THE BEST OF TIKTOK FOR THE WEEK OF 2/19
Well, here we are, another week that feels like a century in a decade that just won't quit. So far, 2021's been more peaceful than when the last administration is in office, but it's been no less chaotic. Much of the country has been buffeted and blasted by arctic storms, leaving millions without power which is why this report's coming out a day late. So now, We Are: The Guard have even more reason to pick through social media. There's keeping up with the rapid churn of virality, as per usual, but also trying to figure out what the heck's been going on while we've been hunkered down like Victorian farmers.
Here's some of the best of TikTok for this week, whether you've been huddled under blankets or glued to your phone.
AIN'T NO SIMPIN' - WHERE'S THE HOODIE TEE?
Have you seen some of those levitating antigravity videos of the last week? Need to show the world you're not just crawling after likes? "Ain't No Simpin'" a sound uploaded by TikTokker Where The Hoodie Tee is the soundtrack for scores of videos pretending to eat dirt, showcasing gangstas too tough even for gravity. And in typical TikTok fashion, the visuals don't always have to match the soundtrack, which becomes a shorthand for "Yeah, I know I'm tough..."
If you've ever wanted to see a chihuahua commit crime with a tiny ski mask; Thing 1 menace Thing 2; and a reminder that track suits are hard in much of the world, especially Eastern Europe, cruise the "Ain't No Simpin'" challenge for an hour or ten. It's a good way to lose some time and maybe your mind, whether you've been living without power or just dealing with quarantine cabin fever.
THE GREATEST SHOW / ORIGINAL SOUND - STATIC 2.0
This epic banger by the enigmatic, neon-eyed Static 2.0 is the soundtrack for the rug being pulled out from beneath your feet. Things start out good and get progressively less so as it's pseudo-anthemic Queen-like quality crumbles to dust.
"It's everything you ever want/it's everything you ever need" - so far, so good. But the bottom drops out, losing momentum, becoming a creepy-crawl of depression and self-doubt.
TikTokkers are using Static 2.0's original to lip synch about the ways life has a way of screwing you over, no matter who you are or where you start. It gets pretty dark and pretty real, despite the fun nearly-operatic ballad. Proceed accordingly.
CHUG JUG WITH YOU? - FREND?
Have you been looking for a smooth, ebullient disco funk barnstormer about Fortnight set to the tune of “American Boy” for your playlist? You have? Wow, that's pretty specific. Okay…
"Chug Jug With You" from the clearly pre-pubescent Frend? Is a minute-long slice-of-life depiction of a normal night out in Fortnite which, if you don't play the game, sounds like a twee indie disco funk from Tattooine. We Are: The Guard spend a fair amount of time staying up-to-the-second on rising tastes and trends and have ZERO idea what this kid is talking about. It's amazing!
PIERRE - RYN WEAVER
Most of us had to be our own Valentines this year. That means getting dolled up, throwing on your favorite song, taking yourself to whatever version of your favorite thing is during quarantine and, all in all, just trying to have a good time.
This is a good setting for "Pierre," a fun 'n bouncy blow-up from the infectious Ryn Weaver. You'll see people showcasing their love for everything from chocolate-covered strawberries to young stallions to Jake Peralta. It's nearly impossible not to smile..
DISRESPECTFUL - BLUEFACE
Nothing is as it seems in the decentralized, asynchronous world of TikTok. It's like looking at the world through a prism with fly's eyes.
Take, for example, "Disrespectful" by Blueface, Which is also the sound "Ain't No Simpin'” uploaded by Where The Hoodie Tee? It's kind of like a bizarro universe of the first, with more pets wearing thuggish ski masks but amping up the punk-as-you-know-what, two-fingers-in-the-air aspect of the original. Watch x-cons talk about hiding their leopard geckos and people drill holes in their own tires.
SPONGEBOB - DANTE9K
Sort of like "Monkeys Spinning Monkeys" on last week's Best Of TikTok round-up, "Spongebob" is the perfect soundtrack if you're trying to turn your page into an episode of Ren 'n Stimpy. It's downright zany, and it's to great effect on everything from a scuba diving video to a terrier getting a fresh new do. Or someone making a gigantic lollipop out of glass.
SUNDAY BEST (FEELING GOOD, LIKE I SHOULD) - SURFACES
Let's be real, every social media network has its strengths and weaknesses. Twitter is for exchanging thoughtful articles and links. Instagram is for comparing yourself harshly against every single person you have ever met. Facebook is for arguing with family members, political extremists of dubious existence, and attempting to overthrow democracy. At its heart, TikTok is mostly best for trading in pure, unadulterated positivity and general surrealism, absurdism, and possibly out-and-out insanity.
"Sunday Best (Feeling Good, Like I Should)" by Surfaces, is just a dose of pure sunshine. Browse the tag and watch people doing what they can to feel their (Sunday) best - getting in shape, trying on prom dresses, jumping onto surfboards with your golden retriever (wicked jealous of those with private pools and the weather to use them right now.)
If you're cynical or "edgy," you're not going to have a good time on TikTok. It's hard not to get some much-needed serotonin and oxytocin when you see people just doing what they can to feel good and the outpouring of positivity in the comments.
HOW TO SAVE A LIFE - THE FRAY
It's become a bit trendy to see it on churchboards and marquees but, seriously, thank all that's holy for the first responders and medical workers working around the clock to bring this horrible pandemic to an end. We've still got a long way to go, but there's been some good news on the vaccination front now that we actually have a president again. California's making bold strides and manufacturers are racing 'round the clock to make more doses of vaccines.
So, seriously, take a moment to thank a medical care professional, first responder, or emergency worker today. Flick through the feed of "How To Save A Life" by The Fray and be reminded of how much people are giving, in so many different ways right now. Also see people question their relationships and friendships with the line “where did I go wrong?”
And that about does it for another week of sussing out the greatest music on TikTok that we can find! Don't forget to follow us while you're there and get in touch to let us know what you've been rocking, duetting with, dancing to, or just generally maintaining your mental health!
J. Simpson occupies the intersection between criticism, creativity, and academia. Based out of Portland, Or., he is the author of Forestpunk, an online journal/brand studying the traces of horror, supernatural, and the occult through music, fashion and culture. He plays in the dreamfolk band Meta-Pinnacle with his partner Lily H. Valentine, with whom he also co-founded Bitstar Productions, a visual arts collective focused on elevating Pop Culture to High Art.