The best musical memes of the 2010s

Years ending in “9” are way more fun when it comes to creating lists because we can look at the best [insert topic here] of the decade. Such lists have been coming at us for the last couple of weeks, providing no end of amusement and wonderment.

Here, for example, are my picks for the most important musical memes of the 2010s.

  1. Rickrolling

If you look at the most-viewed music videos in the history of YouTube, Rick Astley’s 1987 hit clocks in a #40 with more than 630 million plays. How many of those are due to being people rickrolled over the last decade? Interesting, too, the Rick hasn’t earned all that much from the practice. Almost all the money goes to composers Mike Stock, Matt Aiken, and Peter Waterman.

2. Walmart Yodeling Kid

For reasons unknown, a then 10-year-old Mason Ramsey started yodeling in a Texas Walmart in 2018. Much fame followed, including an appearance at Coachella. The perfect collision of meme-creation and Walmart culture.

3. Rebecca Black’s “Friday”

Poor Rebecca. At 13, she became the butt of a million jokes because of a self-produced song about the joys of the start of the weekend. But she got the last laugh. The track reached #72 on the Billboard charts and was covered on the TV show Glee. Oh, and then Katy Perry invited her to appear in a one of her videos.

4. Cassh Me Ousside leads to a rap career

Here’s an example of how the universe can be so unfair. Snotty, awful, and truly terrible 13-year-old Daniele Bregoli turned a Dr. Phil appearance in to a rap career thanks to a slurry “Cash me ousside, howbow dat?” Bregoli has since had some success as a rapper under the name Bhad Bhabie.

5. Psy’s “Gangnam Style”

It just so happens that this clip appeared a couple of weeks before I was scheduled to make my first trip to South Korea. Probably not the best way to prep for such a visit. And who knew it would become the first music video to reach a billion views of YouTube?

6. “What Does the Fox Say?”

I still don’t understand what Ylvis, the Norwegian comedy duo, was trying to do here. Doesn’t matter, though. It was the top-trending video of 2013.

7. Bed intruder

I’m dead against the use of Auto Tune except in special situations such as the July 2010 manipulation of Antoine Dodson’s description of a home invasion in Alabama.

8. “Call Me Maybe”

Remember when this song was everywhere back in 2012? The bouncy rhythm of the chorus gave birth to a parade of related memes.

9. “Baby Shark”

Look, I didn’t say these were my favourite musical memes of the 2010s; I just said the “biggest.”

10. Insane Clown Posse, “Magnets”

My personal favorite of the decade. How can you not like ICP’s genuine sense of wonderment when they ask “Fuckin’ magnets/how do they work?” Magic is truly everywhere in this bitch.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 30+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

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