Song of the Day #4,955: ‘Everything She Wants’ – Wham!

My 12-year-old self never appreciated Wham! back in 1984 when they were one of the biggest things in music. I dismissed them as bubblegum pop, unworthy of serious consideration, even before I started regularly seeking out and listening to music.

I held the same opinion of Wham! as I discovered George Michael’s Faith (1987) and Listen Without Prejudice Vol. 1 (1990), two albums of sophisticated songcraft that I loved and took as a sign that Michael had put aside his embarrassing past to become one of pop’s great artists.

He was that. But he was that in 1984 when he penned seven of the eight brilliant tracks on Wham!’s sophomore album, Make It Big. How silly of me not to notice. To quote another great songwriter, I was so much older then, I’m younger than than that now.

My outlook on pop music has changed considerably, and I now recognize Make It Big as the banger it is. Kicking off with the undeniable ‘Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go,’ serving up hits ‘Everything She Wants’ and ‘Freedom,’ then culminating with the epic ‘Careless Whisper,’ this album is a beast.

The four lesser-known tracks, including a cover of The Isley’ Brothers’ ‘If You Were There,’ all fit into the same soulful sweet spot. Really, ‘Careless Whisper’ is the odd song out here, its epic dramatic flair and heavily-memed sax solo standing in contrast to the breeziness of the rest of the album.

Indeed, ‘Careless Whisper’ was marketed as a solo George Michael song in much of the world, despite being the only track on the album co-written by second Wham! member Andrew Ridgeley.

‘Careless Whisper,’ ‘Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go’ and ‘Everything She Wants’ all hit #1 on Billboard’s Hot 100, while ‘Freedom’ fell just short at #3. No other singles were released. The album went 6X Platinum in the U.S. and 4X Platinum in the band’s native England.

Make It Big would prove to be Wham!’s final album, though several compilations came out over the ensuing year to capitalize on their popularity. Michael would go on to release five successful solo albums between 1987 and 2004. He died 12 years later when he was only 53.

[Verse 1]
Somebody told me
“Boy, everything she wants, is everything she sees”
I guess I must have loved you
Because I said you were the perfect girl for me, maybe
And now we’re six months older
And everything you want, and everything you see
Is out of reach, not good enough
I don’t know what the hell you want from me, oh

[Pre-Chorus]
Uh-huh, uh-huh, oh-oh, oh-oh
Ah-ha, ah-ha, doo doo doo
La, la, la, la-la
Uh-huh, uh-huh, oh-oh, oh-oh
Ah-ha, ah-ha, doo doo doo
La, la, la, la-la

[Chorus: George Michael and Andrew Ridgeley]
Somebody tell me, oh (Won’t you tell me?)
Why I work so hard for you?
(Give you money, work to give you money)
Oh

[Verse 2]
Some people work for a living
Some people work for fun
Girl, I just work for you
They told me marriage was a give and take
Well, you’ve shown me you can take, you’ve got some giving to do
And now you tell me that you’re having my baby
I’ll tell you that I’m happy if you want me to
But one step further, and my back will break
If my best isn’t good enough
Then how can it be good enough for two?

[Pre-Chorus]
Uh-huh, uh-huh, oh-oh, oh-oh
Ah-ha, ah-ha, doo doo doo
I can’t work any harder than I do (La, la, la, la-la)
Uh-huh, uh-huh, oh-oh, oh-oh
Ah-ha, ah-ha, doo doo doo
La, la, la, la-la

[Chorus: George Michael and Andrew Ridgeley]
Somebody tell me, oh (Won’t you tell me?)
Why I work so hard for you?
(Give you money) All to give you money
Oh

[Instrumental]

[Bridge]
Oh!, why do, I do the things I do?
I’d tell you if I knew
My God, I don’t even think that I love you (La, la, la, la-la)
(Won’t you tell me?)
(Give you money, work to give you money)
Oh
Work, work
Work, work

[Pre-Chorus]
La, la, la, la-la
Uh-huh, uh-huh, oh-oh, oh-oh
Ah-ha, ah-ha, doo doo doo
La, la, la, la-la

[Chorus]
Somebody tell me, oh (Won’t you tell me?)
Why I work so hard for you?
(Give you money) All to give you money
Oh
Somebody tell me (Won’t you tell me?)
Why I work so hard for you?
(Give you money) All to give you money (La, la, la, la-la)
Somebody tell me (Won’t you tell me?)
Won’t people tell me?
Why I do the things that I do?
(Give you money, work to give you money)
Oh

4 thoughts on “Song of the Day #4,955: ‘Everything She Wants’ – Wham!

  1. Dana Gallup says:

    I held a similar view of Wham! as you did when this album came out, but the hits were so infectious, I couldn’t help but to be drawn in to the pop confection. Still, Michael’s solo efforts were definitely an evolution in songwriting that was ultimately far more interesting and satisfying.

  2. Amy says:

    Ooh, this morning’s post sent me down a rabbit hole! The first thing I thought of was the great concert video where George Michael is running around in that iconic white shirt with the big black letters…. that said…. what? why can’t I remember?… throwing around big inflatable beach balls if memory serves.

    I go in search of said video, only to see an image of George Michael in a “CHOOSE LIFE” t-shirt. What?!?! Is it possible that this (albeit later in his life) gay icon was against reproductive rights?

    As I dug deeper, I found this lovely blog post/article by a a woman, younger than I, who had a similar disheartening experience after proudly sporting the Choose Life t-shirt, getting some backlash, and then doing a deep dive into the history herself. It’s worth reading, but I’ll give you the short answer….

    George Michael was encouraging us all to end wars, support research and treatment for the victims of AIDS, to do our part to end poverty and starvation…. in short, to support life after a child in born. Phew!

    Great music, too. 🙂

    https://overland.org.au/2017/02/choose-life-a-short-history/

  3. willedare says:

    Thank you for a great song with which to start the day. I do not know you (other than your blog), but I very much appreciate your musical curiosity and passion.

  4. Peg says:

    Recently neighbors in my building mentioned that their friends who also live in the building have a boat docked at our building named Wham. Seemingly unimpressed I was told that his friends are named George and Michael. Then had to be told that was who Wham was. I am old.

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