Hello, I’m MusiCommentator, and Tik Tok…yep, that’s my whole intro today.
But in all seriousness, Tik Tok is a fairly new social media app that has been infamous since it’s release. It’s main premise is just people lip-syncing popular songs and skits. Apparently, though, a lot of people saw the meme potential the app had, because there have been plenty of songs and memes that have blown up due to the app’s existence. These include “Mia Khalifa”, “Read Me My Rights”, and many, many, many, many, MANY more. However, two of the most commonly used ones are Lil Nas X’s “Old Town Road” and The BoyBoy West Coast’s “U Was At The Club (Bottoms Up)“. If you haven’t heard either of these songs before, you can click the names of the songs, which I have linked to the YouTube versions of these tracks.
These two songs I want to talk about are very similar in that they both became famous around the same time from Tik Tok memes. You can find dozens of complilations dedicated specifically to Tik Tok memes surrounding these tracks. They’re also both rap songs with a sense of novelty to them, and both have Genius interviews made on them. With both of these songs being so similar, I found it odd that “Old Town Road” became significantly more famous in the mainstream scene than “U Was At The Club” did. In fact, it’s not hard to argue that “U Was At The Club” is now irrelevant. “Old Town Road” is at the top of the Billboard charts, so it’s harder to argue that. So, in this post, I want to go over some reasons why I believe “Old Town Road” became famous and “U Was At The Club” faded into obscurity, despite their numerous similarities. I will be structuring this post like my “How “Despacito” Got So Famous” post, so check that out if you haven’t yet. But, let’s get into this.
#1: Musical Relevancy
To start, let’s take a look at the songs themselves, ignoring the meme culture surrounding them. “Old Town Road” is trap song with a large country influence that meshes country stereotypes with rap ones. I did a Song Of The Week post on this song, so if you want to see more of my personal opinion on it, check that out. But, without including my opinion, there is no doubt that this song has heavy trap elements, which is the biggest trend in music nowadays. “U Was At The Club”, while it is still a rap song, is very stylistically different from “Old Town Road”. It is more a party anthem akin to the music of Flo Rida, Taio Cruz, and Pitbull. As you can probably tell by those comparisons, this song is far from being relevant in the modern music landscape. Just by looking at this, it’s no surprise that “Old Town Road” had more longevity in the music scene.
#2: Official Releases
When “Old Town Road” became famous from its memes, it was already an official track easily accessible on all main streaming services. When people wanted to find the song from the meme they saw, it was easy to find on their streaming service of choice, which means this songs was ready for the exposure it received. “U Was At The Club”, on the other hand, was not as ready. When it became famous from its memes, it was only an unreleased snippet that could be found on YouTube. Even at the peak of the meme’s popularity, when The BoyBoy West Coast had his Genius interview, the song was never officially released on streaming platforms. It wasn’t until after this that the song had it’s official release, and it was with a feature from some singer named Ramriddlez. This belated release hindered the song from being as well-promoted as “Old Town Road” was able to be. But, to add insult to injury, this version of “U Was At The Club” was taken down from streaming a few weeks after its release, only then to be released again without the featured artist. This rocky release might have been a major factor to this dip in relevancy, but there is one more reason I think of that’s much bigger…
#3: Controversy & Billy Ray
“Old Town Road” did not become a huge mainstream point of attention until Billboard took it off the country charts. There are plenty of news outlets that have covered this story, but to keep it short, Billboard removed “Old Town Road” from its country charts because it claimed the track didn’t have enough modern elements of country. This sent the internet in a tizzy, which helped boost the song’s sales. The biggest helper of the track’s sales, though, was easily Billy Ray Cyrus. A country legend hopping on a song under fire for not being “actually country” did a lot for the track, and the week after the Billy Ray remix was released, the song hit #1 on the Billboard Hot 100. As you could probably tell, “U Was At The Club” did not get any promotion of this kind, which helped it fade into obscurity faster.
Thank you for reading this strange post! If you liked this post, make sure to follow my website, Twitter, and Instagram, like this post, and be sure to check in soon for future content. Also, if you have something you want to see me review, tell me in the comments. Until then, keep on listening to good music! I know I will.