One of the best parts of TikTok is the ability for anyone to take a lyric, a song, or a sound bite from something totally random and turn it into something completely different. We’ve seen it done with multiple songs like “Say So” by Doja Cat, “Don’t Start Now” by Dua Lipa, and “Same Love” by Macklemore.
TikTok, which has become one of the most popular social media apps around right now, is known for users making “sounds” that eventually go viral or turn into memes and challenges. The song “Walking on a Dream” by Empire of the Sun has now jumped on that train.
The Walking on a Dream Challenge uses the Freeze Frame filter.
The process to participate in the trend is pretty simple. Creators start by typing out their desired outcome or “dream” on a tablet, phone, or piece of paper. Then the creator then uses TikTok’s “Freeze Frame” filter to “freeze” their wish to the bottom of the screen.
Once the song hits at the right time as Empire of the Sun singer, Luke Steele, sings the lyric, “walking on a dream,” the creator then walks on top of the “dream” written out on the phone.
The trend actually started on an offensive joke.
KnowYourMeme wrote, “On April 29th, 2020, TikToker @ketamimesandwich uploaded the first Walking on a Dream TikToks by walking on a paper with "girls being funny" written on it (shown below). The video gained over 42,900 likes in a month.”
Despite the unfunny nature of this TikTok video, the trend took off and the hashtag #walkingonadream now has over 1.5 billion views and remains on the “Trending” page of TikTok.
The trend kept momentum after TikTok celebrity, Jason Derulo joined in.
In May 2020, Jason Derulo uploaded a video of himself walking on a piece of paper that says, "performing in 2020.” The video received over 263,900 likes in a day.
Another TikToker, @_robby513, used the song in a video of himself walking on "having good mental health," obviously poking fun at the fact that things in the world right now are not super great. In less than two weeks, his video accumulated over 487,000 likes. Another TikToker and YouTuber named MrBeast uploaded a variation of the challenge that garnered over 1.3 million likes in a week.
After these couple of videos went viral, tons of TikTok creators began jotting down their simple wishes and dreams that are only real during COVID-19 times like going to the prom or seeing their favorite band live.
The trend actually brought life back into Empire of the Sun’s career.
“Walking on a Dream” by Empire of the Sun was released back in 2008. A year that probably some of the users participating in the challenge were born if we’re being honest. "Walking On A Dream" even got a mention in TikTok’s weekly Trends Newsletter. The band even posted about the surge in popularity of their song on Instagram and wrote, "Walking On A Dream now has over 1 billion views on @TikTok! Thanks guys!"
This trend is just another testament to the power of TikTok when it comes to music. The Music Network reported, “The Hot 100 shows the most popular songs on radio-based on impressions over a week to week period, and the Top 20 of the chart is littered with songs that broke through on TikTok.”