Pop Song Cemetery

Looking back at pop songs that the radio played to death.

Photo by Linnaea Mallette

Today, more people are listening to their own cultivated playlists and radios that are tailored to their own personal tastes and preferences. However, before syncing up one’s phone to their car speakers was a given, public radio was the distraction needed for rush hour traffic.

Unlike self-cultivated playlists, radios replay songs depending on their popularity at the time, leaving those who enjoyed those songs delighted that they caught their favorite song or in a fit of rage that they heard that song for the fifth time that day. Looking back at the past ten years, which songs received the most airtime and how many weeks at number one did they have?


Released October 20th, “Empire State of Mind” by Jay-Z and Alicia Keys was at number one for nine weeks and won Grammys for Best Rap Song and Best Rap/Sung Collaboration.


Surprisingly, three songs tied at seven weeks at number one. Kesha’s “Tik Tok” gained popularity at the beginning of the year, “OMG” by Usher and featuring Will.i.am was considered a summer hit, and “Just the Way You Are” by Bruno Mars was played more towards the end of the year.


Beating out hits such as “Moves Like Jagger” by Maroon 5 at six weeks and her own song “What’s my Name,” featuring Drake at seven, Rhianna dominated the charts in 2011 with “We Found Love,” featuring Calvin Harris and remaining at number one for twelve weeks.


The reggae-inspired pop song “One More Night” by Maroon 5 topped not only topped American charts at eight weeks but also stayed atop the Australian Singles Chart, the Canadian Hot 100, New Zealand Singles Chart, and the Korean Goan International Chart.


Although hit with controversy for its misogynistic lyrics and music video, Robin Thicke’s song featuring T.I. and Pharrell “Blurred Lines” stayed at number one the longest out of any song in 2013 at eleven weeks.


The definition of a song that was overplayed to death, Pharrell’s song “Happy” reached national success, especially after being featured in the animated movie “Despicable Me 2.” Although staying at number one for comparably less time at eight weeks, this song was played to the point that many now cringe at the mention of its title.


Not only did “Uptown Funk” by Mark Ronson and featuring Bruno Mars maintain top of the charts for 14 weeks, certified platinum eleven times, and was the go to song for people of all ages for months; it also became one of the most viewed YouTube video of all time and was performed at the 50th Super Bowl halftime show.


Both earning the title of most popular songs of 2016, Justin Bieber’s “Love Yourself” and “Closer” by The Chainsmokers and Halsey tied at eleven weeks.


Earning the number one spot in 34 countries around the world, Ed Sheeran’s “Shape of You” was the breakout song of the year and maintained popularity for twelve weeks.


With the longest popularity streak in the past ten years, Maroon 5’s single “Girls Like You” featuring female rap sensation Cardi B beat every other song on this list at sixteen weeks.


Although this year is not over, Khalid’s song “Talk” remained the most played and popular thus far at eleven weeks.

These songs remain iconic hits even today; some in a nostalgic way and others in one that is cringe-inducing. However, it remains undeniable that radio’s continuous looping of these songs either made them into year-defining songs to look back on or overplayed to death that many wish would remain in their graves.