Five classic songs about currency exchange

By on September 6th, 2016 in Editorial

Pink Floyd – Money

Money, it’s a crime
Share it fairly but don’t take a slice of my pie

If there is a song more musically entrenched in or prescient about the idea of currency, then we would very much like to hear it. The track opens with an array of currency-themed SFX – coins being scooped, poured and spun, punctuated with the happy PING! of cash registers – all arranged into an absorbing rhythm that gives way to an unforgettably bluesy bass riff and David Gilmour’s ironic-love-letter lyrics to fiscal excess. With the line “Share it fairly but don’t take a slice of my pie” the band astonishingly predict the excessive, discriminatory fees that big banks would seek to levy on SMEs making currency exchanges – right up to the present day.


Radiohead – Dollars and Cents

We are the dollars and cents and the pounds and pence
And the mark and the yen, and yeah
We’re gonna crack your little souls

Radiohead’s Dollars and Cents from the 2001’s Amnesiac opens with a hypnotic, driving bassline before Thom Yorke’s famously plaintive voice drops in to bemoan the pressures of the corporate world. After an extended tambourine segment that kicks in around 2:30 – conjuring an image of thousands of coins pouring violently onto his troubled, interesting head – Yorke builds to a snarled finale at 3:39 during which he ruthlessly attacks several of the world’s major currencies (the inclusion of the Deutschmark dates this as pre-Euro), clearly furious about the soul-crushing difficulty of performing currency exchanges.


Wu-Tang Clan – C.R.E.A.M.

Cash, Rules, Everything, Around, Me
Get the money
Dollar, dollar bill y’all

The (then) seven-strong Staten Island hip-hop group demonstrated an unquestionably thorough understanding of currency markets in this relatively sedate classic from their 1993 debut album. In the track’s oft-repeated hook (see above), Method Man concisely pays tribute to the fact that the world’s currencies form an interconnected and inextricable web which commands immense power over everything it touches while also being vulnerable to a variety of external factors. With the urgency of “Get the money / Dollar, dollar bill y’all”, Meth is clearly crying out for a straightforward currency exchange platform that will insulate him from the tumultuous cash-ruled world in which he finds himself.


The O’Jays – For the Love of Money

For the love of money
People will lie, Lord, they will cheat
For the love of money
People don’t care who they hurt or beat

You will recognise the opening lines of this song instantly, after a seriously funked-up bassline gives way to the famous “Moneymoneymoney mon-ey! Mon-ey!” backing vocals. The O’Jays pick up where Pink Floyd left off (this track was released in the same year as Floyd’s “Money”), but shroud their cautionary message in an altogether more upbeat-sounding soul/funk number. A close reading of the lyrics allows no room for misunderstanding however – the O’Jays are undoubtedly warning anyone who deals with currencies to avoid placing their trust in brokers, banks or, indeed, any institution that doesn’t have their best interests at heart.


Mikey Dread – Money Dread

Money dread
Money dread
Money dread

After a brain-scrambling intro of furious drum beats, rewind sounds and bewildered count-ins, this song settles into a gentle, resigned dub reggae groove accompanied by Mikey Dread’s largely indecipherable lyrics. One thing is certain: he says “Money dread” a lot. At one point it sounds like he might also be saying “So I mix them and I lose them”. There appears to be little doubt that Mikey Dread has been so frequently stung by the complexity of currency exchanges that he has developed an all-encompassing and impossible to understate phobia of money. If only someone had been able to tell Mikey about an easy-to-use currency exchange platform that would have empowered him to make transactions at institutional rates for a fixed 0.2% fee, all this could have been avoided.

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James is freemarket’s Chief Commercial Officer. He has a history of finding new ways to solve age-old financial challenges and was responsible for launching some of the first online money transfer and prepaid card initiatives in Europe.

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