Missed Music

Music you didn’t know you needed…until now.

The Friday mix: Work, work work

Thirty-five million Americans and I are all looking for a job. I’ve been a stay-at-home dad for a couple years, but I’m trying to get back into the market. As you might know, it can be a disheartening and frustrating process. I can tell you that the only thing worse than having a job is looking for one. On the plus side, I have lots of time to write a music blog. This week’s theme occurred to me as I was submitting resumes to open jobs and working my Linked In contacts. These songs all deal with work. Do you know anyone looking to hire a good technical writer?

Perhaps. But all play and no work makes Jack a poor boy.

  • Working for Vacation – Cibo Matto
    Ah, the quirky and brilliant Cibo Matto, whose lineup included Miho Hatori, Yuka Honda, and Sean Lennon. They did some strange and wonderful work, and this is a prime example.
  • Love on a Farm Boy’s Wages – XTC
    My love of XTC is well-documented. Who else writes songs about the difficulties a farm boy faces paying for a wife?
  • I’ve Been Working – Van Morrison
    I wrote this song up a few weeks ago but I chose it again today because I haven’t been working. This is from “His Band and Street Choir” and it is a vintage gem.
  • Walk to Work – Viriginia Coalition
    VACO plays accessible, good-time pop. This one is funky and fun.
  • Barnaby, Hardly Working – Yo La Tengo
    This is a sweet and quiet song like they released on “And Then Nothing Turned Itself Inside Out.” I actually prefer the outtake version from “Prisoners of Love” that is more of a long, noisy exploration.
  • Finest Worksong – R.E.M.
    “Document” was the first R.E.M. album I owned and it has a special place in my heart. This song kicks off the album and the first few blaring seconds always take me back to high school.
  • I Go To Work – Us3
    “Hand on the Torch” came out in 1993 and remains a favorite of mine to this day. They took a bunch of samples from the Blue Note Records archives, remixed them, and rapped over them. Fantastic.
  • At Home, At Work, At Play – Sparks
    Sparks is a fearless and influential band my uncle turned me on to back in the early 80s. Here is a live performance that couldn’t have been recorded very long ago. As an added bonus, you get the incredibly weird 23-second ‘Propaganda’ before ‘At Home At Work At Play’ starts. They still sound great.
  • Workman’s Comp – Mos Def
    From the insanely brilliant “The Ecstatic,” (read my review of this album on AltSounds) this one discusses the perils of shagging your boss.
  • Dream Job – The Dears
    I am reminded of some of the slow, pretty work by Hope Sandoval (Mazzy Star) or, more recently, Cat Power, except that it’s a guy singing.
  • I Would Be Your Slave – David Bowie
    Breathy synthesized percussion, gentle strings, and Bowie’s quiet wail make this song quietly compelling. The chord progression takes some surprising turns.
  • Earn Enough for Us – XTC
    XTC again, and I didn’t even use ‘Senses Working Overtime.’  Here is Partridge again, singing about making enough money working to pay for his girl.
  • Five O’Clock World – The Proclaimers
    The original song by The Vogues is great, but I really like the energetic version The Proclaimers dropped in 2004. This link will take you to the samples from this album, but you’ll have to click on track 8 yourself.

Enjoy this mix with a hard-earned cold beer at the end of the day. Have a great weekend.


October 22, 2010 - Posted by | Classic Rock, Electronica, Hip Hop, Mix CD, Popular, Rock


  1. You forgot Loverboy’s “Working for the weekend”! unbelievable!
    not to mention “Working Class Hero” but ok maybe Lennon wasn’t actually talking about work, but the workers….

    On an international scope, you probably would enjoy the MPB/bossanova/samba -esque “Come e duro trabalhar” by Vinicius & Toquinho

    Good luck with the job hunting, remember, when looking for a job you are not selling your skills, since a million people have more and better skills than you, but you are selling yourself. The entire package beyond the skillful worker there is a person and ultimately that is what will set you appart of the competition.

    Don’t dismay! Keep knocking doors. Feel free to kick them from time to time.

    Comment by leo | November 6, 2010 | Reply

  2. Ha! Thanks for the comment. I thought about ‘Working Class Hero’ but there can’t be many people out there who aren’t familiar with it. And I’m not sure I would have recommended Loverboy to anyone in 1981, much less in 2010. 🙂
    And I’m trying to stay positive in the job search. It gets tough staying at it, but what else can you do? Thanks for the encouragement.

    Comment by MissedMusic | November 7, 2010 | Reply

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