"Whatever" as written by and Chris/mayo Lindsey....
He lives in his imagination with those friends of his very own
He doesn't get along with the outside world, he'd rather be alone

Sometimes when it's late at night, he starts to wonder why
The plans he made can never happen so all he does is cry

His parents, they can't understand why their son, he turned out wrong
He runs away from all the pain, forgets them when he's gone

He'd rather be all by himself because his plans they seem the best
He finally gets the nerve one day, now life becomes a test

Whatever you want, whatever you do, wherever you go, whatever you say
Whatever you want, whatever you do, wherever you go, whatever you say

Whatever you want, whatever you do, wherever you go, whatever you say
Whatever you want, whatever you do, wherever you go, whatever you say

Mom and dad, I'm sorry
Mom and dad, don't worry

I'm not the son you wanted but what could you expect?
I've made my world of happiness to combat your neglect

Mom and dad, I'm sorry
Mom and dad, don't worry
Mom and dad, I'm sorry
Mom and dad, don't worry, don't worry, don't worry

Whatever you want, whatever you do, wherever you go, whatever you say
Whatever you want, whatever you do, wherever you go, whatever you say

Whatever you want, whatever you do, wherever you go, whatever you say
Whatever you want, whatever you do, wherever you go, whatever you say

Whatever you want, whatever you do, wherever you go, whatever you say
Whatever you want, whatever you do, wherever you go, whatever you say

Whatever you want, whatever you do, wherever you go, whatever you say
Whatever you want, whatever you do, wherever you go, whatever you say

Whatever you want, whatever you do, wherever you go, whatever you say
Whatever you want, whatever you do, wherever you go, whatever you say

Whatever you want, whatever you do, wherever you go, whatever you say
Yeah-yeah, what you say, yeah-yeah-yeah-yeah


Lyrics submitted by OwnPersonalDemon, edited by jpaulo

"Whatever" as written by Bob Mould

Lyrics © BMG RIGHTS MANAGEMENT US, LLC

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Whatever song meanings
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10 Comments

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  • +1
    General CommentMost of what Tyrone wrote is correct. Hart denies that he and Mould were lovers.
    en.wikipedia.org/wiki/…

    In all the references to the break up that I've read, it was suggested that the causes were the various substance abuse problems, the suicide of their manager and then Mould being forced to manage the band.
    elwyn5150on August 14, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General CommentIMO "Yeah im a fuck up but you didn't do anything to keep it from happening" sums it up well.
    waffles93on February 13, 2010   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI heard from various other sources that this song was about the boy represented in the album finding out that hes becoming a homosexual. Every song on Zen Arcade has something to do with the life of this kid, thus making it a pretty sweet concept album
    Tbone6987on December 25, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentZen Arcade is apparently a concept album about a child who runs away.

    I don't see anything pointing to homosexuality in particular. There are so many ways children can disappoint their parents.
    elwyn5150on July 13, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General Commentthis song is so sad...
    Pohjolaon July 23, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentGotta be one of the top ten greatest songs ever written. Moves along with such an impassioned pace, sounding at first hopeful before sinking back down as he repeats his mantra: "Whatever you want, whatever you go, wherever you go, whatever you say..." He knows his life is supposed to be lived in subservience to his parents' wishes and he robotically recites those words with the hollowness he has learned. That's effecting enough...but the point of the song where he confronts them... "I've made my world of happiness to combat your...ne....gle...e...eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeect"... His voice fading into tortured moans, as Bob Mould's signature guitar wash moves through a system of the most emotionally gut-wrenching chords I've ever heard. "Zen Arcade" is one of the most magnificent artistic achievements of all time, and "Whatever" is its highest point.
    zacharyvon September 19, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI remember hearing that the song was about a kid who runs away

    and norton had the look, but ironically enough, he was the only member of the band that was not a homosexual...
    lungfishon October 06, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentHaha yeah I found that ironic about Norton too.
    Anyhoo, as Zen Arcade is a concept album about a boy who runs away, I'd say this is some kind of letter to home telling his parents not to worry. BTW Bob and Grant did not have relations of the sexual kind.
    ZEROpumpkinson December 19, 2007   Link
  • 0
    My InterpretationIt is hard not to hear the lyric "I'm not the son you wanted / But what did you expect? / I made my world of happiness / to combat your neglect" as coming from a place of childhood emotional trauma that may be related to Bob's homosexuality. If you read Bob's memoir it is clear that the Mould house was, at best, somewhat chaotic and that Bob didn't have the best relationship with his father.

    "Whatever" is the fulcrum upon which Zen Arcade's emotional power rests, where its themes are spelled out and the depiction of home life in "Broken Home, Broken Heart" are brought to resolution.

    The band is firing on all cylinders and it is one of Bob's most compelling vocal performances. Although Grant doesn't have a lot of tricks in his suitcase he does blast out a lengthy fill on this track that I love. After this track the is the dreamy denouement of "The Tooth Fairy And The Princess" answering the catharsis of "Whatever" with a long exhale, an entreaty to remain determined nonetheless ("Don't give up").
    JoeyJoeJoe70on December 17, 2015   Link
  • -1
    General CommentI'm not sure if all of Zen Arcade is about Homosexuality, but Bob and Grant were definitely lovers and the end of their relationship ended the band (ok, both's drug use certainly contributed as well). Check out Grant's 2451.

    Also, check out Norton's stache...undoubtedly gay.

    Anyone from the cities who was there in the 80s knows this.
    Tyrone Biggunson July 26, 2006   Link

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