“What’s Up?” is a rock song written by Linda Perry for 4 Non Blondes’ 1992 debut album Bigger, Better, Faster, More!. It was released as the album’s second single in 1993. It was very successful in Brazil and in several European countries, peaking at number one in Poland, Austria, Switzerland, Sweden, Germany, Ireland, Norway and the Netherlands.
Background and Writing
Despite the title, the song does not contain the phrase “what’s up?” Rather, the lyric “what’s goin’ on?” is prominently included in the chorus. The title was chosen to avoid confusion with the 1971 R&B song and album “What’s Going On” by Marvin Gaye. The music video was directed by Morgan Lawley.
Critical Reception and Chart Performances
“What’s Up?” ranks number 94 on VH1’s 100 Greatest One-Hit Wonders, and ranks 86 on the MuchMore The Top 100 One Hit Wonders. Conversely, it is ranked number 19 onSpinner.com’s list of the “Top 20 Worst Songs Ever”. Most recently, in September 2010, Matthew Wilkening of AOL Radio ranked the song at number 20 on the list of the 100 Worst Songs Ever, calling it “[t]he sonic equivalent of those ‘hang in there’ posters with the cat on a tree limb, except much screechier.”
The recording received considerable airplay success. It reached number 14 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 and went gold, but peaked higher in many other countries, reaching number one in Germany and Ireland, while reaching number two in the United Kingdom and Australia.