It's hard to believe it's the unofficial end of summer, but Labor Day Weekend is here. In honor of the holiday, we've made the Friday Five this week all about WORK. Volume 88 consists of our five favorite songs about getting stuff done. It was a surprisingly tight competition, but we think we came up with five jams that can all be played around the grill, at the beach, or at whatever gathering you might find yourself at this LDW.
Bachman-Turner Overdrive - Takin' Care of Business
Where else could we start? The Bachman-Turner Overdrive classic has been used in everything from hardware commercials to movie montages, and always leaves the listener with a feeling of "mission accomplished." There's no doubt in our minds that this dad-approved classic will be blaring out of the speaker by the grill at whatever Labor Day Weekend barbecue you're attending this weekend. It's maybe the definitive work track, and a yacht rock staple that makes it perfect for an end-of-summer day. But maybe our favorite part of the track is the lyrics. Basically, it's BTO bragging that, instead of working in a cubicle, they get to be rock stars. And honestly? Good for them. As they say in the song, "If it were easy as fishin, you could be a musician." Instead, we'll just kick back and enjoy the 1973 hit.
Rihanna - Work
Talk about a song that was everywhere when it was released. Apparently, there are a lot of lyrics to this song beyond the word "work." But that's all we know. Still, Rihanna's 2016 banger has one of the most recognizable instrumental tracks of the century, and you instantly know it when you hear it. "Work" has been a dance floor classic since its release, and definitely doesn't invoke any of the usual "9-to-5" feelings that most of these songs do (more on that in a bit). But, when you think of "working songs," Rihanna's massive hit has to be one of the first songs that comes to mind. It's catchy, has a beat that makes you move, and is incredibly easy to sing along to without knowing any of the lyrics. If you've still got one final summer party left to go this LDW, "Work" should be on the playlist.
Jurassic 5 - Work It Out
We're heading in a more mellow direction with our next track, Jurassic 5's underrated classic "Work It Out" featuring Dave Matthews Band. If you're looking for a chill, uplifting song for one final beach day on the summer, this one is it. Jurassic 5 was one of the leaders of the early-aughts laid back hip-hop wave, true masters of an incredibly niche genre. "Work It Out" also made an appearance on the NBA Live 07 soundtrack, which is maybe why the chorus has such a firm hold on our memory. The old EA Sports games all had incredible soundtracks, but Jurassic 5's appearance was certainly one of the most memorable. While the iconic drum fills and upbeat melody carry this one, the lyrics are once again the reason it makes this list. It's all about staying positive, following your dream, and working hard. Not a bad message for a great beach jam.
Steely Dan - Dirty Work
While we're talking about "working" songs, we still have to stay true to the King Penguin brand, so Steely Dan obviously makes the list. Now, "Dirty Work" isn't necessarily about the kind of work we are talking about on this list. Or that Labor Day is supposed to celebrate. But it's about work in general, and has it in the title, so it qualifies for the list. Steely Dan is the ultimate band to create lazy, beach day vibes, and no grilling playlist is complete without the kings of yacht rock. The beautiful harmonies, guitar riffs, and rhythms elevate this 1972 classic into the all-time pantheon of rock, and it's probably the oldest song to have made multiple appearances in the Friday Five. But Steely Dan will always be one of our go-to bands for setting the right mood, and "Dirty Work" is one of their greatest achievements.
Dolly Parton - 9 to 5
Well, we opened this list with an iconic work staple, and now we're closing with one, too. No song has ever taken on the droll, corporate, 9-to-5 lifestyle quite like the queen of country herself, Dolly Parton. As people who have, to an extent, gotten out of that rut, we couldn't agree more with Parton's 1980 hit. And like the rest of this list, the song is incredibly catchy, lyrics aside. It's hard to not tap your foot along as soon as the beat kicks in. Parton also rewrote the song for a very relatable Squarespace commercial entitled "5-to-9," which is all about side hustles, being your own boss, and making your dreams come true *after* the work day is done. But we didn't feel right honoring the commercial version, and not the original hit. In honor of workers everywhere, "9-to-5" -- and the rest of these tracks -- deserves to be on your Labor Day Weekend playlist.