back to top

The 10 Songs You Will Hear While Finding Yourself In India

India is a fascinating country. I mean this in the traditional Lonely Planet kind of sense, one that encapsulates awe-inspiring images of monumental Mughal structures, romantic river rendezvous in Kerala, and lesser known, but nonetheless breathtaking waterfalls and national parks in Meghalaya.


I also mean it in the standard-narrative-of-India kind of sense, one that traces and acknowledges its vast multi-religious-ethnic-linguistic diversity, its British Imperial past, fraught stories about Partition, its modern democratic experiment, and the problems that emerge in forging a cohesive national narrative.But most importantly, India is fascinating in the unique ways amalgamates homegrown and foreign cultural references to devise a rare vocabulary of popular culture. To put things simply, after spending five months in thirteen different Indian states, I listened to “Rhinestone Cowboy” and David Nail more times than I’ve had the pleasure to in the American South. I could try to attribute this to the pervasive influence of American culture globally or say a thing or two about cultural imperialism. However, that would provide an unsatisfactory explanation for the myriad, MYRIAD, of instances I heard Glen Campbell’s shrill twang blasting from several sound systems.

As a result of my unlikely (uncanny, perhaps) musical experience in India, I have curated a list of the top ten songs you are most likely to hear when finding yourself in the Subcontinent. This aural survey is purely based on empirical data and representative of the fact that “Rhinestone Cowboy” is forever imprinted in my memory.

1. Rhinestone Cowboy - Glen Campbell

Vea este vídeo en Youtube

This whimsical tune joined me, and my group of ten American students, through the lush, mountainous territories of the Northeast. Three months later, Campbell’s longing 1975 hit resurfaced from the monstrous speakers of an all-Russian poolside condo in Goa. I’ve been unable to escape the rhinestone cowboy, riding out on a horse in a star-spangled rodeeeeoooo.

2. It Wasn't Me - Shaggy

Vea este vídeo en Youtube

Unfathomable? Maybe not if you exclusively attend frat parties that indulge in the nostalgia of “throwin’ it back.” But it is an unlikely all-time favorite at certain Chennai hubs. Nothing articulates group bonding more than singing “picture this we were both butt naked banging on the bathroom floor” in unison.

3. Take Me Home, Country Roads - John Denver

Vea este vídeo en Youtube

Everyone knows this song why I don’t understand!!!!

4. Mr. Jones - Counting Crows

Vea este vídeo en Youtube

This song has not been a Top 40 hit since 1994, but to enumerate the amount of times this song played anywhere would be impossible. Nonetheless, it elicited great conversation topics such as “who is ‘Mr. Jones again’?” and “what is that other Counting Crows song that’s on Shrek?”

5. She Will Be Loved - Maroon 5

Vea este vídeo en Youtube

Whether it was Shillong, Hyderabad, or Delhi, this song always served as a tender interlude in clubs’ playlist, sandwiched between recognizable American rock and Punjabi classics.

6. Sultans of Swing - Dire Straits

Vea este vídeo en Youtube

This is the recognizable American rock I’m talking about – a force to reckon with.

7. Dancing Queen - ABBA

Vea este vídeo en Youtube

A house party favorite, karaoke friendly, highly rated, well received all the time.

8. Every David Nail song anyone has ever heard and Trap Queen – Fetty Wap

Vea este vídeo en Youtube

We frequented a quaint coffee shop in Chennai that usually played Nina Simone and Aretha Franklin on repeat. The playlist would drastically change at 7:00 PM, with commercial country and trap playing almost simultaneously.

9. You Give Love a Bad Name - Bon Jovi

Vea este vídeo en Youtube

“Slippery When Wet,” what an album! What a time! Still a time in the Subcontinent!

10. Cotton Eye Joe - Rednex

Vea este vídeo en Youtube

This was only played once, but it deserves a spot on this list because it was played one time too many.

Esta publicación fue creada por un miembro de la comunidad de BuzzFeed, donde cualquiera puede publicar listas y creaciones maravillosas. Learn more o publica tu buzz!