The 5 Types of Songs on Popular Radio

I never listened to the radio growing up. It was filled with generic pop, shitty rap, and commercials, so I went the “indie” route.

Then two years ago something changed: The pop wasn’t any less generic, the rap hadn’t gotten better, and there weren’t any fewer commercials. The change was inside of me, and I became obsessed with the Top 40.

I don’t know why it happened, why it’s continued, or why I love it so much, but it’s real and I’m not ashamed. Okay, I’m kind of ashamed. Anyway, there are five main types of songs that you’ll hear on pop radio stations.

1. Songs that make you want to kill yourself.

These are the overtly catchy ones with lyrics that cause you to wonder why anyone bothered writing lyrics in the first place. (ex: I never met a girl like you ever til’ we met.)

When these start to play, you go through a series of reactions depending on how many times you’ve heard the song.


This graphic is perfect except for the last part: acceptance. You may have accepted the song for what it is, but are you ever able to accept yourself for the fact that you’re actually starting to like something so terrible? It takes some work, but don’t worry, you’ll pull through. Pretty soon you’ll be rocking out to “Let Me Take a Selfie” and you WON’T EVEN CARE.

2. Songs that make you want to kill the artist.

These either come from artists you typically like, or from artists you hate on principle. The former is much harder to deal with.

You thought there was at least one singer you could trust, and suddenly they put out this watered-down piece of bullshit that makes you want to rip the radio out of your car and shove it down their throat. They often have “inspiring” themes that only succeed at inspiring Pure Rage.


“Roar” – Katy Perry
“Happy” – Pharrell
“Carry On” Fun.

Often when you listen to the radio, you’ll run into a singer whose voice sends you into a fight or flight response. You’re not sure why you hate them so much, but you know that every time they put out a new single, part of your soul crumbles and dies.

For me, Bruno Mars and Neon Trees are the main offenders. It doesn’t matter what I think though, you’ll be able to identify your True Hatred by how your body tenses up at the sound of their voice.


3. The Vast Sea of Mediocrity.


About 75% of the Top 40 falls into this category. The trends change with the years, but certain elements remain the same. Nowadays, if you throw down some techno beats and find an annoying girl to sing about partying, you’ve found your path to mediocrity! Congratulations.

These songs will hit number 5 for a few weeks, get some decent parody videos on youtube, and fade away after 4-6 months only to be heard again at some “2000 teens” party in ten years, where people will say “do you remember this song?” and the reply will either be “no” or “yeah! who sings it?”

4. Pretty good shit.

These are the ones that make the radio worth listening to. You don’t feel ashamed when they come on, you sing them with your friends, and if you hear more than three in a row, you KNOW it’s going to be a good day.

They usually stay at #1 for a couple months, and you’ll even hear them on the radio 3 years later.

Right now my favorites are:

“Dark Horse” – KP
“Pompeii” – Bastille
“Counting Stars” – One republic
Pretty much everything by Justin Timberlake

5. Songs that are way too good to be on the radio.


Ah, the rarest, and the best. You can recognize these because they’ll get airplay on the independent stations before they break onto the main scene. Sometimes they’ll hit number one, other times the mass audience just won’t go for them.

Either way, I’m going to say that Lorde is the only artist who qualifies as Type 5 right now. She’s so cool.

Here’s a quick test for you to determine which type of song you’re listening to:

If you would never tell anyone you’re listening to it – Type 1

If you want to complain to everyone about how terrible it is – Type 2

If you’re not really sure you’re even listening to a song – Type 3

If you tell your friends about a new song you like – Type 4

If you would discuss it with a hipster acquaintance – Type 5

Well, there you have it. Music at its finest.






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