Entertainment

10 Actually Good TikTok Songs That You Should Listen To in Full

doja cat
Doja Cat | Timothy Norris/WireImage/Getty Images
Doja Cat | Timothy Norris/WireImage/Getty Images

TikTok already feels like one big joke that anyone outside of Gen-Z doesn't understand -- and it doesn't help that it's largely built around music that only the teens are listening to. The video sharing app is brutally inescapable, though, and has probably exposed you to a handful of clips of songs you can't get out of your head just by appearing on your social feeds that aren't TikTok. Originating from the lip-syncing app musical.ly, much of the TikTok-verse is all about making content to lay over the perfect song -- be it coming up with a new dance craze, lip-syncing, or soundtracking some sort of comic relief. The success of a TikTok song is a bit confounding since "old" songs do resurface on the app, but its pull on what's trending in music is undeniable, making charting hits out of even obscure releases that the kids are playing over their brief videos. 

Like all music, not every TikTok song is amazing, but there are a handful of gems on the app that are definitely worth listening to in full. Here are the best of those TikTok songs you've heard parts of, but should definitely listen to the whole thing.

"Prom Queen," Beach Bunny 

Emo band Beach Bunny recently went from a Chicago DIY scene staple to one of the best up-and-coming groups today, and frontwoman Lili Trifilio's earnest lyrics about the doldrums of young womanhood are part of why they're so great. Songs like "Prom Queen," about how much beauty standards suck, are extremely relatable, so it's no surprise that it took off on TikTok with videos that interpret the lyrics and encourage viewers to be comfortable with themselves. The song's got a thoughtful message, even as it somberly recognizes how difficult it is not to compare ourselves to others, and those hooks are things of pop-punk dreams.

"Supalonely," BENEE and Gus Dapperton

BENEE, AKA Stella Bennett, is the latest young pop phenom out of New Zealand. She makes woozy, catchy songs that are touched by a hint of ska, and it's a good thing the TikTok kids caught wind of her stateside. Joined by her hazy bedroom artist contemporary Gus Dapperton, her song "Supalonely" is indie pop magic, singing about how she's a "lonely bitch" while poking fun at the very trope. The fun beat is definitely optimal to inspire a TikTok dance, but the tongue-in-cheek song couldn't be a better track to take off while the world is social distancing, inspiring clips of how bored people are at home. Let "Supalonely" be your quarantine anthem, too. 

"Sugar," Brockhampton

Shout out to Gen Z for recognizing the greatness that is Brockhampton and making them the success story that they've become. If you have yet to check out the self-described boy band made up of an entire rap/art collective, they already have five albums to their name so there's more than enough of their diverse, alt hip-hop to get into. "SUGAR," off their most recent record GINGER, has taken off on TikTok and although it doesn't go as hard as some Brockhampton songs, it shines where it's stripped back and utilizes the crooners in the group's voices to sound like a '90s R&B hit.

"Candy," Doja Cat

Doja Cat is basically the queen of TikTok. While the singer/rapper has been making waves online with attention-grabbing videos like "Mooo!" for a while now, TikTok helped to propel her to success this year with her '70s-esque "Say So" taking off on the app and becoming a prime example of a viral-made mega hit. Chances are you've heard that sweet pop number at least a thousand times by now, since that song and dance number are practically TikTok canon, so you should check out another hit on the app of hers, "Candy." While it was actually released back in 2018, it's inspired choreography like "Say So." About a sly seductress with a sticky beat, it's the kind of addicting song that'll give you a cavity. 

"GOMF (feat. BRIDGE)," DVBBS

This electronic song from Canadian DJ duo DVBBS featuring R&B singer BRIDGE is extremely sleek. Featuring a house-like beat paired with DVBBS' melodic, sly vocals, it's a seductive number even as the lyrics beg to be left alone. From the cult DJs, "GOMF" sounds more fit for a fashion show or an underground rave than it does on TikTok -- which makes sense that instead of inspiring a dance challenge, the song typically plays with videos that fans of comedian Casey Frey make to mimic a skit he posted to Twitter using the same song. 

"In the Party," Flo Milli

When you listen to 20-year-old, LA-based rapper Flo Milli, her fast-spewing rhymes in her signature cutesy voice make it feel as if you're hanging out with her and she's gossiping your ear off. It's what she manages to do on her song "In the Party," joined by a beat that sounds especially saccharine as it loops her vocals into a nursery rhyme-like "la la la." Made up of great, domineering lines about how she secures men, the song was basically meant to take off on TikTok with its very lip sync-able moments. (That is, if you can keep up with her bars.) 

"Lottery," K Camp

This rap song from Atlanta artist K Camp might actually be more famous for the controversy around its TikTok dance than the song itself. It plays with what's been coined the "renegade dance," referring to producer Reazy Renegade's nametag shouted out in the intro, and the moves behind it were seldom credited to its original choreographer, a dancer named Jalaiah Harmon who originally posted the dance on the app Dubsmash last year. She's since gotten the recognition she deserves and even appeared alongside K Camp to do it, and the song's only grown in popularity. It's definitely worth a listen, too -- that minimal, 808-heavy beat sounds as stylish as the luxurious life the rapper touts about in the lyrics ("Cash on me, like I hit the lottery"). 

"Savage," Megan Thee Stallion

Houston rapper Megan Thee Stallion's "Savage" is basically at the same level of TikTok stardom as Doja Cat's "Say So." You probably know the dance somehow even if you haven't deliberately tried to learn it, and that's partially because it's impossible to not move your hips to this banger. "Savage" is another great, especially catchy hip-hop song from the artist who's known for brazen rhymes and what she's coined "real hot girl shit." Just like Meg says, the song itself is "classy, bougie, ratchet, sassy, moody, nasty," which is everything and more of what you could ever want out of a Megan Thee Stallion release. 

"Go Stupid (feat. Lil Tjay)," Polo G, Stunna 4 Vegas, NLE Choppa

The music video for "Go Stupid" and its opening verses, referring to waiting for the final school bell to chime, have inspired more than a few videos about high school clichés and tutorials. But this recent Mike WiLL Made-It-produced track from Chicago's latest young star Polo G is much more than that, in fact the banger goes so hard, its quick, drill-style lines will plow you over. 

"Death Bed (Coffee For Your Head) (feat. beabadobee)," Powfu

Emerging Canadian lo-fi rapper Powfu's "Death Bed (Coffee For Your Head" is one of the sweetest songs you'll find on TikTok, flipping British bedroom pop upstart beabadobee's hit "Coffee." The song plays along with cute videos of pets or people doing things for their friends/significant others, and you can see why since it's such a tender song. The original version is great as is, and sped up here with an added bass, it helps amply Powfu's sincere rhymes about a struggling young relationship. You can assume you'll be hearing more from these two artists.

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Sadie Bell is the entertainment editorial assistant at Thrillist. She's on Twitter at @mssadiebell.