Work out songs
Songs about work - this is what the world of work sounds like
Everything works better with music! Is that really true? We took a close look at well-known and lesser-known songs that deal with the topic of “work”. Or better, we listen very carefully and analyze texts, melodies, harmonies and rhythms. The songs about work can be motivating, describe a rather ideal world and promise a sunny future. But there are also numerous songs and pieces of music that deal with frustration, stress and hopelessness.
The world of work in music: from childhood to retirement and beyond!
"Who wants to see hardworking craftsmen?" Do you know this classic among nursery rhymes? Different professions are described in the text, from painter to carpenter. The simple melody (with supporting pantomime) is intended to convey to children that work is fun. That is fundamentally correct if the conditions are right. Anyone who not only has a job to earn money, but is satisfied in their profession, receives recognition and quality of life.
Unfortunately, the reality is often different: Frustration and insufficient earnings ensure that work gets a negative image. Country singer Gunter Gabriel describes in "Hey boss, I need more money" poor living conditions despite daily work. However, the melody is rousing and fresh, so that the song misses the critical effect.
The times of slavery were even more serious: no money, hard work and no freedom at all resulted in a broad genre of music developing from it. Many gospels and spirituals focus on the hard life of slaves. There was no redemption as it is today when reaching retirement age (although the financial conditions are often even worse then), but only with death. In the afterlife slaves were free. The special style is called "work songs".
With such songs, based on simple melodies and repetitive elements, the work should be easier, with hidden criticism between the lines. Well-known examples are around "Cotton Fields" and "I'm working my way back home" or "Take this hammer". Work songs, gospels and spirituals later developed into blues and jazz.
Songs about working with "catchy tune"
The group Geier Swoop landed in 1982 "Gross National Product" a huge hit that has not been forgotten to this day. The line of text “We are increasing the gross national product” is a synonym for the fact that everyone must always be hardworking as long as the body and mind do not completely fail. The song contains numerous critical comments on the world of work. The melody and rhythm are groovy and rousing, you are immediately encouraged to sing along.
Dolly Parton's is also very catchy "9 to 5", which hit the music market in 1980. The Beatles took part in 1964 "A hard days night" draw attention to a long, hard day at work. Here, however, the focus is on the relaxing evening. You feel good again when the working day is behind you and real life is waiting at home.
Critical songs about the world of work: the list is long!
Texts that denounce the bad working conditions can be found, for example, under the titles "Bend up" and "Work sucks" von Deichkind or "Slave" from Kraftklub. The quick way to burn out is described here, nothing more can be said of “work can also be fun”. Unfortunately, none of these are new findings. The song "Working Class Hero", reissued by Green Day and others, is a cover by John Lennon. Like many other critical songs, it's about exploitation and oppression.
The musical stylistic devices are not decisive, but the message: whether rap, hip hop, rock music, hits or songwriter songs, the world of work does not necessarily do well in music!
Image source: vadimgozhda / 123RF Royalty-free images
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