10 Essential Whistlecore Classics

February 19, 2014 by Scott Heisel

10 Essential Whistlecore Classics

MIXTAPES - “Bad Parts”

This slab of peppy, ’90s-esque pop-punk features a simplistic, memorable guitar lead that’s mimicked by a whistle, but only briefly in the song’s second verse. It’s the kind of accoutrement that you take notice of just after it ends, then you wait for the rest of the song to hopefully hear it again, only to be disappointed because that part never comes back. Plus side: It gives you a reason to play the track again! (Ordinary Silence; No Sleep, 2013)

NK - “Vacation Days”

NK’s debut album, Nothing To Be Gained Here, is a wild ride of stylistic fusion, from grunge to funk to smooth, jazzy pop—the latter of which is found in spades on “Vacation Days.” Frontman Ryan Hunter’s vocals bounce around high in his register as a rubber-band bassline moves the track forward. And of course, we can’t forget about the chorus, which is vocal-free, save for the crucial whistling part. (Nothing To Be Gained Here; Triple Crown, 2013)

PETER BJORN AND JOHN - “Young Folks”

This is probably the first song that came to mind when reading the subject of this list, and with good reason: The whistle lead in “Young Folks” is as ubiquitous as they come, a descending melody that’s instantly wedged in your brain from the first time you hear it. Of course, you likely heard it many, many other times, as the song has been featured in dozens of TV shows, movies, video games and commercials—plus it’s seemingly the in-store soundtrack to every Urban Outfitters in existence. (Writer’s Block; Almost Gold, 2007)

TWIN FORKS - “Cross My Mind”

There’s no doubt Chris Carrabba is a professional songwriter: His new band, Twin Forks, come primed with a dozen cutesy folk-pop songs that are the definition of polished. The best of the bunch is “Cross My Mind,” with its memorable whistle-and-mandolin hook. Odds are this song will soundtrack a car commercial within three months. And we’re entirely okay with that. (Twin Forks; Dine Alone, 2014)

THE VANDALS - “My Girlfriend’s Dead”

SoCal punk jokers the Vandals have made a career out of being pleasantly offensive. (Their 1996 Christmas album Oi! To The World is a staple in this writer’s household during the holiday season.) So how do you make a song about getting dumped by your girlfriend—then lying and telling your friends she died when they ask about her—even more memorable? Simple: Whistling! (Hitler Bad, Vandals Good; Nitro, 1998)

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