Top TikTok Trends of 2021
In a world of Snapchat, Instagram and Facebook, I think it’s fair to say that TikTok is the social media app that is ruling the world right now. TikTok content creators play the role of God when it comes to what sounds go viral, whether it’s songs that hit number one on the charts or memes you’ll hear from your peers for the next three months. Here are the ten top trends of 2021.
10. Driver’s License Challenge
Not only was the song incredibly relatable for young listeners experiencing love and breakups, but it made for an excellent transition as well. At the climax of the chorus, creators show themselves crying along to the lyrics “Guess you didn’t mean what you wrote in that song about me,
Cause you said forever, now I drive alone past your street.”
During this section of the video, participants usually sport a casual ensemble: bare face, hair undone, regular clothing. As the song goes into the bridge, the creators fall backwards and we get a bird’s eye view of them falling onto a surface, usually a bed, by the time they’ve started singing the next lyrics of the song. By this stage, they’ve dressed up, emitting a beautiful and ethereal energy. And just like that, they are healed.
9. Feta Pasta
Last year it was Gigi Hadid’s cheesy vodka pasta and in 2021, TikTok brought us a brand new recipe with “Uni meals” energy. Creators placed whole tomatoes into an oven tray (not chopped, sliced, or diced - but whole.) along with half a garlic, and of course, a block of feta. It’s then put into the oven for 35 minutes, and once it’s nice and hot, it’s stirred together into a thick, creamy paste. They then add the cooked pasta and boom - viral feta pasta. This trend made the list for being aesthetically pleasing but points were knocked off for the onset of cooking videos in which the chef doesn’t chop ANYTHING that resulted from that.
8. Sprinting through Versailles
This was one of my least favourite trends but it had such a strong hold on the TikTok community that not including it in this list would feel illegal. The filter, that put the heads of TikTok users on the body of Marie Antoinette, resulted in a number of low-effort videos that were only really funny the first three times.
7. Corvette, Corvette
This feels like so long ago that I almost didn’t believe that it was in 2021 that the “Corvette, Corvette” dance stole our hearts. I can’t say what it was about this dance that was so popular in contrast to the others. Maybe it was the playful aggression at the beginning of the song, or maybe it was the ease of learning that meant even those of us with two left feet could participate. Either way, this is one for the books!
6. The #BussItChallenge
Full disclosure - I never want to hear this song again. However, the challenge was incredibly satisfying to watch. Another transition video, creators went from the casual, just-got-out-of-bed look in the first half of the sound, to the about-to-head-to-the-club look in the second. The key moment: the drop down from a standing position to a squat, where creators then proceeded to dance effortlessly in said squat position. Immaculate.
5. The Milk Crate Challenge
It’s debatable whether this emerged from Twitter or from TikTok; either way if I were a social media app, I wouldn’t be rushing to claim this one. This trend, that had folk climbing up mountains of milk crate in hopes of making it to the top and back down again in one piece, was downright awful yet undeniably, no one who ever witnessed one of these videos was able to peel their eyes away.
4. The Backyardigans
There should really be a study looking into what it is that makes TikTok creators seek out old soundtracks from childhood TV shows and sing along to them like that brand new Drake song but I have zero complaints. From “Castaways” to the theme song, this trend was pure vibes and healthy nostalgia.
3. The Silhouette Challenge
Yet another transition video, this challenge had users in everyday attire as usual, before the overhead lights came off, the red LED lights came on, and all viewers could see was the silhouette of a well-posed individual. A trend that got recognition from celebrities such as Cardi B and Chloe Bailey, this one goes down in 2021 history.
2. Adult Swim
Fellow fans of the channel Adult Swim will share in my excitement when I say I was so elated when I saw the very first Adult Swim style video on my TikTok feed. I can’t say I even understood what was happening at first. But when the last visual came in followed by the notorious [AS] symbol, I could barely contain my amazement. This trend revealed the true levels of talent that these creators withhold and the incredible things they can do with just their mind, a camera and a really creative concept. And to top it all off: the Adult Swim fans being recognised by the OGs themselves. It was the wholesome and iconic moment we needed from 2021.
1. “Th*t Sh*t” Versus the Black Creator Strike
At the height of all TikTok entertainment for the year 2021 was the collective decision the black community made to cease making dance content to send a message about white content creators not giving credit for dances choreographed by people of colour. Unfortunately for Megan Thee Stallion, this decision was made just after she released her song “Th*t Sh*t”, a song that was subsequently ignored in vast majority by the black community. Black content creators took to Twitter to express their amusement at the sentiment that “The song is literally telling you what to do and y’all not listening”, a comment that was made by a Twitter user. The joke arrived as a result of non-POC content creators not doing what the lyrics encouraged listeners to do as they listened to the song; to put it simply - put your hands on your knees and twerk. With the black community satisfied that they had been sufficiently missed, they returned back to the TikTok dance community to show everyone how it was to be done.