Memes, the new lingo we love (even if some deny it). When a tune becomes a meme? Pure gold! It’s like a cosmic gag outdoing a lengthy post. Dive into these 20 hilarious meme songs that rocked our ribs.
When a song goes viral, it’s usually because it captures a mood or situation so perfectly that it’s worth a thousand-word comment. Let’s take a trip through twenty of the funniest meme songs that have had us laughing over the years.
- 1. “Never Gonna Give You Up” by Rick Astley
- 2. “Gangnam Style” by PSY
- 3. “Hide and Seek” by Imogen Heap
- 4. “Mr. Brightside” by The Killers
- 5. “A Thousand Miles” by Vanessa Carlton
- 6. “Africa” by Toto
- 7. “Photograph” by Nickelback
- 8. “In My Feelings” by Drake
- 9. “Harlem Shake” by Baauer
- 10. “Every time We Touch” by Cascada
- 11. “Take On Me” by a-ha
- 12. “The Sounds of Silence” by Simon and Garfunkel
- 13. “Pony” by Ginuwine
- 14. “September” by Earth, Wind & Fire
- 15. “Jack Sparrow” by The Lonely Island
- 16. “All-Star” by Smash Mouth
- 17. “The Fox (What Does The Fox Say?)” by Ylvis
- 18. “Bring Me to Life” by Evanescence
- 19. “We Are Number One” by LazyTown
- 20. “Let It Go” by Idina Menzel
- Final Thoughts
1. “Never Gonna Give You Up” by Rick Astley
Anthropologists may one day encounter a tribe of humans in some distant corner of the planet that has never been rickrolled. In case you’re wondering what rickrolling means, it’s a prank where someone posts a link online, allegedly to something useful.
When you click on it, though, you get a video of 80s pop star Rick Astley singing his 1987 hit “Never Gonna Give You Up”. Fortunately, Rick has had a good sense of humor about the whole thing and even personally rickrolled the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade one year.
2. “Gangnam Style” by PSY
Korean pop star PSY blew up the Internet with “Gangnam Style” when his music video dropped in 2012. This vibrant tune has bagged billions of views, making its quirky horse-dance move a global sensation. Even the United Nations, NASA, and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson couldn’t resist this earworm.
3. “Hide and Seek” by Imogen Heap
Some songs become memes because they’re funny, and some become memes because they’re not funny! Imogen Heap’s somber 2005 ballad went viral when it was featured in a dramatic moment on the TV show The O.C.
This 2005 ballad took a humoristic turn when SNL’s Lonely Island mimicked the scene, turning it into a classic retort for overly dramatic social media posts.
4. “Mr. Brightside” by The Killers
This 2003 single by the Las Vegas rock band The Killers made a massive comeback over a decade later. How did it end up like this? Chalk it up to Gen-Z nostalgia, an insanely catchy melody, and earnest, emotional lyrics that are vague enough to be humorously quoted in nearly any context. This is one anthemic tune that you cannot miss if you are a music lover!
5. “A Thousand Miles” by Vanessa Carlton
There’s nothing about Vanessa Carlton’s 2002 pop hit that makes it obvious fodder for memes. The song is inoffensive, expressing conventional “I miss you” sentiments.
But that mildness makes “A Thousand Miles” the perfect template for meme humor. The Wayans started the ball rolling when they used the song in their film White Chicks, and it’s been the subject (victim?) of remixes and parodies ever since.
6. “Africa” by Toto
People have been making fun of Toto’s soft-rock single “Africa” since its release in 1982, partly because of cringeworthy lyrics like “I know that I must do what’s right / As sure as Kilimanjaro rises like Olympus above the Serengeti,” delivered with straight-faced solemnity.
Like a lot of terrible art, though, “Africa,” has survived long enough to become beloved. And now that Namibian-German artist Max Siedentopf has used it in an installation that will play the song in an endless loop for eternity, “Africa” will truly live forever, much like Kilimanjaro itself!
7. “Photograph” by Nickelback
Nickelback, though often targeted for its mediocrity, has managed to stay in the limelight for decades. The 2005 single “Photograph” hit meme fame, not for its lyrics, but for a snapshot of lead singer Chad Kroeger clutching a photo frame.
This photoshop-able frame combined with the internet’s appetite for mockery birthed countless memes. Hats off to Nickelback for taking it in their stride. To their credit, Nickelback has been a good sport about the whole thing, even appearing in a Google ad making fun of themselves.
8. “In My Feelings” by Drake
Drake, a recurring figure in meme culture, offered another laugh riot with his 2018 single “In My Feelings”. It triggered an unwise viral stunt known as the Kiki challenge, prompting daredevils to leap out of moving cars for a dance-off.
9. “Harlem Shake” by Baauer
Now for a nice, harmless meme song that won’t lead to you being run over in traffic, “The Harlem Shake” dance became a meme in 2012 when DJ/producer Baauer released a single of the same title.
Vlogger Filthy Frank used it for a video that eventually inspired the viral craze. Since then, millions of people around the world have wiggled to the song, including the Norwegian Army!
10. “Every time We Touch” by Cascada
This 2006 Eurodance single by the German EDM group Cascada is one of those songs that becomes a meme mostly by virtue of being a danceable banger. While it hasn’t achieved the legendary status of some of the other songs on this list, nostalgic fans have kept its memory alive over the years, through covers and TikTok dance videos.
11. “Take On Me” by a-ha
Circa 1985, a-ha, the Norwegian new-wave band, unleashed an unforgettable hit known for its groundbreaking comic-style music video. As a badge of honor in the meme world, it’s been parodied and recreated countless times, with Family Guy delivering a memorable rendition. Even Weezer chipped in with a remarkable tribute cover.
12. “The Sounds of Silence” by Simon and Garfunkel
“Hello darkness, my old friend”, or so Paul Simon might mutter to himself if he ever finds out that his 1964 classic has been turned into a meme song. The song’s gloomy tune is the perfect accompaniment to, say, videos of sad hamsters. In hindsight, it’s a little odd to realize that Simon’s entire musical journey was leading up to this moment. Life is funny.
13. “Pony” by Ginuwine
Ginuwine’s raunchy 1996 slow jam was practically begging to be repurposed as internet comedy. Not only was Ginuwine’s sensuous dancing in the music video ripe for imitation – especially when performed by hilariously awkward dancers – but pairing any innocent, wholesome imagery with the song’s aggressive sexuality is a surefire winner.
14. “September” by Earth, Wind & Fire
“Do you remember, 21st night of September?” The internet sure does! It might be a little corny to pull out a classic song every September just because it has “September” in the title but with frosty weather and some sadness right around the corner, no one’s complaining about a groovy little burst of joy to ease us into autumn.
15. “Jack Sparrow” by The Lonely Island
When the comedy team responsible for hilarious videos like “Lazy Sunday” meets superstar Michael Bolton, can the result be anything but a masterpiece?
Fortunately, this collaboration resulted in a surreal comedy classic for the ages. Combining the absurd humor of The Lonely Island with Bolton’s nostalgic appeal, “Jack Sparrow” was destined to be embraced by social media.
16. “All-Star” by Smash Mouth
Smash Mouth’s 1999 hit “All-Star” needs no introduction – the first two words of the song are enough to start a nostalgia trip. Long before the term “viral” went digital, this cheerful anthem made its mark and has since become a mainstay in the world of parodies and memes.
17. “The Fox (What Does The Fox Say?)” by Ylvis
Every generation has its novelty songs. The 70s had Steve Martin’s “King Tut”. The 80s had “Pac Man Fever”. The 90s had “Cotton Eye Joe”. The 2010s gave us this weird but compelling song by Norwegian comedy duo Ylvis.
Sadly, we never did get an answer to the question posed by the title. But we did at least get lots and lots of funny videos out of the peculiar lyrics of the song.
18. “Bring Me to Life” by Evanescence
Evanescence’s melodramatic 2003 hit “Bring Me to Life” is a perfect cocktail of intense vocals and Gothic ambiance that invites parody. A mundane complaint about life, paired with absurdly melodramatic music and lyrics is the perfect formula for instant laughs. With its overwrought vocals and operatic, goth-laden atmosphere, “Bring Me to Life” is a cringe classic for the ages.
19. “We Are Number One” by LazyTown
LazyTown, an Icelandic children’s TV show, was loved by kids for its weird, colorful imagery and chaotic energy. What turned the show’s “We Are Number One” into a meme song, though, is an unusual and sad story.
In 2016, Stefán Karl Stefánsson, who played Robbie Rotten, announced that he was ill with cancer. A GoFundMe campaign was started to help pay his medical and living costs, and fans created parody videos to generate publicity for the campaign.
20. “Let It Go” by Idina Menzel
This showstopper ballad from Disney’s Frozen, with its soaring chorus and empowering message, has inspired a steady stream of parodies, covers, GIFs, and videos. If the enduring popularity of Frozen memes is any indication, the internet won’t be letting this song go anytime soon!
As a way of expressing a mood or making each other laugh, funny song memes not only entertain us but also give people a reason to take a break from life and come together. It won’t be wrong to say that when billions of people around the world laugh and dance to the same songs, it’s a reminder that there is much more that unites us than separates us.
So if you are in the mood to have a bit of fun as you listen to music, put these on your playlist and get grooving!