Top 20 Guilty Pleasure Songs

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Top 20 Guilty Pleasure Songs

VOICE OVER: Rebecca Brayton WRITTEN BY: Sammie Purcell
These guilty pleasure songs will fill you up and never let you down. For this list, we'll be looking at all the cheesy bops we love to love. Our countdown includes “It's Raining Men”, "All Star", “Barbie Girl”, “Call Me Maybe”, “I'm Too Sexy”, and more!
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Top 20 Guilty Pleasure Songs


Welcome to WatchMojo, and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 20 Guilty Pleasure Songs.

For this list, we’ll be looking at all the cheesy bops we love to love.

If we missed any of your favorite ones to scream in the shower, let us know in the comments below.

#20: “It’s Raining Men” (1982)

The Weather Girls

If you ask The Weather Girls, it’s not raining cats and dogs … it’s raining men! You better leave those umbrellas at home. “It’s Raining Men” is one of the signature songs of the 1980s and was a number one dance hit heard in discos nationwide, spawning many a cover throughout the years. With its funky groove and hilarious conceit, it’s easy to forget that this guilty pleasure is a pretty sexually liberated bop as well. The entire song revolves around The Weather Girls’ excitement at the prospect of drowning themselves in men of all types. We support a woman who knows what she wants.

#19: “How You Remind Me” (2001)

Nickelback

In recent years, it’s become a trendy move to pretend that we all thought Nickelback was bad back in the day. But in the year of our Lord 2022, we don’t know why people still feel the need to pretend like they weren’t rocking out to the likes of “Rockstar,” “Hero,” and of course “How You Remind Me.” Play this song at any party, and from that very first line – “I never made it as a wise man” – you’ll have everyone singing along. The hard rock instrumentation and the scratchy vocals make it unbelievably fun to sing along to, and if we’re being honest, we’re tired of pretending not to like it for society’s sake. Justice for Nickelback!

#18: “Everytime We Touch” (2005)

Cascada

If one genre screams guilty pleasure, it’s gotta be techno. In the mid-2000s, this German dance group took the world by storm with “Everytime We Touch,” an unapologetic, fist-bumping rager of a song. The combination of the quieter, yearning passion of the verses with the bumping bass of the choruses made this an immediate dance hall classic. Even if you weren’t a huge fan of the genre, you couldn’t get away from it. Cascada didn’t have a ton of other hits following this one, but still remains one of the most successful dance artists of all time – and this song will endure forever.


#17: “Call Me Maybe” (2011)

Carly Rae Jepsen

Throughout her career, Carly Rae Jepsen has solidified herself as the queen of earworms, from hits like “I Really Like You” to “Run Away with Me.” But nothing has quite hit the earworm status of her very first hit, “Call Me Maybe.” As soon as this bubblegum dance pop tune hit the charts, it snuck its way into all of our heads – and our playlists – until the end of time. “Call Me Maybe” is the definition of catchy, combining a little echo of disco strings with a flawless hook to create a legitimately perfect pop song. Carly Rae has continued to create perfect pop songs, but we will always be fond of this one.

#16: “Rollin’ (Air Raid Vehicle)” (2000)

Limp Bizkit

Sometimes guilty pleasure songs are secretly really good. But sometimes, they are just that – guilty. “Rollin’” by Limp Bizkit is a pretty ridiculous song when it gets down to it. The music video features “Zoolander” actor Ben Stiller and Stephen Dorff mistaking lead singer Fred Durst for a valet, and tossing him the keys to Stiller’s Bentley. Durst, of course, takes advantage, whipping the car around the city and getting into trouble with his friends. The video is nuts, the song is ridiculous – but if we’re being honest, it’s still quite a banger and we wouldn’t turn it off at a party.

#15: “What Makes You Beautiful” (2011)

One Direction

What do you get when you combine five cute boys, an iconic opening lick, and a fanbase of teens? A guilty pleasure sensation. One Direction sprang onto the scene in 2011 with “What Makes You Beautiful,” a catchy pop tune that’s bound to make any girl blush. Now, some people might be embarrassed to admit they like the song, with its undeniably tween, schoolyard crush sensibilities, but why deny yourself the chance to have fun? “What Makes You Beautiful” is an effervescently fresh pop song with staying power – and One Direction would go on to give us many, many more of the same.

#14: “Sexy and I Know It” (2011)

LMFAO

Sometimes all you need is something to play at a party. A party rock anthem, one might say? While we love that song, that’s not the LMFAO song that made our list – that honor goes to “Sexy and I Know It.” This song is nothing but laughs all the way through, with its funny lyrics and zany beats, but it’s also definitely a bit of a confidence booster. In fact, we think everyone should feel as confident walking into a room as the LMFAO guys do. If you got passion in your pants, don’t be afraid to show it – you’re sexy and you know it!

#13: “Girlfriend” (2007)

Avril Lavigne

Of course, we got to have the pop-punk princess herself on this list. Avril Lavigne ruled the 2000s with mainstays like “Complicated” and “My Happy Ending,” but it wasn’t until 2007 that she solidified her place in the pop-punk hall of fame. “Girlfriend” is an explosion of joy that you can’t help but jump up and down to, combining hot guitar licks, killer vocals, and in-your-face lyrics together into an undeniable banger. The premise of the song is cheeky and fun, and a little bit of a departure from Avril’s earlier, more serious work. But we love how much fun she’s having here, and can’t wait to blast this until the end of time.

#12: “We Built This City” (1985)

Starship

Let’s head back to guilty pleasure heaven for a bit – the 1980s. Starship’s “We Built This City” has made its way onto many lists – particularly, “worst of” lists, such as a 2011 one from Rolling Stone. But to those people we say, have you no soul? Do you not know how to have fun? “We Built This City” may not be the best song in the world, but it certainly has passion and heart, and a soaring 1980s chorus that was built to belt. If you can hear this song and not sing along, you are a stronger person than we are.

#11: “Blue (Da Ba Dee)” (1998)

Eiffel 65

You might know this one as, “I’m blue, if I were green I would die,” but unfortunately, those are not actually the words to this 90s one-hit-wonder. “Blue (Da Ba Dee)” comes from the mind of Italian music group Eiffel 65, and honestly, after listening to this song and watching this music video, we really wonder what’s going on inside their heads. But, despite the weirdness of this track, we can’t help but admit that it has a little something going for it – the beat is strong, and you can’t help but nod your head along, making up the words as you go.

#10: “A Thousand Miles” (2001)

Vanessa Carlton

Name a more recognizable opening lick – we’ll wait! Vanessa Carlton’s “A Thousand Miles” came out in 2001, and as a society, we never looked back. From parodies in movies like “White Chicks” to playing at many a college party, this song was ubiquitous. When this song comes on, you don’t just sing along to the words – although the words are great. You also have to sing along with that piano riff at the top of your lungs. We don’t make the rules, but that’s definitely a rule. To date, this is still Vanessa Carlton’s biggest hit in the United States, and one we will always love.

#9: “I’m Too Sexy” (1991)

Right Said Fred

Sometimes, a little confidence with a little goofiness mixed in is all it takes. In 1991, British group Right Said Fred released this hilarious tune as a way to make fun of guys who take their looks too seriously. Apparently, the idea came to brothers Fred and Richard Fairbrass when they were running a gym in London and would notice how narcissistic and looks-obsessed all the guys who came in were. One day, Richard jokingly took his shirt off and said, “I’m too sexy for my shirt.” And, history was made. This song is effortlessly hilarious, and ends abruptly and perfectly with the line, “I’m too sexy for this song.”

#8: “Mickey” (1982)

Toni Basil

Mice excluded, this might be the only song ever written about someone named Mickey, but if this is the only one they get – it’s pretty good! Toni Basil’s 1981 hit is a new wave masterpiece, combining synths and rock guitar with hilarious cheerleader chants and a whole lot of fun. But “Mickey” isn’t only a guilty pleasure. It also started a bit of a craze, with numerous covers and parodies – including one from Weird Al – and serves as the basic inspiration for Run-DMC’s massive hit “It’s Tricky.” So you see, if we didn’t have “Mickey,” we might not have that song – sounds like we should be thanking Toni Basil more than we do.

#7: “Barbie Girl” (1997)

Aqua

A guilty pleasure so guilty, it spawned an entire lawsuit. The dance group Aqua released “Barbie Girl” in 1997, and a worldwide sensation was born. The song became a phenomenon with its sugary little hooks and undeniably catchy melodies. So catchy, in fact, that six months after the song came out, Mattel – the maker of Barbie Dolls – sued Aqua’s record label, claiming the song turned Barbie into a sex symbol. The case was eventually thrown out and Aqua never quite achieved the same success with any other song, but their legacy as the group that made life in plastic fantastic lives on.

#6: “Wannabe” (1996)

Spice Girls

In the 1990s, it was a Spice World, and we were all just living in it. The British girl group became megastars basically overnight, and started their short but bright career with a banger – “Wannabe.” “Wannabe” is a pop anthem, an ode to female friendship, and an overt homage to the “chicks before … you know,” mentality. The song is filled with fun R&B licks and dance beats, creating a fun, smart, and empowering combo. Add in that amazing rap in the middle, and you’ve got yourself a hit. It certainly does make you want to “slam your body down and wind it all around.”

#5: “Take On Me” (1984)

A-ha

When you’re parodied on “Family Guy,” you know you’ve made it. If we had to choose one song that defined the 1980s, it would have to be this one. Not only will the opening notes of “Take On Me” fill a dance floor in an instant, but the soaring high notes of the chorus are more than able to get everyone singing along. With synthesizers and drums leading the way, this A-ha record topped the Billboard Hot 100 in 1985, and subsequently wormed its way into our hearts. If you look up the definition of euphoria in the dictionary, it will probably show you a video of Morten Harket wailing his way out of that chorus.

#4: “Funkytown” (1979)

Lipps Inc.

When it’s time to party and get the crowd hype, it’s time to bring out “Funkytown.” This 1979 disco hit took the world by storm, and became a must-play at any and all dance parties. In the song, the singer pleads for a place that “will keep me movin’, keep me groovin’” with some energy. In a fun, meta turn of events, the song itself ends up being just that place. We love all the covers of this song, but the bright and cheery effect of the original elevates it to new heights and keeps us singing along all these years later.

#3: “I Want It That Way” (1999)

Backstreet Boys

Ah, the age-old question – am I, your fire? Your one, desire? You may not know the answer, but there’s no denying that “I Want It That Way” is a smashing good guilty pleasure jam. Written by Swedish pop royalty Max Martin and Andreas Carlsson, we pretty much knew from the jump that this song would be in our lives forever. The melody and the lyrics are so infectious and delightful, it’s no wonder “I Want It That Way” became the group’s signature hit. Even if you’re not a boy band fanatic, there’s something about this hit that’s undeniable.

#2: “All Star” (1999)

Smash Mouth

This guilty pleasure became such a mainstay of the 2000s that it ear-wormed its way not only into our heads, but also into a plethora of movies. From “Shrek” to “Mystery Men,” Hollywood was scrambling for this tune. Arguably no song has had a greater pop cultural impact than Smash Mouth’s “All Star” – without it, we may have never learned to make the Loser sign on our foreheads, and we may have never learned that only shooting stars break the mold. On a more serious note, this song is relentlessly entertaining, offering equal parts glittery fun and rock ‘n’ roll.

#1: “What Is Love” (1993)

Haddaway

With that synth, those glorious vocals, and its unrelenting pounding bass, “What Is Love” is one of the guiltiest guilty pleasures of all time. This song burst onto the scene in 1993, giving 90s kids a little taste of the 1980s while still sounding like something fresh and new. Not only does “What Is Love” sound good, but it also serves as a release for our emotions, with passionate lyrics and pining melodies that sound like heartbreak incarnate – if heartbreak could dance, that is. It’s definitely one of the most recognizable songs in the world, and it has our hearts from its very first note.
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