By Michelle Hyun Kim, Colin Joyce, Brandon Ousley, and Kemet High of Third Bridge Creative
In this edition of the Trending Tracks Report, we discuss a South African singer behind a viral dance trend, a soundtrack hit reworking old classics, a feel-good TikTok smash, the return of a legend, and a pop star on the rise.
Chartmetric Artist Rank: 103
Country: South Africa
South African singer Tyla dropped her afropop single “Water” in late July of this year, featuring distinctly soft harmonies and lyrics about the sensation of pleasure. But, it’s the global record’s amapiano rhythm that spawned a viral dance trend on TikTok where users recreate her splashy choreography — bottle of water, included. There are over 615k posts to date using “Water,” making it the 6th most popular song on the platform in the last month. But “Water” is far from just a social media fad: it’s been streaming well on platforms like Spotify where it currently has over 32 million plays, supported by placements on playlists like Today’s Top Hits, big on the internet, and Pop Rising.
Chartmetric Artist Rank: 942
British producer/songwriter/artist Richard Carter has scored a viral hit with an instrumental track called “Le Monde,” thanks to its appearance on the soundtrack of the A24 horror flick Talk to Me, released this July. The track samples the 1957 Edith Piaf song “La Foule,” a French chanson pop cover of a 1930s Peruvian waltz song originally composed by Àngel Cabral. Carter then reconfigured these nostalgia-evoking genres with modern-day trap and electronic production, piquing the ears of internet users fascinated by this unexpected combination of genres. Taking on a life outside of the movie, “Le Monde” has since racked up 966k Shazams, 142k TikTok posts, and 30.1 million Spotify streams.
Chartmetric Artist Rank: 984
Paul Russell made an unexpected pivot and a viral rise with his soul-pop single “Lil Boo Thang.” The Los Angeles-based and Atlanta-raised artist was once signed to a Christian rap label, but his tender breakout hit focused on decidedly secular concerns: romance and luxury goods, among other things. From the moment he previewed the track on TikTok it connected in a way that his previous music hadn’t yet, with the post generating 10.8 million views since late June. It’s since been used in over 307k videos on the platform, a testament to its power as a lighthearted feel-good anthem. The track has helped Russell garner over 6.2 million monthly listeners on Spotify and landed him on playlists like big on the internet and Pop Rising.
Chartmetric Artist Rank: 1,492
Two decades since his last major work — 2008’s acclaimed Lay it Down — soul and gospel legend Al Green made an unexpected return on August 21 with a new single, “Perfect Day.” Known for soulfully reimagining pop and country staples, Green gives the late rocker Lou Reed’s 1972 classic a Southern soul makeover. Several teasers flashed onto Green’s social media profiles in support of the song, including a promo visualizer and a vintage interview of Lou Reed praising Green that has spawned over 38k likes on Instagram. Along with its viral upswing, the single has garnered strong traction on Spotify with 458k streams. While this single marks Al Green’s first all-new material for the Fat Possum label, which oversees and reissues his ‘70s Hi Records catalog, there have been no updates on whether a new album is imminent.
Tate McRae: “greedy”
Chartmetric Artist Rank: 66
Former So You Think You Can Dance finalist Tate McRae has quickly ascended to rising pop star status with a slew of viral hits and an internationally-charting 2022 album, but her latest single “greedy” — whose steel drum-infused dance-pop beat recalls Nelly Furtado’s Loose-era hits — has climbed remarkably fast. Since its September 15 release, it’s become instantaneously ubiquitous on TikTok, racking up 500k videos, as well as 116.5 million Spotify streams and 11.2 million YouTube views. As TikTok users have breathed new life into Furtado’s 2006 hits like “Promiscuous” and “Say It Right” in recent years, McRae’s “greedy” reveals Gen Z’s hunger for this Timbaland-produced mid-2000s pop sound.
Graphics by Nicki Camberg and cover image by Crasianne Tirado; data as of Oct. 11, 2023.