Today is Labor Day, a day of appreciation for the working people. With this in mind, I thought I would put together my Top 10 motivational songs for getting in a work mood. Some will be predictable choices, some maybe not and some will seem entirely out of context. So some of these song choices might seem a little out there, but I'm basing the listing on how these songs motivate me personally. listing how these songs strike me. In today's world I'm happy for every day I have a job so here's my Top 10 list:
10. Rush "Working Man"
Didn't I say there would be some predictable choices! What self respecting rock radio station doesn't play this song when the subject of work comes up? They call me the working man, that's what I am...
9. Bruce Springsteen "Working On A Dream"
The Boss has written a ton of songs about work (like probably half his songs) yet possibly because this is the most recent one "Working On A Dream" is the most motivating for me. Though I think Springsteen meant for this to be about the mood of the country, it fits for personal work as well. Why work if you're not trying to accomplish something?
8. Huey Lewis and the News "Working For A Living"
One of Huey's best in my opinion or as they say on the internet IMO, this rapid bar band blues boogie has energy to spare.
7. Kool Moe Dee "I Go To Work"
So, how do ya like me now? An actual rap song is on my list even if it is from like 1988. I go to work, trained to brain and outfox ya. Or something like that. It's all about attitude and I like the James Bond edge to it.
6. Metallica "Disposable Heroes"
Now we're really in "out of context" land, I think this song is about infantry soldiers blindly following orders to their death. In a work context, I think of the part with the rushing Metalli-riff and James Hetfield barking "Back to the front!!!" more than the part about being a fool or blind man. Very militant sounding tune.
5. Chris Rea "Working On It"
The hook to this song has stuck in my mind for two decades and just a month ago I found out who does this one. I found it on Itunes and didn't download it right away...my mistake because it was taken off Itunes shortly after. Although the song has a bit of a "get off my back" 'tude I think more about the down and dirty work vibe.
4. Johnny Cash "I've Been Everywhere"
Part of having pride in your work is the belief you actually know what it is you're doing. With the man in black narrating a ride throughout the countryside name checking this place or that, you can hear the hard earned pride. I've been everywhere man, I've been everywhere.
3. Jackson Browne "The Pretender"
One of my favorite songwriters, Jackson Browne always has a flair for capturing melancholy disillusionment. As much as any of us would like to believe we could make a living for being swell people that suck air, the fact is that you have to work for what you want in life. "The Pretender" is a reminder to me of that simple truth, so I unironically say I'm going to be a happy idiot and struggle for the legal tender.
2. The Black Crowes "Go Faster"
Every day is a challenge to work as fast as possible.
1. Motorhead "Play The Game"
The theme song to WWE wrestler Triple HHH, "The Game"! Triple HHH earned his nickname by being an attentive and motivated student of pro wrestling to the point that people said he wasn't playing the game, he was the game. Or as he likes to say "I am the Game! Because I am That Damn Good!" This is a guy who tore a quadricep muscle in the middle of a wrestling match and still finished the match, hitting all his spots. If that's not work ethic, I don't know what is. Like Kool Moe Dee, this is an attitude song about being on top of your, ahem, game.
That's me list, I can't believe Loverboy didn't make it on here. They're number 11. Maybe because mostly I listen to rock songs, it's hard to find ones that say anything positive about working on something. I don't think I'm alone in changing the meaning of a song to fit a personal mood, as many times as I've seen "Taking Care of Business" used to mean a badass work ethic (when I read the lyrics a year ago I found out the song is about avoiding work). But as they say that's neither here nor there. Labor Day is almost over, tomorrow the game begins again!