Her Campus Logo Her Campus Logo
Culture > Digital

The “Kitchen Fan Lullabye” TikTok Trend: When Grief and Nostalgia Intertwine

Updated Published
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Illinois State chapter.

What started with a girl making dinner and harmonizing with her fan turned into a TikTok trend where people express their experiences of grief and nostalgia. The original video was posted on April 18. Within a few days, thousands of people were commenting about how they loved the sound and how it made them feel. As of now, the video has four million likes and 20.4 million views. One user comments: “hey girl, this is heartbreaking and yet hopeful thank you.” Someone else comments “[I] hope you know this tune has been destroying me.” Other comments on the original post said that harmonizing with the fan reminded them of the singer Mitski

Beyond the comments on the original video, many users posted videos to the sound with various experiences related to grief and nostalgia, and sometimes both of these feelings intertwined. One video discusses the cycles involved in parenting and having children. The user captioned the video saying “My mom and I both had horrible childhoods, I will [b]e fixing the cycle.” The video reminisces on ideas about the pressure of breaking generational cycles as a new parent, but also a tone of being lucky to have the opportunity to break the cycle as well. 

Another user posted commentary on the sound and the videos that have been produced because of the sound. The video reads “The world is crazy because one day a girl randomly decided to record herself harmonizing with her fan while cooking dinner, without even realizing she had just perfectly encapsulated the feeling of grief in a sound. Effectively producing a feeling that would hit thousands of people over an app. A sound we all can’t explain, but can feel. I love humans.” It seems many TikTok users agree as the video has over a million likes. A user commented on this video to further explain the feeling that the sound gives them: “grief is the underlying tone of the fan and the vocalizations is how we cope to make it feel bearable.” The comment has thousands of likes. 

Other videos made to the sound include topics about femininity, growing up, graduating college, and family members passing away. It seems as though any topic that provokes feelings of grief, the passage of time, and nostalgia. The feeling that nothing is the same as it used to be. 

My interest in this video and the intersection between grief and nostalgia comes from being in my twenties and reflecting on past memories of being a teenager, preteen, or young child. For me, the bittersweetness of growing up and the thoughts of nostalgia have been on my mind as I enter my final years of college. It has been nice to look at this trend and understand other people’s experiences of grief and nostalgia through TikTok. 

A few days after her original video blew up, the original poster, @claireboyermusic, posted an updated version of the melody with words. She chose the name “Kitchen Fan Lullabye” for the tune, which many users found fitting. She writes about how she has always wanted to connect with people through music and is glad that she finally gets to do that. She has many people following her videos about the lullaby and has said that she is going to keep working on new music. In a more recent update, she says that she is writing a song inspired by the original Kitchen Fan Lullabye. However, most viewers are hoping that she will keep the original humming with the fan as it is what has inspired so many people. 

TikTok is proof that there is a need for community. It is powerful that so many people can come together and bond over something as simple as the sound of humming with a fan. The connections over experience and feelings that can be made over TikTok are truly a beautiful side of the internet.

Sarah Knowlton

Illinois State '24

Hi I'm Sarah! I am a junior at Illinois State and I am majoring in Human Development and Family Science! After I finish my bachelor's degree, I plan to get my master's degree in Human Development and Family Science as well. Besides writing, I like to read, watch TikToks, make art, and bake!