The job market's still very tough, your 401 (k) has probably lost its value over the last week, and your rent, car payment and baby mama aren't going to get paid on their own. You hate your job, your boss treats you like garbage, and bygod, you deserve better. Repercussions be damned, it's time to quit. To kick-start a new chapter in your life, here are ten songs about working -- but more importantly, how you plan to quit working, if only temporarily.
10. "Take This Job and Shove It" - Dead Kennedys
This 1986 cover of the mid '70s David Allen Coe song sums up the things that we've all wanted to say to the Man at one point or another. For sake of classiness, though, we've kept those sentiments locked away tightly inside, likely forming an ulcer that will shave years off your life. Also listen to the Johnny Paycheck version of the song, by far the most popular version, which hit number one on the country charts. The Dead Kennedys version, however, seems to have a double-dose of rage that gives the song a different meaning.
9. "Shove This Jay Oh Bee" - Cannibus and Biz Markie
Famously included on the Office Space soundtrack, this song comes in at only the nine spot because the hook by Biz Markie is just a recast version of the the "Take This Job and Shove It" chorus. The verse by Cannibus, however, offers a few kernels a truth that we can chew on, in addition to providing some plot points from the film: "Your coworkers talking to loud to ignore them/It affects your occupational performance." This is a silly song, though, right down to the "Umm... Yeah." samples from the Lumbergh character.
8. "Lifestylez ov da Poor & Dangerous" - Big L
"My moms told me to get a job, fuck that/A'yo, picture me gettin a job/Takin orders from Bob, sellin corn on the cob/Yo, how the hell I'ma make ends meet/Makin' about 120 dollars a week?" In a stanza, the late Big L sums up why working sucks. Enough said.
7. "Customers Fuck Off" - Acid Reflux
The infectious chorus of "I don't wanna go to work today" on this thrashing song by recently broken-up Albany, New York punk band Acid Reflux is likely the song you'll be singing as you trudge your way across the parking lot or garage, or while you wait for the bus, to take you to a job that makes you want to walk in traffic.
6. "Lost My Job" - Alex Chilton
Speaking from personal experience spent in the blues bars of St. Louis, there's no better way to spend the hours and even days after you lose your job listening to blues and getting drunk. And as the late Alex Chilton (of Alex Chilton and the Box Tops, here) points out, the jobless get to sleep in after they stay out all night long. "Lost my job/Guess I gotta go steal and rob," he laments. Fair enough.
5. "We Gotta Get Out of this Place" - The Animals
This message could be applied to a great many situations: family reunions, visits to the dentist or the DMV, first-dates gone-wrong and especially working a job that grinds down the person you used to be. The Animals released this song in 1965, and it was popular sentiment of armed service members in Vietnam, which, when put into perspective, makes your cubicle-based occupation one that's not so bad.
4. "Career Opportunities" - The Clash
From 1977's classic self-titled LP: "They offered me the office, offered me the shop/They said I'd better take anything they'd got" Joe Strummer sings about joblessness in a previous generation, with offers that never seem to come. It's a hopeless song, but the Clash seem fine with it.
3. "Frankly Mr. Shankly" - The Smiths
Morrissey has bigger dreams, Mr. Shankly. The job he has in "Frankly, Mr. Shankly," released as part of the Queen is Dead LP in 1986, opens with the utterly relatable lines "Frankly, Mr. Shankly, this position I've held, it pays my way and it corrodes my soul."
2. "Working Man" - RUSH
"I get up at seven, yeah/And I go to work at nine/I got no time for livin'/Yes, I'm workin' all the time." The final song on the B-Side of Rush's 1974 debut self-titled album, Geddy Lee whines his way through the opening verse and chorus with an attitude that recalls Joe Strummer's "it is what it is" tone on the Clash's "Career Opportunities." It's important, though, to follow up those defeated lines of "I got no time for livin'" with a minutes-long guitar and bass solo. This might be the best song to crank up as you hit the gas out of the parking lot on your final day work.
1. "Job That Ate My Brain" - Ramones
"I can't take this crazy pace/I've become a mental case/Yeah, this is the job that ate my brain." Years removed from their classic hits, the Ramones released this song in 1992 as part of its Mondo Bizarro LP on Chrysalis Records. Its simple lyrics, driving guitars and off-beat take on the working world make it a good song to go out on if only because you know a better job is just around the corner.
Keep Westword Free... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Denver with no paywalls.