40 Overplayed Earworms We Are Glad Aren’t On The Radio AnymoreBy Ekhama O
Many people don’t know this, but there’s a secret formula to creating a hit pop song. It isn’t an accident that these tracks can’t leave your head. They’re meant to stick in your mind like an earworm, and at their core, they often sound the same. Your favorite jam does not feel so special now, does it? After you read the title, you probably thought, “everyone has their taste.” And yes, we get it; bad music is subjective. Many of the songs here are still probably loved by a lot of people (who hate good music), but they’re even more despised by most. Ready for a not-so-nostalgic trip down memory lane? Here are some of the most irritating pop songs of all time!
This “Juggalo’s” track isn’t as sweet as he thought
In hindsight, “Ice Ice Baby” is the kind of song you could feel embarrassed about knowing. It was a well-liked song upon its release, and many of us still remember most of the lyrics! Vanilla’s silly attempt of trying to appeal to kids by acting “gangsta” was so not cool.
It takes the beat from David Bowie’s and Queen’s “Under Pressure” but just comes off as a parody of the 1981 hit. In fairness, “Ice Ice Baby” does have a lot of charm to it, but some lines come off as a little goofy. “Flow like a harpoon”? Really? The ’90s were truly odd times.
“MMMBop” was Hanson’s first release after getting their record deal. It was a legendary piece highly regarded by teen pop enthusiasts — aka absolutely no one. This song is so catchy we believe it should be illegal. It didn’t help that it got so much airplay.
Yeah, we’ll cut this playful track some slack. “MMM-Bop” was written by kids, and putting aside how obnoxious it was to hear it on repeat all day every day, it’s got a good message. We’ll all soon be oldies, so we best do stuff we’ll be proud of before then. That’s a mantra everyone can live by.
It’s truly just another Sunday in a tired old street
Talk about self-awareness! The longest reigning Starship member called this song “awful” and one the worst songs ever, but we beg to differ. There are much worse pieces of audio that have been released and, sorry, “We Built This City,” you just don’t make the cut.
The lyrics are so silly they’re almost comedic. “Macaroni plays the Mamba”? What does that even mean?! And that video was insane! Who thought Abe Lincoln’s statue coming to life and dancing was a good idea? Then again, this was the ’80s. Those were truly wild times.
Her humps, our grumps
“My Humps” lyrics by The Black Eyed Peas can be summed up as: My humps ad infinitum. Seriously, Fergie, no one cares about your humps. This song is extremely inappropriate, and the video can only be described as a cringe-fest. Slate called it “horrifically horrible,” and we couldn’t agree more.
The cover art for “My Humps” is pretty…interesting, and not in the best way, so it isn’t enough to make us forgive these four. It’s got some of the worst lyrics in music history, hearing “my lovely lady lumps” makes us physically ill. Keep a safe distance from any source this one plays from.
We now hate pom poms
“Cheerleader” was a global hit back in 2014 when it was released. It was the super infectious reggae-pop song the world didn’t know it needed —because it didn’t — but we were gifted anyway. It could be classified as the most unexceptional song to be dubbed the Song of the Summer.
On the bright side, this song wasn’t that bad…compared to the other ones on this list. It’s nice to have a song about a man being loyal to his partner and how much of an emotional pillar of support she is to him.
The Annoying Amphibian
“Crazy Frog” by Axel F is nothing but gibberish, not to mention the awful cover! Whenever we hear it, we just want to turn it off. Please note that this is us viewing the song with an open mind. We know what you’re thinking, and the answer is yes, it’s just that bad.
Okay, its main audience was kids, but we can’t for the life of us wrap our heads around why it gained so much popularity! This load of unoriginality was one of the most successful singles of 2005 and will, unfortunately, outlive us all.
Every track about lusting over a woman’s behind should have a leash put on it — case in point, “My Humps.” The infectious 1999 song written by Bob & Tim and Sisqó, “Thong Song,” is a highly inappropriate and objectifying track.
Picture this: it’s Sisqó’s wedding. With wine glass clicks, he gets the crowd’s attention. He raises a mic to himself and performs a “lively rendition” of his favorite song. We’re not kidding. This really happened…and we’re glad we weren’t invited.
Where did they come from? Where did they go?
“Cotton Eye Joe” is a traditional country-folk song with its roots in North America. A Swedish band with a questionable name, Rednex, recorded their version of the song in 1994 and got millions of people worldwide swingin’ to their insane track.
Whether you love or hate it, you must admit it’s an incredibly meme-able song. The music video is insanity personified, and it’s got beats that just make you want to get up and dance! Very infectious, we must say — but like the disease kind.
Hold on. Now, wait a minute…
WE GET IT! Your neck rotates adequately. All you ever hear from “Whip My Hair” is that exact line over and over again. Stop it already! It is sickening, literally. It reminds us of Jason Derulo’s “Wiggle,” another song about a pointless movement of the human body.
Now, we’re in no way discrediting Willow. She was still trying to find her sound and navigating the cold waters of the music industry. We agree that it was smart to make a kid-friendly song about hair flips, but… yeah. That’s the most we can say about that.
We’re not exactly beliebers…
Justin Bieber had the whole world in a chokehold, and we couldn’t breathe without hearing the dreaded “Oh-ooh-whoa-oh-oh-oh-oh” intro to “Baby.” If catchiness and memorability were metrics for a good song, this teen pop would win. But unfortunately, they aren’t, so down the barrel you go.
It isn’t fair that Justin got a lot of flak for this one. At such a young age, it was weird for adults to pick on a teenager trying to find his ground in the music industry. “Baby” might be one of the most hated songs in history, but it’s still a far cry from the worst.
Who did let the dogs out?
You just know you’re a one-hit-wonder when you release five different versions of your single. Way to milk out all the profits, Baha Men. NOT! This hit tune was overplayed at baseball games, and when the song got stale, so did the Baha Men.
The Baha Men have been around for a while, and it’s kinda sad this is the only tune of theirs that’s widely known. Overall, “Who Let The Dogs Out” is one of those novelty tracks that will live forever, but that doesn’t excuse the damage they’ve inflicted on our ears over the years.
The genesis of the K-pop mania
Why was this song even popular again? Ah, yes. It’s because of Psy’s not-so formidable yet very imitating dance moves and the catchy lines. Now, we will give this one some credit. It’s a fun song, and it’s nice to have a few of those now and then.
Still, we’d probably take a hammer to the next stereo we hear playing this song. Although “Gangnam Style” was once the most viewed piece of media on record as the first YouTube video with over 2 billion views, it was also highly overrated.
No, we don’t know who you are
This dance-pop disaster feels like it was composed by a band of toddlers. It is an absolute lyrical mess. For starters, one-hit-wonder Silento repeats his name, not once, not twice, but three mind-numbing times before the first verse even begins!
We can’t help but ask ourselves: who exactly was the target audience for this track? Stations played “Watch Me (Whip/Nae Nae)” till its eventual demise. Although it inspired a whole line of culture, it’s still just repeated garbage. -100 points for Silento, +2 points for the memes it generated.
Could the clocks go a bit faster? Please?
Kesha’s “TiK ToK” was built on the foundation of auto-tune. There is just too much of it in this song for us to even consider taking it seriously. Yeah, she’s a great artist — as most on this list are — but this isn’t one of her best works.
Is it bad you like this song? Not entirely. Behind the gimmicky vocal distortion and some of the not-so-best lyrics is a catchy song, and like it or not, it’s what topped the charts in 2010. Well, it was an effective track.
Why roar when we just want to scream?
This 2013 hit is very much recognized for its endless pop cliches. However, “I’m a champion” and “I’ve got the eye of the tiger” are pretty empowering. Is it just us, or does this track remind you of “Brave” by Sara Bareilles?
Just like her other hit, “Fireworks,” it’s another pop song with a catchy hook made to never “get old.” It’s tiring enough to see the same pattern over and over again, but when it’s coming from the same artist, you can’t help but wonder if they even try. Sorry, Katy.
Let it go, we beg of you
You may be wondering how in the world a song from a kid’s movie made its way to the Billboard without having any context outside the movie. Well, we do too, and we can’t believe it managed to be amongst the top ten on the chart.
Idina Menzel is very talented, and the songwriters are clearly professionals. The only ones at fault here are the toddlers that refuse to stop playing this song. We never thought we’d miss “Baby Shark.” No, scratch that. “Baby Shark” is an even worse earworm.
Call an ambulance instead, our ears are bleeding
“Call Me Maybe” is a song about a young, spirited Carly Rae Jepsen who offers her digits to an attractive male and waits, creepily, for him to “hit her up.” This is the most we know about her intentions because the lyrics contain little to no details.
The song’s got one of the best hooks on the planet, though. It’s repeatedly replaying in our heads as we write this. “Call Me Maybe” was everywhere, and understandably so. It’s got an upbeat tune and some awesome lyrics (“Who throws wishes in wells?”) — the perfect recipe for a viral pop song.
Life in plastic, a pop song classic
Ah, another good ol’ bubblegum pop track. We’re going with a totally different approach on this one — Aqua’s “Barbie Girl” is an absolute masterpiece! Yes! We said it. Lock us up or whatever, but you can’t deny what’s true.
C’mon, guys, hyper pop wouldn’t exist without this sick song. It’s a fun ’90s pop track that anyone can learn to love. Silly, comical, satirical, and has got a childish melody —if you disregard the lyrics — all the qualities of a fun tune!
Achy Breaky Heart
Poor Billy. Everyone picked on him for that silly mullet and this song! Achy breaky isn’t the smartest phrase. We’re still in shock, though. “Don’t tell my heart, my achy breaky heart” is an actual lyric from an actual song that gained actual recognition.
There are an infinite number of cheesy tracks, but some still manage to work well because they’ve got good quality or some other characteristic that comes to their rescue. “Achy Breaky Heart” is just annoying. Three decades plus haven’t done it any good, either.
It had a “good” message
“All About That Bass” was made to promote the acceptance of all body types, especially that of plus-sized women. Making a song to encourage the body positivity movement is stellar, but Meghan’s delivery left a lot to be desired. Skinny *insert expletive*? We thought this was about making people feel good in their skin!
No one was safe in 2014. If you don’t remember this one, or even claim to have not heard it, then you probably were either living under a rock or weren’t even paying attention to it. If it’s the latter, we wouldn’t blame you.
It’s so bad it’s good
Looking back at this song, it’s obvious “The Final Countdown” sounds a lot like its time. It’s a track everyone has heard of and was a huge number one hit. Just in case you happen to forget the name of the song you’re listening to, they remind you, many times.
Is it pop-rock or pop-metal? Who cares? The rest of the album is forgettable. There’s nothing special, nor repulsive, about it. If you grew up during the hair metal and new wave/spandex era, you might hold some sentimental feelings towards this one.
Closer to seeing an ENT
No matter how much you love this song, you gotta admit it’s got the melody of a nursery rhyme. Some songs are so obnoxious they automatically become amusing, and that’s their redeeming quality. But “Closer” by the Chainsmokers featuring Halsey doesn’t have a redeeming quality.
It’s very generic (aren’t they all?) and its greatest appeal to some is that it’s nostalgic — bad music triggering good memories. They wore out the melody at the chorus, too. It feels like it never ends, and when it does, you realize your ears never remain the same.
Disco is done
Compared to “Crazy Frog,” this song still sounds like Mozart. But if there was any hit that showed the world how much the world loves terrible music, it would be this one. The competition doesn’t even come close. Sorry “Thong Song,” you’ll just have to settle for second place.
For people who luckily weren’t alive to experience the overplayed sounds of this catastrophe, here’s some perspective: “Disco Duck” by Rick Dees is his way of exploiting the popularity of Disco back in the late ’70s. He recorded the song and released it himself, and here’s the best part: it is about a disco-dancing duck.
Aussie rapper Iggy Azalea’s 2014 hit song “Fancy” caught like wildfire, and for obvious reasons. The beats are groovy, the chorus is insanely snappy, and it’s got a bit of edge to it with the rebellious vibe Charli XCX brings to the tune.
The music video was a spoof of the 1995 movie, Clueless, and the song rose to the top spot on the Billboard 100 chart, where it annoyingly lodged itself for weeks. This unoriginal track was played back-to-back on multiple radio stations, for almost a month. At a point, we found ourselves begging for no more, and we still are.
All the wrong reasons
We have searched the pages of the English dictionary from cover to cover and have found that there exists no word that can accurately describe how boring this song is, so we’ll just go with tiresome. “Photograph” by Nickelback is quite dull.
The lyrics aren’t the smartest, but not terribly dumb, either. The melody’s good, and that’s a really important element of a song. It’s just that the track is overall bland. But hey! If the song strikes a chord in people, who are we to judge? Enjoy.
If TGIF was a song
Before anyone goes full psycho on this track, remember it was intended for young teens. It was never intended to be a masterpiece or have much intellectual depth. The girl’s just glad the weekend is near, and she can catch a break. Who can’t relate to that?
“Friday” by Rebecca Black wins in the end. After all, it accomplished what it was meant to: create an overnight sensation. It’s got one of those hooky choruses that latches on your brain for a couple of hours after a few listens. It’s not the worst lyrically except it feels like a recital instead of an actual song.
Lil Pump did the impossible: he lowered the bar
“Gucci Gang” is the kind of song that makes just about anyone believe they can become a successful musician without having a shred of talent. And they’re not wrong; Lil Pump is a testament to that fact. Knowing the words “Gucci Gang” means you know this song.
This very lazy track feels like they didn’t even put any effort to make it good, but it has more than a billion views on YouTube! And here’s a fun fact, he repeats “Gucci Gang” 42 times in the song. There, a useless piece of information to clog up your brain space. You’re welcome.
Where did society go wrong?
Soppy, incredibly soppy. There you have it, folks, James Blunt’s “You’re Beautiful.” It’s about his creepy fixation on a stranger he saw from a distance in public because he thinks she’s pretty. And the weirdest thing about the song is that James agrees.
The song’s video is tied to Coldplay’s “Yellow,” except he strips down and jumps into a lake. Why? Just… why? “You’re Beautiful” was played at practically every wedding in the mid-2000s. James also recently revealed the true meaning behind the song, and we’re not surprised.
Clap along if you feel this song suffocated you
Everyone loves the Minions! Despicable Me was an absolute success, and for good reason. It was a wonderful, animated comedy. What wasn’t so amusing, though, was how much recognition a song from its soundtrack, “Happy” by Pharrell Williams, gained worldwide.
But it’s not the worst. “Happy” has a feel-good vibe that can make even the grumpiest people want to get up and dance, or at least smile. The song is a bit impractical (we’re all Grus sometimes), but we’ll admit it isn’t annoying. At least that’s what we thought the first fifty times we heard it.
These beats were not the sickest
“Shake It Off” was made to guarantee its place at the top of the charts. It’s got the whole blueprint for a pop hit laid out, and it was a slam dunk debuting at #1 on the Billboard 100. Sometimes we would sleep and think we heard this one in our dreams, because it never went away.
We’re probably going to get a lot of hate hate hate hate hate for this one from the swifties, but the bridge sounds like a recital at cheerleading practice. Just saying — if you spend a lot of time, money, and energy writing, recording, and producing a song about how much you don’t care about your haters, you’re probably lying.
We don’t like it, we hate it, hate it, hate it
Sonically decent, lyrically horrific: Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines.” The video is crass and uncensored, and the fact he constantly says “I know you want it” is really disturbing. No, Rob, we do not want whatever you have to offer. Please keep it to yourself.
This song is every shallow teen’s anthem, and we enjoyed its parody much more than we did the original. The vocal melody here is probably the only reason radios never played anything else, but that’s no excuse. Thank you, song, for ruining us. Much appreciated.
Gummy ban this thing from existence
You can’t dislike it too much, except for the heavily auto-tuned bear (we assume) trying to advertise the then-upcoming album at the beginning and the fact that at a point in this song’s music video, “Gummy Bear” shamelessly shakes his half-exposed gelatinous behind. Ugh. We want to boil our eyes now.
Other than those points, “Gummy Bear” by Gummibär is the “Baby Shark” of the 2000s. The animation is fine — if you hate quality — and you can consider it catchy if you love nuisances. Overall, we do not recommend this to anyone who wishes to keep their brain cells.
‘Tis the season for Mariah Carey
Before you light your torches and get your pitchforks, hear us out. We’re all for fun and catchy tunes, and Mariah Carey’s “All I Want For Christmas Is You” is the kind of warm song everyone needs to get through those cold months. But playing it from Thanksgiving till New Year is kind of an overkill.
We’d happily listen to “Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer” for the entirety of the festivities than hear the jingles at the beginning of this song again. But, no matter what, it will remain one of the best Christmas anthems, and we accept that.
We love exercising, but 500 miles is a little too much
There are some songs whose charms are hard to resist and “I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles)” is one of them. It’s also the kind of song that you need in small doses. It’s a wonderful track, but a tad repetitive. As such, it eventually loses all that good juicy charm we talked about.
It’s a song about romance with catchy and peppy beats. And, bonus: it’s a Scottish band! How could anyone not love it?! Well, having to listen to it a couple of times a day is how. It’s a classic and we’d be lying if we said we don’t sing along at least once every thousand times we hear it.
The Rise of The Furries
At least “Gangnam Style” had the intention of creating a pop song with a fun twist in mind, or so they thought. “What Does The Fox Say” by Ylvis is a gigantic meme. It’s by far one of the most mind-boggling songs ever created, and it’s still legendary today.
Everyone who heard this jammed to it, and it’s still somewhat of a bop. The fox getting on its hindlimbs and performing for us at the end of the music video was a little disturbing though. Before writing this, we Googled what foxes say, and it makes sense. At least we learned something from this one.
Crank what exactly?
Rap doesn’t get the best rep when it comes to music genres, and it’s mostly because of many mainstream songs that soil its name. “Crank That” by Soulja Boy is a prime example of this. It has degraded a genre that used to be one worth listening to.
“Soulja Boy” started the culture of internet dance trends. Silento, take the back seat, this was the real deal. Watching the video brings us back to the days of flip phones, and some seriously baggy clothes. Now, that’s some great nostalgia.
Should have been 2020’s theme song
You never get a second chance to make the first impression, and that’s why Camilla’s auto-tune heavy start to “Work From Home” was a bad one. The instrumental is pretty good, though, and the beat is oh so catchy; we just wish it had better lyrics.
There’s a lot of chisel and tan coming from regular old construction workers in the music video, plus Rihanna released a song with a similar message a few weeks after the Fifth Harmony hit came out. Too many work songs, ugh.
They’re playing our song!
Miley Cyrus’ “Party in the U.S.A.” feels like it was made to be played on radios. Cool beats, nice vocals, and she brings up celebrity trends. It’s only on this list because it’s been overplayed a couple of billion times, but “Party in the U.S.A.” is still a decent song.
This was way before Miley’s notorious phase, and some even claim it’s the genesis of her modern-day edginess. Who knows? All we do know is that she’s right. Music is a big relief and can take away the worries of most situations. Ride on Miley, ride on.
“Tubthumping” by Chumbawamba is… something. “Pissing the night away”? Never have we ever heard such bothersome words being sung so wonderfully. And that’s why we hate this song… We actually love it. There, we said it. Are you happy now?
This track was everywhere! In movies, in commercials, and on the radio. It was inescapable. It’s legendry and we don’t think we can trust anyone who says they don’t like it. In the end, it’s the ultimate motivational and workout song and fun to sing along to.
We didn’t want it, but we got it
Boy, Ariana sure did drop the ball on this one. Where oh where do we start? How about with the appropriation of “My Favorite Things”? That was unoriginal. Or maybe how silly the “gimme the loot” line amongst others is in this song. We don’t even know what that means.
Nope, let’s talk about how this song blew up like a grenade. It’s got more than 1.7B streams on Spotify and 1.1B on YouTube by imitating Soulja Boy’s flow from Pretty Boy swag! Yes, it’s a major success and all, but it’s one of the most annoying pop songs ever made. What a way to cap off the list.