By: Thomas Rodriguez
Some of the best things we see in our busy, electronic lives are the things we see on Twitter. Some of the worst things we see are also found on the ever-growing social media platform. It’s a great place to share some of the most funny, vile, or eye-opening content to grace our screens. Twitter is also a great place to share some of the best music memes available on market. With the uprising of memery as a genuine form of song promotion and hype, I thought it’d be a perfect time to rank some of the best and worst Twitter memes masquerading as songs, in both their funny qualities and their actual worth as songs; a song can be excellent as both a joke and as a genuine art form after all. This is not to say this is a definitive list of song memes, but who’s to say these aren’t some of the biggest songs on our timelines? Starting with the worst, we have…
12. Nickelback- “Photograph”
Twitter/Meme Context: Look at this…graph
As the great Fred the Fish from Spongebob once said: “Oh brother, this guy stinks!”
That’s what people usually think when they hear the overdramatic and overly machismo voice of Nickelback’s frontman Chad Kroeger on “Photograph”. It’s a boring rock song that tries way too hard to be an emotional graduation sendoff song, but the only thing it helps send off is hate mail to Kroeger’s mailbox.
This track is so pathetic that the only thing that keeps its blood pumping is the semi decent meme of the song. The music video of the song features Kroeger holding up a photograph, and clever editors have been able to change the photo (along with his vocals) to match multiple random things that can inspire a chuckle. Look at this…graph, look at this giraffe…
Yeah, that’s about it. Kinda weak in hindsight
Song Score: 0/5
Meme Score: 2 Bad Kroeger Performances/5
11. Smash Mouth- “All Stars”
Twitter/Meme Context: Shrek…Just Shrek
There is nothing more vile and disgusting than the iron grip the memes of the Shrek franchise have on the internet. Song is catchy though.
Song Score: 2/5
Meme Score: 0 Ogres/5
10. Owl City- Fireflies
Twitter/Meme Context: The song itself
“Fireflies” is a song begging, BEGGING, for any twelve year old to hear it and think it’s deep. Besides the fact that it sounds like it came out of a Minecraft parody music video before that was even a thing, it’s literally just a boneless rip-off of the much better artist, Postal Service.
Was the overblown nature of the song the source of its status as a meme? Perhaps, but most memes with “Fireflies” involved aren’t really creative; just distort the instrumental, or blast it full volume over a tragic video game death, and you’re good to go. The song often goes hand and hand with the meme, so it’s not surprising that it’s just as unoriginal as they come.
Song Score: 1/5
Meme Score: 2 Fireflies/5
9. Weezer- Africa
Twitter/Meme Context: Can Weezer PLEASE cover Toto’s “Africa”?
Rivers Cuomo, the frontman of Weezer, is a meme in and of himself. It didn’t help that a Twitter fanpage for Weezer to cover the 80s disco ballad “Africa” was spawned in the most vile corners of the internet, begging the band to give a cover to the cult classic song. Every day, new suggestions popped up, new victims of the ever increasing disease of begging Weezer to cover 80s classics. When we finally got the cover…
It was aight. It was basically a remake of the old song with crunchy guitars and Cuomo’s trademark whiny voice. It could’ve been a lot worse, but sometimes what the people want isn’t exactly what they need. The band ended up making a full blown 80s covers album (as shown above). For better or worse, it exists…
Song Score: 2.5/5
Meme Score: 2.5 MID covers/5
8. Lil Pump- “Gucci Gang”
Twitter/Meme Context: Gucci Gang, Gucci Gang, Gucci Gang, Gucci Gang
Lil Pump is less of a man, more of a living, smoking, perpetually high meme. His lyrics are so dumb and catchy that it’s almost criminal, as is the case with the absurd “Gucci Gang”. On one hand, the track STINKS, with half assed punchlines and one liners that leave you laughing out of embarrassment, not humor.
And yet the memery of the song succeeds for the same reasons the song is technically kind lame.
As a meme, the song excels at just pushing forward how dumb Pump is, great at being held on 24 hour loops of the titular phrase, and is a classic case of using new music to piss off old heads. Wonderful, Mr. Pump. Bravo
Song Score: 2/5
Meme Score: 3.5 Gucci Bags/5
7. Odd Future- “Oldie”
Twitter/Meme Context: No, You Aren’t Special Because You Like Frank’s Verse
Oldie is a 10 minute New York-styled posse cut featuring every single member of Odd Future, including Earl Sweatshirt, Tyler, the Creator, Hodgy Beats, and…
Jesus Christ, Frankie Ocean.
I like Frank’s verse as much as the next guy, but the sheer amount of overplay and clowning people get for reposting the same clip of Frank rapping and drinking Starbucks is bad for the song’s quality. It’s less special, less of a “wow” moment and more of a “seen it before” moment. This led to some people taking the same video of Frank rapping, and actually replacing the audio with a completely different song, tricking everyone who decides to praise the verse once more.
It’s a land mine of a song and meme. Safe if left alone, but play with it and you might get blown up.
Song Score: 3.5/5
Meme Score: 3 Starbucks Drinks/5
6. Drake- “Hotline Bling”
Twitter/Meme Contex: Drake’s Dance Moves
Let’s get this out of the way right now: “Hotline Bling” is a great Drake single. It got the club moving, filled every pop fan’s hunger for catchy R&B, and was a single that set expectations for Views way too high (where it somehow ended up only being a bonus track!). While the song was a mellow, catchy, and well performed pop joint, “Hotline Bling” truly took off because of its subsequent music video.
Drake is a clown on this video, dancing his typical sadness away in a designer turtleneck, timbs, and a thick beard. The sight of Drake dancing as extravagantly as he did was goddamn hilarious, and inspired multiple knockoffs and Latin reaction vids all over the app. What was even better were the remixes of that dance move, utilizing only the most advanced editing technology to recreate a Wii sports tennis match. We need a Drake tennis game, ASAP.
Song score: 4/5
Meme Score: 3.5 Jafaikan Accents/5
5. UGK- “Int’l Players Anthem (I Choose You)” [feat. Outkast]
Twitter/Meme Context: Andre 3000 is REAL HIP HOP
Yes 3 Stacks is a legend. Yes, the beat is amazing on this Southern anthem, with UGK and Big Boi holding their own. But does everyone, EVERYONE have to post the same sixty second clip of Dre’ rapping on this song?
This meme comes from the fact that many poor souls place this same verse on their profile thinking that they’re pushing the “true hip hop” agenda to the timeline (which they aren’t by the way), and they get clowned for it. It’s sad to see a song that is as good as this get overhyped and overplayed because of the same Andre verse dominating people’s pages.
I think a better name for this would have been “Int’l Old Heads Anthem”.
Song Score: 4.5/5
Meme Score: 3 Old Heads/5
4. Denzel Curry- Ultimate
Twitter/Meme Context: Cartoon Character Comparisons
This one is a bit difficult to explain/justify. Basically, Denzel Curry’s trunk knocking “Ultimate” laid the groundwork for some of the funniest 10 second videos on Twitter. The formula was simple, and if done artfully, hits your laugh box like a missile. Take a random person’s video, play the intro of the track, and as soon as the beat drops, change the video becomes a completely overblown, gangstafied version of itself. It’s as simple as that.
Can 10 seconds of a song count as a used and abused Twitter meme? Well, it’s my list, and the song bangs, so I say yes.
Song Score: 4/5
Meme Score: 4 I AM THE ONEs/5
3. Rick Astley- “Never Gonna Give You Up
Twitter/Meme Context: Rickrolling
Decapitation. Burning alive. Drowning. Hit by a truck. None of these hurt more than getting Rickrolled.
The Rickroll is more universal than breathing for internet users: you find a trailer or video that entices your interest, you click, and just as it gets good, Rick Astley’s “Never Gonna Give You Up” plays. It hurts so much to be fooled, to the point that the song isn’t even a track; it’s an entity. It’s a catchy (if basic) disco song, pretty danceable, but whatever good the song has is lost because of how classic the meme of the song is. Any Gen Z Spotify user will not hear this song without having Vietnam esque flashbacks to their first Rickroll. I’m having one now as I write this…
Song Score: 3/5
Meme Score: 5 Fake Trailers/5
2. Migos- “Bad and Boujee”
Twitter/Meme Context: Rain Drop…Drop Top
Life changed forever when the lead single to Migos’ Culture album, “Bad and Boujee”, dropped. It was cutthroat, catchy, and mean as hell (until Lil Uzi “yeah yeah yeah”ed his way to a quick paycheck). The song not only was the culmination of the Migos’ comeup, but also fully represented the meme potential of the trio. So many memes spawned from “Bad and Boujee”, it was like an internet buffet of bite sized laughs, each as good as the last.
Rhyming random things with rain drop, drop top (the opening lines of the song), looping Uzi’s hilariously misplaced verse for ten hours, to what may just be the greatest interview joke of 2017 via Takeoff and DJ Akademiks. The consistency of quality memes all but proved that Migos weren’t just influencing the culture of 2017; they WERE the culture of 2017.
Song Score: 4.5/5
Meme Score: 4 Yeahs/5
1. Childish Gambino- “Redbone”
Twitter/Meme Context: Redbone…but in a separate location!
“Redbone” is a great funk anthem by Childish Gambino; its catchy, sexual as hell, and the slap bass throughout is smooth as silk underneath Gambino’s high pitched crooning. No doubt this ran on many people’s romantic playlists, blasting away in a mostly empty house on a quiet weekend night. It made for one of the best hit songs of 2017, and truly displayed how Gambino can be a man of multiple talents in the music industry.
Then someone probably heard the song playing out loud when using the bathroom, and thought it sounded great.
Soon everyone on Twitter hopped on the “Redbone” remix train. “Redbone” but the lyrics are being screamed, “Redbone” but played in the shower, “Redbone” but sung by Kermit the goddamn Frog. The song itself was a great funk ballad as it was, but as a meme, it was an exquisitely versatile one, hitting an absolute peak of absurdity when someone decided to come up with the following scenario:
“Redbone” but you’re deaf. No, I’m not kidding.
The pure absurdity of this song, combined with the excellence of the track on its own, makes it the best meme anthem on this list, regardless of where and how you experience it. There are many a meme being made today, and here’s to hoping some of these songs can be as great as this one!