Retro Revival: Best of TikTok’s Sped-Up Songs Trend

Once again, TikTok is making itself known in the mainstream music scene. This time, sped-up songs from previous decades are going viral on the platform. The remixed songs — also known as nightcore — have deep roots in hip-hop culture and have experienced a cult-like following since emerging in the mid-2000s. With more artists and labels releasing sped-up made-for-TikTok remixes of their own original songs, the tracks are receiving a second life and expanding their reach across generations of fans.

For the last few years, TikTok has been at the forefront of the sped-up sound craze, with users requesting faster versions of top hits by the world’s biggest musical acts. Sped-up TikTok songs have made old tunes popular again, revived by audience innovation and today’s technology. The sped-up music trend is throttling full force via TikTok, and the following are just a few of the tracks that highlight the genre’s popularity.

“A Thousand Miles” – Vanessa Carlton (2002)

Still recognized as one of the most unforgettable piano riffs of all time, “A Thousand Miles” was the quintessential song of 2002, a pop-rock smash hit that made Vanessa Carlton an international star overnight. Now, the power ballad has received a sped-up remix and has been discovered by a new generation of fans who are experiencing this earnest song from an entirely different perspective.

“It Wasn’t Me” – Shaggy featuring Shaggy & Ricardo (2000)

First released more than twenty years ago, the original version of “It Wasn’t Me” was the first song from Shaggy and cemented his reputation as one of Jamaica’s biggest musical acts. The sped-up version of this now-classic gives fans even more of the reggae-tinged sound that makes the song stand out and has introduced a new audience to its comedic lyrics. Infused with the perfect blend of reggae and R&B, “It Wasn’t Me” serves as the perfect summer jam both when it first came out and now.

“Make Your Own Kind of Music” – Mama Cass (1969)

Revered for her harmonizing and songwriting, Mama Cass proved she was also able to take other people’s songs and make them her own when she released “Make Your Own Kind of Music,” a song originally written for The Will-O-Bees by Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil. The song received a second time in the spotlight on TikTok through a sped-up remix released 50 years after the original.

“Say It Right” – Nelly Furtado (2006)

Nelly Furtado changed her sound dramatically over the years, and “Say It Right” took her from folksy singer-songwriter to pop diva. Breaking new ground sonically, Furtado wrote the song with mastermind producer Timbaland, a collaboration that resulted in a worldwide hit. The sped-up remix has unofficially resulted in Furtado being recognized as one of the leading pop singers of the genre, with a few of her songs deemed perfect for releasing to the current TikTok crowd.

“Sway” – Michael Bublé (2004)

He made a name for himself singing American classics for international crowds, but Michael Bublé proved he was more than the sum of his parts when he took a little-known song written by Normal Gimbel and made it his own. “Sway” became a worldwide hit for the crooner, urging people to the dance floor. Old songs on TikTok have a habit of finding new audiences, and the sped-up remix brings more character to an already infectious beat.

“Maria Maria” – Santana featuring The Product G&B (1999)

Produced by Fugees frontman Wyclef Jean and The Product G&B, “Maria Maria” helped to take Santana’s career to new heights, earning him several Grammys and solidifying his status as a legend in the music industry. Offering an intoxicating blend of R&B and hip-hop rhythms over catchy guitar hooks, the Latin pop song has been heralded as a breath of fresh air for new listeners.

“Summertime Sadness” – Lana Del Rey (2012)

Known for her melancholy and evocative lyrics, Lana Del Rey released what was arguably the hit anthem of the summer with 2012’s “Summertime Sadness.” The song laments fleeting relationships fading with the season with lyrics backed by a steady, powerful drum beat. The track solidified Lana Del Rey as a household name following the success of “Video Games” (2011), and now, more than a decade later, it has given her a new audience that can’t seem to get enough of the sped-up remix sound it serves.

“Everybody Wants To Rule The World” – Tears For Fears (1985)

The 80s were all about synthesized sound in music, and Tears For Fears captured the era’s aesthetic with “Everybody Wants to Rule the World,” a song that works on all levels as the perfect pop song. With its catchy hook and chorus, the song covers personal ambition. Signature songs oftentimes become classics, but this particular track has a special place in the hearts of TikTok fans who have embraced the sped-up remix for its singular sound.

“Lights” – Ellie Goulding  (2010)

Immediately a radio hit on release, “Lights” was inspired by Goulding’s fear of the dark and features the ethereal vocals that would make her a household name. Ellie proved she was not only a powerful pop singer but also capable of choosing just the right producers to turn her electro-pop track into a worldwide hit. The song’s re-release as a sped-up remix has given it a second chance to enchant the masses on TikTok.

Is Sped-Up the Sound of the Future?

The sped-up sound is showing no signs of slowing. TikTok has proven time and again that audiences are eager to experience innovative interpretations of classics and nostalgic hits. The platform’s viral dances and trends mean users can connect with these songs like never before by creating their own content — not to mention nightcore is the perfect match for the platform’s short format.

Looking for more on the cutting edge of music? Check out the best international and Afrobeat hits popularized on TikTok.

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