Popular (3:47)

Cover of High/Low

From High/Low and 41 other releases

Popular is Nada Surf’s first radio single, released in June 1996. Each of the verses in Popular presents, in spoken word format, sarcastic advice to teens. Initially offered in a calm, deadpan voice, the lyrics gradually build Kinison-style in teen angst and rage.

The song reached number 11 on the U.S. Billboard Modern Rock Tracks chart and propelled the album to number 63 on the Billboard 200. Popular was also a big hit in France, reaching the Top 10 with a total chart run of 15 consecutive weeks in the French Top 50. It was also used in France in a TV commercial for the radio station Fun Radio, which was then the most influential radio station among teenagers.

The whole song, except for the chorus, is made of parts of a book, Penny’s Guide to Teen-Age Charm and Popularity (Gloria Winters, 1964, Prentice Hall), whose advice are taken sarcastically by Matthew Caws. Those parts are spoken, and not sung.

A rerecorded version from 2007 appears on the band’s MySpace.

Video and controversy

The video for this song, directed by Jesse Peretz, was shot at the Bayonne High School, with administration approval, and showed football players and cheerleaders, wearing the uniforms of the school, as well as the three members of the band, Matthew as a teacher, Daniel as a security guard, and Ira as the football coach.


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three important rules for breaking up
don't put off breaking up when you know you want to
prolonging the situation only makes it worse
tell him honestly simply kindly but firmly

MetroLyrics Full lyrics at MetroLyrics


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  • FoolmeThrice

    Pretty cool

    28 May 1:35pm Reply
  • 3901

    Excerpts are from a legitimate published dating tips book in 1964. The intent is sarcastic but it's fairly correct. Call me pessimistic, but the cliques, superficiality & relationship ideas remain similar (even after high-school). On the positive side of things, it's undoubtedly homoeroticism in the official music video when the football player walks into the shower room and winks! ;)

    23 Feb 4:45am Reply
  • mrpaul01

    Bullshit to this being their only good song. It's awesome and clearly different, but still a great band.

    1 Feb 7:12pm Reply
  • accidentXprone

    i literally laughed out loud at "kinison-style" in the description

    23 May 2014 Reply
  • azureamethyst

    so great AND makes me crack up, a+

    16 May 2014 Reply
  • MonawkaAdjika

    the only good song from this band! the only but GREAT

    4 Mar 2014 Reply
  • Tattoo_golf

    One of my ALL TIME Favorites. I could watch the video forever.....

    14 Apr 2013 Reply
  • ohnoshelby

    New metal? Metal? New? [2]

    18 Mar 2013 Reply
  • DreaMagine

    I haven't listened to this song in many many years, but I remember watching the music video on Much Music.

    1 Mar 2013 Reply
  • robkjporter

    "the only good new metal song"? New metal? Metal? New?

    3 Jan 2013 Reply
  • lll__

    my mom says i'm a catch.

    17 Dec 2012 Reply
  • Jay_Butters

    nostalgia WOW

    5 Dec 2012 Reply
  • maddsurgeon

    This one still cracks me up. Classic.

    3 Jul 2012 Reply
  • CodeFarmer

    Once..every two weeks! [3] (You're so novel)

    29 Jun 2012 Reply
  • StephanePG

    Wash your hair at least Once..every two weeks! [2] :D

    3 Mar 2012 Reply
  • ThereIsBearCum

    their one and only good song

    25 Feb 2012 Reply
  • sundaymars

    "Prolonging the situation only makes it worse"

    15 Feb 2012 Reply


    9 Feb 2012 Reply
  • puppyhand

    My mom says I'm a catch.

    19 Jan 2012 Reply
  • andyisdead

    the only good new metal song

    28 Dec 2011 Reply
  • All 134 shouts

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