If you’re a serf in the fiefdom of corporate slavery (read: part time retail job), you’ve probably felt crushed—or have already been irrevocably destroyed—by the boring, soul-wrenching, existential-crisis-giving mediocrity that your work brings. Stocking and cleaning up and dealing with rude customers isn’t bad work, per se (it’s better than nothing, after all) but when you do that for thirty hours a week for an indefinite stretch of time, it can take a serious toll on your mind.
I’m not at liberty to say where I actually work, but it is no different when it comes to the spirit of the place and the job; there are times I feel like it’s never going to end, like I’m lost in space, floating forever while angry customers and pricing guns and the like tumble around me.
However, I’ve found the biggest thing that can impact your time at work—aside from a positive mindset (but who wants that anyway?)—is music. To have something good to listen to, that’s not just mind-numbing “muzak” makes any job not only doable, but even maybe a little fun. Here’s some stuff that I recommend, if you have the ability to listen to your own music while on duty (if not, just imagine the songs in your head, I guess):
Queens of the Stone Age — Songs for the Deaf
Nothing gets you in the mood to kick some ass more than some hard rock, and Queens of the Stone Age have proven themselves to be one of the best hard rock bands of new millennium. Songs for the Deaf, their third album, is considered their best (though 2013’s …Like Clockwork and 2000’s Rated R are often close contenders between fans), and is a great album to work to. First of all, it brings the verb “rock” (i.e. “this rocks!”) to new heights with its aggression and guitar playing (thanks to the talented Josh Homme)—just listen to “You Think I Ain’t Worth a Dollar, But I Feel Like a Millionaire” if you want proof of how loud this album can be. But in addition to that, Songs for the Deaf adds a light alternative flair to this tight desert rock sound with the use of e-bows, organs, and keyboards.
This is the type of album that you want to sing and play air guitar to while you work, but I highly advise against that; you never know how many security cameras your work has, after all, or where they’re pointed.
Bad Brains — Bad Brains
If QotSA doesn’t get you going, a little hardcore punk definitely will. Bad Brains is still regarded today as having some of the fastest, most hard-hitting hardcore punk, and this is an album that’s over thirty years old, if you can believe it. Tracks like “Attitude” and “Supertouch/Shitfit” once brought new meaning to the term “hardcore,” what with energy so palpable that it seems like it’s slapping you in the face. The lyrics—if you can understand what H.R. is saying, that is—are heavily influenced by Rastafarian ideals and the philosophy of P.M.A., or Positive Mental Attitude, which is actually mentioned by name in the track “Attitude.”
You can’t forget the Brains’s Rasta influence, though; the album jumps randomly to full-on reggae at different points, which could be be a great time to take a break from whatever your boss is making you doing at that point.
Death Grips — The Money Store
We’re going to finish this list with what is essentially hardcore punk squeezed through a hip-hop filter, with Death Grips’s infamous debut The Money Store.
I’m guessing that most people reading this already know who Death Grips are, so I won’t bother explaining more than I need to. (For those who don’t, though, you should be extremely ashamed of yourself. Just kidding.) Essentially put, though, this is ireful hip-hop that you can absolutely count down your shift with—just be sure you don’t break anything or start any riots while listening to it. From the catchy-as-hell opening “Get Got” to the closing “Bitch Please,” The Money Store doesn’t disappoint; every track reeks with energy and anger and neck-snapping rhythm. There’s a reason it’s being considered one of the best hip-hop albums of the 2010’s and is my personal favorite hip-hop album, and that’s because it doesn’t just kick ass; it rips you a new one.