I hate when people say white people have no culture like, um, try again sweetie
White people love all types of music, but there is a certain type of song that resonates much deeper with us. I’ve been white my entire life, and I can confirm that there is a secret playlist of songs that will get a family gathering or bar in Boston lit instantaneously. It has to have an anthemic, sing-along chorus, it has to have some nostalgia value, and there have to be guitars involved.
Even though us whites still listen to popular music and rap music (or as most white dad’s call it “(C)rap, I just don’t get the cursing and yelling, it’s too repetitive”) we all share an unspoken bond with the list of songs below. Turn on any of these and watch us white people dance. And by ‘dance’ I mean awkwardly gyrate our hips, squint our eyes closed, and make no attempt whatsoever at moving with the beat. Fellow crackers, these are our anthems.
Margaritaville – Jimmy Buffet (or literally any Jimmy Buffet Song)
When every white person hits 40, we start loving tiki bars, Hawaiian print shirts, and sunglasses that wrap tightly around our heads. It’s at this point in every white man’s life where he has to choose the pair of New Balances that he’s going to wear until he dies (because ‘they’re comfortable’ and ‘I don’t have time to shop’) and every white woman gets a dude haircut and ends up looking like their husband because ‘It’s easier to maintain’.
Jimmy Buffet popularized a lifestyle that used to be lived solely by Floridians with warrants hiding out in the Keys. ‘Margaritaville’ is definitely his most well-known hit but all of his songs sound exactly the same so take your pick. Getting older is depressing, but when you hear the siren song of steel drums, ukeleles, and acoustic guitars blasting these milquetoast lullabies, it makes everything OK.
Journey – Don’t Stop Believin’
This is THE quintessential “bar is closing” song (right behind “closing time” by Semisonic). It could also be the “wedding is now over” song. It’s most effective when people are near-blackout drunk. If you play it when sober most white people will act too cool for it or “sick” of it. But if you spin this record at the end of the night you’ll experience the loudest, most boisterous chorus of off-key voices you’ve ever heard.
Creep – Radiohead
This is the depressed, self-loathing anthem of white people who experienced the 90s. It represents the unexplainable shame, guilt, and anxiety that comes from being a white person. There are countless 90s sing-a-longs about being super depressed and outcast but this one stands out because it’s universally beloved throughout the Caucasian nation. Put this on at any house party and watch all the white people stand up like the Manchurian candidate and start singing along.
Say it ain’t so – Weezer
Being sad is a white national pastime, and this song is the national anthem. The building crescendo of sadness is intoxicating, white people love songs with a good build, and singing this with friends has a cathartic effect. One time I was on a boat when our Bluetooth speaker died and our group was able to sing the whole thing acapella. Whiteness aside, it’s also the best breakup song I’ve ever heard.
Sweet Caroline – Neil Diamond
God dammit I hate this song. It’s the only one on this list that I absolutely cannot stand. I get douche chills when this comes on at a baseball game or bar. Not because of Neil Diamond, although he’s awful, but because I’m ashamed what I’m about to do. Despite how much I hate it I’m GONS’T to mime the trombone with the BWAAA-BWAAA-BWAAAAAAA and echo “So good! So good! So good!”
Wagon Wheel – Old Crow Medicine Show
I actually remember a time when this song was new and exciting to me. There are countless versions including one by Darius Rucker AKA Hootie minus the blowfish, but the Old Crow Medicine Show one is by far the best and most recognizable. I was probably one of the last white people arriving at the Wagon Wheel party, but once I arrived I took to it like a fish to water. It has the perfect balance of being whimsically southern without drifting into subtle racism.
Wonderwall – Oasis
No acoustic guitar is safe from a drunken rendition of this song. This is the sing-a-long song for any white person born after 1980. It’s melancholy, it’s bland, and the lyrics are easy to memorize – the pale skin trifecta.
Most white people, myself included, have memories from their younger days of being too drunk with your arm around a friend, talking about how awesome the song is and how cool it is to be friends and how “What’s the story morning glory?” was such a good album, dude, imagine how good they would’ve been if they stayed together. Fuck, man.
Smash Mouth – All Star
The lead singer of Smash Mouth AKA Guy Fieri with a chin strap created the most infuriatingly catchy song in history. Just hearing the some-BODY will keep it stuck in your head all day. Its infamy comes from it being included on a bunch soundtracks for early 2000s movies (Mystery Men, Shrek, Rat Race) and being one of the most popular memes of all time.
Livin’ on a Prayer – Bon Jovi
Ahh yes, Jon Bon Jovi, the poor man’s Bruce Springsteen. Bon Jovi specializes in the poppy, universal sing-along anthems that Bruce lacks (besides the abominable, droning slog and political rally favorite “Born in the U.S.A.”). Like cotton candy, JBJ’s music is pointless fluff but man is it delicious. “Livin’ on a prayer” is his masterpiece and the song most likely to get chanted at a college basketball game.
Mr. Bright Side – The Killers
Oh man, this song has it all. Self-deprecation, break-up lyrics, and a very long chorus that’s easily memorized and repeated. Hot Fuss was the anthem of a generation, a cultural tidal wave for the white community, and this was the most famous anthem. This is the song yelled out by white kids in college these days as a “throwback” and it will be used as a mating call for us Caucasians drunk at the bar for generations to come.