The Daily Grind

Oct 25, 2012

By James Sandham

Well, music lover, it’s been one of those weeks. Work’s been getting me down, and all I want to do is get out, go listen to some music and maybe take a hike or something while the trees are still looking as lovely as they are.

That’s not going to happen though, chained as I am to my desk, so instead I’ve come up with a playlist to help me make it through until the weekend. Maybe you’re having a week like this, too? If so, you might find that some of these songs resonate with you.

Sam Cooke – “Chain Gang”

Ah yes, the Monday morning classic and one of my favourite songs with which to start the week. This song came out as a single in 1960 and reached No. 2 on the American charts. It’s by Sam Cooke, of course, the singer extraordinaire who was tragically shot by Bertha Franklin, the manager of the motel where he was staying. What a way to go. I guess it makes another Monday not seem so bad.


Drive-By Truckers – “This F***ing Job”

Here’s a cheery one. The title pretty much sums it up, and I guess we all feel that way sometimes. Luckily, for most of us, that’s the extent to which this particular piece of art imitates our particular slice of life, and we don’t actually have to go through everything detailed in the song’s rather cinematically tragic music video.


Bob Dylan – “Maggie’s Farm”

This is a great song to which to resent working. It was released in 1965 on Dylan’s Bringing It All Back Home album, and it’s about as resonant today as it probably was back then. Of course, it’s generally interpreted as Dylan’s declaration of independence from the protest folk movement, casting him as the pawn and the folk music scene as the oppressor – so that kind of changes things, if he’s not actually talking about “working,” but rather about being “artistically constrained” by his “scene.”


Loverboy – “Working for the Weekend”

The Canadian Music Hall of Fame’s 2009 inductees didn’t get in on good looks alone – they also wrote classic tunes, like this one, which I’m sure nearly everyone has belted out at least once on their way home from work. Sadly, this is a reality for all too many of us.


Harry Belafonte – “Day-O (The Banana Boat Song)”

And then… there is this one. If I’d written it I would have called it “The Quitting Song” or at least “The Closing Song,” because it seems to perfectly capture the feeling of the end of the day, as you drag your weary body home – hopefully to something better. I’m humming it right now, in fact. “Me want to go home…”