The Clash

Playlist: Screw this Job!

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.

Bonus:

“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!

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Mini Music Movie Review: Sid and Nancy (1986)

Sid and Nancy is one of those tragic rock love stories people can’t seem to let go of. The story of Nancy’s mysterious murder is well known and has been picked apart by theorists numerous times. Almost ten years after the death of the couple, director Alex Cox released this movie based around the two. Since then it’s received both critical and fan praise for being one of the best biopics. I’ve seen the movie two times now and I can’t figure out why people like it so much.

Gary Oldman did an excellent job as Sid Vicious. He was believable, looked like him, and made you forget you were watching an actor and not the man himself. Seeing him fall further into his drug addiction, you actually feel sorry for him. The same can’t be said about Chole Webb who played Nancy. Many felt she did a great job portraying Vicious’ girlfriend and maybe she did; it’s hard to say since I’ve never seen much about Nancy. But I found her to be loud, annoying, brash, and whiny. And I couldn’t stand to look at her crooked mouth for another minute. As I mentioned, this could’ve been who Nancy really was, but it’s hard to say. When I watched the movie the first time, I wanted both of them to die. After this second viewing, I was ready for Nancy to be killed off.

Since this is a biopic, a lot of the material in the film has to be taken questioned. Johnny Rotten himself has defamed the movie saying a lot of the information was wrong and it was made in an attempt to cash in on the tragedy. He later said the only thing Cox got right was the name “Sid.” And he has a good point. During some research it doesn’t state where Cox got his information from. Usually, biopics are based on books or bandmates are involved with the script. That doesn’t seem to be the case with this movie. Since I don’t know much about the Sex Pistols I can’t even really say what’s true or not, but during the entire time I kept wondering where this information was coming from. Reports claim some of it came from Joe Strummer of the Clash, who Rotten hated. It all sounds a little weird to me.

Considering how dysfunctional the movie presents Sid and Nancy’s relationship, the movie is pretty entertaining. There’s a little focus on the Sex Pistols, but most of the film takes place after Viscous is kicked out and attempts a solo career. Seeing the couple argue, fight, and lie their way into more drugs is harrowing. You almost feel bad for them, until the movie keeps going and going and going. It’s just too damn long. It may have been just me, but it got boring during the second half. The couple did even more drugs and had more fights. It’s as if it was repeating itself to say look how bad drugs are. Not to mention there are moments in the film that try way too hard to be artsy. Slow motion shots of garbage falling around the couple, kids dancing, and the like feel unnecessary to the film. Sometimes they just don’t fit in. It’s not a terrible film, but I wouldn’t call it one of the best rock biopics ever made.

Nine Cover Songs That Launched Careers

Everyone loves a good cover song and there are countless amazing ones out there that outshine the original. But the thing that makes a cover memorable is when it’s the first song that an artist does or is largely responsible for their new found success. Whether they did it out of pressure from a record company or just because they wanted to put a spin on one of their favorite songs, these are nine artists who got their big break with a cover song. I know there are a lot more I’m missing, but these are the ones that stick out most in my mind.

9. “Wicked Game”- HIM

This hit for Chris Issaks was already hot, but Finnish rock band HIM tossed in some electric guitars and picked up the pace to give it a hard rock edge. It’s not really the song that got them popular in America, but the cover is responsible for the band being discovered in their native homeland. It first appeared on their debut Greatest Lovesongs Vol. 666 and it went over so well they re-recorded for their second album Razorblade Romance, which was responsible for their popularity in the US. Overtime, it has become one of their well known tracks all because they thought it was a great song.

8. “Torn” – Natalie Imbruglia

This was a hot song for a while during the late 90’s from a then unknown Aussie singer Natalie Imbruglia. This 1995 Endaswap song (I haven’t heard of them either) was covered by the singer for her debut album Left of the Middle. It was a huge success with Imbruglia hitting it big in America. It was catchy, sweet, and Imbrugalia somehow made it adorable. She even received a Grammy nomination for the track. Unfortunately, this was the only hit she had in the states, but the song launched her career and allowed her to keep up her success overseas.

7. “I Fought the Law”- The Clash

Though this song has been covered numerous times from the likes of Green Day and Johnny Cash, the most notable version comes from The Clash. The band was just establishing their career when they recorded the song. It first appeared on their EP The Cost of Living in the UK. When it came time for their debut, which for some reason was their second album in the US, it was added as a track for the states. This small decision helped them cross over to US audiences and helped sealed their place in punk rock history. Aside from the classic “Should I Stay or Should I Go” it’s still one of their most notable songs.

6. “Tainted Love” – Soft Cell

This English duo would probably be forgotten if it weren’t for their cover of this 1964 Gloria Jones song. By slowing down the pace and adding in irresistible synthesizers the duo really made the song their own. It’s one of those tracks where you’re surprised to learn it’s actually a cover. Soft Cell succeeded in having one of the best and most memorable songs of the 80’s that is still well loved today. Since then it’s been covered numerous times by Marilyn Manson and The Pussycat Dolls, but Soft Cell’s version remains the best.

  1. “Girls Just Want To Have Fun” – Cyndi Lauper

To be honest I had no idea this was a cover until I started this list. This just shows how Lauper successfully made the song her own. The track was originally written and performed by Robert Hazard in 1979. Cyndi wanted to do it for her debut album and with some minor changes to the lyrics, she made the song all about girl power. It’s still one of her most recognizable songs today and is single handily responsible for launching her career in the 80’s. There have been countless covers of this track, but Cyndi does it best. Besides, no one can sound as bubbly as she does while singing “Oh, girls just want to have fun.”

  1. “I Love Rock n Roll” – Joan Jett & the Blackhearts

When Joan Jett decided to leave punk group The Runaways for a solo career she couldn’t have picked a better song to cover than this one. It has all the attitude and sass you expect from her. It’s like the song was made for her. it was originally performed in 1975 by Arrows before Jett made everyone forget this fact when her version was released in 1982. Even though she already had an established career with The Runaways, this song helped her launch her solo career, which is still going strong to this day.

  1. “Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)” – Marilyn Manson

Back in 1983, this was a wonderfully, catchy, synth filled song by British duo The Eurythmics fronted by the lovely Annie Lennox. Fast forward to 1995 and suddenly the song was darker, scarier, and an absolute nightmare thanks to Marilyn Manson. Even though it comes from their remix EP Smells Like Children, their creepy take on the tune was enough to get them the recognition of MTV who put the accompanying bizarre video in rotation on the station. Thanks to this, Marilyn Manson soon became a household name and one of the most talked about figures of the 1990’s.

  1. “Love Buzz” – Nirvana

If it wasn’t for their cover of an obscure song from the 60’s, then Nirvana might not be the legendary band they are today. Back in 1988 when they were recording their debut Bleach for indie label Sub Pop, they covered this song originally done by Shocking Blue in 1969. It was then released as part of Sub Pop’s singles club even though the band wanted “Big Cheese” for the A-side. Needless to say, the song was a hit and got rock magazines buzzing, especially overseas. Thanks to this little-known track Nirvana went on to create bigger and better things.

  1. “Twist and Shout” – The Beatles

This Top Notes song is part of the reason why Beatlemania hit the US. The band covered the song for their first UK album Please Please Me. Thanks to its intense vocal performance, it is regarded as one of the best examples of British rock n roll. But it wasn’t until their 1964 Ed Sullivan performance that got the band popular overseas. Since then they are often regarded as one of the best and most important bands in music history.

Honorable Mention:

“Higher Ground” – Red Hot Chili Peppers

This wasn’t included in the list because by the time it was released the Red Hot Chili Peppers had an established career with three albums under their belt that were met with moderate success. But it wasn’t until this cover from their fourth album Mother’s Milk that they hit the big time. The psychedelic and funk filled track got the guys MTV recognition, who then constantly played the trippy video. This song allowed their next album Blood Sugar Sex Magik to reach the top of the charts and to have the long history they have today.