Labor Day has come and passed meaning it’s time to get back to work and for some of you, get back to school. There are many songs dedicate to people who work hard to earn a paycheck, but no matter where you work there’s are bound to be days when you can’t stand to be at work for a second longer. These songs know how much it sucks to be stuck at a place you hate, working for someone who doesn’t respect you, and barely making enough to get by. Here’s a playlist for when you want to say take this job and shove it!
“Work Hard” – Depeche Mode
This b-side to “Everything Counts,” which has a similar subject matter, finds the band sounding mechanical and robotic. There’s lots of metallic clanging and banging ringing over the jaunty synth like they recorded the song in an old steel factory. Dave Gahan repeats the mantra “You’ve got to work hard/You’ve got to work hard/if you want anything at all” throughout the track and alludes that the only thing that’ll come easily to you is a broken back. With the simple, repetitive lyrics, it makes you think of hard labor, which emphasized by all the banging noise. But no matter what field you work in, everyone knows you’ve got to work hard.
“Slave to the Grind” – Skid Row
In this song, Sebastian Bach let’s us know that he refuses to be anyone’s rat. He captures the repetitive, boring, and monotonous side of work and how much it fucking sucks. Rather than working for someone else, Bach wants to be “king of the world” and he’s not getting there by working a meaningless 9-5. Capturing what office life can be, the song rages, rips, and roars, making it the perfect outlet for a shitty day at work. Anyone’s whose ever had an unpaid internship can definitely feel what Bach is screaming about.
“God Damn Job” – The Replacements
Working a job you hate is soul sucking, but it’s better than having no job at all. This Replacements song is for everyone pushing applications and resumes out daily only to receive one response saying they don’t have enough experience. Everyone venturing out into the job world has been here: recently graduated, living with your parents, and you need some fucking money. Therefore, you need a god damn job and no one will give you one no matter how much experience you got from those unpaid internships.
“It’s Not My Place (In the 9 to 5 World)” – The Ramones
Some people just aren’t cut out for jobs and this Ramones song celebrates that. Rather then paying for school to get a good job only to hate it later on, Joey Ramone would rather hang out with Lester Bangs and Jack Nicholson, via the TV, and keep his identity. Not only is it upbeat and catchy, the song expresses all the worries and fears of those who think office jobs are going to turn them into dullards who hate their lives. Definitely one of those slacker for life songs and hey, who wouldn’t want that?
“Don’t Talk to Me About Work” – Lou Reed
There’s nothing worse than having to relive a shit-tastic work day by recapping when you get home. That’s why the late Lou Reed refused to do so in this song. He starts out by lamenting how it was a great day for anything and everything, expect being stuck at work. He then pleads to not talk to him about work once he gets home. The song is upbeat and pretty catchy even though the subject itself isn’t a happy one. What makes it great is it’s straight to the point and highly relatable. Ugh, I’m getting flashbacks to shitty work weeks already.
“Soul Suckin’ Jerk” – Beck
This track maps out the pointless and tireless duties of one average Joe who decided to stop “throwing chicken in a bucket” and quit his job. From there, Beck continues to rap about what happened after he left, which includes running naked in the mall, getting cuddly with a hooker, and stealing firearms from the cops. It sounds odd, but think about how good it would feel to tell your boss to shove this job and run around without a care? That is until you remember you have bills to pay. Maybe you shouldn’t have quit after all.
“Career Opportunities” – The Clash
Rather than criticizing one particular job, The Clash bashes on the state of available jobs in England during the 70s. The band lists off several jobs they find to be undesirable and even menial, such as bus driver, ambulance, and a tea maker for the BBC. Even though they want no part in the pointless jobs available to them, by the end they know they have no choice but to take them. Though it was written so long ago, the song can still be applied today as so many people fresh out of school find out there aren’t as many jobs waiting for them as they thought. Bummer.
“Working This Job (This Fucking Job)” – Drive-By Truckers
This song, and the accompanying video, show what working is really like, especially if it’s in the service field. The song notes how this job only keeps him floating from paycheck to paycheck never really getting ahead in life. One of the most telling and heartbreaking lyrics is “No one said it would be easy/or for that matter it’d be so hard,” which you learn once you enter (or try to enter) the workforce. Actually, the song is kind of depressing, so you may need a pick me up after listening to it.
“Workhorse” – Mastodon
The song is about how much work sucks. It’s as simple as that. The band compares working for the man to slavery and people are expected to be a workhorse; to keep going and never get tired. It’s brash, thrashing, aggressive, and fucking brutal. It makes you feel like you’re ready to go into battle or at least tell your boss to suck it.
“Working Day and Night” – Michael Jackson
So this track doesn’t necessarily point out why working sucks, but it’s too good to leave off. Only Michael Jackson can make working all day sound like so much fun. Filled with deep grooves, disco vibes, and jumping beats that make you want to shimmy, Jackson talks about how his woman only wants him to work, though he’d rather spend his time with her. Even though it’s about something that’s not fun, the song puts you in a good mood and makes you giddy when you hear it. Who doesn’t want to get and up dance when they hear that frantic rhythm that opens the song? It’s one of Jackson’s most popular songs that was never a single. Rather, it served as the b-side to “Rock With You.” Goes to show that Michael can make anything sound good, even this.
What’s your favorite song dissing work? Let me know in the comments!