My job/career/work has me spend a lot of time alone in my car. Listening to music between appointments and red lights. Once in awhile, I’ll fast forward past songs onto ones that coincide with my current state of mind or mood. But, even when I do, the songs I skip by often evoke a memory, sensation or feeling about an experience or person. (Which, to be very honest is sometimes why they get passed over- but I always revisit them when I’m in the mood)
It got me thinking. There aren’t many songs about working.
Before I sat down to write this out, I searched my iTunes catalog for songs with the work “Work” in them. Here are the first 10 that popped up:
1) Chelsea Wolfe – “Our work was good.” ~ Pretty darn sure this isn’t about work.
2) Mutemath – “Work of Art” ~ This one neither.
3) Black Keys – “Work Me” ~ Absolutely, positively NOT about work.
4) St. Vincent – “Actor out of work” ~ Nope.
5) Steely Dan – “Dirty Work” ~ Nu-uh.
6) Mindil Beach Markets – “Working man blues” ~ Probably about work.
7) Drive-By Truckers – “Working this job” ~ Almost positively yes.
8) Sting – “We work the black steam” ~ Eh….borderline? Pretty sure it’s more political than anything.
9) Frank Sinatra – “Nice work if you can get it” ~ Unless holding hands is work; nope.
10) Mick Jagger – “Let’s work” ~ Not about work in the conventional sense. World issues/politics, perhaps?
So, out of 10 songs, we have 2* that are about work**. That’s 20%. Yet, we tend to work at least 33% of our day, and most of us are thinking about working, or actually working during part of the other 67%.
When I searched the word “Job”, I found one song, and it was instrumental, so who the hell knows what that one is about? Now, “Money” – that’s a whole different ball game. Most songs with “Money” in the title are actually about money. Go figure. We love that, too.
Search “Love”, “Mother”, “Daughter”, “Heart”, “Soul”, “Father”, “Son”, “Friend”, “Memories”, “Holiday”, “Sex” and you’ll see songs mostly about these topics outnumber the songs that are actually about work AND money. Consistently.
So, tell me this; If most songs are about the feelings that other people influence us to feel, or conjure up memories of good or sad days gone by, why isn’t our LIFE? If art imitates life, why isn’t our life imitating art ( or, in this case, music)? Most people will agree that music is one of the most influential presence in our lives. All across the planet. Most music speaks to the things we love. And work doesn’t seem to be one of them.
YET, we let work devour our time, distract us from our most important relationships ( the ones sung about in the songs we love), and, in some cases, destroy our health (via stress).
If we let our lives imitate the way music makes us remember….I believe we’d all have more fulfilling relationships with others. And, most importantly, ourselves.
I’m not telling you to quit your job and listen to music all day. I’m just asking you to consider how much time you spend working, thinking about work, bitching about work, being on call for work and basically ignoring your loved ones, and ultimately your inner feelings and desires.
Work, if you must, but remember: Everything in moderation.
Except for music.
* from my library. If your library has a lot of songs about work, we need to talk.
** and, it’s possible these songs are about more than work; frustration, respect ( or lack of), relationships etc.