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The Best and Worst Songs That Have Been Certified Diamond

“Bad Romance” by Lady Gaga is a perfect pop song.

bad romance lady gaga music video


“Bad Romance” was certified diamond on May 29, 2015.

Lady Gaga/YouTube


At the end of the aughts, Lady Gaga was the jolt of eccentric, unapologetic, unforgettable energy that top-40 radio needed, even if some people — 13-year-old me included — didn’t quite “get it” yet.

Over time, many of Gaga’s hit singles have been rightly exalted as the stuff of pop genius. This is especially true of “Bad Romance,” which became the fourth song in history to be certified diamond in 2015. “Gaga, ooh-la-la,” indeed.

“Uptown Funk” by Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars is an irresistible banger that doesn’t take itself too seriously.

bruno mars uptown funk music video


“Uptown Funk” was certified diamond on October 18, 2016.

Mark Ronson/YouTube


“Uptown Funk” is Mark Ronson’s finest work, second only to Amy Winehouse’s “Back to Black.”

The producer has a knack for blending funk rock, blues, and pop, as well as choosing collaborators who see his vision — and nobody could sell the silly brilliance of “Uptown Funk” like Bruno Mars.

Lorde’s “Royals” has inspired hordes of alt-pop copycats.

lorde royals music video


“Royals” was certified diamond on December 8, 2017.



At the time of its release, Lorde’s breakout hit was praised for blending earworm melodies, minimalist production, and sharp cultural commentary — so sharp that people couldn’t believe a 15-year-old girl wrote the lyrics. The rumors about Lorde falsifying her age were so rampant, The Hairpin dug up and published her birth certificate to prove she was still a teenager.

Over a decade later, “Royals” still sounds as fresh, topical, and intelligent as ever.

Although it isn’t Lorde’s best song (that honor belongs to “Ribs,” or possibly “The Lourve,” or maybe even “Stoned at the Nail Salon”), its influence on the landscape of pop is undeniable.

“Bohemian Rhapsody” by Queen is the best diamond-certified song, hands down.

bohemian rhapsody queen


“Bohemian Rhapsody” was certified diamond on March 25, 2021.



How does one describe the chaotic magic of “Bohemian Rhapsody?” The song defies language, just as its commercial success defies logic. It’s an absurd, six-minute single that invokes the devil and doesn’t have a chorus. If you’ve seen the Oscar-winning film that shares its name, you’ll know that Queen’s team didn’t even want to release it. And yet, everyone knows what you mean if you shout, “Bismillah, no! We will not let you go!”

“Bohemian Rhapsody” logged nine consecutive weeks at No. 1 on the UK chart in 1975 and continues to enchant and delight the masses, earning its diamond certification more than four decades after its release.

“Sorry” changed the trajectory of Justin Bieber’s career.

justin bieber sorry music video


“Sorry” was certified diamond on March 29, 2021.

Justin Bieber/YouTube


For all of Justin Bieber’s flops and missteps in recent years, “Sorry” endures as his crowning achievement, rivaled only by “Baby,” another diamond-certified smash.

But where “Baby” is controversial, “Sorry” is beloved. The maximalist dance-floor anthem, produced by BloodPop and Skrillex, near-singlehandedly revitalized Bieber’s career and solidified his place as an adult pop star, following years of failed attempts to shake off his childhood reputation.

Nicki Minaj’s “Super Bass” paved the way for rappers with pop appeal.

nicki minaj super bass music video


“Super Bass” was certified diamond on November 9, 2021.

Nicki Minaj/YouTube


Ask Nicki Minaj and she’ll tell you, over and over, that she paved the way for an entire generation of female rappers. Ask any music critic and they’ll tell you it wouldn’t have been possible without “Super Bass.”

The one “for the boys with the booming system” took pop radio by storm, allowing Minaj to achieve unprecedented crossover success and creating a blueprint for future hits, from “Starships” to Doja Cat’s “Say So.”

“I Will Always Love You” by Whitney Houston is arguably the best love song of all time.

whitney houston i will always love you


“I Will Always Love You” was certified diamond on January 12, 2022.

Whitney Houston/YouTube


Whitney Houston is an undeniable force and “I Will Always Love You” speaks for itself. It’s a classic because it’s classic.

Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” is one of the most celebrated songs in history.

michael jackson thriller


“Thriller” was certified diamond on August 29, 2022.

Michael Jackson/YouTube


“Michael Jackson’s ‘Thriller’ changed the trajectory of music,” Joe Vogel wrote in 2007 when the album was added to the Library of Congress’s National Recording Registry. It’s still known as the best-selling album of all time.

Of course, the titular track played a huge role in that success. “Thriller” is the album’s centerpiece, its mini blockbuster with a game-changing visual to match; in 2009, “Thriller” became the first music video to be inducted into the Library of Congress’s National Film Registry.

Indeed, there is no shortage of feats to verify the song’s impact. Most impressive, perhaps, is that it kicks off with a wolf howling, but has never been exiled to the corny Halloween genre. No average pop star could pull that off.

Kid Cudi’s “Pursuit of Happiness (Nightmare)” never gets old.

kid cudi pursuit of happiness music video


“Pursuit of Happiness (Nightmare)” was certified diamond on December 15, 2022.

Kid Cudi/YouTube


Back in the 2000s, who would’ve said that Kid Cudi, MGMT, and Ratatat would make an Avengers-level dream team? But when their collaboration arrived just before the turn of the decade, it felt like something close to destiny, as though it sprung from our collective subconscious.

Despite its then-strange blend of electronic rock, psychedelia, and hip-hop, “Pursuit of Happiness” took no convincing to love. It burrowed itself into pop culture and never left.

Billie Eilish’s “Bad Guy” is an anthem for a new generation.

billie eilish bad guy


“Bad Guy” was certified diamond on July 31, 2023.

Billie Eilish/YouTube


“Bad Guy” is one of the newest songs to earn a diamond award, but that’s just a testament to its immediacy.

Billie Eilish’s signature song is also one of the most bizarre, creative, and hypnotic pop hits in recent memory. Eilish’s sarcastic drawl solidified her as a tastemaker, and the Australian crosswalk-inspired hook turned Finneas O’Connell into an in-demand superproducer overnight. The duo has gone on to smash records, sweep the Grammys, and win an Oscar.

“Baby Shark” has no business being diamond-certified.

baby shark music video


“Baby Shark” was certified diamond on November 5, 2020.



I respect that “Baby Shark” is a useful distraction for parents with young kids, but there’s no reason why this grating tune should be in the same elite tier as songs like “Bohemian Rhapsody,” “I Will Always Love You,” and “Thriller.”

If it’s a catchy, inoffensive bop that your kid needs, try “Call Me Maybe” by Carly Rae Jepsen or the “Encanto” soundtrack or literally anything else.

“When I Was Your Man” by Bruno Mars is a standard ballad that lacks charisma.

bruno mars when i was your man music video


“When I Was Your Man” was certified diamond on May 21, 2021.

Bruno Mars/YouTube


Bruno Mars has the second-most diamond-certified songs of any artist in history, largely thanks to his old-school charm, a flair for funky hooks, and cross-generational appeal.

But surely one of those record-setting songs didn’t need to be “When I Was Your Man,” a cloying, by-the-numbers ballad that has none of Mars’  usual swagger — and all the usual excuses made by men who can’t appreciate a woman until she’s gone. Yes, you should have bought her flowers.

“Girls Like You” by Maroon 5 feels both corny and insincere.

maroon 5 girls like you music video


“Girls Like You” was certified diamond on November 29, 2021.

Maroon 5/YouTube


“Girls Like You” was already a hollow, performative mess. Adam Levine spends more than three minutes crooning about how he needs a “girl like you” without ever explaining why he admires her, who she is, or what she’s like — except that she “loves fun” and she “takes his shit.”

But now, given the recent revelations about Levine’s extramarital activities and prepubescent-level flirting, it’s downright unlistenable.

“Something Just Like This” by The Chainsmokers and Coldplay is an unimaginative bore.

chris martin something just like this


“Something Just Like This” was certified diamond on November 2, 2022.

The Chainsmokers/YouTube


As if we needed cold, hard proof that Chris Martin sold out for the cash and the clout, he decided to team up with The Chainsmokers, EDM’s resident frat bros, for one of the duo’s least creative songs to date.

They didn’t even bother to create a new hook for “Something Just Like This” — it’s sampled from their 2015 hit “Roses.”

Long gone are the days of “Yellow” and “Clocks.” May Coldplay’s reputation rest in peace.

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