Years after they were released, TikTok made chart-toppers of these overlooked songs

<I>TND recaps some of the biggest viral TikTok songs of 2022.</i>

TND recaps some of the biggest viral TikTok songs of 2022. Photo: Spotify/TND

2022 was chock-a-block with memorable musical moments and milestones.

From Beyonce-inspired Renaissance dance challenges to the ‘It’s me, hi’ Anti-Hero challenge set by Taylor Swift, some songs were simply inescapable on social media.

But it wasn’t only new tracks going viral.

Records released decades ago are also going gangbusters on TikTok, as the platforms’ users send old hits hurtling back up the charts.

Lady Gaga was one artist to benefit, with a surprise track from her 2011 album Born This Way going nuts on social media.

The acclaimed album spawned several mega-smash hits, including electro-rock number The Edge Of Glory, self-love anthem Born This Way, rock ‘n roll banger You And I and the ever-controversial Judas.

But one track that achieved much less success was electro-pop effort Bloody Mary.

It was never released as a single and attracted only a modest number of streams. More than a decade later, it got its moment in the limelight thanks to TikTok.

How did it happen?

Bloody Mary found itself the subject of a huge viral dance trend at the tail-end of 2022.

The trend was inspired by Netflix smash hit Wednesday, in which the wicked Wednesday Addams, played by Jenna Ortega, participates in a ghoulish dance at her school prom.

While the dance was originally to The Cramps’ Goo Goo Muck, as fans circulated it and marvelled at Ortega’s moves, it eventually found itself in the realm of fan edits.

One edit set the dance to a sped-up, chipmunk-like version of Bloody Mary.

The chorus’ lyrics, “I’ll dance, dance, dance, With my hands, hands, hands, Above my head, head head, like Jesus said” tie in perfectly with Ortega’s dramatic performance.

@n0gitsxnes she looked so good #fyp #wednesday #jennaortega #wednesdayaddams #viral #xyzbca ♬ original sound – heyy

Once seeing her dance online, fans were keen to try the moves out themselves – and they went straight to Bloody Mary.

The sound has become one of the most-used in the platform’s history, with 3.5 million videos filmed with it as background music – also meaning Bloody Mary has been heard billions upon billions of times.

Lady Gaga jumped on Twitter to approve the trend.

“Slay Wednesday! You’re welcome at Haus of Gaga anytime (and bring Thing with you, we love paws around here)” she wrote.

Gaga also released her own TikTok to the tune, dressing up in Mary Janes, knee socks and a frilly shirt, complete with a Wednesday-esque hairstyle.

@ladygaga BLOODY WEDNESDAY #fyp ♬ original sound – heyy

In just weeks, Bloody Mary has leapt up the charts, and ticked over 150 million streams on Spotify.

And 11 years after it was released, Bloody Mary has officially been made a single by Gaga’s team – and may even soon make it to radio playlists.

Evolving industry

Other celebrities have been more reluctant to modernise.

Some say their record labels have pressured them to make TikTok content to promote songs, and they’ve tried their hardest to push back.

Singer FKA Twigs said she got “told off” by her label for not making an effort – and then deleted her account altogether.

Pop singer Halsey said their label even presented them with a TikTok ultimatum – and said they couldn’t release a standalone single unless it had a “viral moment”.

“My record company is saying that I can’t release it unless they can fake a viral moment on TikTok,” Halsey said in a TikTok video.

“Everything is marketing. And they [the label] are doing this to basically every artist these days.”

@halseyI’m tired♬ original sound – Halsey

Florence + The Machine’s Florence Welch even issued a public plea: “The label are begging me for ‘low fi tik toks’ so here you go. pls send help.”

But it’s no wonder labels are begging artists to embrace TikTok – because the numbers don’t lie.

Vox journalist Estelle Caswell and The Pudding’s Matt Daniels spoke about the power of the platform with songwriter Charlie Harding on music podcast Switched On Pop.

They said many established artists were uncomfortable with their industry’s shift – and how that changes their roles and responsibilities.

“Instead of [success] being about organic growth, it’s about the ability to make video content that [isn’t] music-related. That’s scary and that’s something to think about,” Caswell said.

“I also think it’s a conversation that isn’t only happening among emerging artists … It’s happening among established artists, who didn’t sign up for that 10 years ago.

“[It] changes the equation of ‘what is a musician?’ What is their job now?”

Basically, it’s a case of evolve, or be left behind.

“The exposure of new genres, the breath of it feels much more interesting in a world with TikTok,” Daniels said.

“I want to know where [artists are] coming from in the 2020s. For Drake, it was Degrassi. For Justin Bieber, it was YouTube and Usher. Like, what is it for a new artists today? TikTok.”

What makes the perfect viral song?

A common theme while scrolling TikTok’s most viral songs is that they’re much more than just songs – they’re almost always interlinked with a TikTok trend.

TikTok users don’t care who wrote the song, who’s performing it or from what year it’s from. All they care about is that it’s catchy.

As for trends, a song could become associated with a dance, a skit, a meme or even simple lip-dubbing.

So, let’s take a look at the songs TikTok gave a second wind and how users made them viral sensations.

Mary On A Cross – GHOST

Swedish rock band GHOST officially released Mary On A Cross on streaming platforms in 2019 as part of their album Seven Inches of Satanic Panic.

However, it failed to make much of an impact on the charts.

But three years later, in 2022, users began using the song as a soundtrack for compilations of scenes from Stranger Things.

The craze earned the band their first entry on Billboard’s Hot 100 charts, and various versions of the song on TikTok have been used in about a million videos.

Unstoppable – Sia

Sia’s Unstoppable from her 2016 album This is Acting is a typical inspirational ballad.

However, with songs like Cheap Thrills, Alive and Bird Set Free taking most of the spotlight at the time of the album’s release, it flew under the radar.

When the song was used in a Samsung commercial at the start of the year, it exploded in popularity.

It has been widely used as a protest song against Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and also for tear-jerking, inspirational weight loss transformations, graduations and other heartwarming moments.

In July, Unstoppable hit a peak at No.78 on the Billboard Hot 100, six years after it was released.

Die For You – The Weeknd

The Weeknd’s Die For You charted initially when the singer released it as his fifth and final single from his 2016 album Starboy.

But its TikTok resurrection in 2022 has been far more impactful.

TikTok picked up on the track in late-2021, and it has largely been used for ‘glow up’ transformations or flirtatious videos.

About 100,000 TikToks have been made using the song, prompting The Weeknd to film a music video for Die For You, six years after it was released.

Die For You went on to enter the Top 10 on the US Spotify chart for the very first time.

Running Up That Hill (A Deal With God) – Kate Bush

The shock success of Running Up That Hill (A Deal With God) in 2022 has been well documented, but let us remind you of the shocking stats.

In the months since Kate Bush’s 1985 track featured in Stranger Things, it has been used in an astonishing 2.5 million videos.

Seeing the viral success of the tune, Warner Records re-serviced the tune to radio and it surged up the charts.

Thirty-seven years after it was released, Running Up That Hill became Kate Bush’s first top 10 hit on the Hot 100 – all thanks to Netflix, with a little help from TikTok.

Just A Cloud Away – Pharrell Williams

While Happy was the certifiable breakout hit to come from the 2013 Despicable Me soundtrack, another Pharrell Williams tune from the same album caught TikTokers attention in 2022.

While Just A Cloud Away wasn’t attached to any particular trend, the floaty song served as a soundtrack to almost every TikTok on the platform for a few months in 2022.

About 2.3 million videos have been made with the tune, with Just A Cloud Away still trending on TikTok today.

@jaylabrenae5 Greatest thing I’ve ever witnessed💕 #siblinglove #justacloudaway #siblingbond ♬ Just a Cloud Away – Pharrell Williams

Don’t Blame Me – Taylor Swift

2022 was certainly the year of Taylor Swift, with her 10th studio album Midnights crushing records far and wide.

But before Midnights, a track from Swift’s 2017 Reputation picked up dramatically earlier in the year. Don’t Blame Me was never released as a single, but was loved by fans for Swift’s emotional bridge and booming vocals. It has largely been repurposed for fan edits of emotional scenes in movies and TV shows.

May 19, 2022, was the song’s biggest streaming day with 797,000 Spotify streams – nearly five years after it was released. I’m going to use this audio for a few edits! #fyp #OscarsAtHome #fy #foryoupage #leonardodicaprio #shadowbanned #foryou #titanic #jackdawson #rosedewittbukater #dontblameme ♬ Don’t Blame Me – Taylor Swift

Mockingbird – Eminem

Eminem’s Mockingbird is another song that went viral thanks to a sped-up version.

Released as the fifth single from his 2005 album Encore, more than 500,000 videos have been made using a 20-second clip of the song.

The song has been used for everything from TikTok dance performances to fan edits and even dedications to loved ones.

Eighteen years after it was released, Mockingbird made its debut on the global Spotify chart at No.200.

@ljo3536 Replying to @falling..angles Here you go!😁 #dance #irishdance #mockingbird ♬ original sound – &lt3

Sensual Seduction – Snoop Dogg

Snoop’s easygoing tune was released in 2008, alongside a much more explicit version, Sexual Eruption.

But it wasn’t the song’s raunchy lyrics that earned it a TikTok resurrection.

Rather, it was the infectious flute solo and floaty synths at the start of the song.

Throw in the lyrics “I’m gonna take my time” and an awkward dance, and you’ve got yourself a viral TikTok trend.

More than 500,000 videos have been made using the sound, including by the queen of social media herself, Kylie Jenner.

@kyliejenner KRIS COLLECTION ROUND 2 COMING 9.14 🍸 @kyliecosmetics ♬ Sensual Seduction – Snoop Dogg

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