It was a year of dubstep, saxophones, and Spotify, but another trend seeped into the music world. Indie and major, across all nations, saw 2011 embracing the instrument we all have inside of us–well, most of us–the whistle. Here’s the top songs employing this age-old pastime of the year.
14. “The Lazy Song” Bruno Mars — The carefree vibe of whistling is undeniable and no track perhaps embodies this better than Bruno Mars’ “The Lazy Song.” Interchanging genius lyrics (“I’ll be lounging on the couch, just chillin’ in my Snuggie”) with a whistle hook, makes the ukulele-driven single a hit, but perhaps listeners thought it a little too carefree. His previous two singles both went No. 1, but “Lazy” went No. 4. (Music Video)
13. “Simple Girl” Dale Earnheart Jr. Jr. — You may have missed this one in 2011, but the song (and its accompanying music video) are both top notch. Duo Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. created the cute and catchy “Simple Girl” with whistling along with earworms of harmonies and vocal hooks making it a song you don’t want to start 2012 without if you’re digging the trend. (Music Video)
12. “Different” Ximena Sariñana — The whistle even made its way to Mexican singer and actress Ximena Sariñana’s ears leading her to employ in the first single off her self-titled English/Spanish album. With upbeat horns and Sariñana’s smooth vocal stylings, the whistle fits perfectly and makes for a song you can’t help but move your feet to a little bit. Or maybe your entire body. There’s no telling what the whistle may do to you. (Music Video)
11. “It Girl” Jason DeRulo — DeRulo claims he’s “I’ve been lookin’ under rocks, and breaking locks,” on “It Girl.” Believable as throughout his career it seems he’s always on the lookout for for a catchy hook whether that’s vocal or instrumental samples. He nails it on this track by singing over whistling on the chorus making it available for singers and whistlers alike! How sweet. (Music Video)
10. “The Whistle Song” Chiddy Bang — Rap was also embracing the whistle this year with rap duo Chiddy Bang making it an entire chorus for a mixtape track. Off of their “Peanut Butter & Swelly” mixtape (available for free download here), the rappers made the second track on the tape a song dedicated to the trend with “The Whistle Song.” We can’t think of any rap song you can actually whistle (prove us wrong in the comments), but this track is the closest thing you got. (Audio)
9. “Easy Mind” TVXQ — Even K-Pop couldn’t stay away from the whistle! One of South Korea’s biggest groups, male duo TVXQ, included a high energy whistle hook to kick off their album track “Easy Mind.” Whether you can understand the words or not, the feel-good energy of this track is undeniable. (Audio)
8. “I Wanna Go” Britney Spears — Perhaps the strangest production to add a whistle in, “I Wanna Go” is straight up electro-pop. With the bionic sounding Spears, the whistle hook is perhaps the best part of the song as it’s the most human-sounding part. Radio ate this one up similarly to how it did with “Moves Like Jagger” which both boast a thumping bass. (Music Video)
7. “Can See Miles” I’m From Barcelona — Songs don’t get more feel good than “Can See Miles” by I’m From Barcelona. Right from the opening “oohs” it sounds like there’s a whistling birdie accompanying the song-and it works! The nice lyrics are a nice compliment too, “You got to stay true to your heart. Don’t let them get to you.” Whistle of approvals all around! (Audio)
6. “I Like How It Feels” Enrique Iglesias featuring Pitbull & The WAV.s — Throw two men always up on the latest trends + an up and coming production duo and you can’t expect anything but a hit. That’s exactly what you’ll get on “I Like How It Feels” by Enrique Iglesias, Pitbull, and The WAV.s. Watch a catchy whistle on chorus grow into a huge anthem-like roar, the only viable reason this song isn’t hogging radio waves can only be that Enrique’s record label must have forgotten to send this to the radio stations. Maybe it was just too trendy. (Music Video)
5. “Don’t Kick The Chair” Dia Frampton featuring Kid Cudi — On this positive track taken from her debut “Red” album, Kid Cudi joins her for a quirky song that wouldn’t sound out of place on the Foster The People record, making it even better than we hear some whistles as the beginning and on Kudi’s verses. If she takes a look at this list, we expect this to be a future single. (Audio)
4. “Good Life” OneRepublic — Before hitting the chorus on this OneRepublic hit, Ryan Tedder sings “Please tell me, what there’s to complain about,” making the carefree whistling the appropriate accompaniment to the track. This Top 10 summer smash flooded airwaves during the season making it the perfect sing-a-long for roadtrips and hikes alike from “Paris to China to Colorado.” (Music Video)
3. “Love Out Of Lust” Lykke Li — Swedish darling Lykke Li crafted her folky-pop album Wounded Ryhmes around stories and confessions about moving into adulthood. “Love Out Of Lust” is a track that perfectly embodies the message of the album, and the backdrop of whistling on the chorus gives the song a mood that proves Lykke knows something the other 25 year-olds don’t. (Audio)
2. “Pumped Up Kicks” Foster The People — One of the biggest surprise hits of the year came from Foster The People. With a genre all their own, a whistle was thrown in on the bridge just to make the song a little more unique. It almost felt like FTP were giving us an easier way to sing the song to ourselves if we felt singing “you better run, better run, outrun my gun” was a little inappropriate on the sidewalk. (Music Video)
1. “Moves Like Jagger” Maroon 5 & Christina Aguilera — Ah, the whistle that we couldn’t get away from in 2011. Taking their hit TV show “The Voice” to premiere track in late June, the track ended up hitting No. 1 in September and spent four non-consecutive weeks at the top. Over strumming guitars, electro-pop builds, and Adam Levine and Christina Aguilera’s crooning, it was the whistle that stayed consistent throughout the track giving the other excellent moments of the song a nice centerpiece. The track is nominated for “Best Pop Duo/Group Performance” at the upcmoing Grammy Awards…hands down, “Jagger” takes the cake and catchiest whistle of the year. (Music Video)
Which song do you think had the catchiest whistle of 2011? Will it continue to be just as present in 2012? Hear the tracks in this Spotify playlist I’ve created for you here!