Happy New Year everyone!
As I was looking back on 2011, it struck me that some of the year's catchiest songs had a little something in common: whistling. Here are four songs that I believe best exhibit the little ol' whistle's mainstream success last year:
Pumped Up Kicks - This song was a breakthrough and a commercial hit for indie rockers Foster the People in 2011. Not only is it a cool, calm & catchy song, but the bridge features a lovely whistled sing-along to the tune of the chorus, (you hear it approximately 3 minutes in). With Pumped Up Kicks peaking at Number 3 on the US charts, it's safe to say that Foster the People achieved great success in 2011. I'm very, very happy to hear a West Coast indie band on the radio. Great job, guys.
It Girl -This mid-tempo R&B ballad hit the airwaves as a successful follow up to Derulo's massive hit Whatcha Say. Released last August, It Girl opens with what can only be described as a whistle-while-you-work melody. The "oh oh oh oh" chant-along after the chorus also features the same whistled melody at the song's introduction. It Girl become Jason Derulo's 5th Top 5 hit in the UK.
I Wanna Go - Britney's third single is one of my favorite songs off of Femme Fatale, featuring a very sexy (& funny) music video (quick, run from the cyborg paparazzi!). On it, Britney sings "shame on me / to need release" over an infectious whistled chorus. Produced by hit-makers Shellback & Max Martin, I Wanna Go peaked at number 7 on America's Billboard charts. I always wondered why no one chose this song as her first single instead of Hold It Against Me, but hey! Nevertheless, I Wanna Go is a keeper.
Moves Like Jagger - Anyone with a radio knows that this song stalked the airwaves in 2011. Like It Girl, Moves Like Jagger opens with a whistled introduction over a guitar riff, eventually erupting into a massive, pulsating bassline like only Benny Blanco can give us. The big POW moment comes, of course, when Christina Aguilera belts out the bridge. It's POP, it's rock, it's funky, & yes, a wee bit annoying - but Moves Like Jagger was born to be a hit. Love it or hate it, we simply cannot imagine it without the signature whistled hook.
So there we have it, the whistle. Gimmick or genius? We think it depends on the song in question. That said, there's nothing like a good song to whistle along to - & 2011 gave us quite a few of them.