Social Hits: The Top TikTok Songs of 2023
TikTok continues to wield its cultural influence on music trends. With 2023 in the rearview, it’s time to spotlight the TikTok music that dominated the charts and soundtracked countless TikTok moments.
From dance crazes to lip-syncing phenomenons, these top songs of 2023 exemplify the eclectic musical tastes that thrive on the platform. The vibrant and diverse collection of TikTok songs in 2023 showcases the platform’s continued influence on shaping music trends. From infectious beats that fueled dance challenges to emotionally resonant tracks that became the backdrop for wholesome moments, these songs are the heartbeat of a TikTok community that expands globally.
1. “Flowers” by Miley Cyrus
First up, “Flowers,” which took the TikTok universe by storm as the female-empowerment flagship single from Miley Cyrus‘ eighth studio album, Endless Summer Vacation. The song delves into Cyrus’s views on resilience and relationships via lyrics such as “I can buy myself flowers / Write my name in the sand.” The poignant lines suggest a sense of independence, conveying that Cyrus has found happiness within herself and doesn’t rely on her past relationship to fulfill her sense of joy. TikTokers didn’t miss a chance to use the song as a backdrop for their own videos illustrating their self-empowerment journeys.
2. “Iko Iko (My Bestie)” by Justin Wellington feat. Small Jam
Justin Wellington‘s “Iko Iko (My Bestie)” featuring Small Jam is a lively and infectious track that combines Caribbean and pop influences. Released in 2021, the song is a contemporary take on the traditional New Orleans tune “Jock-A-Mo,” popularized by The Dixie Cups in the 1960s. Justin Wellington infuses the track with his vibrant energy, creating a celebratory anthem that pays homage to friendship and good times; Small Jam’s contribution adds a playful dynamic to the song, enhancing its overall feel-good vibe. The song’s upbeat and celebratory vibe has made it a popular choice for various TikTok trends, from dance challenges to feel-good content with friends. As one of the most popular TikTok songs of 2023, its presence on the platform resulted in a surge of user-generated videos and also contributed to the track’s broader acclaim outside of TikTok.
3. “Up” by INNA feat. Sean Paul
The seamless blend of INNA‘s pop prowess and Sean Paul‘s dancehall influence creates a unique experience that resonates with TikTok’s dynamic and eclectic nature. “Up” has ignited a fire on the platform, capturing the attention and creativity of audiences. The song’s infectious beats and energetic vibes have turned it into one of the best TikTok songs of the year, with users from around the world creating a myriad of dance challenges set to its rhythm.
4. “Paint the Town Red” by Doja Cat
“Paint the Town Red” is a hip-hop track by Doja Cat from her fourth album, Scarlet (2023). Released in August as the album’s lead single, the song features a jazz-influenced beat sampling Dionne Warwick‘s “Walk On By” (1964). Written by Doja Cat and produced by Earl on the Beat, Rubin, Jean-Baptiste, and DJ Replay, the lyrics assert the rapper’s identity and dismiss critics stemming from social media disputes she had with fans. After its release, the song quickly gained traction on TikTok, becoming the perfect musical inspiration for confident choreographies and back-at-you skits.
5. “Water” by Tyla
“Water,” a song by South African artist Tyla, launched in July 2023 as the lead single from her upcoming debut EP. This release catapulted Tyla into the US Billboard Hot 100, making her the youngest-ever South African and the first soloist from the country in 55 years to achieve this feat since Hugh Masekela‘s “Grazing in the Grass” in 1968. What’s more, “Water” was nominated for Best African Music Performance at the 66th Annual Grammy Awards. The track became popular on TikTok after Tyla posted dance videos choreographed by South African dancer Litchi, adding a distinctive and engaging visual element to the song. The choreographies took the social world by storm, becoming the go-to for viral dance moves replicated countless times.
6. “greedy” by Tate McRae
“greedy” by Tate McRae had a smart promotional strategy. It was first teased by the singer on TikTok in August 2023, subsequently going viral on the platform with hundreds of thousands of lip-synching and dance challenge videos featuring the song. Released in September 2023 as the lead single from McRae’s upcoming second studio album Think Later, “greedy” was also commercially successful, peaking at number one on the Billboard Global 200.
7. “My Love Mine All Mine” by Mitski
“My Love Mine All Mine” by American singer-songwriter Mitski was unveiled as the third release from her seventh studio album, The Land Is Inhospitable and So Are We. This song incorporates country-inspired piano and pedal steel guitar, with Mitski’s lyrics recounting an emotional request for the moon to preserve her love and illuminate it upon her passing. Following a surge in popularity on TikTok via emotional clips of users expressing love, the track became Mitski’s commercial breakthrough, securing her first entry on the Billboard Hot 100.
8. “Calm Down” by Rema and Selena Gomez
Originally a song by Nigerian artist Rema included on his debut studio album, Rave & Roses (2022), “Calm Down” was subsequently made into a remix featuring American singer Selena Gomez. This revamped version claimed the number one spot on the Billboard US Afrobeats Songs, reaching number three on the Global 200 chart. Notably, it secured Rema his first top-ten hit on the US Billboard Hot 100. The song —a viral tune on TikTok for countless choreographies and bold daily life challenges — dominated the Billboard US Afrobeats Songs for a remarkable 58 weeks until it was surpassed by Tyla’s “Water” in October 2023.
These best songs of 2023 will linger as a testament to the dynamic and ever-evolving relationship between music and social media, with TikTok remaining at the forefront of cultural expression and musical discovery. As we eagerly anticipate the next wave of top TikTok songs, the songs that defined 2023 will undoubtedly echo in our playlists.