What is TikTok’s ‘Teenage Dirtbag’ trend?


The early 2000’s teen anthem ‘Teenage Dirtbag’ has made its comeback and grown into a new TikTok trend.

Another day, another trend sweeping the social media platform. This time, it’s a trend that features a timeless tune that many millennials are familiar with.

The song ‘Teenage Dirtbag’ was released by rock band Wheatus in 2000, and instantly became a global sensation. It was especially successful in Australia, spending four weeks at number one, being certified 3× Platinum, and becoming the second-best-selling single of 2000.

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Now, the song has made its comeback in 2022, thanks to a viral TikTok trend.

What is the ‘Teenage Dirtbag’ TikTok trend?

People are using the song to share embarrassing photos from their teenage years. The song is essentially about being rebellious teenage misfits, which makes it perfect for the trend.

In this viral video, which has almost a million views, comedian Michael Barrymore shares awkward photos taken from when he was 18, while ‘Teenage Dirtbag’ plays over the clip.

Searches for the new trend have exploded on the social media platform, with almost 800,000 videos being tagged with teenagedirtbagtrend. The hashtag has over 2 million views as of now.

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Most videos start with the user showing how they look like now, with a caption such as “My teenage dirtbag photos…”

The video would then cut to a series of photos from the user’s “rebellious” teenage years. Usually, the photos would show them drinking, partying, or getting tattoos, but there are also some that share awkward phases they went through.

While the millennial classic is used in light-hearted videos for users to laugh at themselves, the real inspiration behind the song is actually quite dark.

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Speaking to Tone Deaf in 2012 about the song, Wheatus frontman Brendon B. Brown explained: “It came from the summer of 1984 on Long Island, when I was 10 years old.”

“That summer in the woods behind my house, there was a Satanic, drug-induced ritual teen homicide that went down; and the kid who did it was called Ricky Kasso, and he was arrested wearing an AC/DC T-shirt.” he said.

“That made all the papers, and the television, obviously; and here I was, 10 years old, walking around with a case full of AC/DC and Iron Maiden and Metallica – and all the parents and the teachers and the cops thought I was some kind of Satan worshipper. So that’s the backdrop for that song.”

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