At this point, it’s undeniable: TikTok is an unstoppable force in the music industry. With tracks like Megan Thee Stallion’s “Savage” and Doja Cat’s “Say So” becoming titanic hits after going viral on the platform, we’re all looking to the platform to see what the next big thing is. The Lightning 100 interns are back with another set of Intern Picks of the week. And this time, accordingly, we’re looking at the best TikTok has to offer.
Ayden’s Pick: Girl in Red — Girls
At this point few would debate TikTok’s cultural impact, but for those who remain skeptics I raise you the case of Girl in Red. Norwegian singer-songwriter Marie Ulven’s bedroom pop project has become nothing short of a phenomenon on the video sharing platform, where her queer love songs soundtrack the lives of a generation of LGBT youth. Her reach is so impressively far that nowadays to ask someone if they listen to Girl in Red is the same thing as straight up asking if they’re gay. TikTok has embedded her music in the community’s lexicon like few artists before her, and it’s no surprise that this blow up has earned serious international attention and a record deal with AWAL. Her debut album, if i could make it go quiet, will arrive April 30th to much anticipation. At the very least, it’s sure to be a hit on social media.
Lindsay’s Pick: Justin Bieber ft. Daniel Caesar, Giveon — Peaches
I’m not going to lie, Justin Bieber’s new album is the only thing I’ve listened to since its release last week. The video that dropped alongside the album combines ’90s feels with very modern color palettes. The promotional campaign for the track was directed right at TikTok influencers. Bieber had a bus that was decked out with the same designs that we see in the music video sent out to different influencers’ neighborhoods in order to have them post videos in it. TikTok users have already blown the app up using the song to create dances. I find it so interesting seeing how artists can now use this app as the new go-to platform to advertise their new music.
Taylor’s Pick: Charli XCX — Unlock It
With a 3-year-old song, Charli XCX is having her “Truth Hurts” moment. “Unlock It,” a collaboration with rising popstar Kim Petras and Korean rapper, comes from XCX’s mixtape Pop 2. And despite the trailblazing Brit having released two full projects since (2019’s Charli and her quarantine album How I’m Feeling Now), it seems like “Unlock It” might be the key (no pun intended) to her biggest success yet. With its infectiously repetitive chorus and bubbly vibe, it’s no wonder the track has blown up on TikTok. And she and her label are beginning to take notice, teasing merch for the song and a potential re-release. It’s a long-overdue success story for one of the hardest-working and most exciting artists in the business right now and helps cement her as more than just the girl who sang “Boom Clap.” You won’t be able to escape this one for a while.