Songs With Whispering
Songs with whispering are different than songs about a whisper (like George Michael’s “Careless Whisper”). For this song list, we’re focusing on songs where the singer whispers the lyrics or includes a recorded clip of whispering for effect.
We’ve chosen our ten favorite songs with whispering and present them to you here. Take a listen and be sure to check out the list at the bottom of the page for even more selections.
The best songs with whispering in them
These are some of the most popular songs with whispering vocals included in them. The whispering effect stands out (like most ASMR sounds) and gives each song a unique quality not often found in popular music.
Classic rock songs with whispering
1.) I’m Not In Love by 10cc
Album: The Original Soundtrack
The hypnotic, dreamy sound of 10cc’s “I’m Not In Love” comes from chord loops and multi-track vocals built upon each other. But what makes this song one of our favorite on this list is the whispered phrase, “Be quiet, big boys don’t cry,” repeated over and over throughout the song.
The band used their recording studio’s secretary to voice the breathy line—one of the better examples of misheard lyrics in popular music.
Many pop-radio listeners in the 1970s—without the benefit of the internet to know for sure—were left wondering what exactly was said. To many it sounded like something completely different, like “Be quiet, requesting quiet” or “Be quiet, be poised and quiet.”
2.) Breathe by Pink Floyd
Album: The Dark Side of the Moon
Pink Floyd’s “The Dark Side of the Moon” album catapulted the band to prog-rock superstardom and became one of the best-selling albums of all time.
The concept album explores themes like life, death, and mental illness. Lead guitarist David Gilmour confirmed the whispers that are heard throughout the album are reflective of former bandmate Syd Barrett’s struggles with sanity.
Many of the voices woven into and between the lyrics come from prerecorded sessions of roadies, staff, and studio employees answering a series of existential questions.
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3.) Angie by The Rolling Stones
Album: Goat’s Head Soup
The Stones departed from their typical sound with the acoustic ballad “Angie,” the first single from the Goat’s Head Soup album.
Rumors abound about the possible identity of Angie among fans of the song. Speculation ranges from David Bowie’s wife to Keith Richard’s daughter. Whoever it is, Mick Jaggers sings to her, “Let me whisper in your ear, Angie, Angie”—whispering her name.
“Angie” reached number 1 on the U.S. charts and number 5 in the U.K.
What is ASMR?
ASMR stands for autonomous sensory meridian response, a fancy way of describing that tingling sensation when you hear certain sounds like whispering, fire crackling, or paper tearing.
The relaxing, sedative feeling usually begins around the scalp and moves down the back of the neck. Some people report a mildly euphoric reaction to the stimulus.
Alternative songs with whispering
4.) It’s Oh So Quiet by Björk
Icelandic pixie Björk scored her biggest hit in the UK with “It’s Oh So Quiet.” The song is a remake originally performed by Betty Hutton in 1948 called “Blow A Fuse.”
From her whispered “It’s oh so quiet, shhh, shhh…” to belting out “You ring the bell…,” Björk’s dramatic vocal range is perfectly suited for this song’s broadway show-tunes styling.
Ironically, Björk was only able to speak in a whisper at the Spike Jonze-led video shoot for the song because of a fever.
5.) Lullaby by The Cure
In “Lullaby,” lead singer Robert Smith paints a dark vision inspired by his childhood nightmare of being eaten by a giant spider. The song’s title also reflects his memory of lullabies his father sang to him that all seemed to have tragic endings.
He sings in an eerie whisper, “…the spiderman is having me for dinner tonight.”
The song reached number five in the U.K., becoming the Cure’s highest-placed single. In the U.S. it hit number 74 on the charts.
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Pop / Hip hop songs
6.) Problem by Ariana Grande, featuring Iggy Azalea
Album: My Everything
Ariana Grande teamed up with Iggy Azalea in this ode to the perils of renewing an old relationship. The connection to her real-life relationship with an ex added to the energy of the song.
“In the song, it ends on a sappy, negative note, but in [real] life, we’re hoping it’s going to end on a positive one,” she told Billboard. “I feel like it’s all very honest and human.”
Throughout the song, rapper Big Sean whispers the line “I got one less problem without ya” between Grande’s powerful vocals.
The hit song rose to number 1 on Billboard’s Hot 100 in the U.K. and number 2 in the U.S.
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7.) Justify My Love by Madonna
Album: The Immaculate Collection
Madonna mostly whispers the steamy lyrics in “Justify My Love,” one of two new songs released on her greatest-hits compilation album The Immaculate Collection.
The video for the song caused a stir because of partial nudity by a female dancer; MTV banned it from their programming. Ever pushing the boundaries of sexuality, Madonna maintained the women in her videos are always in control.
The song peaked at number one on the Billboard Hot 100—her ninth number-one single—and number two in the U.K.
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8.) Mellow Yellow by Donovan
Album: Mellow Yellow
Donovan’s “Mellow Yellow” reflects the drug-influenced 1960s vibe perfectly. But the singer insists the tune is simply about calmness and reflection through meditation.
At the time, he and other musicians like The Beatles were interested in meditation and it is reflected in many of their songs.
Donovan delivers the whispered line “Quite rightly” throughout the song as an answer to the lyric, “They call me Mellow Yellow.”
The song is one of the Scottish artist’s biggest hits, reaching number 2 on the U.S. charts and number 8 in the U.K.
9.) Too Much Time On My Hands by Styx
Album: Paradise Theater
“Too Much Time On My Hands” is the only song on Styx’s album Paradise Theater that doesn’t follow the theme. The band’s intended concept was to follow the life of the namesake Paradise Theater in Chicago from prominence to destruction.
The song also stood out on the band’s only number one album for it’s unusual ending. Lead-singer Tommy Shaw wraps it up by whispering the song’s title as the song ends with a ticking clock and finally an alarm going off.
The release of the song coincided with the rise of MTV in 1981, which played the song’s video repeatedly. It reached number nine on the U.S. chart that year.
10.) True Colors by Cyndi Lauper
Album: True Colors
Cyndi Lauper sings “True Colors” with a sensitivity for the AIDS crisis that took over the world’s conscience in the 1980s. After a good friend of hers died of the disease, she felt the best approach to the vocals was a whisper.
“I realized it had to be a voice that whispers to you. A voice that’s almost childlike so it will speak to the softest, most gentle part of a human being,” she expressed to 60 Minutes. “It’s a voice whispering to you, telling you it’s going to be OK.”
Her song rose to number one in the U.S. and number 12 on the U.K. chart.
More songs with whispering
Here’s a list of additional songs that feature whispering:
- Ice Ice Baby by Vanilla Ice
- Blister in the Sun by Violent Femmes
- Everlong by Foo Fighters
- Fame by David Bowie
- It’s All About The Benjamins by Puff Daddy
- Can You Keep a Secret by De La Soul
- Last Dance by The Cure
- Are You Hung Up? by The Mothers Of Invention
- In The Closet by Michael Jackson
- Good Night by The Beatles
- Nothing Has Been Proved by Pet Shop Boys
- Under Ice by Kate Bush
- Like a Rolling Stone by Spirit
- The Downward Spiral by Nine Inch Nails
- Isn’t It a Pity by Nina Simone
- Medellin by Madonna
- 9 P.M. (Till I Come) by ATB
- Happy Xmas (War Is Over) by John Lennon
- Estranged by Guns N’ Roses
- If Six Was Nine by Jimi Hendrix
- Wait (Whisper Song) by Ying Yang Twins
- Dying by Hole
- Private Investigations by Dire Straits
- The Breeze Whispered Your Name by Isobel Campbell
- The Look of Love by Dusty Springfield
- Straight To Hell by The Clash
- Careful With That Axe, Eugene by Pink Floyd
- Come Together by The Beatles
- The Wind by PJ Harvey
- Kind of… Sometimes… Maybe by Jessie Ware
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