Free to Be: Musings on "Whatever"

By Amy Wagner on October 8, 2013

Anyone who knows me well will tell you that one of my absolute favorite songs is “Whatever” by Oasis. Released as a stand-alone single (not initially available on any album) in December 1994, it’s a lavish song, clocking in at 6:21. It also features a beautiful and elegant string arrangement by the London Philharmonic Orchestra, marking it the first of many Oasis songs to have a dominant string arrangement. “Whatever” is widely recognized by many fans and music critics to be not only one of Oasis’ most under-appreciated songs, but also one of their best.

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But that’s only a partial explanation of why I’m so fond of it. The biggest reason is the lyrics: “I’m free to be whatever I/Whatever I choose/And I’ll sing the blues if I want/I’m free to say whatever I/Whatever I like/If it’s wrong or right it’s alright.” Many songs in Oasis’ catalog have a similar message of living life as one pleases, but in my opinion, “Whatever’” trumps them all. You might be saying to yourself, “But those lyrics are so simple and straightforward…they’re almost too simple!”  You would be right. The lyrics are far from complicated, but that doesn’t stop this song from being one of the most profound and moving that I’ve ever had the pleasure of hearing. (Apparently Coca-Cola thought so as well – they used a remix of the song, powerfully sung by a children’s choir, in their 125th anniversary commercial.)

In the words of Yuppee Magazine, an online platform for young journalists, this amazing song “reflects a principle that is integral to any attitude for a new era.” It is truly an encouraging, uplifting song that will inspire almost anyone to go out into the world and live the life that he or she wants. The definition of “inspire,” according to by Merriam-Webster, is “to exert an animating, enlivening, or exalting influence.” Thus, in every sense of the word, “Whatever” is a genuinely inspiring song, as it influences one to live freely, without constraint, and according to one’s own wishes.

Oasis has since broken up, but when former lead guitarist and principal songwriter Noel Gallagher first played the song for the rest of the band, they instantly knew it was a hit. Former rhythm guitarist Paul Arthurs recalled during a 2011 interview that “Noel had shown us ‘Whatever’ very early on and it freaked my head out. It was brilliant.” But don’t take my word for it. Listen to the full version and let the uncomplicated lyrics, skillful strings, and motivating message inspire you.

Amy is a third-year student at the University of Denver majoring in Communication Studies, with concentrations in organizational and intercultural communication, as well as minoring in business and international studies. She is a Colorado native, avid reader, coffee drinker, lover of all things active, and now, thanks to Uloop, a writer.

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