The Millennial Whoop: Why you keep falling for those lame pop songs
Once people grow a little bit older, they like to complain that pop music today is trash and it sounds all the same. If they really want to up the ante and sound a thousand years old it will come out like “Youths! all their singers sound like Rihanna!” while they clutch their Pablo Honey mixtapes and first generation iPods.
Well, it turns out their seasoned ears aren’t wrong after all. Everything does sound the same and it’s all thanks to a particular set of notes making a sequence that we can now call: The Millennial Whoop.
What’s the Millennial Whoop?
When I first heard the name I was ready to hate read one more article criticizing our generation for another generic trait baby boomers have deemed reprehensible, and I’m sure that as you read this a bunch of them are furiously complaining about the Millennial Whoop as some sort of threat on the traditional societal values (Edited to say: in the two hours it took us to finish our Millennial Whoop theme song and get back to the articles, at least 350 articles have popped up accusing the Millennial Whoop as the end of all mankind as we know it) .
We all know how wholesome families used to be
Still let’s cherish these few seconds before the New York Times makes its entire staff write think pieces about it and it turns into one more thing others can rant about and rejoice in its completely neutral meaning. From the guy who found it himself:
“It’s a sequence of notes that alternates between the fifth and third notes of a major scale, typically starting on the fifth. The rhythm is usually straight 8th-notes, but it may start on the downbeat or on the upbeat in different songs. A singer usually belts these notes with an “Oh” phoneme, often in a “Wa-oh-wa-oh” pattern. And it is in so many pop songs it’s criminal.”
It’s on a ridiculous amount of songs, you probably recognize it as that sound that makes you feel excited and ready pop the collar of your polo shirt if you’re a douchebro, or reminiscence about Zooey Deschanel’s bang before she went mainstream if you’re a hipster. It’s there to cause exactly that kind of effect. It’s so familiar that makes us feel comforted and “at home”. Like coming home from spring break and finally sleeping in your bed rather than the futons of all your random encounters. It’s so versatile you can hear the endless wa-oh-wa-oh equally in break up songs, make up songs, happy songs, passive aggressive songs, and jingles. The Millennium Whoops will find us no matter what.
Need to hear it?
Here’s a very thorough video explaining the phenomenon, but keep in mind that once you take a look you’ll hear literally everyone, even your dog will start barking in a Millennial Whoop kind of sequence:
Basically, it’s everywhere. Even if you’re too cool for Katy Perry and Carly Rae Jepsen or repeated offender Arianna Grande, you can still find it on Team Me songs, The Lumineers, and even the short lived hyper obscure band Tap Tap used it. Dig deep enough and I’m sure we could even find an Interpol song with the Millennial Whoop on it. And if you want your gothic heart shattered to pieces: Robert Smith has done it. In fact, it’s so easy to replicate, the guys from Lonely Island just used it for a parody song of a Bieberesque tween idol.
Need to unhear it? Here’s a palate cleanser
For the sake of research (and because everyone else is compiling lists of songs that have it) I went ahead and compiled a list of songs that lack Millennial Whooping… and are probably considered insanely old just because they’re all at least 5 years old. Let’s give a chance to all those little underdogs we ignored because they weren’t enough oh oh woo’s in them:
Death Cab for Cutie - Cath...
Full disclosure: Ben Gibbard sounds like he’s doing the Millennial Whoop even when he’s just breathing. And this is probably their only song without it.
Lorde - Tennis Court
Modest Mouse - Ocean Breaths Salty
Cause you can always count on Seattleites to be too indie for trends.
The Libertines - Up The Bracket
Metric - Gold Guns Girls
Non Millennial Whoop (X gen whoop?) around the 3 minute mark.
Amy Winehouse - Tears Dry On Their Own
Depending on your personal preferences you can insert here a joke about how she was so talented she didn’t needed or how she was probably to stone to realize everyone else was doing it.
Stars - Your Ex Lover is Dead
Trigger warning: Don’t listen to this if you’ve been recently dumped. We don’t want to be responsible for any backslides.
We sincerely hope that was enough to take your mind off all that whooping that’s now in your mind. You are free to go look for it on all your favorite records or you can help us create our Millennial Whoop free space down in the comments.