Songs about love are a dime a dozen, but this one on TikTok takes the cake. “It’s Corn”, also called the corn song, is about a young boy’s undying love for corn that has racked up more than 80 million views at the time of writing.
It originated from an interview with Tariq, the boy, that was posted as part of the web series Recess Therapy on Instagram and YouTube in August, and it quickly went viral. The Gregory Brothers, a musical quartet, later autotuned it into the famed TikTok song which also blew up due to its catchiness and Tariq’s endearing passion for the “big lump with knobs”—this was his amusing description of corn.
Tariq was even named South Dakota’s Corn-Bassador in the U.S. last month: a testament to his influence that the song has undoubtedly contributed to.
While this process of turning an interview segment into an earworm via autotune may seem novel, it has been around for quite some time. Earlier in March, a rap with the catchy lyrics, “my money don’t jiggle jiggle, it folds”, took over the app (and my remaining two brain cells). “Jiggle Jiggle” was everywhere for months; my friends who were not on TikTok knew about it as well and were immediately obsessed.
The song came from an interview with Louis Theroux, a British-American journalist, as part of a YouTube series called Chicken Shop Date where he recited a rap he wrote back in 2000 for an episode of Louis Theroux’s Weird Weekends. That part of the interview was then autotuned into a funky song by producers Duke & Jones for their TikTok series, “Adding autotune to random videos”. Later in May, the official audio was released on YouTube and major streaming platforms like Spotify and Apple Music.
As with any viral TikTok song, a dance was created for it and became so popular that K-pop group Blackpink did it too. And in June, a church performed an Anglican chant version of “Jiggle Jiggle” on the platform, showing just how far and wide the song had spread.
Clearly, this specific kind of autotuned song is gaining recognition on TikTok and beyond it. Although using autotune in music production is typically frowned upon as it can be seen as an indication of an artist’s weak musical ability, it tends to be well-received when it’s used for comedic purposes like this, sparking pure entertainment and joy.
Music creators have been making such songs for a long time—The Gregory Brothers in particular, “songify” random videos of people talking, even those of U.S. presidential debates, and have done so for more than a decade. However, their most popular hits on YouTube are at least 10 years old. Now that this type of song is making waves again, it is changing the trajectory of what becomes viral on TikTok.
Music Trends on TikTok
Until recently, chart-topping songs with choreographed dances were largely the kind of music that trended on TikTok. Relatively unknown songs could also boom in popularity, garnering attention for both the artist and TikTok poster.
One example of this was when TikTok user Zoi Lerma posted a video of a dance she created to “Supalonely” by Benee, which has since accumulated more than 45 million views. Not only did she gain many followers, but Benee’s song also became a global hit, appearing in millions of TikTok videos and reaching 1 billion plays across streaming platforms as of March this year.
As a result of this phenomenon, Gen Zs and millennials, being TikTok’s main users, are more likely to discover new music through the app compared to the average music listener.
Besides the songs themselves, users constantly post remixes of them—this is another TikTok trend that can contribute to certain songs’ sudden virality. In 2020, for example, an unofficial remix of Taylor Swift’s “Love Story” became an integral part of a challenge that many TikTok users participated in, giving the old but gold song a new lease of life.
Perhaps the most striking ability of the app is providing creators with a shot at becoming musical stars, as has happened to TikTok sensations Dixie D’Amelio and Bella Poarch. Before their singing careers, Poarch was known for her lip-synching videos on TikTok while D’Amelio was famous for her dance videos.
These instances only solidify TikTok’s place in the music industry, seeing how it has the power to push songs up the music charts and dictate what songs people listen to, not to mention produce pop stars.
Now, with the rise of interviews-turned-songs on TikTok, it seems to be another trend that is here to stay. This trend has even changed the music that people listen to, as evidenced by the nearly 73 million streams for “Jiggle Jiggle” and 11 million streams for “It’s Corn” on Spotify.
Freedom in Musical Expression
Despite their unconventional origins, these autotuned songs display a possibility for greater creativity in music production, especially in song format. They also prove that music can most definitely be created simply for fun, rather than needing to have some deeper meaning behind it.
I know I certainly wouldn’t mind more wholesome songs like these. Now that finals are over, goodness knows we could all use some destressing.
Here’s the longer version of It’s Corn, if your ears haven’t been blessed. It’s Corn – Songify This ft. Tariq and Recess Therapy
You can listen to it on Spotify too. Have a corntastic day!