top 10 anti work songs numbers 1 to 5 are here

The English Beat – Get a Job

The Beat: making the Thatcher years danceable. With “Get a Job,” Wakeling snaps off one of the finest lines of pop, imagining how the old make sense of the new: “‘Oh, you young people / are revolting.’” Some of them were, inspired by some of the tracks noted here.

The Slits – Shoplifting

If work provides no hold on your moral compass, what’s “the youth” to do? Either “Spend Spend Spend,” or go “Shoplifting,” the finer of these two tunes by The Slits.

Ciao Matto – Working for Vacation

Enough said. “Check In,” from the more recent and excellent Hotel Valentine, gets an honorable mention.

The Ramones – 53rd and 3rd

When CBGB gigs galore didn’t allow Dee Dee to pay the bills (read: his dealer), he took the 6 uptown for his swing shift, where the labor was piecemeal, so to speak.

XTC – Making Plans for Nigel

Have 35 words (or so), configured in relatively short phrases, ever evoked such tangible dread? Minimalist post-punk songcraft by XTC at their finest.

Hamell on Trial – Gotta Go ‘Round

Don’t know Hamell on Trial? Think The Clash meets George Carlin on acoustic guitar—and the brashest use of a 1937 Gibson you’ve ever heard. His political standpoint? He’s a scatological communitarian, a la Louis CK, Sarah Silverman, and Chris Rock, who share taboo tales in a way that push the limits of the liberal sensibilities of their audience. I could have easily picked the down tempo “Ask the Angels” (best song ever about life at a pizza joint), but “Around” gets my nod. I don’t know if there’s a track buried so deep on an album—track 15 of 16 from Tough Love (2003)—that has brought me so much joy. With lines like this—“I walk 47 miles of guitar cord / I use a Marshall stack for a necktie”—it’ll be the best $1 (or more) you’ll spend at this year.

The Clash – Koka Kola

“Career Opportunities” may be the obvious choice from the oeuvre of The Clash, and a creative choice might be “Police and Thieves” (policing and thieving as homologous occupations), but I favor here the 100+ seconds of “Kola.” The tune bristles with urgency and paranoia, and continued The Clash’s hopped-up homage to rock steady. Beyond the sonics and sentiment, too, it recalls the “corridors of power” in which I worked (a la Mark Perry) as a lowly clerk. Upon the arrival of the lift, the dulcet tones of a recorded voice would indicate “elevator going up”: each and every time, if only under my breath, I would break into song: “In the gleaming corridors/of the 51st floor …” (And honorable mention to Big Audio Dynamite’s “Sony,” if only because shortly after its release, Sony took control of the recordings of BAD and The Clash.)

The Clash, though, were merely poseurs in their anti-work ethic. As Joe Strummer noted, “For some reason, we weren’t night-clubbing people. All I can remember is writing and rehearsing and recording. A real intensity of effort.”

How nice of the lads, not to be nightclubbing people, so we could be. Cheers!


Randal Doane is the author of the award-winning Stealing All Transmissions: A Secret History of The Clash (foreword by Barry “the Baker” Auguste, backline roadie for The Clash—PM Press). You can follow him on twitter @stealingclash, read episodic musings at his website stealing all transmissions, and most importantly, buy his book—which is available in North America, the UK, and around the world. Your support makes these words possible.

All words by Randal Doane. More writing by Randall on Louder Than War can be found at his author’s archive.

top 10 anti work songs numbers 1 to 5 are here

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Award winning journalist and boss of Louder Than War. In a 30 year music writing career, John was the first to write about bands such as Stone Roses and Nirvana and has several best selling music books to his name. He constantly tours the world with Goldblade and the Membranes playing gigs or doing spoken word and speaking at music conferences.


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