It was just as I had suspected. When I saw the title of the song in the number one position on the charts, “Bad and Boujee” by Migos, I ventured a stab as to the meaning of the latter word. A quick Internet check informed me that, indeed, it was a shortened form of bourgeoisie.
Aside from the neat word in its title, “Bad and Bourjee” also stands out because of the numerous references to brand names. An article on a program from National Public Radio actually examined that very topic, when reporter Kat Lansdorf appeared on the August 22, 2016 edition of All Things Considered.
Lansdorf concluded that the number one hit by Migos and Lil Uzi Vert mentions 19 brands in all,including Subway and Segway. She then discussed how that fact inspired journalists Kim Bashin and Lance Lambert to examine other chart toppers from the last three years to see how many of them contained brand names, and they uncovered no fewer than 212 references.
While their study centered exclusively on number one songs, here are ten other hits containing an allusion to a brand. These tunes did not reach the top spot, but they are in many cases even more well-known than the number one singles from the list of Lambert and Bashin.
America by Simon and Garfunkel
This highlight from the duo’s Bookends album refers to Mrs. Wagner Pies, which the couple eat while on the bus counting the cars on the New Jersey Turnpike.
Ballad of Alferd Packer by Phil Ochs
The title character served as a mountain guide who, after getting trapped in a snow storm, resorted to cannibalism to survive. Ochs imagines that the guy spends much of his eighteen year sentence dreaming of Duncan Hines.
I Shall Be Free by Bob Dylan
Before the onset of his rock career, Dylan recorded several folk songs in the talking blues style of his idol Woody Guthrie. This one from the Freewheelin’ record jokes that the singer knew the great granddaughter of Mr. Clean.
Now I’m a Farmer by the Who
Pete Townshend satirizes the government interference in the farm industry on this track from Odds and Sods, wondering if with incentives someone would grow a large enough crop to make enough corn flakes to last New York until 1993 (or twenty years from the date of the song).
Rapper’s Delight by the Sugar Hill Gang
The first rap song to gain airplay on mainstream radio stations, this catchy tune features verses by Wonder Mike, Hank and Master Gee. Mike is the one who seeks relief from Kaopectate after a miserable meal at a friend’s house.
Therapy by Loudon Wainwright
This title track has the folk singer parodying the benefits of counseling sessions, offering a big box of Kleenex for the one hour appointment.
Planet of Weeds by Fountain of Wayne
Chris Collingwood dreams of a far away place where everyone lies around in peace, watching movies and munching on Doritos.
Big Shot by Billy Joel
The Piano Man drills a materialistic ex in this hit from 52nd Street, sarcastically admitting that “They were all impressed with your Halston Dress.”
Driver Education by Indigo Girls
This delicious track from Poseidon and the Bitter Bug mentions a delicious product as well, the classic Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup.
Freeze Frame by Godley and Crème
This duo started out with 10cc before breaking through on their own with the smash video for “Cry,” and later this title track that uses Thermos as a metaphor for love.