Memes used to mean just one thing: a recognizable picture with text added. We know all the classics, from the Doge to Woman Yelling at Cat. But today's memes can mean a whole lot more than just a picture with a caption – you can find video memes, text posts, GIF memes, even collage memes.
A meme can even be made by simply adding a particular song to a video or series of pictures. Really, it's nothing new – Rick-Rolling was the earliest version of the Meme Song, and it's taken many different forms since then. Here's a brief rundown:
- All-Star by Smash Mouth
- "Hello darkness, my old friend" Sound of Silence memes
- Father Stretch my Hands Part 1
- Photograph by Nickelback
- The "In my Feelings" Challenge
- The Harlem Shake
- "Making my way downtown" A Thousand Miles memes
- Take On Me by a-ha
- Crab Rave
- Rick Rolling
1. All-Star by Smash Mouth
"Some... BODY ONCE TOLD ME" that "All-Star" by Smash Mouth is the greatest meme song ever made, and I can't disagree. An aggressive drop on just the second word of the song, linked with its appearance in "Shrek" makes it perfect for all sorts of meme scenarios. Plus, it's actually a sort of great song?
2. "Hello darkness, my old friend" Sound of Silence memes
Memes using "The Sounds of Silence" by Simon & Garfunkel (NOT the Disturbed cover) gained a ton of popularity on Vine, when the song's opening lyrics "Hello darkness, my old friend" played over the ending portion of the video, just as someone got abandoned, left hanging or was otherwise dejected.
3. Father Stretch my Hands Part 1
Kanye West has always provided the world with plenty of meme material, and in his 2016 album "The Life of Pablo," one track's "drop" struck internet users as particularly meme-worthy. Check out these examples and use the template to make your own:
4. Photograph by Nickelback
This one comes with a specific video, too. A couple seconds from Nickelback's music video provide the perfect spot for you to add your own picture. What else could Nickelback be singing so *passionately* about?
5. The "In My Feelings" Challenge
When Drake released his album Scorpion in 2018, this song took off... I mean, really TOOK OFF. The dance craze saw the internet at both its most creative and its most cringe. Now that the dance challenge has cooled down, only its memory remains to be memed.
6. The Harlem Shake
Another dance craze, the Harlem Shake had more of the makings of a classic meme. From TV studios and political offices to sports teams and popular bands, the Harlem Shake video meme features an abrupt cut from one singular dancer to a whole group of senseless, wild dancing. It was great in 2013, and it's still meme-able now.
7. A Thousand Miles by Vanessa Carlton
This is as simple as meme songs get: a video that can be added to a song, at a specific spot. The pre-chorus of Vanessa Carlton's "A Thousand Miles" has a highly recognizable rhythmic pattern that can be overlaid with other meme-able sounds. Check it out:
8. Take On Me by a-ha
This song may be the most meme-able 80's anthem ever. Really. For one, its iconic music video has over a billion views on YouTube, almost unthinkable for a track by anyone except for Justin Bieber or Psy. Plus, the wild, hunched-over, arms-flailing dance that often accompanied it in a popular Vine trend cemented the song in meme history forever.
9. Crab Rave
"Crab Rave" is actually the title of the song that goes with the video meme, but this one is more about the Crab Rave video itself. Believe it or not, the Crab Rave meme was Kapwing's most popular meme template through all of 2018 and 2019! As you can see, the video goes well with all sorts of other songs, and even some of the other songs on this list:
10. Rick Rolling
The O.G. song meme: the Rick Roll. This meme gained universal recognition starting in 2007, when people would follow deceptive links to highly click-worthy videos, where they would be greeted by the opening shot from Rick Astley's music video for "Never Gonna Give You Up." It's a great prank that has left an indelible mark on internet culture.