing gum. The lyrics, when translated to English, make it clear her talents belong to nobody but herself:“I have hits because I formed the basis / I have nothin’ else to say / And it takes a lot of class to say that / My swag makes you dizzy”. Given the infectiously spiky video-game inspired beat and TikTok’s love of nightcore, Rosalia’s playful chiptune track was always going to make waves.
The heavy 808s on this Detroit-inspired track would be enough to inspire angst in Mary Berry. “223’s” caters to hip-hop heads, open-minded emo elders, and anybody who doesn’t still think of themselves as being “too good” for raging hyperpop. Admittedly, this might not be the best song to play to your grandparents in defence of TikTok’s musical integrity, but that’s just because you don’t want to risk blowing out their speakers.
If you’ve spent too much time scrolling through your FYP this year, the opening bars of “Love You So” may trigger unerasable mental images of weird TikTok couple videos, but the cheerily retro song is undeniably a bop (think: cruising down a highway in a top-down 50s convertible  on a road trip to Nevada). Sure, TikTok’s constant regurgitation of 2000s music can be an unwelcome side effect of the app’s popularity, but if it revives tunes as wholesome as this one, who’s complaining?
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