Top 10 Tracks Ruined By the Radio


overplayed on radio memeBe it so good that it had to be heard or confusingly bad, radio has a nasty habit of finding tracks you like and then playing them to the point at which just the intro makes you want to puke. Here are the top 10 tracks ruined by the radio as selected by Badger Senate’s staff.

Lorde – ”Royals”

In the Bay Area, northern California, there is a radio station named “Live 105,” which prides itself on often being the first to find new talent and watch them on their rise to fame. There is one artist who got away quicker than they would have liked, though—Lorde. Lorde’s E.P., The Love Club, was released to the public on March 8, 2013 (it was also available on SoundCloud in late 2012, but didn’t gain much traction in that market). Live 105 aired it on the radio the following Sunday, proudly boasting, “For the first time ever on radio around the world, Lorde—’Royals.’” They played a small soundbite of Lorde muttering, “You’re listening to Live 105,” before leading into the song. I liked it. In fact, I liked it enough to download Lorde’s EP.

One week later, the entire country was blasting “Royals” on every station.

It’s really not even Lorde’s best song.

The most ironic part about it, though, is that “Royals” condemns the fame, fortune, and power that Lorde is undoubtedly bathing in now. Lorde won a Grammy less than a year after her first-ever radio appearance on Live 105, but if one song is played as much as all the others combined, the world will get sick of it. Unfortunately for Lorde, that’s what happened. I can’t listen to three words of the song before changing the station. And that’s what overplaying does. “We crave a different kind of buzz.” —Written by Paul Stefanski

Gotye featuring Kimbra – “Somebody That I Used To Know”

Imagine it’s July 2011: You’re in your car driving, when all of a sudden your radio plays a song the likes of which you’ve never heard before. It’s Gotye’s “Somebody That I Used To Know,” a song that is quickly climbing to the top of the charts. It may be a little slow at first, but the powerful vocals and unique music make it an enjoyable listen. You keep driving, changing the station along the way, and hear the song again, and again, and again. Now repeat this cycle for the next year. It gets so bad to the point where every morning you wake up and make a quick prayer that you won’t have to hear the song again. That describes the experience I, and likely everyone else with a radio, had with that song. At first it was a unique song that was easy to listen to, but the constant overplaying turned it into my worst nightmare. Now every time I hear that guitar and xylophone combination I can’t help but get a thousand-yard stare going. —Written by  Jacob Conflitti

Taylor Swift – “You Belong With Me”

“You’re on the phone with your girlfriend, she’s upset. She’s going on about” how often she heard this damn song on the radio in 2009. Just a year earlier, Taylor Swift proved she was worth sticking around with the drop of her sophomore album, Fearless, when it added some of the most catchy and successful tracks in the Swift songbook. And at the center of them all: “You Belong With Me.” There is something to be said about a song you never had on your iPod, listened to on your own, or even really liked, and yet knew all the lyrics to. This track was everywhere in 2009 and 2010 due to its county pop crossover, relatable lyrics, and video featuring Swift as an arguably more attractive brunette. And as a result, everyone from your mom to the weight lifting LAX bro knows the tale of (and the lyrics to) Taylor and her just out-of-reach lover. —Written by Alex Baumgarten

The Script – “Breakeven”

I don’t think many people can say they know where they were when they discovered The Script. Weirdly enough, I know exactly where I was. it was 2008, and I was sitting at my aunt’s house, watching my cousin, who’s four years older than me, sift through his iTunes collection. And I remember him getting to The Script and telling me they were great. Being the easily influenced 16-year-old that I was, I went out and bought the album the next day. I was super into The Script for about a month. “Breakeven” was arguably the biggest hit off that first album, and I played it on repeat. But, after that month, I was over it. No longer a fan of The Script. But then suddenly, the radio began playing the song. And then they continued to play the song every day for six years. As a not-so-easily influenced 22-year-old, I am less than impressed. I sit and reminisce for a moment whenever I hear it, but then I change the channel when I realize that the song has been on radio repeat for as long as kindergartners have been alive. And then I just think, wait, doesn’t The Script have other songs?

In fact, they do. The Script has released two albums since their self-titled 2008 album. And I couldn’t think of a single title off of either until I Googled the band’s discography. The radio had overplayed “Breakeven” so much that they’ve overshadowed all other singles released by The Script. It’s time to branch out, radio DJs, and learn some new songs by The Script. —Kelly McLaughlin

Fun. – “We Are Young”

It’s early 2012, and the indie pop group fun. has been taking the Internet by storm with their recently released single, “We Are Young.” I’m in my car, my Spotify playlist is on shuffle, and I hear that catchy opening beat. “Give me a second I, I need to get my story straight.” I crank up the volume, my heart already beating a tad faster as the power ballad builds. The chorus is catchy, the theme is empowering, the vocals are unique. I couldn’t help but scream along with the car stereo.

*5 months later*

I’m in my car, my Spotify playlist is on shuffle, and I hear that catchy opening beat. “Give me a second I, I need to get my story straight.” NO FUN., I WILL NOT GIVE YOU A SECOND, I AM SICK OF YOUR FREAKING STORY. Okay, perhaps that was a tad dramatic, but I’m sure many of you shared the same sentiment when the indie-pop track that quickly rose to become the 2012 summer anthem became inescapable on every radio station. “We Are Young” made great strides for getting indie music in front of a mainstream audience. However, at the peak of the song’s hype, I would have given so much to hear any other song while I was still young. —Written by Hanna Sutton

Lady Gaga- “Poker Face”

Remember that new artist who released that one single “Just Dance”? Well, here she comes with her second song. How original and creative, pushing the envelope with a new sound and vision for pop music, all the while being a little raunchy, “bluffin’ with her muffin.” Just kidding, that originality and feeling you get when discovering a new artist is long gone. Played in the background of every TV show, on every video game, and botched at every karaoke bar, in addition to having her face thrown on every magazine and award show has sufficiently killed Lady Gaga and her hit “Poker Face.” You can be sure that whenever anyone thinks of Lady Gaga, they think of “Poker Face.” Yet what’s sad is the fact that it was actually a good song. I am so sick of her these days and all her antics that any chance to ever truly appreciate any more of her music in the future is ruined for me. —Written by Alaina Stevenson

Old Crow Medicine Show – “Wagon Wheel”

Old Crow Medicine Show made it famous, but credit goes to the great Bob Dylan for creating the early sketches of what would go on to be known as “Wagon Wheel.”  It’s a lot like ice cream—a little bit once in a while never hurt anybody—but too much of it just makes you sick. Give a person a few beers around a campfire and pretty soon you’ll be heading down south to the land of the pines for a sing-along extravaganza; there’s no coming back from that. —Written by Noveen Bajpai

Adele – “Rolling in the Deep”

This song was the inspiration for the list. Adele has a beautiful and unique voice, but by now I can’t stand it. This is the song that makes me mad when I put my iPod on shuffle, because I honestly don’t think there is anything more this song can do for me. This is a song that I used to belt out whenever it came on, but now I just reach for the skip button as fast as my hand can react. It’s nothing personal Adele, I just feel strange because for a while I felt like I couldn’t get away from you.

Adele is supposed to be releasing an album of happy songs in the near future, which will undoubtedly be played relentlessly over the airwaves. All bets are off, but I’m predicting these happy songs will only make me more jaded toward Adele. —Written by Austin Johnson

Macklemore- “Thrift Shop”

Macklemore’s first hit, “Thrift Shop,” the song that put him the map, is the same song that immediately made hip hop fans everywhere take him off the map. The title alone attracted hipsters from beneath their record players and “vintage” couches. While it appears Macklemore meant well with the message behind “Thrift Shop,” it came across as a whack MC’s attempt to fit in – 100 percent due to the overplay it got on radios everywhere. It was played on the radio so frequently that even thrift shop-frequenters were tired of it. Unfortunately, it seemed that Macklemore’s overplay on the radio landed him a Grammy which he and I both agree (see: apology text to Kendrick) was undeserved. That Grammy sealed his fate among hip hop heads: irrelevance. —Written by Melissa McDougall

Coldplay – “Viva La Vida”

Coldplay made a good song – a complex, energetic, and most importantly, lyrically upbeat song. Previously, hits like “The Scientist,” “Clocks,” and “Fix You” were such downers that it was shocking to hear something so positive from Chris Martin. He is such an excellent lyricist that it is easy to forgive him for his melancholy attitude because he delivers it in such an intricate and impressive way. That ability, when used to express happiness and hope, made “Viva La Vida” an unbelievably powerful track. Introduce pop radio, the paradoxical destroyer of artists’ credibility yet promoter of popular culture. Once they picked up “Viva La Vida” in that summer of ’08, it was all downhill. It was played in every gym, car, and coffee shop until every single person in the United States knew the chorus perfectly. Of course, four weeks of that got to people in the summer heat, and they began to bash the song and write it off as another summer song when September rolled around. Which is sad, but that’s the way a song gets ruined by the radio. —Written by Tom Johnson

Bruno Mars – “Grenade”

Whether you’re a thrifted shirt and teashade sunglass hipster or a pastel shorts and backward hat frat star, I think we all have to admit: Bruno’s got a voice. Perhaps the reason for Bruno Mars’ ability to connect with a varied demographic is due to his charisma and voice. Perhaps his widespread popularity is due to his tendency to lean on bone-chillingly mushy lyrics. We like mushy. It’s easy, relatable, and feel-good (just refer to the overwhelming number of marriage proposals to “Marry You”). The first time I heard “Grenade,” it was great. As the song progressed, I heard it build up from a quiet heartbreak to a full-on explosion (pun totally intended) of self-sacrificing love. I heard it a second time, beginning to snap out of the daze of Bruno’s voice. I really thought about it. In what instance would a man have to “catch a grenade” for me? Or “jump in front of a train” for me? Wouldn’t it be better for everyone involved to simply avoid confrontations with a speeding train and/or grenade? But then again, I don’t consider myself the type to “smile in [his] face then rip the brakes out [his] car” or “watch [him] burn down in flames,” so you can imagine how little I was able to connect with this one. And I connected exponentially less each time the song was played on the radio…an innumerable number of times. – Written by Juhee Lee

Written by your Badger Senators


About the author

Alex Baumgarten is the administrative director of BadgerSenate.com. He contributed to TheCoope.com, is a reader for Fortnight Literary Press, and is the music blogger for consideronline.org in Ann Arbor Michigan. He is currently a student at The University of Michigan studying English.