Writing about money has meant I notice it a little more in everyday life. After seeing Dee-1 perform recently, it got me thinking: What other songs are there about money that you wouldn’t hear on the radio? I prompted this questions to friends and family and filled out a list of 9 songs that are all crazy catchy.
1) Dee-1 – Sallie Mae Back
At Fincon this past year, I was lucky enough to see Dee-1 perform a few of his songs. If you haven’t heard about him, he has an extremely interesting story. He was a middle school math teacher but realized he could connect with more kids with music. He started rapping and hasn’t looked back.
One of the songs he performed live was Sallie Mae Back – a way too catchy song about the euphoria of paying off a student loan.
2) Jonathan Coulton – Till the Money Comes
If you ever played Portal, the mind-bending video game, you may remember the song Still Alive. Coulton has been on the map for his somewhat nerdy and underground songs like Skullcrusher Mountain, Code Money, and Ikea, but he also has a fun tongue-in-cheek song about money that is as catchy as anything else he’s created.
3) Poppy – Money
What can I (or should I) say about Poppy? Going down the route to understanding this video and her, in general, is a rabbit hole. Videos on her channel are odd in a way unlike other things, but yet somehow I want to watch more. As someone who likes both art and things that I can’t fully understand, it’s fun hearing theories about her origin. The song is way more catchy than it should be for an awkward Youtube channel.
4) Dee-1 – No Car Note
This is another one Dee-1 performed at FinCon 2017. The stage was swarmed with people dancing along and chanting “NO NOTE!”. Songs about paying off student loan debt and not having a car payment? This guy knows what I like.
5) Fiddler on the Roof – If I Were a Rich Man
I’m a huge fan of musical theater. One of the catchiest songs from one of the longest-running musicals is about money. Fiddler is set in Russia in 1905 following a poor milkman and his 5 daughters. In this song, Tevya is talking directly to the audience about all the ways his life would be better if only he had a little more money (a common theme for songs on this list).
I was a huge No Doubt fan in high school. Seeing Gwen Stefani take a popular song from a musical and turn it into a pop song is pretty awesome. You probably did hear Rich Girl on the radio, but it’s worth a mention alongside it’s inspiration.
6) Stephin Merrit – Sounds Expensive
Stephin Merrit is my favorite musician. Last December, we traveled up to New York to see him perform live on two consecutive nights. As a musician, he’s unique. He has bands for every genre he performs in – The Magnetic Fields, Future Bible Heroes, The Gothic Archies, The 6ths. That’s not to mention show tunes he’s written for musicals. One of these show tunes was for a musical version of a 1699 Chinese story titled Peach Blossom Fan which tells the collapse of the Ming Dynasty told through the eyes of a scholar and a courtesan.
7) Tom Lehrer – Selling Out
Tom Lehrer’s blend of political humor set to catchy music stands the test of time. When I first discovered Poisoning Pigeons In The Park I immediately listened to every song he’d ever sung on repeat for a month. Sadly there are only a few dozen, but each is a gem of witty lyrics and memorable hooks.
8) Portugal the Man – Rich Friends
Portugal the Man‘s Feel it Still has been getting crazy heavy play recently, but Rich Friends hasn’t gotten enough attention. It doesn’t hurt that the video stars Glenn Howerton (Dennis from It’s Always Sunny).
9) Abba – Money, Money, Money
I have a confession to make: I love Abba. Whew, OK, it’s good to get that off my chest. Did you know they’re actually making a Mamma Mia! 2? The tone of the song is oddly similar to Fiddler, but with the full Swedish Pop treatment. Although this one would likely be heard on the radio at some point, it was too perfect not to include it here.
What are some other songs about or related to money?