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The Blue Monday Dance Challenge: How New Order Took Over TikTok
Pictorial Press Ltd / Alamy Stock Photo
In Depth

The Blue Monday Dance Challenge: How New Order Took Over TikTok

New Order’s 1983 hit Blue Monday has inspired a spate of ‘fake fighting’ videos to go viral in the latest TikTok dance challenge.

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From Haçienda dancefloor smash to every fashionista’s favourite catwalk staple, the seminal 1983 song Blue Monday, by legendary Manchester band New Order, has transcended generations by appealing as much to modern club-goers as it does to indie-loving music fans. While this new-wave classic has already entrenched its place in music history, a surprising revival has emerged in the form of a viral dance craze on TikTok which sees users take part in faux fight sequences, their movements synced to the robotic groove of New Order’s biggest hit.

But how did this decades-old track manage to capture the imagination of Gen Z in such an unexpected way? Here we explore the story behind New Order’s TikTok battle trend.

Listen to the best of New Order here.

What Is The Blue Monday Trend On TikTok?

Affectionately dubbed “the Blue Monday battle trend”, this New Order-inspired dance challenge pairs the 80s club classic with choreographed combat-style dance moves. Ideal for couples to perform, it sees duos square off against each other as if they’re appearing in a fighting video-game, swaying from side-to-side like avatars in Street Fighter. Quickly evolving to see its performers trade pretend blows with each other, the trend’s videos regularly feature humorous and relatable captions that appeal to meme-loving internet users.

The first iteration of this trend is believed to have been posted on 6 March 2024, by Korean TikTokker @_soomin__4. Featuring the poster and his little brother wearing sunglasses as if they’ve just sprung up from The Matrix, the video does not include a fake battle sequence, as later versions do, but it has nonetheless managed to rack up over 22 million views to date, and seemingly inspired many others to follow suit.

@_soomin__4 친한친구랑 도전해봐? #dance #brother #형제 #fyp ♬ Blue Monday – Extended Mix – Above & Beyond

With its Roland TR-808 hook and snappy snare hits, the accompanying music is instantly recognisable as New Order’s Blue Monday – although some TikTokkers have used reworks of the song, including the extended 2020 remix by house duo Above & Beyond. Either way, the combination of Blue Monday’s iconic kick drums with quasi-robotic choreographed moves has proven to be a sure-fire recipe for viral success.

Who started the Blue Monday dance challenge?

Having already been picked up by numerous TikTokkers in the Far East, the Berlin-based dancer @solncevapolinaa became one of the trend’s earliest adopters in the West, posting an English-language spin on the Blue Monday dance challenge on 22 March 2024. Squaring off like a pair of Tekken combatants, the pair throw mock punches alongside witty captions that bring a petty domestic argument to life.

@solncevapolinaa reality of our relationship✋? #fyp #fypシ #foryou #foryupage #recommendations #dance #relationship @꧁ Flex ꧂ ♬ Blue Monday – Extended Mix – Above & Beyond

As @solncevapolinaa’s video racked up more than 18.3 million views, the Blue Monday battle trend began to grow increasingly popular, with each TikTokker following @solncevapolinaa’s example by staging fake fights about minor disagreements. From spats about ordering a takeaway (even though they’ve already eaten dinner) to flare-ups about healthy eating, this dance challenge has been embraced by numerous TikTok couples who combine its fighting-game conceit with hilarious quarrels.

By the end of March 2024, the New Order TikTok trend had sparked a full-on dance craze, and it seemed like everyone was pretending to be video-game characters to the sound of Blue Monday. Eventually, even parents got in on the act, with father/daughter duo @puwtok clocking up over 18.5 million views on a video jokingly pointing out how Dad tends forget the names of his daughter’s friends.

@puwtok

dads ?? forgetting your friends names

♬ Blue Monday – Extended Mix – Above & Beyond

Why is the Blue Monday trend so popular?

The key to a good meme is its adaptability and how it can be repurposed by anyone to make it more relatable to a wider audience. The Blue Monday dance trend is a textbook example of this: it is just as common to see boyfriends and girlfriends embracing the challenge to trivialise their tiffs as it is for parents, friends and extended family to find funny ways of broadcasting their squabbles. It may be a parent “arguing” with a daughter about what clothes she’s wearing, or a boyfriend asking his girlfriend to rein in her spending. Either way, the New Order dance meme is surprisingly versatile, which is why the trend has proven to be so popular.

On 27 March 2024, YouTuber @brookemonk_ got in on the action by posting a short video with her boyfriend in which she trades fake blows during an argument about ditching their healthy diet and eating some sweet treats. Since she has over 31.8 million TikTok followers, it’s a safe assumption that her reputation as a social-media influencer helped the Blue Monday battle trend to blow up even further, with over 12.2 million views widening the dance craze’s exposure.

@brookemonk_

♬ Blue Monday – Extended Mix – Above & Beyond

And it’s not only couples that are able to find ways of getting involved. The New York City-based founder of The Nerd Herd, @haleyybaylee, helped put a new angle on the Blue Monday trend and got more than 7.3 million views of a video in which she tries to dissuade a friend from texting a boyfriend who cheated on her.

@haleyybaylee @Pierson ♬ Blue Monday – Extended Mix – Above & Beyond

The popularity of the Blue Monday dance challenge on TikTok is largely down to its fun and light-hearted approach. By staging pretend fights over petty arguments, the trend allows people to poke fun at the minor squabbles and disagreements that are inevitable parts of any relationship, whether romantic, familial or platonic. In transforming these trivial tiffs into choreographed “battles” set to the iconic beat of New Order’s 80s classic, TikTok users have found an entertaining and relatable way to laugh at the little things couples, families and friends tend to bicker about.

Has Blue Monday become Gen Z’s latest obsession?

It may be surprising to some that New Order’s Blue Monday has resonated so strongly with Gen Z. Originally released back in March 1983, this pioneering hit first surfaced long before many of the dance challenge’s participants were even born, but the song’s magnetic pull has nonetheless proven to be the perfect companion to the current trend’s mix of faux fighting moves and humorous captioning. Much like how Gen Z fell in love with Kate Bush’s 1985 single Running Up That Hill (A Deal With God) after its appearance in Stranger Things, or spawned the Enyacore movement, this generation’s love of timeless classics seems to know no bounds.

With its hypnotic beat, Blue Monday’s unrelenting 4/4 electro kick-drum pattern perfectly matches the steady footwork of these staged TikTok battles, while its pulsing bass notes give the dances an almost futuristic, cyberpunk flair that chimes with gaming geeks young and old. By embracing New Order’s pioneering style of electronic dance music, a new generation raised on incumbent subgenres from dubstep to house music have instinctively tapped into Blue Monday’s propulsive appeal. But this shouldn’t be so surprising. Frankly, by this point, it’s all part of Gen Z’s DNA.

The wildfire-like spread of the Blue Monday dance challenge has proven that New Order’s 1983 hit has successfully crossed generational boundaries, appealing to younger audiences thanks to its enchanting and irresistible drum-machine groove. In putting their own uniquely zoomer spin on Blue Monday’s timeless cool, Gen Z TikTokkers have given a decades-old electronic hit joyous new life.

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