Playlist: Work is Life

Half the time I’m awake, I spend it earning a living. Here are 15 tracks that best capture the working-class life.

A Hard Day’s Night by The Beatles

Even though most dogs get more rest than I do, I empathize with the relief of getting through the day. The pain evaporates once I shut down my computer. What awaits at night helps pull people through – be it your life partner (N/A to me), or just Netflix at home. There’s nothing I wouldn’t do to sleep like a log and just lay in bed the entire night.

Work by Rihanna featuring Drake

I doubt the song has anything to do with my middle-class struggles. The track gives off sexual vibes more than hustling at the workplace, endless meetings, and countless e-mails. What resonates though are the words Rihanna utters on loop and the trance it puts me through. The days feel repetitive. I just have to keep on going with the motion.

She Works Hard for the Money by Donna Summer

I’ve always believed that discipline outplays talent. What job you have and the industry you come from speaks about what you do and not who you are. But work ethics talk about a person’s character. And that’s one thing I can respect. Everyone should be proud of working hard, and all of them that do deserve an anthem on the dancefloor!

Bills by LunchMoney Lewis

I love my job. And I don’t have an existential crisis about my purpose in life. But if I were honest with myself, I’d rather stay at home and do nothing. Or travel and see the world. The main reason I work is to pay the bills. And when I heard “Bills” by LunchMoney Lewis, his words resonated like no other.

Morning Train (Nine to Five) by Sheena Easton

Life was simpler back then. (1) Work used to be 9 to 5. Now, stuff can rarely be finished in that period. (2) A morning train would’ve been peaceful. Now, the commute makes you haggard and eat up all your free time. (3) Finally, you would’ve gone back to a home and not just a house. Now, the focus is on work and relationships take a backseat.

Work Song by Hozier

It’s ironic that a single entitled “Work Song” speaks so little about time spent on a job and focuses a majority of the track on what he’s missing out and looking forward to. Knowing that at the end of the tunnel, waiting for you is a loved one, can get you through the toughest time in the workplace. Fortunate are those who have it.

Money for Nothing by Dire Straits

It’s hard to argue the impact celebrities make isn’t far-reaching and that they are inconsequential to our lives. But I can’t help compare the effort I exert to some people I see on MTV (or Netflix). If only I chose the right career, or I had a different set of genes, maybe I would’ve gotten more money for nothing. P.S. N/A to everyone in Hollywood.

Work from Home by Fifth Harmony featuring Ty Dolla $ign

Majority of the people relate to “Work from Home” in the context of agile policies enacted by their companies, or having no choice but to stay back in the time of a pandemic. It is essential to clarify that Fifth Harmony was seeking romance from a lover who had to go out and work while they’re stuck in bed, and not what most of us think.

Manic Monday by The Bangles

Even back in the 80s, musicians were singing about the struggle of starting a workweek. Mondays aren’t the most packed. But the transition from a laidback or adventure-filled weekend, to a desk job with deadlines and tons of e-mails, isn’t exactly smooth. Overall though, I still prefer a manic Monday, vs. spreading out the work to all days of the week.

Work Bitch by Britney Spears

“Work Bitch” is far from Britney’s most successful single in the charts. But it definitely stands as one of her most memorable and her most philosophical. I can complain all I want. And while I know meritocracy has its limitations, there’s wisdom and truth imparted from one of pop’s biggest superstars.

Working Class Hero by John Lennon

If you’re having a crisis about work, the song can either inspire you to get up and get out of your situation, or it can dampen your spirits and let you resign to a life you don’t enjoy. “Working Class Hero” is full of truth bombs. It’s not trying to be dramatic. It’s just authentic.

Money, Money, Money by ABBA

The sad truth about work for most people is that it’s a means to an end and not an end in itself. I bet most of us do it for the money with a sad notion that money makes the world go round. If I had more, I’m sure I would be writing in this blog fulltime with or without the prospect of financial gains.

Opportunities (Let’s Make Lots of Money) by Pet Shop Boys

Talk about using your best assets to capitalize on opportunities. Nowadays, the most agile and most courageous make the most out of random situations. If you have the brawns and brains to use to your advantage, coupled with synthpop of the 80s, there’s little reason to hesitate and not explore.

Space Oddity by David Bowie

Not all jobs have the same risk, and not all of them get the same glory. Being an astronaut probably tops the list of dream jobs for most childhood nerds. But it’s a dream that will likely be unfulfilled for most. The storytelling of fictional character Major Tom in “Space Oddity” gives us a glimpse into the life of the envied (or just a junkie as some argue.)

9 to 5 by Dolly Parton

Dolly Parton provides an uplifting beat for an otherwise relatable and tragic story of the workforce. Everyone is out for a promotion, believing they are owed one. But that view is rarely in line with your superior’s. Colleagues can get toxic instead of collaborative. In the end, helplessness creeps in.



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