Music is supposed to be a form of expression – the artist’s field of view regarding a certain topic or issue. However, that also means that people are free to express themselves in any way they want, and flaunting money in front of the audience is one way of doing it.
There are ‘artists’ that prefer making superficial songs, listing the items that they own without a concrete reason or a message behind it all. However, there are many musicians and artists that approach money with critical thinking, relate it to everyday things, and inspire their audiences through a topic that almost bled dry.
Today, I plan on walking you through the best songs about money, and you should expect a little bit of both – money for the sake of money, and money observed from an objective, unbiased lens.
What Are the Best Songs About Money?
So what are the best songs about money? This topic has basically been covered through every genre of music. So without further ado, here are my top 23 best songs about money.
1. “Money for Nothing” by Dire Straits
“Money for Nothing” was and still remains the anthem of MTV-era rock and roll music performers and fans. It’s a true rock and roll masterpiece characterized by a multi-layered message, a simple song structure, and some of the most recognizable riffs of all time.
The meaning behind “Money for Nothing” can be interpreted in multiple ways. From point of view, it revolves around the band gloating about their success, flaunting it in front of the faces of acts that haven’t made it big yet. That’s the most superficial way to look at it, though, and that’s hardly what this song is about.
“Money for Nothing” is about the hard work and effort put into practicing and creating music. From saving pennies to buy the first instrument, over practicing for hours each day, to dedicating 110% of one’s being to putting up a quality show, “Money for Nothing” summarizes what’s going on behind the scenes.
Its message is directed toward both listeners and other bands. “I shoulda learned to play the guitar” is the line that is meant to inspire the listener to chase after their dreams.
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2. “Money, Money, Money” by ABBA
Isn’t it strange how the perception of money hasn’t changed the slightest in nearly half a century? “Money, Money, Money” was released in 1976, and it addresses what is still regarded as a hot topic – how to get rich overnight.
The artist rhetorically proposes a handful of solutions, such would be marrying a rich person, or winning big in Las Vegas, but “in the rich man’s world,” luck is pre-determined at birth and is all but distributed equally, “ain’t it sad?”
“Money, Money, Money” reminds us that finances certainly are important, but they shouldn’t be the ultimate goal. Sadly, the world does spin around money, and the fact that this tune is nearly 50 years old and still relevant only affirms it.
3. “Silver Threads and Golden Needles” by Linda Ronstadt
Another oldie-goldie on the list, “Silver Threads and Golden Needles” sounds surprisingly happy for an attempt to buy someone with money and status put in a song.
This track tells a tale of a wealthy man that promised love and fortunes to a girl he ultimately left in a “lonely mansion”. It is a song that shows that money can’t be bought or sold. In “Silver Threads and Golden Needles”, Linda exclaims that riches can’t mend a broken heart.
Its message is painfully simple. Money and status are not excuses to be a terrible person. Money is not supposed to be used as bait, nor was it supposed to be used to compensate for the absence of appreciation and respect.
‘N Sync dominated the boyband era and paved the way for modern-day EDM music, and “Just Got Paid” is one of their most popular songs.
Only their devoted fans know that this is actually a cover of Johnny Kemp’s “Just Got Paid”, featuring drastically different singing styles, harmonized back vocals in the unmistakable boyband fashion, and a few extra accents on the musical side.
This is a song that detailed how times were quite simpler several decades ago. Although money was probably as important as it is today, it didn’t really matter that much to musicians. The artist gets paid on Fridays, hunts for a party, and simply seeks to have a good time.
The simplicity of “Just Got Paid” lies in the fact that there’s no underlying meaning behind the title. It’s just about having a good time with the weekly paycheck, without a care in the world for anything else.
5. “Ka-Ching!” by Shania Twain
There aren’t many artists courageous enough to criticize what’s popular in the pop music scene, but Shania did it gracefully with “Ka-Ching!”. This track takes a long look at consumerism and imparts that it doesn’t like what it shows.
Although the fact that buying things provides us with a certain sense of satisfaction, Shania goes a bit further; she points a finger at people that spend because they’re bored, and at people that equate personal wealth to humane attributes and qualities.
On a less serious matter, this song is absolutely bombastic sound-wise. Absolutely glorious vocals; perfect harmonies, and ideal video content to match the sarcasm make this one of the best songs about money of all time.
“Ka-Ching!” is more than two decades old, and just like ABBA’s “Money, Money, Money”, its message stands the same.
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6. “Megalomaniac” by Bananarama
“Megalomaniac” is counted among the best songs about money for being outstandingly simple. With only two lines on repeat for well over 6 minutes, this tune repeats the words “money, money, money” like a mantra.
Not all music fans are interested in the lyrics of their favorite songs. In fact, many people don’t care about the words at all. Part of the reason why “Megalomaniac” is very popular is that it is easy to listen to while the lyrics are practically unmissable.
7. “Make the Money” by Macklemore & Ryan Lewis
Macklemore & Ryan Lewis’s “Make the Money” is one of the most humbling pieces of rap music I’ve heard in my life. That is a massive statement to make in the field where being a lyrical genius is considered average, but I truly believe its message, flow, and purpose are a breath of fresh air in this sphere of music.
The artist states “Make the money, don’t let the money make you”. Although this line is quite simple, it’s the polar opposite of what so many contemporary rap and hip-hop acts are trying to push through.
It’s absolutely courageous and inspiring when an artist is faced with a certain degree of fame and success while still being humble and calm. So many hotshots have built careers on “dissing” other artists, but Macklemore & Ryan Lewis did not want to go that route.
There are multiple messages in “Make the Money” revolving around staying true to one’s life goals and missions; remaining faithful to the dream, even after the chase is over.
8. “Money” by Michael Kiwanuka and Tom Misch
Michael and Tom’s interpretation of wealth falls along similar lines to “Silver Threads and Golden Needles”. “Money” is a tune that proves that Linda’s artistic statement still resonates among younger generations. Money simply can’t buy love.
When Michael exclaims that “Money, I feel it killing love”, it contrasts with the upbeat music and vibe in the background. Stepping into the second segment of the song, the tone shifts to a different narrative, which speaks about the desperate attempt of buying love to overcome loneliness.
The final piece of the puzzle of what may appear as a simple poppy tune is the official music video for “Money”. Michael Kiwanuka and Tom Misch are smoothly singing about money as a love-killer while depicting a usual day of working in a convenience store.
If there is a message to be derived from this song, it is that money can’t buy happiness and love, but it can attract attention and can certainly be of help.
9. “Got Money” by Lil Wayne ft. T-Pain
“Got Money” is one of the best examples of a power trip tune done right. It is not a typical gloating rap song about an artist that made it through to the big leagues – it’s about a figure that steadily rose to popularity over a longer period and managed to sustain the status of a quality rapper.
The beats and breaks in “Got Money” are absolutely amazing. The same can be said about the impeccable use of autotune for parts with harmonics. Lil Wayne and T-Pain used every tool available to make a monster of a track that is closing in on 100 million views on YouTube alone.
This is currently the only track on this list with a slightly different message – money is important but trivial to people that have learned how to make it. “Got Money” is not just about having money; it’s about Lil Wayne reaching massive success with hard work, to the point that he can literally throw thousands of dollars out of a van to strangers.
10. “Life is a Lemon and I Want My Money Back” by Meat Loaf
Leave it to a metal band to paint a poetic picture of societal inequalities. “Life is a Lemon and I Want My Money Back” is exactly what it sounds like – it’s about the artist that wants their money back, and the reasons are many.
It touches on so many different topics that if you’re hearing it for the first time, you’ll probably need a few replays to catch it all. Meat Loaf points a finger at nearly everything a person can hold sacred – family, friends, hope, faith, hometown, childhood, and future. The band dubs them all “defective” and likens life to a lemon, meaning that it shouldn’t be taken too seriously.
On the music side of things, “Life Is a Lemon” is a heavy ride followed by monstrous riffs and pure ‘90s vibes. If you’re a fan of rock, metal, or good music in general, you shouldn’t miss this song.
11. “Love Or Money” by Sammy Hagar
The infamous Red Rocker, Sammy Hagar made “Love Or Money” for all touring musicians, knowing all too well that temptations lurk at every corner and that not everyone is prepared to idly wait for their significant other to return from a 6-month trip.
What separates “Love or Money” from other songs about money is the notion that you probably could have both if you make the right choices (and have at least a bit of luck in your life).
The line “My baby loved me when I was down, but now I’m up, and she’s still around” is something only a handful of musicians can say with a straight face. “Love or Money” is about making difficult choices, but it is also about being true to yourself and finding a way to seek and attain both.
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12. “Peace Sells” by Megadeth
For a band that’s known to be quite strict and outspoken on certain topics, Megadeth releasing “Peace Sells” was actually a statement that their “inner peace” was on sale during the time they were creating the album with the same title.
According to the band’s (now ex) bassist Dave Ellefson, the band was in a chaotic cycle of partying and spending any cent they made on it. “Peace Sells” paints a good picture of the chaos that inspired the album, but more importantly, it remains one of the most iconic metal songs of all time aside from being one of the best songs about money.
13. “Money” by Pink Floyd
“Money” is a song by the English rock band Pink Floyd, released on their 1973 album The Dark Side of the Moon. Written by Roger Waters, it is one of the most popular songs from the album.
The lyrics are about materialism and how money can control people’s lives. The lyrics also explore the negative aspects of money, such as its potential to cause greed and corruption. Overall, the song presents a nuanced view of money and its role in society.
“Money” has been described as one of Pink Floyd’s most popular songs, and it has been covered by many artists.
14. “Moneytalks” by AC/DC
The song “Moneytalks” by AC/DC is a catchy tune about the allure of money. It was released on AC/DC’s 1990 album “The Razors Edge” and was written by brothers Angus and Malcolm Young, and vocalist Brian Johnson.
The lyrics talk about how people can be seduced by the prospect of wealth, and how money can make people do things that they wouldn’t normally do. The song is a fun reminder that money is a powerful motivator, and that everyone should be careful not to get too caught up in the pursuit of riches.
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15. “Take The Money And Run” by Steve Miller Band
Take the money and run is a catchy and light-hearted song by the Steve Miller Band. The lyrics tell the story of a young couple who rob a bank and then flee the scene. As they make their escape, they sing about all of the places they’ll go and things they’ll do with the money. The overall tone of the song is playful and fun, making it a great choice for a summer road trip playlist.
The Steve Miller Band is known for their classic rock sound, and this song is a perfect example of that style. With its catchy rhythms and easy-to-sing lyrics, it’s sure to get your toes tapping and your head bobbing along. So if you’re looking for a fun and upbeat song to add to your collection, be sure to check this one out.
16. “Money On My Mind” by Sam Smith
“Money On My Mind” by Sam Smith is a sultry and soulful ballad about not being motivated by money. The lyrics speak to the heart of anyone who has ever felt pressure to succeed financially, or been tempted by the allure of riches. This song is a beautiful reminder that the most important things in life are love and happiness.
17. “Mo Money Mo Problems” by The Notorious B.I.G
“Mo Money Mo Problems” by The Notorious B.I.G is a rap song about the perils of wealth and success. The title refers to the saying “mo money, mo problems”, meaning that with more money comes more problems. The song lyrics describe the dilemma of having so much money that you can’t even enjoy it because you’re always dealing with some sort of drama.
Despite the negative connotations of the lyrics, the song is upbeat and features a catchy hook that makes it irresistible to sing along to. It’s no wonder that “Mo Money Mo Problems” was a massive hit when it was released in 1997, and continues to be popular today. If you’re looking for a rap song that will make you think about the upside and downside of wealth, then this is the song for you.
18. “She Works Hard For The Money” by Donna Summer
Donna Summer’s iconic disco hit “She Works Hard For The Money” is a anthem for working women everywhere. The song celebrates the hardworking women who don’t get the credit or recognition they deserve. With its signature bass line and catchy hooks, the song is impossible to resist dancing to. It’s no wonder that it has become a feminist anthem and a staple of disco music. Donna Summer was a pioneer of disco music and one of its most successful artists.
She was a five-time Grammy winner and was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2013. With her catchy melodies and infectious beats, she created some of the most iconic disco songs of all time. “She Works Hard For The Money” is just one example of her legendary talent.
19. “Bills, Bills, Bills” by Destiny’s Child
Destiny’s Child was one of the most successful girl groups of the 90s, and their hit song “Bills, Bills, Bills” is a perfect example of their signature sound. The song is a catchy mix of R&B and pop, with a touch of attitude thrown in for good measure. The lyrics are about the difficulties of making ends meet, and the frustration that comes with being constantly bombarded with bills.
But despite the serious subject matter, the song is upbeat and relatable, and it’s easy to see why it was such a huge hit. If you’re looking for a song that will make you dance and sing along, “Bills, Bills, Bills” is the perfect choice.
20. “Rich Girl” by Daryl Hall & John Oates
Released in 1977, “Rich Girl” is a song by American duo Daryl Hall & John Oates. The track was written by Hall and produced by the duo. It is the lead single from their fourth studio album, Bigger Than Both of Us. “Rich Girl” is a power pop and new wave song that peaked at number one on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in the United States.
Hall & Oates cleverly use irony and sarcasm to make a point about materialism and shallow relationships. “Rich Girl” is a timeless classic that still sounds fresh today.
21. “Cash Machine” by Oliver Tree
Oliver Tree’s “Cash Machine” is a biting commentary on the all-consuming desire for wealth and material possessions. The lyrics depict a person who is obsessed with buying things and showing off their wealth, but who is really just covering up their insecurities. The song asks, “When is it enough?” and suggests that people often want more than they need. The song is a fun and catchy tune with a message that is relevant to our times.
22. “If I Had $1,000,000” by Barenaked Ladies
“If I Had $1,000,000” is a light-hearted song that pokes fun at the idea of what someone would do if they suddenly came into a large sum of money. The song paints a picture of newfound wealth and all of the frivolous things the singer would purchase with it.
While the lyrics are meant to be taken with a grain of salt, there is an underlying message about the importance of family and friends over material possessions. No matter how much money someone has, it will never buy happiness or true companionship.
23. “Money (That’s What I Want)” by The Beatles
“Money (That’s What I Want)” is a song written by Berry Gordy & Janie Bradford and originally recorded by Barrett Strong in 1959. The Beatles covered the song in 1963 and it became one of their early hits.
The song is pretty self-explanatory: it’s about a person who wants money. The lyrics talk about how the best things in life are free but you still need money to pay for the necessities.
While some people might interpret the song as being materialistic, it can also be seen as a commentary on the class system and how difficult it can be to get ahead in life without money.
The best songs about money are supposed to question your spending habits, your priorities in life, and the way you perceive things. If you are into the finer things in life, such as branded clothes or jewelry, that is perfectly fine – but these are the songs that are meant to enrich your field of view and remind you not to lose sight of more important things, such as love, friends, or family.
My list of the best songs about money features tracks from all musical genres and some of the most influential eras of music. Even after more than half a century, money is still quite a hot topic among contemporary acts, all of which perceive it through a different lens.