I consider myself something of a pop music expert. I know as much about pop music as @PFTCommenter knows about football. So when the #worstsongbracket was published I was confident in my ability to top the charts, as it were. Imagine my surprise when just a few days into the contest I received this message from one of the commissioners:

By the Stink 16, I was mathematically eliminated from winning or even finishing out of the Bottom Ten. Here’s the reality: I can’t and won’t handicap the remaining match-ups, and only a fool would follow my advice. Clearly I am neither a knowledgeable critic of modern pop music nor a modern poppa. Any skill I might have once had expired when John Bonham expired.

Rather than trying to convince the masses that the Spice Girls and Barenaked Ladies made good pop music, I must yield to the masses. And what better measure of the masses is there than Billboard’s “chart”: The Greatest Adult Pop Song Artists of All Time?

While I apparently cannot distinguish between good and bad songs, radio play don’t lie. The greatest adult pop artist of all time (after 1996, because that’s when Billboard started it, so pretty close to the bracket cutoff) is… you know what, it’s just not that simple.


Of course we must eliminate from Billboard’s radio-play list those performers who made the field of 68 in the #worstsongbracket. That would leave us with a definitive ranking of contemporary artists who are not only highly popular, but also rarely mocked.

Goodbye #3 Train, goodbye #4 Nickelback. See you later #11 Lifehouse and #12 John Mayer. Ditto for #17 Bruno Mars and #22 Avril Lavigne (“Grenade” and “I’m With You” are lost in the awfulness of the singers’ #worstsongbracket entries). Smash Mouth and Sugar Ray will not be saved by their #28 and #29 rankings on the Billboard list. #35 Creed and #39 Dave Matthews Band (bum rap!) are calling Peter Thiel right now to pursue their case. #41 fun. take their strangely-fitting pants and go home, as does #45 Uncle Kracker. We’ve chopped a dozen pretenders off Billboard’s 50-artist list and are left with the undeniable Top 38.


Well, that argument falls apart right off the bat, as the #1 artist on Billboard’s list is responsible for 76 different mockworthy variations of dreck such as Moves Like Jagger, which offsets the merit of some of their earlier work. I cannot let that stand. I must consider the pop music tastes of the (m)asses.

So then, what if we eliminated all of the artists who were nominated but not selected for the #worstsongbracket? Under a Freedom Of Information Act request I was able to access a heavily redacted copy of the nominations from NSS’s and RM’s FBI file. Those of you who nominated “Smooth Criminal,” “Poker Face,” and “Papa Don’t Preach” — I won’t say the feds know who you are, but the feds totally know who you are. In all, seven artists were demoted due to the demands of you, the people. They are the top 2 acts of Billboard’s chart, Maroon Matchbox Twenty5; #13 Rob Thomas and #26 Santana, because one of you monsters hates “Smooth,”; #38 Lady Gaga; #40 Green Day; and #43 Celine Dion.


We’ve cut 19 unworthy contenders from Billboard’s Greatest of All-Time Adult Pop Song Artists, including the top four. Based on science, we can now say with high confidence that the Greatest of All-Time is ...

not something I care to discuss anymore. I mean, really, the top 4 based on radio play are Maroon 5, Matchbox Twenty, Train, and Nickelback. MAROON 5, MATCHBOX TWENTY, TRAIN, AND NICKELBACK! Who’s responsible for these decisions?


I’m sorry if you read this far hoping to learn the answer. I don’t want to break your heart, but the real reason I wrote all this was so I could play for you a bunch of good songs by good artists, all called “Heartbreaker.”

Led Zeppelin

Rolling Stones

Pat Benatar

Dionne Warwick

Dolly Parton


wait a second...


That’s the answer. After eliminating all of the candidates rejected by the #WorstSongBracket fans and contestants, the Greatest of All-Time Adult Pop Song Artists is ... Pink. If you got this far, good for you. Let’s hear your favorite guilty pleasures in the comments.