The Top of the Bottom
Updated: Jun 8
By Jessy Thurston
Meme songs are some of the most annoying yet catchy tunes that will get stuck in your head for hours on end. After sitting down and forcing myself to listen to them all once again (and jamming along to a handful, I’m not gonna lie), I’m here to review and rate some of the biggest novelty tunes from worst to best.
12. Watch me (Whip/Nae Nae) - Silentó (2015)
This meme song was famous for introducing those two, awful dance moves that everyone was doing for a while - whether ironically or not. It got old super-fast and the meme died out but none-the-less it will be ingrained into our memories for eternity.
11. Harlem Shake - Baauer (2012)
This song sparked a massive trend of videos where one person dances in a normal setting, until the beat drops and a whole lot of other people join in, usually in odd costumes. It was hard to get away from seeing these videos all over your social media, until the trend (thankfully) dried up and the Harlem Shake was no more.
10. Baby Shark - Pinkfong Animal Songs (2016)
The most recent of the songs on the list, this kids tune quickly became popular among teens and adults (we should really question why this happened), and even wormed its way into the DJ set of American DJ Jauz which he played at loads of festivals. He managed to hype up the crowd with it every time. I guess meme songs like this are beautiful in the sense that once they are popular, no matter how annoying, they unlock a memory from deep within when played. Memories of a time when Baby Shark was sung around a campfire while the actions and catchy lyrics were still enjoyable...how good it would be to travel back to the days where it wasn’t a nightmare to have it stuck in your head.
9. Friday - Rebecca Black (2011)
We all remember that one year of school where some kid would start singing this every. single. Friday. Bless Rebecca, she tried her hardest, but her attempt at fame backfired famously with the release of this classic track. It was too easy to take the piss out of, even when we were probably the target audience at that age. A shame, really.
8. #SELFIE - Chainsmokers (2013)
This one I learned all of the lyrics for and can still remember word-for-word. The monologue in the song is a pretty good piss-take of what some of “the gals” get up to on a night out, and scarily I have both heard and said most of the things she talks about, back in my freshly-18 Bar101 days. I don’t know what else to say about this other than it was kind of brilliantly done, no matter how much it irks me to hear it in the present day.
7. (The Gummy Bear Song) - Gummibär (2007)
This one is a childhood favourite, and to be fair, it still kind of slaps. Easy to learn the lyrics to, and the pop after the chorus is too much fun to not join in with. Although I wouldn’t have chosen green for the main character (red is obviously the best flavour), this tune is so much better than its cartoony counterpart, Peanut Butter Jelly Time, which didn’t even deserve a spot on this list.
6.Gangnam Style - PSY (2012)
This list would be nothing without this song. PSY created a masterpiece that traveled across the world, despite close to nobody outside of Korea understanding the lyrics. It’s catchy, there’s a fun dance that anybody can easily learn, and the music video is just plain whacky.
5. The Duck Song - Bryant Oden (2009)
I’m sure this one holds a soft spot in a lot of our hearts. It was kind of my first exposure to the wonders of YouTube. Its simple, yet comedically brilliant storyline is one that remains phenomenal, even after we all waddled away.
4. Sandstorm - Darude (1999)
Straight up anthem. I grew up with this song being played a lot by my dad, who was blissfully unaware that it was a meme. You can’t really go wrong with this one, especially in the first few seconds. Play this at a rave, it’ll forever go off.
3. Crazy Frog - Axel F (2005)
God tier. Never not a good time. Played at many a school disco back in the day, the song consists mostly of lyrics that are really just sounds, and yet it sends you into a pit of nostalgia every time it’s played. Iconic. The character actually made a twitter account and announced a new album in April this year...it’s about time we bring back Crazy Frog!
2. All Star - Smash Mouth (1999)
This one is just *chef’s kiss*. The song we all know was made famous by the GOAT himself, Shrek, is a feel-good tune of self-love. The years start coming and they don’t stop coming, and throughout those years All Star has remained legendary.
1. Never gonna give you up - Rick Astley (1987)
Ah, the classic Rick-Roll. If you’re not familiar with the prank of clicking hyperlinks that directed you to this song, then you missed the era of the best meme song that has ever existed. Literally impossible not to sing along, and still turns heads more than three decades after it was released. Good for you, Rick Astley, you made it.