a playlist of all those songs you keep hearing in viral tiktoks
Why Mona, Wannabe
This song was released by band Why Mona back in 2017, but you probably know it better from every single e-girl transformation video ever made (reaching fever pitch at the end of last year). Who knew you could make the Spice Girls' biggest bop even better by making it moody enough to feature in a sex scene on Riverdale, eh? Why Mona knew, apparently. Also the original didn’t come with its own strange but addictive dance routine.
Next Contestant, Nickelback
All Nickelback songs are cringe. They’re also all catchy. There are no exceptions to this fundamental rule, and “Next Contestant” proves it. It’s best known on TikTok for its pseudo-threatening chorus “Is that your hand / on my girlfriend?” Way to objectify women, Chad Kroger. These creepy lyrics have become the perfect soundtrack to a series of split-screen TikTok memes where boys either cosplaying as vampires or wearing white tank tops pretend to fight for their girlfriends’ honour.
Be Good to Her, Paige Sangster
Vying for the Nickelback crown in the battle of “most cursed romantic song on TikTok” is Paige Sangster with this country ballad. It’s all about treating people right and again, features mostly videos of people in white tank tops. Anyone else starting to think the yeehaw agenda has gone too far?
Bad Guy, Billie Eilish
“Bad Guy” is the official anthem of TikTok’s e-girl transformations. It reached peak saturation point when Belle Delphine of selling-her-own-bathwater fame participated in a video posted to her now deleted Instagram (RIP). Let’s be honest, we all know what “Bad Guy” sounds like but just including it here because it is an eternal bop. DUH.
Mia Khalifa, iLOVEFRIDAY
Mia Khalifa really went from being known for porn to being known for inspiring this dubious song. A transformative legend, we simply have to stan. Double points because the video for “Mia Khalifa” features the ahegeo facial expression, popularised in hentai before being seized upon by horny TikTok users. Here is the cursed Wikipedia page for ‘ahegeo’ if you wish to find out more, but honestly we wouldn’t recommend it.
Betty Boop, Charlie Puth
There is a small but dedicated horror fanbase on TikTok which is -- sorry to say it -- more cringe than scary. Most of the videos posted by that fanbase use this old-school circus-like Charlie Puth song as their soundtrack. The basic formula goes like this: put on some Jokeresque clown makeup and jiggle about in black and white. Sp00ky.
Believer, Imagine Dragons
This song exists solely for TikTok challenges where people stare moodily at the camera, and Riverdale finales where Archie is topless for no reason and probably fighting off a grizzly bear. Change my mind.
Hello Kitty, Avril Lavigne
Remember when Avril released this as her comeback track and everyone was like, hey that video is really problematic and racially insensitive? Well anyway, now people on TikTok like the song, which inspired the “arigato, kawaii challenge”. Takes all sorts I guess.
Cooking by the Book, Lil Jon Mix
It’s rare magic when an original song is improved upon by the remixed version. It happened when Lil Nas X made the inspired decision to put Billy Ray Cyrus on “Old Town Road”, and it happened when someone decided that Lil Jon needed to feature on this song about cooking from children’s TV series Lazytown. We’re glad it exists.
Obsessed, Mariah Carey
This song was originally recorded as a diss track about how Eminem got creepy about Mariah Carey. The video featured the latter dressed as the former, running around in a fake goatee and a zip-up hoodie. The past is absolutely wild. Nowadays it’s found new life as -- you guessed it -- another TikTok dance challenge.
Don’t Lose Your Head, Six
This ridiculous song from a truly ridiculous musical about Henry the VIII’s six wives has found new life and a dedicated fanbase on TikTok. Don’t ask us why. The section that usually finds fame is the bit in the play where Anne Boleyn is dragged by the other wives for moving in with Henry and his first wife Catherine of Aragon. I had no idea that any of this happened before hearing the song a million times on TikTok, so nobody can say this app isn’t educational.