What does What's Up mean?

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4 Non Blondes: What's Up Meaning


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Song Released: 1993

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What's Up?

25 years and my life is still
Trying to get up that great big hill of hope
For a destination.
I realised quickly when I knew I should
That the world was made for this
Brotherhood of man
For whatever that means

And so I cry...


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    Aug 29th, 2016 8:30pm report

    The song simply and clearly expresses the frustration of a young woman trying to get on in life.,. unsuccessfully.. due to the patriarchal nature of society.

    Aged 25, still trying to get up the ladder of hope, for some kind of destination... realising that it's a patriarchal world.. (Whatever this "brotherhood of man" means).. Crying sometimes at night just to get this stuff out.. And stepping outside in the morning and screaming "What's going on"?! ...at the ludicrous and endlessly frustrating patriarchal and misogynistic order of things!

    She tries... Oh my god yes she tries.. But is up against a patriarchal world.. in which we could take the "institution" to refer to society as a whole, or the ever male-dominated music industry in which these female musicians were striving to get ahead..

    And she prays.. Oh my god yes she prays.. For revolution.. For gender equality.. For revolutionising the sexist nature of society..



    The sexist nature of society and its constituent institutions need questioning!!!

    What the hell is going on with the prevailing sexist music industry and much of the world at large???

    Thanks to 4 Non Blondes for posing the question in such a classic song!


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    Dec 9th, 12:44am report

    I think that she is a woman with a hope to change the world.

    At this time in the world, there was TONS of sexism and discrimination towards LGBTQA+ people. That explains the lyric " I realized quickly when I knew I should
    That the world was made up of this brotherhood of man
    For whatever that means "

    When the lyric " I try all the time, in this institution" comes on, the institution is the world and she tries very hard to make a difference in this world.

    In this song, the 4 Non Blondes are trying questioning the world and what's going on?

    They are an openly lesbian and queer band.

    Thanks for reading! Vote about how well you think I did!


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    Apr 21st, 2018 4:41am report

    To me ,it means for any choas that is going on in our lives or the world at the moment....we live in a f-upped country,we hate each other,were selfish ,we are so offended at everything ,we just suck as human beings...yes I lay in bed and cry (for my grandchildrens future)and everyday I scream whats going on.......Love God/do good...love to all


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    Feb 23rd, 2018 2:15pm report

    25 year prison sentence and just trying to make it through. And you just want to scream. What's going on?


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    Jul 6th, 2014 7:06am report

    This song is about carrying on at all times, even when bad things happen. Saying 'hey' represents carrying on with your life.


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    Jul 15th, 2012 7:52pm report

    The song is a representation of non binary gender teens realizing that something is very wrong as they get older.


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    May 10th, 2012 5:00pm report

    The transition into adult hood from teens into young adult of 25. He is trying to become an adult but it isn't working. The institution is referring to society. He hides his feeling that it sucks to grow up.


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    Apr 1st, 2010 4:39am report

    I'm quite sure this song is about a 25 year old girl who's been institutionalized in a psychiatric hospital,

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