"What's Up" as written by and Linda Perry....
Twenty-five years and my life is still
Trying to get that great big hill of hope
For a destination

I realized quickly when I knew I should
That the world was made up of this brotherhod of man
For whatever that means

And so I cry sometimes
When I'm lying in bed Just to get it all out
What's in my head
And I, I am feeling a little peculiar

And so I wake in the morning
And I step outside
And I take a deep breath and I get real high
And I scream from the top of my lungs
What's going on?

And I say, hey yeah yeah, hey yeah yeah
I said hey, what's going on?

And I say, hey yeah yeah, hey yeah yeah
I said hey, what's going on?

Oh, oh oh
Oh, oh oh

And I try, oh my god do I try
I try all the time, in this institution

And I pray, oh my god do I pray
I pray every single day
For a revolution.

And so I cry sometimes
When I'm lying bed
Just to get it all out
What's in my head
And I, I am feeling a little peculiar

And so I wake in the morning
And I step outside
And I take a deep breath and I get real high
And I scream from the top of my lungs
What's going on?

And I say, hey hey hey hey
I said hey, what's going on?

And I say, hey hey hey hey
I said hey, what's going on?

And I say, hey hey hey hey
I said hey, what's going on?

And I say, hey hey hey hey
I said hey, what's going on?

Oh, oh oh oh

Twenty-five years and my life is still
Trying to get that great big hill of hope
For a destination


Lyrics submitted by redmax

"What's Up?" as written by Linda Perry

Lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

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What's Up song meanings
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51 Comments

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  • +7
    General CommentThere's no way that "institution refers to a mental institution. She's referring to the political/economic/social institutions that make everything so fucked up. She's not just praying for a revolution in the mind by any means. She means a real fucking revolution, where shit is gonna actually change for once. Pretty straightforward, I thought. Awesome song though. Absolutely fantastic.
    Skaman2on April 14, 2006   Link
  • +7
    General CommentIt's about being fed up with the messed up way the world /society operates.. and crying out for change. She "wakes up", steps outside, and yells at the top of her lungs -- she's wants everyone else to wake up too. Great song. One of my favs.
    stnec2ymon August 06, 2007   Link
  • +6
    General CommentFrom my perspective (cause I feel the same way):
    It's about accumulated frustration and hopelessness, an aimless life and depression, life in a rut and vicious cycles.

    And thus a change is needed. She tries to make a change but her efforts prove to be of no use, so she needs something huge like a 'revolution' (not literally, just something huge that changes many things, a big BOOM!) to break out of those vicious cycles.
    CrippledClimberon August 23, 2009   Link
  • +3
    General CommentThis is a really fun song to sing.
    bbbcswron May 09, 2006   Link
  • +3
    General CommentI'm just surprised by the info you said about this song being on the list of " bad songs " !!!!!! what the hell !!!!!!! , It's lietrally an amazing song !!!! , to put it on those lists is just another evidence that shows that media doesn't know about real music !!
    modarxmodaron September 19, 2011   Link
  • +3
    Song MeaningShe did not know where to go, "even" after her 25 years something was missing.
    When she realized that the world is in possession of men (not men and women),
    she saw she was not welcome in that world;
    she sadly (cry in bed) noticed that she was not like everybody else (peculiar - perhaps different/free/lesbian?).

    Then she decided that everybody else behavior is not really important and more, it is bad to her.
    That was the cause of her screaming and brave asking (What's goin' on).
    She explains the attempts of being a "normal" person, she tried to stay in the "normal" society (institution/preconceptions/church?).
    She early warns that God will not help, because "she prayed" to him until her limits (to reinforce the fact that she used all the means society gave to her).

    Finally she broke up with society (I pray every single day For a revolution).
    In the context, it is clearly a non sense the sentence "pray for revolution".
    It is like to substitute some thing (praying) by the other (revolution).

    The "groan part" may be a reference to a delightful moment, maybe freedom, or sexual pleasure.
    Of course the author opted for the generality.
    davipson November 14, 2011   Link
  • +2
    General CommentI saw the "bad song" list and feel this song belongs NOWHERE near that list...I found it moving quite frankly....and the "hot and sexy...." take is so far off base as to be ridiculous. To me, it is someone that sees the evil and despair around them and wants change...she finds the evil difficult to grasp and wants change for the better.
    prefernflon November 27, 2004   Link
  • +2
    General CommentI think it means almost most of the things you lot have said.

    She wants life to change, so instead of being stuck as whatever she is, she's somewhere else, enjoying a nicer life. So she thinks that life is evil somewhere along the line. She doesn't know what to do (Whats going on?) so instead of trying she gets up, walks outside, and yells to noone in particular, or maybe god, What's going on. She wants to know what is happening, and what she should do. She feels odd, like something's there, like something is going to change, but nothing does. Possibly, from being like this, screaming to god what is happening and everything, people have taken her away to a mental institution, but she simply wants an answer, and she doesn't mean harm. And so, it goes back to the beginning - she's stuck in an institution, nowhere to go, and she wants to know WHY.

    Who thinks otherwise? :)
    Lixaon April 07, 2005   Link
  • +2
    General CommentAlso, it was featured on Vh1's most "Awesomely BAD Songs"..which was stupid, because some of the songs weren't that bad and I could think songs a thousand times worse than they are.
    BLAHness90on June 09, 2005   Link
  • +2
    General CommentThis song has a deeper meaning. The name "4 non blondes" says it all. They are not stupid as blondes are generally depicted. They see themselves as intelligent woman, stuck in a world where the "brotherhood of man" rules over woman. The "institution " is society that still puts woman in a lower category to men. She wants a "revolution" where men and woman are treated equally. One can go deeper and analyze the rest of the song, but I think this is the gist of it all..
    Gerhardon April 11, 2008   Link

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