From Dolly Parton to Donna Summers, numerous songwriters have written about the humorous (and sometimes horrifying) ups and downs of the work world. Although many of these songs were recorded decades ago, their lyrics still manage to strike a chord, with references to commuting, caffeine, and other timeless aspects of office life. Add this Workday Playlist to your iPod for musical inspiration (or commiseration) anytime.
1. 9 to 5 (Dolly Parton) - This catchy little ditty won Dolly Parton two Grammy awards. It also holds the distinction of being one of the few popular songs featuring typewriter noises (listen closely!). With commuting woes and cranky bosses, "9 to 5" gives workplace angst a voice. Also check out the movie by the same name.
2. Manic Monday (The Bangles) - We've all had those kinds of Mondays, and this 1986 single by the Bangles perfectly sums up the dread of dragging ourselves into the office after the weekend. It's the perfect pick-me-up whenever you're having a case of the Mondays (or the Tuesdays or Wednesdays).
3. Coffee Break (Frank Loesser's musical How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying) - Although written for a Broadway musical that opened in 1961, this song could just as easily apply to our Starbucks addiction circa 2009. Hum along when you need a laugh (or a latte).
4. She Works Hard for the Money (Donna Summer) - Sound familiar? This 1983 hit became an anthem for working women everywhere, but it was originally inspired by a waitress named Onetta. Crank up your iPod and cue up this song for an instant energy boost while you're working overtime.
5. Money, Money, Money (ABBA) - This 1976 song isn't so much about work as it is a fantasy about not having to work. Still, we dig the song's repetitive, driving rhythms and the vintage piano sound. You might recognize it from the musical and movie Mamma Mia!
6. Millworker (James Taylor) - If you thought your job had you singing the blues, then get a load of this ballad about a millworker in Lowell, Mass. The drudgery of the millworker's life is set against a simple, soulful melody. Listen to "Millworker" when you need a few minutes of calm and quiet to put things into perspective.
7. Whistle While You Work (Disney's Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs) - Although Snow White's old-school optimism is a tad dated, we gotta admire the girl's work ethic and the way she motivates a team of animals to help her tidy up. If Ms. White were around today, she'd certainly be management material.
8. Happy Working Song (Disney's Enchanted) - You'll hear obvious similarities to No. 7, but if you've ever wished you had a posse of animatronic animals to help you through the workday, this one is also worth a listen.
9. I Need a Holiday (Scouting for Girls) - The U.K.-based indie-pop band Scouting for Girls recorded this song for their debut album. The sentiment is one that many of us share, and it also doesn't hurt that the lead singer has a cute British accent, either.
10. Take This Job and Shove It (Johnny Paycheck) - Might we suggest using headphones for this one? This 1977 country hit is about an embittered factory worker, but many office workers can relate too. In fact, some people have actually quit over the airwaves by requesting this song on a local radio station. We recommend a more tactful approach.
Follow Nicole Williams on Twitter: www.twitter.com/thegirlontop