Popular music is a strange beast.
It's beautifully crafted sounds, subconsciously catchy beats, memorable lyrics (sometimes, as good music doesn't need to have vocals)... and when that rare song is magically injected into our cultural center, (today, that's something like our "social media") we now have something that's practically 'tangible' even if we cannot physically hold it.
A popular song connects us by letting us use it to encapsulate our personal experiences-- that we can now more easily share. A popular song is the "short-code" to expressing our inner feelings. And that's why we made "mix-tapes" to give to our love interests, when people still used tape recorders. Then we graduated to burning CD tracks... and now we just blast out playlists on our social networks, which is easy to make, even though that's not very romantic.
It'd be nice to go back to the "boom box" (some people used the derogatory term, "ghetto blaster") era, where a lot of "heavy-lifting" was involved to make the perfect, romantic mix-tape. Or even jump back to an era before recorded music. Where it's just you and a guitar (or lyre), and a handful of songs to serenade under your lover's window by moonlight.
Popular music is also a gauge for our nation's current fashions and cultural sentiments. Just watch ANY TV show targeted at the teens and young adult demographics. Music is heavily and strategically programmed into these shows, to appeal to the tastes and consciousness of this generation; because teens and young adults use music to IDENTIFY and CLASSIFY themselves. All the cool kids know all the cool songs. And who doesn't want to be one of the cool kids?
So, if you don't know the current music trends, you're "uninformed."
You're NOT cool... and you're most definitely NOT "hip."
So what's with all the excessive whining on some of today's popular songs? What's with the Australian musician Gotye (say, Goat-ee-yay) having the number one song in the country, according to the Billboard charts? The top song in the U.S. is called "Somebody That I Used to Know" and it really is a well-crafted and quite unforgettable song. But it's also highly "whiny," if you pay attention to the lyrics, and the communicated sentiment.
Maybe the songs that artists are singing, the songs that we choose to constantly listen to, correlates with how we are 'feeling' as a community. As a country. We have complaints. We are deep in woe. Maybe we've become too used to having things as we like them. And when times change, and things are not as they were before, we just publicly whine about it.
Wah...wah...waaah! (Wipes away a tear.)
Below you'll find a short list of popular but whiny songs I frequently hear on the airwaves, and which I have put on the list of "whiniest" songs. Again, I think some of these songs are musically excellent, and I can overlook the whining... but then some of the other songs I just CANNOT stand, as the lyrics are just plain stupid! (And the song doesn't fit my requirements of a well-crafted song.)
But that's my opinion, and only an opinion.
But, as I always experience when I do DJ gigs at large public gatherings, there's always a few people who have to put their two-cents in to the music playlist. Because everyone is their OWN musical expert, and everyone's own personal taste in music is always superior to their fellow listeners... especially superior to the DJ's.
But having a perceived superior knowledge of obscure music, or an encyclopedic record of trivial music details does not make a party more lively. And sometimes I'll play the suggestions from these "experts," and we quickly learn why popular music is popular, and why an "expert's" music usually remains obscure.
It's better that good songs are shared by one for discovery by others, for simple pleasure, and free of aristocracy. You don't have to be an expert to share a song you like. That's the real beauty of music. It's completely personal as well as social; and we should appreciate that there's a cornucopia of musical genres that have an even greater variety of fans. And fortunately for us (here in the U.S.), we all have the individual freedom to listen to what we want to, regardless if we are musical experts or not. And we will use this music to express our thoughts and emotions, regardless if it's a whiny song or not.
If this list reminds you of other WHINY songs you have heard, a recent hit or a pop classic, please feel free to ADD YOUR WHINY SONGS in the COMMENTS!
Some of the Whiniest Songs Heard Recently on Popular Radio
1. Gotye - "Somebody That I Used To Know" (featuring Kimbra)
I believe the reason this song is so popular may be that many of us have all been in Gotye's (Goatee-Yay's) boat, once deep in love with somebody, then unceremoniously discarded from that person's life.
(lyrics from "Somebody That I Used To Know" )
"But you didn't have to cut me off
Make out like it never happened and that we were nothing
And I don't even need your love
But you treat me like a stranger and I feel so rough
No you didn't have to stoop so low
Have your friends collect your records and then change your number
I guess that I don't need that though
Now you're just somebody that I used to know"
I'm sure many of you have whined something like this in your life, right after your break-up.
2. Foo Fighters - "These Days"
The 'Foo Fighter' sings like he really wishes bad things to happen to someone he obviously envies. "These Days" is a super whiny song, sung partly in a 'cheerful' way, then in an crazy, angry way!
(lyrics from "These Days")
"Easy for you to say
Your heart has never been broken
Your pride has never been stolen
Not yet not yet
One of these days
I bet your heart'll be broken
I bet your pride'll be stolen
I bet I bet I bet I bet
One of these days
One of these days"
I don't think crazy things like this about people, so I don't feel the whiny sentiment. But I'm sure there are others that feel wronged and want this sort of crazy "justice."
(Which reminds me, I just watched this video of some guy destroying a town in a bullet-proof bulldozer. I think that guy could relate to this song.)
3. Adele - "Someone Like You"
And wouldn't you know, another song about heartbreak makes this list. Almost all of Adele's songs have a whiny tone, when the songs are referencing her sorry love life.
(lyrics from "Someone Like You")
"Never mind, I'll find someone like you
I wish nothing but the best for you too
Don't forget me, I beg
I remember you said,
"Sometimes it lasts in love but sometimes it hurts instead,
Sometimes it lasts in love but sometimes it hurts instead, "
This following Adele song is not immediately seen as a "whiner," but the evidence is all there!
4. Adele - "Rolling In The Deep"
(lyrics from Adele's "Rolling In The Deep")
"The scars of your love remind me of us
They keep me thinking that we almost had it all
The scars of your love, they leave me breathless
I can't help feeling
We could have had it all
(Your're gonna wish you never had met me)
Rolling in the deep
(Tears are gonna fall, rolling in the deep)
You had my heart inside of your hand
(You're gonna wish you never had met me)
And you played it to the beat
(Tears are gonna fall, rolling in the deep)"
Wah...wah...wah... it's like fierce whining.
5. Lit - "My Own Worst Enemy"
Now this song is STUPID WHINY! It's from a one-hit-wonder band called "Lit."
(FYI- I initially googled the song and many thought it was sung by Blink-182. So I drew them as the artists for the song, instead of this lame band. I'll just stick with the Blink-182 drawing, as they both sing whiny songs, and most people couldn't tell the difference anyway.)
I actually dislike this song. It's a song about a drunk idiot who knows what he did, but won't take responsibility for his stupid actions. Boo-hoo!
(from "My Own Worst Enemy")
"Can we forget about the things
I said when I was drunk
I didn't mean to call you that
I can't remember what was said
Or what you threw at me
Please tell me
Please tell me why
My car is in the front yard
And I'm sleeping with my clothes on
I came through the window
And you're gone
Actually, in this particular song, the singer is not even singing... he's whining a complete song! Wah! Wah! Wah! (Wipes away tears.) This is full-on, Pansy-Ass-Alt-Rock whining.
6. Eminem - "Love the Way You Lie"
Eminem is the role model for angry whiny rappers. Most people probably think his songs are just angry, but if you listen carefully to the lyrics, you'll hear the evident whine.
Lately Eminem has been featuring people who can actually sing alongside him while he angrily raps (like Rihanna, who appears on this song), because I think he knows that these true musical hooks help him 're-package' his tired, bitter raps. And maybe it's also a form of anger management for Eminem.
(lyrics from "Love the Way You Lie")
"Come back, it wasn't you, baby it was me
Maybe our relationship, isn't as crazy as it seems
Maybe that's what happens when a tornado meets a volcano
All I know is I love you too much, to walk away though"
7. Linkin Park - "Burn It Down"
I don't know who imitated who, but Linkin Park also mixes 'sung' lyrics with rapping, like Eminem does. The main difference is that Linkin Park is considered a sort of "Alternative Rock" band (maybe it's the mixing 'rapping with heavy electric guitars' part that labels them that) and that they have a guy who can actually sing, in their band. I haven't personally heard Eminem sing; but if he has only rapped in all of his songs, that probably means he doesn't sing.
Funny, most of Linkin Park's most popular songs are these strange 'ballad'-like song parts that are counter-balanced with 'frat-boy-style' rapping, where the lyrics usually dwell on physical and emotional destruction.
(lyrics from "Burn It Down")
"You told me yes
You held me high
And I believed when you told that lie
I played soldier, you played king
And struck me down, when I kissed that ring
You lost that right, to hold that crown
I built you up, but you let me down
So when you fall, I'll take my turn
And fan the flames
As your blazes burn"
Looky here! Another Linkin Park song about doom and destruction! Doom and destruction is a definite Linkin Park signature.
8. Linkin Park - "In The End"
(lyrics from "In The End")
"In spite of the way you were mocking me
Acting like I was part of your property
Remembering all the times you fought with me
I’m surprised it got so (far)
Things aren’t the way they were before
You wouldn’t even recognize me anymore
Not that you knew me back then
But it all comes back to me
In the end"
9. Bruno Mars - "Grenade"
Bruno Mars isn't really known for being a whiner, as his songs go from complete lovey-dovey romantic ballads to the casual, catchy, and sometimes comedic pieces. This one has the ingredients to be a classic whiner, as the protagonist complains about a one-sided love relationship.
(lyrics from "Grenade")
"I would go through all this pain
Take a bullet straight through my brain
Yes I would die for you baby
But you won't do the same
No, you won't do the same
You wouldn't do the same
Ooh, you'd never do the same
Oh, no no no"
10. Incubus - "Promises, Promises"
Not only is this Incubus song silly, but the lyrics are what an incoherent whiner would likely say. I know many people enjoy this particular song, but I think the songwriting is trying TOO hard to be "deep."
(lyrics from "Promises, Promises")
"I'm on the road of least resistance
I'd rather give up than give into this
So promise me only one thing, would you?
Just don't ever make me promises..
No promises, no promises
I've never done this before
I'm enjoying the illusion
And the things my body says"
Promise... to make me ...no promises!
I'm enjoying the illusion and the things my body says!
Wah! Wah! Wah! So deep, Incubus... so deeeeeeeep!
11. Cee Lo Green - "Forget You"
There's actually two versions of this song, the f-word version, and this one. But both versions share the same general sentiment... The letter "F" and the letter "U!" I think we have ALL felt this whiny sentiment, and not just occasionally!
(lyrics from "Forget You")
"I see you driving 'round town
With the girl I love and I'm like,
Oo, oo, ooo
I guess the change in my pocket
Wasn't enough I'm like,
And forget her too!"
And the closer to this popular Cee Lo song, which basically 'breaks down' to real cry-baby whining!
(lyrics from "Forget You")
"Uh! Whhhy? Uh! Whhhy? Uh!
Whhhy baby? Oh! I love you oh!
I still love you. Oooh!"
Now, that's a legitimate Whiner!
And if you're offended by anything in this article, (I'm looking at you, Incubus, Lit and Blink-182 fans) well... "Forget" YOU.
(What are your whiners? Post them in the comments!)
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