5 Artists You Should Never Listen to at Work


If your job doesn’t suck, you probably work somewhere where you’re allowed to listen to music at your desk. And if you’re like me, you listen to music as much as you can, and sometimes leave your headphones in without music when you decide you actually want to be productive, just so no one will bother you. But all music is not created equal, and all music is definitely just… not created for the office.


Every woman loves Adele and thinks 21 was written about her. Adele keeps it real. Way too real for work. That entire album will take you on a bipolar emotional rollercoaster that should only be ridden in the privacy of your home. One minute you are feeling so empowered like the independent woman that you are (single ladies!), and the next you are contemplating raiding the office supply closet and fastening a noose out of paperclips and highlighters (I can’t believe he didn’t put a ring on it). No, you think, use your words. But that’s a mistake too. You find yourself plagiarizing her lyrics in dense emails to your latest ex thinking it helps to articulate some sort of revelation or newfound clarity on what went wrong and why you’ll never, ever be together, but really it’s just the same recycled thoughts from the last four months. But wow that was a well-written email, better written than the few sentences of work you’ve managed to do all afternoon, and it’s almost 7:00 so you think you’ll just call it a day.

Also too real for work: Bon Iver, Mumford & Sons, Lauryn Hill, Lykke Li.

Gucci Mane

Gucci is too ignorant for work. Period. Every second you listen you are becoming less capable at your job and more amenable to the idea of an ice cream face tattoo.

Also too ignorant for work: Waka Flocka Flame, Wiz Khalifa, Ke$ha, Rebecca Black.

Nicki Minaj

On the mornings I listen to Nicki Minaj on the way to work, I feel invincible. This is not an exaggeration. I end up tweeting lyrics like “you can be the king, but watch the queen conquer” only to have all my friends who aren’t funemployed (awake before noon) retweet with exclamations and smiley faces and we all feel so empowered. I wish this were an exaggeration, because by the time you get to work, the empire you’ve been building in your head on your commute comes to a gruesome and devastating end when you open your email inbox and realize you are the boss of no one. You start responding to emails while “Did It On ‘Em” plays in the background and this seems like a totally fine idea. But as you respond to requests one by one, they become more and more combative. “Sure, no problem!” turns into a dismissive “when is this due?” and eventually devolves into no response at all. It’s right about that time your boss approaches your desk and asks you for a “favor” that Nicki says “if I had a dick, I would pull it out and piss on ‘em” and you are wishing you did and wishing you could use it. Naturally by now you’ve managed to create an imaginary Li’l Kim rivalry with everyone in your office and you wish you could get away with barking (like a dungeon dragon) to get what you want when you realize it’s only 10am and you’re a motherfuckin’ monster. Just killed another career it’s a mild day.

Also too combative for work: Eminem, Chris Brown, Fiona Apple

R. Kelly

Say what you want about Kellz – yeah he peed all over that poor girl, and sure he recorded an entire song that was just an argument with some (same?) girl, put it to a beat and called it “Real Talk.” But real talk, if you have ever made a sex playlist, somehow R. Kelly still finds his way on it. And if you have ever been blackout drunk at 3am, trying to holler at some sober dude, you’ve probably used the words “bump ‘n grind” in a text and been surprised that it worked, then questioned the next morning if you should be sleeping with someone who can be seduced by R. Kelly lyrics from last decade. Whatever… I won’t explore my relationship to R. Kelly any further here. It’s complicated. But I will say that when an R. Kelly track comes on my iTunes at work, mostly accidentally, I swear, I have to turn it off immediately. Can’t even let it get past “this is my song for real no doubt…” because by the time he’s talking about feelin’ on my booty, I am instantly transported back to some night memorable for no other reason than R. Kelly was on in the bedroom. It lights some fire in you that should only be put out in your private time. But you try to put it out at work anyway. You stop working on that brief, start wondering if that hot co-worker is capable of doing what that guy did to you that night, decide to email him for a nonexistent favor and slowly more emoticons and more innuendo starts creeping into your work emails. In the middle of that exchange where he asks you how wet the rain got you on your way to work ;), your boss asks you to weigh in on the latest draft of that brief, and caught up in the moment with hot co-worker, you reply something like “looks tasty to me ;).” You up and leave out of the office, quickly, and pray your email gets misinterpreted as enthusiasm for your project.

Also will light your fire at work: Maxwell, Ginuwine, Robin Thicke, and Ciara’s “Ride” (warning: watching the video at work will make that fire explode.)

Black Eyed Peas

I don’t even like the Black Eyed Peas. And I’m not just saying that because no one does. It’s annoying how much money they all must have for making shitty music, probably even that blind one who is inexplicably always wearing leather even in the middle of summer. It’s the kind of music you condemn during daylight for representing everything that’s wrong with music today, but find yourself screaming “this is my jam!” to when you’re blacked out at a bar later that night. It has the power to turn you into the worst version of yourself – a fist-pumping guidette in a bedazzled halter top. Never listen to this genre of club jamz at work. It’s distracting, and will plunge you into the unproductive depths of self-loathing when you can’t help but dance a little at your desk. Of course your boss will walk over at the very moment you’re mouthing too confidently along to “I Gotta Feeling” and ask you innocently what you’re listening to. Before you can even think of the most obscure indie band he’s never heard of, he’ll see it on your iTunes and you’ll have to quit your job out of shame.

Also bad club jamz that will force you to quit your job out of shame: Katy Perry, Mike Posner, T-Pain, Taio Cruz. (See also all tagged in “Ignorant” category above.)

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