Cars have a strong place in popular culture. From movies to TV shows and even music, if you’re in your car with the radio on, there’s a strong chance you’re listening to music that references cars.
But what are the most-referenced car brands in popular music? Carwow has crunched the lyrics to find out what car makes are the most-referenced in popular music. It did so by analysing the words of songs from the top 100 Billboard Hotlist artists of 2018.
Motors and Music: Popular car brands and popular tunes
Carwow found over 1,300 individual mentions across the songs of the Billboard hotlist artists. Of those 100 artists, 87 made mention of specific car brands. But what brands are they singing/rapping/mumbling about? Here’s the top ten…
We begin with the Range Rover – a well-known status symbol. It has 42 mentions in lyrics across the top 100 artists. One that springs to mind is in Closer by The Chainsmokers, though to some older listeners, it might not refer to a Range Rover specifically…
“So baby pull me closer in the back seat of your Rover” – did Alan Partridge write these lyrics? More likely they refer to a Velar or Vogue, rather than a 600 or an 800…
Ford (56) and Honda (74) are curious ones in ninth and eighth. They’re not quite the status symbol marques you might expect. It’s easy to think of cars like the Fiesta, Focus and Civic, rather than the Mustang, GT and NSX.
Cadillac (93), Rolls-Royce (94) and Ferrari (108) in seventh, sixth and fifth make an awful lot more sense. These are a trio of very differently flavoured, but similarly aspirational brands.
The Escalade truck was hugely popular with rappers in the early 2000s, while Ariana Grande has a song titled Cadillac. Rolls Royce is perhaps the ultimate status symbol. You’ll see why Drake’s lyric “Park the Benz just to ride the Wraith” is ironic by the end of the list.
As for Ferrari, in her song Ferrari, Bebe Rexha claims “I am a Ferrari, pulled off on Mulholland drive”. We recommend the Stelvio pass as an alternative, Bebe, though you might want to swap the Portofino in your video out for a 488 Pista.
An interloper among the exotics on this list is Jeep (113). While it is a bit more utilitarian, it’s also a solid lifestyle brand, with a rugged adventurous image. Crystal Fighters have a song called Boomin’ in your Jeep. There’s even a parody pop song by The Lonely Island called Things in my Jeep.
Now we’re into the big time. Without further delay, the top three are Lamborghini (132), Bentley (170) and Mercedes-Benz (407). What a monster jump that is for Merc, in spite of Drake parking “the Benz just to ride the Wraith”. Bentley’s been enjoying a lot of airtime of late, with R&B superstar Post Malone including the marque in the title of his album.
In fact, Post is a bit of a petrolhead, if his lyrics are anything. He repeatedly mentions G Wagens, “750 Lambos” and even the McLaren 720S. Lamborghini has had some airtime with The Weeknd too, with the R&B artist singing about his “Roadster SV”.
As for what genres talk about cars the most, its rap (49 percent) followed by pop (26 percent) followed by Country (17 percent) followed by R&B (8 percent).
“Cars have long been a status symbol so it’s easy to see why songwriters use them as shorthand for the kind of luxury life successful musicians are living, and the one listeners aspire to,” said Vix Leyton at Carwow.
“In terms of modern charts, artists in hip hop and rap are more likely to flash the cash, making up the top 10, and it’s no surprise to see Kanye West making the list.
“What is interesting is seeing Mercedes Benz, a comparatively affordable and realistically aspirational car in comparison to others on the list, far outranked other manufacturers such as Ferrari or Lamborghini. Prestige is not always something you have to be a millionaire to get, and some brands have a heritage worth more than their price tag.”