"Rasputin" Is Trending on TikTok Because It's as Catchy Now as It Was in 1978
TikTok has helped tons of new artists gain popularity, but it can also help revive songs from the past, like the "He was big and strong" trend.
When a song becomes wildly popular, it goes through several phases. First, it's a hit track that's played everywhere: it'll be on multiple radio stations at the same time. DJs might even put it on their set list twice. For months, escaping the song becomes impossible, which makes you hate it. It's still popular during the "hatred" phase, until it dies out. Then some time passes, then it turns into a joke, and then people love it all over again because of the joke, like the "he was big and strong" TikTok trend.
The "he was big and strong" line comes from Boney M's 1978 track, "Rasputin" which is trending on TikTok.
If you've spent time on the internet broadening your meme horizons, then you'll know that this song holds a special place in people's hearts and has for years. The Disco track's love revival seems to have been rekindled around the release of Just Dance 2 in 2010 and it would occasionally show up in comedy skits and videos online.
Heck, one of YouTube's most hilarious and unique accounts, Davie504, went to Moscow with a mini bass guitar just to play "Rasputin," because it had long been fomenting as a joke song for several years and finally culminated into a gag that earned him over 8.6 million views.
But why is the "He was big and strong and his eyes...." line trending on TikTok all of a sudden?
Honestly, who knows. It's a catchy track and there doesn't really seem to be any rhyme or reason behind the videos. Sure, there are plenty of people in these TikToks who bust out some impressive Russian folk-style dancing moves. Those drop squats into star pops are way more difficult to pull off than whatever mirthless hand gestures and half-hearted hip gyrations some people do on the platform.
It could be why the song's gotten so popular on the platform, because so many TikTokers are pulling off truly incredible dance routines with them, seriously, just look at some of them in the compilation above.
But there's another reason why so many people are starting the track with the "He was big and strong, and his eyes were flaming gold" line: narcissism.
People are using the opportunity to show off their muscles/well manicured looks on TikTok so they can feel themselves and have a bunch of strangers on the internet thirst for them. You know, why social media Influencers (for the most part) came into existence to begin with.
The trend sees people start fully clothed, and then once the "he was big and strong" line comes up, the image immediately cuts to them posing with their clothes off before going back to them wearing their clothes and pointing to their own two eyes with the "eyes" line.
And while many might argue that this trend, along with many others on TikTok, doesn't really make much sense, I'd argue that the entire idea behind the song "Rasputin" is one of the most insane concepts for a track that's ever been conceived. The self-proclaimed mystic and holy man ended up befriending members of the Russian royal family in the early 1900s.
If you look at photos of Rasputin, they don't exactly scream "love machine" as much as they do "guy who sells bath salts behind carnival dumpsters." The fact that a disco track was made about a religious zealot who gained influence over royals and then was murdered by noblemen, and the writers of the song decided to turn him into some sexy teacher is probably the best PSA against prolonged cocaine use I can think of.
Catchy tune, though.