TikTok’s preferred form of chainmail is more positive than the eerily threatening “reblog or you’ll die” posts of a decade ago. Instead, users upload videos of themselves with meditative music or viral sounds behind them, alleging that the audio brings good luck and prosperity. Users write captions like “This sound is no joke actually! I’m making more money than i’ve ever seen now and my life is gr8!” or simply, “Don’t skip.” They might just show something really cool that’s happened to them, like buying a new laptop and hint at the sound’s effect. Some don’t even care if you post the sound on your public profile, encouraging users to simply save the sound or video to their favorites folder or keep the video in their drafts (doing this, of course, still helps the original creator get views, engagement, and prioritize their content in TikTok’s algorithm).
Send ten of your contacts this email if you don’t want a terrible surprise in the morning. By midnight, reblogging this article will bring you wonderful news. If you split the money cat, you’ll be wealthy. We are all victims of the chainmail industrial complex of the 2000s. Despite the fact that spam filters and privacy measures have been developed, the next wave of superstitious messages has simply been introduced by TikTok, an app that is both the bane and the delight of our lives. Is it an indication of regress, or is it just another instance of TikTok users recycling outdated internet culture?
Cursed TikTok mashups — like the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse/ Adele crossover, the particularly jarring mashup of “You’ve Got a Friend in Me” and W.A.P., or even meme remixes like “Chrissy, wake up!” — are a shining relic of Internet Past, invoking the blended song masterpieces that made up a large portion of YouTube’s homepage decades ago.
Because of TikTok’s unique duet feature, these users can then return to their posts weeks or months later with awe-inspiring updates, encouraging users to continue using the sounds or liking their videos. It’s a distinctly new form of chainmail but still reeks of those old emails and Tumblr posts behind the screen.
TikTok isn’t just continuing the trend, it’s also bringing back old names in the online remixing game. The overnight rise of TikTok’s “corn kid” gave birth to a now immensely popular corn kid song, which splices together lines from TikTok on top of a fun, synth-based beat and electronic harmonies. The jingle was created by @Schmoyoho, a project and original YouTube channel created by musical group The Gregory Brothers. TikTok user @RubyRoseu spotted that it was the same guy behind other classic meme remixes like the “Double Rainbow”, “Oh My Dayum”, and “Bed Intruder” songs. Schmoyoho is also behind the Stranger Things remix that probably took over your FYP for months on end.
While the rise of Hip-Hop revolutionized the practice of mixing together instrumentals and lyrics in creative ways, the first “cursed” song mashup is frequently attributed to The Evolution Control Committee, an experimental music group that now calls itself a “mash-up band”. In 1994, the group released a blended version of Public Enemy lyrics on top of instrumentals by Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass. YouTube meme makers latched onto the trend, and today, through the magic of TikTok, cursed song mashups appear, and go viral, almost daily.