Corporatized Joy: A mixtape for the newly employed

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Here's some noise that a few Gimme Noise readers will mourn, but the majority of you might not: you won't have An Affront to Serious Music Criticism to kick around anymore. Or not quite as much, anyway. Why? Because yesterday, I started a full-time day-job after five and a half months of depraved, soul-sucking unemployment brought about when the fam and I up and split the wilds of central Pennsylvania for the seeming employment mecca of the greater Austin, Texas metropolitan area. The miseries of fruitless job searching, near-total depression, and scrambling to cobble together enough freelance to pay some of the bills inspired this fake mixtape; given the reversal of my fortunes, and the fact that 2011 might actually be a decent financial year, the time seemed right for a rose-colored rejoinder.

What's that you say? You just scored a sweet, cubicled gig, too? Then celebrate along with me!

Pink Floyd, "Money"

It's easy to take money for granted when you have it, or at least have some, but in that unsettling moment when you have very little, or none at all, it's downright sobering and humbling, and when you're driving downtown to meet with a recruiter or go on an interview or run an errand on a week day - because, like, you've applied to every job you're even vaguely qualified for and done all the freelance anyone will pay you for - and you pass median squatters forlornly holding up signs, you've gotta look away because you're not a mere paycheck or three away from spending your time the same way: you're literally almost there. Obligatory Pink Floyd-related comment: this isn't even a rock song, is it? It's sort of this deep, haunting gospel blues thing that's somehow always existed, even back when cavemen were bartering crude wheels for dinosaur flanks. Wilmmmmmmmmmmma!

Andrew W.K., "Party Hard"

No rock-star partying, no Four Loko excesses, no banging my head into a microphone stand until it bleeds. Gimme Noise is at the age where you celebrate milestones like this by buying yourself something minor that you wouldn't have dreamed on dropping cash on while circling the dole - in my case, probably that Keith Richards memoir I've heard such great things about - catching a movie, or blasting "Party Hard" via YouTube at night when everybody else in the house is asleep. Obligatory Andrew W.K.-related comment: you should really read this interview, which is kind of old, but acts as a tonic for me when I'm suffering a lack of faith in humanity generally.

A Tribe Called Quest, "Rap Promoter"

Q-Tip succinctly lays down the law in tough rap promoter drag: don't cross this narrator, suckas. Doesn't really have anything to do, explicitly, with being a new hire for a government contractor, but yesterday I couldn't get the lyric "to the Chemical Bank, to get my cash" out of my head for some reason.

Jazmine Sullivan, "Dream Big"

If there is anything, right now, that you believe that you just can't accomplish, get thee to iTunes post-haste and buy "Dream Big." It's the most strident, propulsive, downright inspiring cut on last year's Fearless - and the most literally fearless, come to think of it - and should be required listening for anyone who feels beaten down, who's had dozens of doors summarily slammed in his or her face, who's spent so much time sulking on a couch that actually disappearing into it is starting to seem like a pretty capital idea. Obligatory Jazmine Sullivan-related comment: this is the song that convinced me that Sullivan had true star potential, which she confirmed on the just-released Love Me Back. I. Am. Not. Fronting.

Liz Phair, "Shitloads of Money"

Gimme Noise isn't really pulling down shitloads of cash, but anything beats praying for the mail carrier to drop off a bundle of freelance checks on a particular day only to discover that due to some cruel bureaucratic/karmic twist of fate, you'll have to wait another twenty-four hours, or a week, or two weeks to pay your phone bill or your car note or your son's tuition. (I'm doing okay. Or, I will be doing okay when I start getting paid.) Have you ever danced with the devil in the pale moon light? Have you bathed in the blood of the lamb? Peered at George Condo's banned My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy album cover and sympathized on a vampiric, non-sexual level? Tap-danced on dazed the edge? (Not The Edge, silly. But if you have, that's kind of awesome.) I hope you haven't had to; I pray you never do. Obligatory Liz Phair-related comment: the best thing about this song is its title.

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