Welcome again to our annual cavalcade of music and songs from the ass-end of the class divide, the anthems and laments of the world’s working men and women, those who toil in obscurity while the boss-man hogs the glory.

In years past, I’ve typically used this space to treat you to an essay on the state of the US economy and the plutocratic banditry so rampant therein. This year, though, that seems kind of redundant. If you pay any attention at all to the news, you can’t help but be aware of the tensions and inconsistencies in this nation, where the stock market soars and the president brags of sustained economic growth even as his billionaire friends reap the benefits before they can trickle down to the common man, even as his trade policies destroy middle-class industrial jobs by the thousands.

The mask is well and truly off, now, and the failings of the capitalist economy are increasingly apparent even to those who have traditionally been its staunchest defenders. There’s something changing in this country, for good or for ill, and we will not understand the scope of that change until it is behind us.

So let’s all take a moment before we plunge into the full-on madness of election season to breathe, to reflect on the sacrifices and the victories of the organizers who came before us, and to wave goodbye to summer as it slowly begins to recede.

Select individual tracks provided for reference only; as always, we encourage you to download the full mix (1:20:55) for best enjoyment, and support the artists by purchasing their music.

Collect ’em all!

Download the full mix for 2017 (1:17:20) — see details here

Download the full mix for 2016 (1:14:42) — see details here

Download the full mix for 2015 (1:26:24) see details here

Download the full mix for 2014 (1:15:39) — see details here

Download the full mix for 2013 (1:08:31) — see details here

Download the full mix for 2012 (1:12:37) — see details here

Download the full mix for 2011 (1:20:57) — see details here

(prelude — beach ambience)

Simple Minds — Someone Somewhere In Summertime (extended remix) original track on New Gold Dream (1982)

The Mooney SuzukiIt’s Showtime Pt. II from Electric Sweat (2002)

The Pretenders — Back On the Chain Gang from Learning to Crawl (1984)

David Bowie — Day-In Day-Out from Never Let Me Down (1987)

The Afghan Whigs — The Lottery from Do To the Beast (2014)

Phoebe Hunt and the Gatherers — Lint Head Gal from Shanti’s Shadow (2017)

Bill Wilson — Pay Day Give Away from Ever Changing Minstrel (1973)

Leisure Process — Cashflow (1982 single)

Bachman—Turner Overdrive — Takin’ Care of Business from Bachman—Turner Overdrive II (1973)

The Smiths — Frankly, Mr. Shankly from The Queen Is Dead (1986)

King Missile — Cheescake Truck from Mystical Shit (1990)

Bon Jovi — Work For the Working Man from The Circle (2009)

Jeff Beck — Guitar Shop from Jeff Beck’s Guitar Shop (1989)

Lucinda Williams — Fruits of My Labor from World Without Tears (2008)

Steely Dan — Glamour Profession from Gaucho (1980)

The Editors — Fingers In the Factories from The Back Room (2005)

The Easybeats — Friday On My Mind (1966 single)

Wall of Voodoo — Lost Weekend from Call of the West (1982)

(interlude — summer night by the water)

coda: R.E.M — Nightswimming from Automatic for the People (1992)

Dedicated to the memories of Walter Becker, George Young, and Joe Hill

About the Author

Jack Feerick

Critic at Large

Jack Feerick — editor, proofreader, freelance know-it-all, and three-time Jeopardy! champion — lives with his family somewhere in upstate New York, where he plays in a rock 'n' roll band and occasionally runs his mouth on local radio. You can listen to more of his work on Soundcloud, if you like.

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