The 15 Greatest Songs About Money Ever Written

The 15 Greatest Songs About Money Ever Written

In pop music today, it seems like every song has to talk about heartbreak, intoxication or…you guessed it…money. Whether it’s cynical or celebratory, about having too little or too much, money is always giving us reason to sing. And seeing as Trim is an app that helps people with everyday financial matters, not romance, we figured we’d make a list of the ten greatest songs ever written about money. From classic rock to contemporary hip-hop, we’ve got you covered:

1. The O’Jays – For the Love of Money

That opening baseline and the “Money, money, money, money…MONEY!” has become a modern anthem for anyone who’s hustling to make a buck, but if you listen closely, you’ll realize this one-hit wonder is actually singing about the corrupting influence of cash: “I know money is the root of all evil / Do funny things to some people / Give me a nickel, brother can you spare a dime? / Money can drive some people out of their minds.”

2. James Brown – Money Won’t Change You

From “I’ve Got Money” to “I’m a Greedy Man,” the Godfather of Soul always had a word or two to say about money. But instead of telling us to worry about our wallets and teaching us how to save, the hardest working man in show business uses this song to say that “Money won’t change you / But time will take you on.”

3. ABBA – Money, Money, Money

ABBA’s lead singer, Agnetha Fältskog, probably didn’t think all that much about how to save money during wedding season, since she was so busy fantasizing about the life she’d lead if she could just find a rich man to marry – “If I got me a wealthy man, I wouldn’t have to work at all, I’d fool around and have a ball.”

4. Pink Floyd – Money

With the sounds of pouring coins and cash registers clamoring in the background, Pink Floyd croons about the selfishness that money brings out in all of us. This one gets extra points for being written in 7-beat measures, rather than sticking to a conventional 4/4 time signature.

5. Kanye West – Gold Digger

Kanye really flipped the script on this one. Sampling Ray Charles’s “I Got a Woman,” this hit from 2005 features Jamie Foxx, who plays Ray in the self-titled biopic, on vocals. But instead of singing about the lady who “gives me money when I’m in need,” as the original does, Foxx belts about a woman who “takes my money when I’m in need.”

6. Kendrick Lamar – Money Trees

Today he’s one of the most successful hip-hop artists around, but it was his second studio album Good Kid, M.A.A.D. City, that established him as the unabashedly articulate rapper we now know so well: “And I been hustlin’ all day, this a-way, that a-way / Through canals and alleyways, just to say / Money trees is the perfect place for shade, and that’s just how I feel.”

7. The Beatles – You Never Give Me Your Money

No Best Songs list would be complete without at least one Beatles tune. This song talks about the struggles that come with being young and broke, and offers an early glimpse at FOMO and how it can convince us to squander our hard-earned cash: “Out of college, money spent / See no future, pay no rent / All the money’s gone.”

8. Destiny’s Child – Bills, Bills, Bills

Before lead singer Beyoncé became a billionaire with her husband Jay Z, it seems like she was dealing with financial troubles of her own. In this track, she laments a boyfriend who is “making me pay for things your money should be handling.” Beyoncé shows off her knowledge about credit scores, too, when she reprimands her boyfriend for “giving me bad credit / buying me gifts with my own ends.”

9. Shania Twain – Ka-Ching!

Like some of this list’s other songs, this masterpiece by the Canadian singer-songwriter warns us about the dangers of a culture that’s steeped in materialism. She reminds us that the desire to spend money is just a distraction, and she implies that spending frivolously should be avoided at all costs: “We’ve created us a credit card mess / We spend the money that we don’t possess / Our religion is to go and blow it all / So it’s shopping every Sunday at the mall / All we ever want is more / A lot more than we had before / So take me to the nearest store.”

10. Erykah Badu – Turn Me Away (Get MuNNY)

With a thick baseline backing her up, Badu’s sultry voice tells the object of her affection that she won’t accept no for an answer. But instead of addressing a man, Badu seems to be singing to someone (or something) else entirely: “I look like a model / I’ll do what I gotta / To stay in the runnin / Cause I want you, munny / Gimme some / I’ll be the one backstage /  ’cause munny I want you bad.”

11. The Who – Did You Steal My Money?

The song opens with a chorus of whispers asking the song’s titular question, as the lead singer, Roger Daltrey, wakes up “on broken glass” after a night of drunken debauchery. He realizes that his wallet is missing, and he wonders if his date from the night before took advantage of him as he was passed out. The saxophone belts deep, the harmonica saunters along, and Daltrey asks aloud: “Did you search me? Did you turn me over while I cold-turkeyed on the sofa?”

12. Tom Waits – Step Right Up

A salesman enters. He grumbles a little, and he gives the sneaky snare drum a few seconds to tip-toe over the walking base. And then, Tom Waits begins making his epic pitch for a product that can literally do anything and everything. He jams as many catchy slogans as he can into these five minutes and 40 seconds of titillating advertisement, telling people to “Act now, and receive as our gift to you, they come in all colors, one size fits all!” Of course, there are terms and conditions that might make anyone think twice about the fictional product, but the song’s powerful groove makes it hard for us to say no. With his parting words, Waits speaks the mind of every company that’s secretly trying to rip us off: “You got it, buddy, the large print giveth, and the small print taketh away.”

13. Lady Gaga – Money, Honey

Gaga uses this song to celebrate her decadent lifestyle and all the luxuries she can afford now that she has so much money to spend – she gushes over the jet, the mansion and her “trips to the islands.” But in the end, she recognizes that wealth isn’t the most important force in her life. Instead, it’s the love in her life that brings true fulfillment: “You know I appreciate the finer things / But it’s not what makes me happiest, baby (I can do without it, babe) / Your tender loving’s more than I can handle/ Never burn out this candle, baby.”

14. Cardi B – Money

Cardi B’s new single and its extremely raunchy music video have been making serious waves in the music industry ever since their release in late 2018. But unlike a lot of the other artists on this list, Cardi B uses her music to say that money is really all that matters in life. She raps about her lavish lifestyle and all the luxuries she can afford, boasting her accomplishments for the world to see: “I was born to flex / Diamonds on my neck / I like boardin’ jets, I like mornin’ sex / But nothing in this world that I like more than checks / All I really wanna see is the money.”

15. Gwen Stefani – If I Was a Rich Girl

Like so many of us, Gwen Stefani couldn’t help but wonder what life would be like if she had unlimited funds. She visualizes the clothes, the mansions and the glamor that all the money in the world could bring. But in the end, Stefani comes to recognize that love, not finances, are what carry her through the world: “All the riches baby, won’t mean anything / All the riches baby, won’t bring what your love can bring / All the riches baby, won’t mean anything / Don’t need no other baby / Your lovin’ is better than gold, and I know.”

If you’re still hankering for a complete playlist that focuses on all things financial, here are five more songs about money that we can’t stop listening to:

Donna Summer – She Works Hard for the Money

Funkadelic – Funky Dollar Bill

AC/DC – Money Talks

Cher – When the Money’s Gone

Tom Petty – Money Becomes King

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