United States of Whatever
|"United States of Whatever"|
|Single by Liam Lynch|
|from the album Fake Songs|
|Released||November 25, 2002|
|Genre||Comedy rock, punk rock|
|Length||1:26 (original version)|
2:04 (extended version)
"United States of Whatever" is a song by American musician Liam Lynch. The song was released as the first single from his album Fake Songs (2003) in 2002. The improvised song was written by Lynch himself. "United States of Whatever" is a comedy rock song that revolves around Lynch dismissively shouting "Whatever!" to various people.
The song received mostly positive reviews from music critics who praised its humor and its take on American youth. It reached number ten on the UK Singles Chart, and until 2007 was the shortest song to appear on the chart. As of 12 December 2018 it is still the shortest single to reach the Top 10. The song has spawned various parodies, and Lynch has performed the song with artists like Tony Kanal, Adrian Young and Foo Fighters.
Background and composition
"United States of Whatever" was solely written by Liam Lynch. Lynch has stated that the song was improvised and recorded in a single take. The song is performed in a punk rock and surf rock style. Its basic structure consists of two power-chord riffs played by an overdriven distorted bass guitar. The song begins with a dismissive "whatever", and each verse describes a short encounter with a person which abruptly ends with Lynch dismissing the person with the word. The chorus proclaims: "This is my United States of whatever!" He also dismisses people he should not ignore for his own well-being, such as a street thug and a police officer. The final verse describes an encounter with Zafo, a character from the TV series The Sifl and Olly Show, created by Lynch. Breaking the lyrical structure of the song, Zafo is spared the disparaging remark.
The song debuted on a 1999 episode of The Sifl and Olly Show, where it is shown being performed by Olly, a character on the show voiced by Lynch.
While reviewing Fake Songs MacKenzie Wilson of the website Allmusic specifically praised "United States of Whatever", describing it as a "sock-puppet favorite" and "an absolute standout that crassly makes fun of American youth in its own self-deprecating kind of way." The review also noted that the British music publication NME named it as a "Single of the Week" in 2002. English disc jockey Steve Lamacq named it "the greatest single of 2002".
The song first attracted commercial popularity when it started appearing on the request charts on Los Angeles radio station KROQ after the song was leaked from a British import of The Sifl and Olly Show. The track was burned onto a CD-R, which was sent to the station. A physical single was eventually released on November 25, 2002. Following its CD single release, the song became a hit, debuting at number ten on the UK Singles Chart on the chart week of December 7, 2002. At 1 minutes and 26 seconds in length, it held the record for the shortest single to enter the UK Singles Chart before the record was beaten by the shorter singles "Spider Pig" by Hans Zimmer and "The Ladies' Bras" by Jonny Trunk and Wisbey, which hit the charts within three weeks of each other in 2007. It debuted at number six on the Australian ARIA Singles Chart on the chart week of June 8, 2003, staying in the top ten of the chart for a total of six weeks. The song also managed to hit the singles charts of Belgium, the Netherlands and New Zealand. The song was later included on Lynch's album Fake Songs (2003).
Live performances and parodies
Lynch performed the song with bassist Tony Kanal and drummer Adrian Young, both members of rock band No Doubt, on an episode of the American late-night television talk and variety show The Late Late Show with Craig Kilborn. In 2003, Lynch performed the song with American rock band Foo Fighters at one of their concerts.
The song is played weekly on the Charlottesville, Virginia radio station WWWV as a part of their "Friday Freakout" segment. It was used in an advertisement for the 2003 video game Tony Hawk's Underground and was used in a video of behind-the-scenes content from the 2006 comedy film Clerks II.
A version of the song called the "Bush Remix" was popular during the administration of President George W. Bush. The song's lyrics reflect the then-President's cavalier attitude towards his decision to go to war with Iraq, and also throws barbs at Russian leader Vladimir Putin, the late terrorist Osama bin Laden and the late North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il.
All tracks written by Liam Lynch.
|UK CD single|
|1.||"United States of Whatever"||1:26|
|2.||"United States of Whatever" (Extended Version)||2:04|
|Belgium (Ultratop Flanders)||13|
|Netherlands (Mega Single Top 100)||78|
|New Zealand (RIANZ)||14|
|UK Singles (Official Charts Company)||10|
|US Alternative Songs (Billboard)||34|
- Lynch, Liam (2003). Fake Songs (Compact Disc). Liam Lynch. S-Curve Records.
- Wilson, MacKenzie. "Fake Songs - Liam Lynch". Allmusic. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved July 13, 2012.
- Ducker, Eric (2015-03-26). "United States Of... Whatever Happened To Liam Lynch?". theguardian.com. The Guardian. Retrieved 2017-03-17.
- United States of Whatever (UK single, CD). Liam Lynch. United Kingdom: Global Warming Records. 2002.CS1 maint: others (link)
- "2002-12-07 Top 40 Official UK Singles Archive". The Official Charts Company. Retrieved July 13, 2012.
- Paine, Andre (August 31, 2007). "'Ladies' Bras' Hold U.K. Chart Record". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved July 13, 2012.
- "Liam Lynch - United States of Whatever". australian-charts.com. Hung Medien. Retrieved July 13, 2012.
- "Liam Lynch - United States of Whatever". ultratop.be. Hung Medien. Retrieved July 13, 2012.
- "Liam Lynch - United States of Whatever". dutchcharts.nl. Hung Medien. Retrieved July 13, 2012.
- "Liam Lynch - United States of Whatever". charts.org.nz. Hung Medien. Retrieved July 13, 2012.
- "Liam Lynch Album & Song Chart History: Alternative Songs". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved July 13, 2012.