By Calvin Tyler
If you’re not that enthusiastic about what you do for a living, then the worst part of your day is when your feet leave the warmth of your bed (sofa, or whatever) and hit the floor. The best part of your week is when the clock hits “time to leave” on Friday, and you are released from your chains and set free to be the person you were born to be — yourself.
Hunter S. Thompson once said, “Music has always been a matter of Energy to me; a question of fuel. Sentimental people call it inspiration, but what they really mean is fuel. I have always needed fuel. I am a serious consumer. On some nights, I still believe that a car with the gas needle on empty can run about 50 more miles if you have the right music very loud on the radio.”
Truer words have never been spoken by the people we’re supposed to look up to, so I call all who reluctantly reside in restless tension that ye might be brought forth from the agonies of mediocrity — the terrible sensations that exist only for the trapped — and let thy spirits soar.
I’ve decided against all the cutesy music like “Take This Job and Shove It,” because they really only institute hatred, and they’re not for the type of person who needs this list. The folks who stand, or sit, at what they refer to as “well, it pays the bills” type of “life sucks” are the ones who will put away all preconceived notions of what kind of music they like, actually listen to the lyrics, and let the sounds of the heavy beats take them away from that place of suffering.
“MASTER OF PUPPETS”
(Master of Puppets album)
I know, I know. The hardcore Metallica fans will tell me, “This song isn’t about being trapped in a depressing workplace! It’s about drug addiction, idiot!” My response to this is “whatever.” I’ve never chopped my breakfast on a mirror, but I know what these dudes really feared — wearing khakis to work every day. That’s so scary I just got chills, and I once drank bottled water in Mexico, so you know I’m pretty fearless.
Lyrics to listen for: “Master, master, where’s the dreams that I’ve been after? Master, master, you promised only lies. Laughter, laughter, all I hear or see is laughter. Laughter, laughter, laughing at my cries. Hell is worth all that, natural habitat. Just a rhyme without a reason, never-ending maze; drift on numbered days, now your life is out of season.”
“RENEGADES OF FUNK”
Rage Against the Machine is the quintessential anti-establishment band. I like to tell everyone to do what they’re good at. RATM is practicing what I preach. There’s a reason The Matrix — a movie about people existing in, and being controlled by, a machine — ends on a Rage song. So, in the way that they start most of their songs, and I’m quoting here, “Come on!”
Lyrics to listen for: “Now renegades are the people with their own philosophies. They change the course of history: everyday people like you and me. We’re the renegades; we’re the people with our own philosophies. We change the course of history: everyday people like you and me.
“FIGHT FOR YOUR RIGHT”
(Licensed To Ill album)
How could you not think of this song when you remember your rebel years as a teenager wishing to be left alone? The Beastie Boys said everything that we felt at that vulnerable age, and proved to us that there was an amazing strength in screaming those words aloud — even if we only spoke them when no one was around to hear it.
Lyrics to listen for: “You wake up late for school, man, you don’t wanna go. You ask your mom, ‘Please?’ but she still says, ‘No!’ You missed two classes and no homework, but your teacher preaches class like you’re some kind of jerk.”
(The Resistance album)
I remember when knowing about Muse was hip; back before Muse became all mainstream (twists wax into mustache), they were the kind of musical group that inspired a different approach to music altogether. Their themes and use of digital technologies to generate some of the best music in decades was one thing, but the group could also write solid lyrics. This is the song that put Muse on map, while simultaneously forcing me to find another obscure band to tell the “lessers” about.
Lyrics to listen for: “Interchanging mind control. Come let the revolution takes its toll. If you could flick the switch and open your third eye, you’d see that we should never be afraid to die.”
(Yell Fire album)
I stumbled upon this guy when researching another story, and instantly fell in love with his music. Not many people can pull off being cooler than Lenny Kravitz, but Mr. Franti does a pretty good job.
This particular song was inspired by his trip to the Middle East, visiting Iraq, Israel, and the Palestinian Territories. I guess we can compare that to hating fluorescent lights?
Lyrics to listen for: “Ring the alarm, we come to wake up the snoring. They tellin’ you to worry about the future, they tellin’ you to never worry about the torture, they tellin’ you that you’ll never see the horror. Spend it all today and we will bill you tomorrow.”
Even though the list isn’t compiled of music written with crappy jobs in mind, they still invoke the idea of rebellion. There were hundreds of songs that represent the irony of disciplinary institutions — optioning a single handful proved quite the challenge — but it’s my hope that this list fuels you to reconsider your environment, brings you to a better place, and gives you the strength to let go of the part of you that was created to help cope with all of the ways you’ve been forced to change over the years. Grab your keys, hop in your ride, hit the road with a change of heart. Drive free into your weekend of non-negotiable self-appreciation.
Because, after all, there’s nothing holding you back until Monday. And that terrible day is reserved for antidepressants and the Boomtown Rats’ “I Don’t Like Mondays.”