This week’s top track on TikTok is a remix of 2016 Maggie Lindemann single ‘Pretty Girl’. At the time of writing, April 4th, music data company Chartmetric places Cheat Codes and CADE‘s 2020 remix of the single ahead of Soulja Boy‘s ‘She Make It Clap’ at number two and Masked Wolf‘s ‘Astronaut In The Ocean’ at three. Olivia Rodrigo‘s follow up to the year defining ‘Drivers Licence’, ‘Deja Vu’ comes in at number four.
‘Pretty Girl’ is a Comment on Online Identity
Texan songwriter Maggie Lindemann released ‘Pretty Girl’ in September 2016. It was her major label debut. As the title suggests, ‘Pretty Girl’ was a comment on online identity. The song protests women being judged by their looks and social media profiles alone.
“‘Pretty Girl’ is about being more than just what people see online and girls being more than our physical appearances,” Maggie informed Billboard at the time of the single’s release. Lindemann urged people to look past surface appearances and find what was deeper. “Being a young woman,” Lindemann has also shared of the song, “I feel like we’re very judged based on our looks alone. This is a song for everyone who feels that way.”
LOL i’m so sorry 🤚🏻
Maggie Lindemann on TikTok
More than four years later the problematic expectations Lindemann sang about have only intensified. Thousands on TikTok are currently identifying with these lyrics. While many things come in and out of fashion in the fickle world of popular music, songs that carry a kernel of truth in them have an exceptional ability to leave lasting impressions.
The song’s newfound popularity has received a boost from several key TikTok influencers. Most notably it featured in a viral post from the video-sharing platform’s popular @satisfyingly.aesthetic1 account. Lindemann’s impressively large TikTok following of 1.6 million may also have helped the song’s climb to prominence. (Viewers may also note an image pivot from pop to goth leaning y2k alt-rock, reflected on Lidermann’s 2021 album PARANOIA.)
Maggie Liddeman poses for promotional image.
An Unsatisfying Aesthetic? TikTok’s Gen Z Gender Divide
‘Pretty Girl’ marks a stark contrast to Soulja’s Boy number two single ‘She Makes It Clap‘. In fact, ‘She Makes It Clap’ strikes at the heart of what ‘Pretty Girl’ is talking about. Lindemann’s song comments on breaking free from the unrealistic images society imposes upon women. Soulja Boy revels in them, praising a woman clapping her ass cheeks together in a strip club in exchange for his money.
Olivia Rodrigo and Masked Wolf, in contrast, escape these conversations entirely by plunging into states of deep and solipsistic introspection. Is this where we are at as a society in 2021? A Staunch heteronormative gender divide flanked on both sides by narcissism so deep it threatens to blot out external reality? Damn!
Final Thoughts on Maggie Lindemann and ‘Pretty Girl’
As touched on in last week’s review of Nightcore‘s ‘Heartbreat’, TikTok places emphasis on the song. A great recording, memorable melody and irresistible rhythm are all paths to viral success. What is more, ‘Pretty Girl’ establishes that the projection of a collective feeling and a big idea count too.
Most songs that going viral on the app only appearing as 30-second snippets. Whether intentionally or not TikTok hits often communicate a lot in only a short amount of time. To Maggie Lindemann and her remixers credit, they put a lot across in a few scant seconds.
Maggie Lindemann’s ‘Pretty Girl’ may not make as strong a statement about the role of women in society as say, Clairo‘s likewise titled viral 2017 single ‘Pretty Girl’, though looking at Soulja’s boy’s fantasy world where a person’s worth is defined by the ability to clap an ass? It is a relief Lidemann’s song comes out on top.
Lindemann's TikTok reinvention
Soulja Boy at #2
Should we all just log off?
Body dysmorphia has reached plague proportions