Top 10 Pop Anthems

Script written by Sean Harris. We’ve got groundbreakers, booty-grinders, guilty pleasures and golden oldies! For this list, we’ve looked at the most exceptional, popular and enduring pop anthems ever. There are no limitations in terms of historical period, but the song has to have been a chart hit that is considered anthemic to this day. Welcome to WatchMojo.com, and today we’re counting down our picks for the top 10 pop anthems of all time. Special thanks to our users Noah Joseph Casseus, Jimmy Washington and Jadav455 for submitting the idea on our Suggest Page at WatchMojo.comsuggest
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Script written by Sean Harris.

Top 10 Pop Anthems


We’ve got groundbreakers, booty-grinders, guilty pleasures and golden oldies! Welcome to WatchMojo.com, and today we’re counting down our picks for the top 10 pop anthems of all time!

For this list, we’ve looked at the most exceptional, popular and enduring pop anthems ever. There are no limitations in terms of historical period, but the song has to have been a chart hit that is considered anthemic to this day.

#10: “Heartbreaker” (1999)
Mariah Carey feat. Jay-Z

Could a list of pop anthems really exist without a smidgeon of Mariah? We say no! The legendary diva kicks off our countdown with a light-hearted look at heartbreak. Carey is fairly familiar with singing about sadness, emotional strain and the rough side of love – but she especially translates all of that into toe-tapping gold with this 1999 track. Also, the video has Carey in a crop to pand wrestling in the bathroom of a movie theater – what’s not to love?

9: “Since U Been Gone” (2004)
Kelly Clarkson

‘The Original American Idol,’ Kelly Clarkson continued her swift rise to fame with this track, released as the lead single from her second album, Breakaway. Having already established herself as “Miss Independent,” the Texan copped the indie-rock sound that was popular at the time with “Since U Been Gone” – a record that was originally offered to P!nk. With this track, Clarkson built her prized pop-rock reputation. It’s high-energy, it’s empowering and it’s everything an anthem should be!

#8: “Born This Way” (2011)
Lady Gaga

A sign of a good pop anthem is its ability to speak for a wide range of people – inclusively and intimately. Lady Gaga has become a cultural phenomenon within the last decade using her undeniable ability to speak universally! This is a pop song of epic proportions, and it has a kaleidoscopic video to match. “Born This Way” is a call to arms for anyone who feels weird or different – a reminder that variance is a very good thing!

#7: “Hangin’ Tough” (1988)
New Kids on the Block

Ahh the humble boy band… How many anthems have you given us? NSYNC’s “Bye Bye Bye” was good good good, and who can forget the Backstreet Boys ‘wanting it that way’? But the New Kids on the Block had laid the blueprint down more than ten years before. “Hangin’ Tough” had just the right mixture of dance routine, learnable lyrics and desirable men. The New Kids had a little attitude, but not too much, setting an example for those that followed!

#6: “Firework” (2010)
Katy Perry

Katy Perry is probably the biggest pop star in the world today. “Firework,” similar to “Born this Way,” is a perfect example of the self-empowerment anthem and is a reminder to those who feel like outsiders, that they are special. Perry has achieved that much sought-after status of being both role model and sex symbol – and this song is the fulfillment of her duties as the former. You’ll definitely find yourself singing along to this one – even if you don’t consider yourself the confident, singing type!

#5: “Shout” (1985)
Tears for Fears

One of the most recognizable pop songs of the 1980s, when Tears for Fears front man Roland Orzabal wrote and performed the chorus to his band-mates, it was initially billed as an album-filler. How wrong that assessment was! “Shout” topped charts worldwide upon its release in 1985, and is considered the band’s signature track. The steady beat and clear lyrics combine to have us doing exactly what the song’s title asks us to… Just take one moment, and “Shout”! ‘We’re talking to you’!

#4: “Dancing Queen” (1976)
ABBA

ABBA ruled the late ‘70s, and this was the song that put their superstar status beyond doubt! The only ABBA track to chart at Number 1 in the U.S., it took that spot on various other charts worldwide as well. It was almost titled “Boogaloo” but the nonsense lyrics were soon filled out, and the finished piece told the story of young woman out on the town looking for a cool place to dance and perhaps find a little romance. ‘See that girl’? With this record playing, you could be that girl!

#3: “Material Girl” (1984)
Madonna

Madonna helped bring a sexual revolution to ‘80s pop music, and “Material Girl” proved one of her most significant breakthrough tracks. Despite its massive success, fans and critics alike often misinterpreted the song due to its ironic content and accompanying video. Madonna has always been keen to stress that she is not the ‘material girl’ she sings about! Either way, catchy lyrics and unparalleled performance make this an absolute anthem!

#2: “Bad” (1987)
Michael Jackson

Michael Jackson continually revolutionized pop music throughout his career, and “Bad” was perhaps his most significant stylistic shift. MJ had been fighting his cutesy Jackson 5 image for most of his professional life, and “Bad” was proof of how far he had come! With an accompanying video directed by Martin Scorsese, the whole record is ‘bad’ (in a good way)! Even now, over 25 years since it was first released, it can still fill a dance-floor just about anywhere in the world!

Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions:
- “…Baby One More Time” (1999)
Britney Spears
- “Livin’ La Vida Loca” (1999)
Ricky Martin
- “Wannabe” (1996)
The Spice Girls
- “I Gotta Feeling” (2009)
The Black Eyed Peas
- “1999” (1982)
Prince

#1: “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun” (1983)
Cyndi Lauper

The ‘80s were an anthem goldmine, and this is its shiniest nugget! With “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun,” Cyndi Lauper stood up and sang for all women, regardless of race, culture or appearance. This is a song that raised awareness, empowered women, and raised the roof at any party! Its credentials as our number one are easy to see – and hear for that matter! For Lauper, the variety of life is what makes it fun – and she out-anthems everyone else on this list while expressing that idea!

Do you agree with our list? What’s your favorite Pop Anthem? For more danceable Top 10s published daily, be sure to subscribe to WatchMojo.com.
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