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The National

The enduring millennial anthem 'Teenage Dirtbag'has now grown into a viral TikTok trend.

Released in 2000, the cult classic by Wheatus soon became a global sensation, charting in a half-dozen countries and becoming platinum in the UK. It performed exceptionally well in Australia, after remaining number one for four weeks at number one and becoming the second-best-selling single of 2000.

In short, and for those who are hearing the song for the first time via the platform, the phrase essentially means to be rebellious. Singer-songwriter Ruston Kelly debuted a live version of the 'Teenage Dirtbag' to mark the 20th anniversary of the band. He candidly explained his interpretation: "maybe I am just a confused, horny teenage piece of s*** sometimes, and that's OK."

The hit was written by Wheatus' guitarist and vocalist Brendan B. Brown after being inspired by a childhood experience of his. Now, TikTok is paying homage to the hit with a similar sentiment, throwing it back to their awkward and embarrassing teenage years.

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Wheatus - Teenage

Almost a quarter of a million nostalgic TikTok videos have since flooded the platform – even Michael Barrymore has jumped in on the action.


18 years old… #teenagedirtbag #teenagedirtbagtrend #wheniwasyoung #michaelbarrymore #comedy #barrymore


This is because people think i look like him


16 year old me was onto something there #fyp #foryou #teenagedirtbag


I win this trend #fyp #xyzbca

The hit has unsurprisingly been covered multiple times by the likes of One Direction, SZA, 5 Seconds of Summer, Phoebe Bridgers, Mary Lambert, All Time Low, Rex Orange County, and Amy Shark.

"We’re just teenage lads," Liam Payne explained back in 2013. "We’re not saying we’re dirtbags, but we’re grimy characters."

'Teenage Dirtbag' still racks up a decent amount of Brendan Brown’s yearly income. He told Rolling Stone, "I would call it a very fortunate working-class musician position to be in,” he says, “almost like we own a deli."

And who knows, after making viral waves on TikTok, it could very well re-enter it back into the charts at some point.

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