“Tik Tok” was not Ke$ha’s first run at the charts; it wasn’t even her first #1. Earlier in 2009, she did a guest vocal on rapper Flo Rida’s “Right Round”, a Billboard Hot 100 chart topper for six weeks. However, “Tik Tok” marked her debut as a lead solo artist and proved to be 2009’s biggest hit not by the Black Eyed Peas (they ruled the top of the charts that year with “Boom Boom Pow” and “I Gotta Feeling” at 12 and 14 weeks respectively).
The song marked a collaboration with producer/songwriter Dr. Luke, who had worked with Ke$ha on “Right Round”. Dr. Luke had become the notable go-to-guy for female pop divas having done notable work for Katy Perry, Britney Spears, Kelly Clarkson, Avril Lavigne, and Pink. He has said he was drawn to her via a demo in which she had both sung and rapped.
Naysayers critiqued the upbeat dance-pop sound as too similar to tracks such as Lady Gaga’s “Just Dance”. Slate magazine’s Jonah Weiner said the song falls between “charmingly daft and deeply irritating” WK as it details the story of a girl who “wakes up drunk, stays drunk, finds a dance floor and (spoiler alert) gets even drunker.” WK
However, most critics praised the song’s celebration of partying. Digital Spy’s Nick Levin called it “completely trashy in the best possible way.” WK Drowned in Sound’s David Renshaw said, “world rocking it might not be, but as a piece of disposable pop it captures a moment and boasts a huge hook.” WK
Rapper and mogul P. Diddy appeared on the track, thanks to coincidence. Ke$ha references him in the first line of the song (“Wake up in the morning feeling like P. Diddy”). The same day she shared the song with Dr. Luke, Diddy called him for the first time ever to suggest they work together. According to Ke$ha, he came in that same day to rap a couple lines for the song. SF