The Evolution of the ‘Meme’ Song: Most Iconic memes led by Music in recent history  

Originally deemed the ‘Novelty hit’, the concept of the meme song is a relatively new phenom which has taken on an entity of its own 

With the rise of short form content platforms like ‘Vine’ and more recently ‘Tiktok’, we have seen the use of song become synonymous with pushing forward more niche memes – such as ‘Mia Khalifa’ by iLOVEFRIDAY

Here are the top ten most iconic meme songs in recent history, based on how prominent they were online: 

10) ‘Sandstorm’ by Darude, Released in 2009 

Sandstorm was that one song that came so out of left field, so it made total sense that it became a part of meme culture 

I vividly remember this one clip of he-man running through the desert and this song going over and over and over… 

9) ‘Dragostea din tei’ by O-Zone, Released in 2004 

Though this song came out in 2004, it went viral after a video entitled ‘Numa Numa’ was uploaded to entertainment site Newgrounds the year after its release – it was viewed around 160 million times in three months 

The video had a very low-quality feel to it, and featured a Gary Brolsma enjoying a very flamboyant lipsync 

8) ‘Mia Khalifa’ by iLOVEFRIDAY, Released in 2018 

Who’d have thought there would ever be a disstrack against a sex worker?! Certainly not me 

Blowing up on TikTok, which was new at the time, the song became largely associated with e-girls and cosplayers in general with the iconic snippet that is forever tattooed in my brain ‘Hit or miss… I guess they never miss huh?’ 

The outlandish nature of this song is why I think it had such staying power as a meme, and is it bad that I can still say with integrity that the hook is catchy… 

7) ‘MOO!’ by Doja Cat, Released in 2018 

Speaking of outlandish tunes, this is one that more recent Doja Fans may not know about 

With her cow print bando top and a dream, Doja Cat was writing music and just thought f it I’ll create a song about cows!  

Her hilarious delivery of lines such as ‘got milk b*tch, got beef’, not to mention the poorly green screened music video, projected her to the level of superstardom she is at right now, and I have no beef with that

6) ‘Turn Down for What’ by DJ Snake and Lil Jon, Released in 2014 

The element that made this song so meme-worthy was the music video… an unidentified character which kept on slamming through the ceiling of people’s apartments. I mean what’s not to love!? 

The saying ‘turn down for what’ became its own meme regardless of the song. It’s a strange one as I’m not quite sure the song would have taken off without the phrase and vice versa 

5) ‘Harlem Shake’ by Baauer, Released in 2012 

Clearly the early 2010s was the time for dance infused songs, and the Harlem Shake was no different. 

A full-blown dance craze collected around the song, and became a staple meme song because of its overly dubstep elements, making it perfect for MLG edits (MLG is a story for another time) 

The random sounds that have no place on the song just take it to the next level of novelty, with samples of roaring tigers, baby sounds and more

4) ‘Shooting Stars’ by Bag Raiders, released in 2008 

Now this is one of those memes that continues to prove its longevity. If you haven’t seen the meme, you clearly have been living under a rock  

Essentially, it features a character or any object really, falling endlessly into space because of how accessible the meme was to any niche it has become a staple of meme culture and even spilled over into mainstream pop culture 

Katy Perry features a spoof of the meme in her music video for ’Swish Swish’ 

More Recently, Australian artist Troye Sivan has borrowed the melody of Shooting Stars for his 2023 hit ‘Got Me Started’ 

3) ‘All Star’ by Smash Mouth, Released in 2001 

With the wake of the new millenium and the dust settling when the world didn’t end, enters All star by Smash Mouth. 

There are many meme worthy moments within the song, however the most used part is the opening line ‘Somebody once told me’, with bass boosted and nightcore renditions of the Smash Mouth Tune 

I’ve always associated the song with Shrek personally… 

2) Crank That (Soulja Boy) by Soulja Boy, Released in 2007 

This song was a slowburn in contrast to a lot of other meme songs featuring on the list, as it only became viral in 2009, two years after its release. Nevertheless, it was the earworm of my childhood, constantly finding myself building up to that ‘youuuuuu’ 

It was cringy catchy and memeable all in one, and became one of the most prominent memes of the noughties, going into the 2010s 

Though there is one more song that had more of an impact on meme culture as we understand it today  


This song has been reiterated so many times in memes, and just exemplifies the aura of Meme culture, In fact being named as the pioneer of the ‘Meme Song’

Hope you enjoyed being rickrolled 🙂

Signing Off,


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