Song of the Day: “Workin’ For A Livin'”

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Our song of the day today is another ’80s hit from the Stranger Things Season 3 soundtrack, “Workin’ For A Livin'”, by Huey Lewis And The News.

This week, we’re rocking with the theme of the ’80s. More specifically, however, we’re pulling out each song from the music heard in the most recent season of Stranger Things.

Stranger Things Season 3 is essentially a love letter to the ’80s. While we all already knew that the entire series is an ’80s nostalgia trip, Season 3 takes it to another level. Like any period piece, most of the music heard in Stranger Things Season 3 matches music that could be heard on the radio in the year that it’s set in. In this case, that year is 1985.

This week, we’ll covering our songs a bit differently. Since they all come from the same soundtrack, we’ll be briefly discussing the scene’s they show up in, as well as any additional relevance they may have to the characters.

Since it’s been nearly a week since Stranger Things Season 3 released, we shouldn’t have to notify anyone that there may be some mild spoilers ahead, but there you go. Still, like yesterday, this song comes in during episode 1. We won’t spoil much, yet.

“Suzie, Do You Copy?”

In the first episode of Stranger Things Season 3, the show takes its time in reintroducing the characters and catching everyone up on where they are in life. Dustin returns from summer camp, El and Mike are happily dating, and Nancy and Jonathan are both working at the Hawkins Post. Jonathan as a photographer, and Nancy as a coffee girl struggling to break in as a journalist.

Huey Lewis And The News’ “Workin’ For A Livin'” plays as we cut to Nancy rushing in to the office to deliver lunch for her terrible bosses. The lyrics fit Nancy’s frustrations with her current position and co-workers who won’t take her seriously. But they also give us a sense of her motivations. She’s tough, and willing to keep plugging away at her crap job, in the hopes that she can prove herself. Until then, she’s workin’ for a livin’.

Workin’ For A Livin’

“Workin’ For A Livin'” is likely a song that Nancy Wheeler would have been intimately familiar with, as Huey Lewis And The News was huge in the ’80s.

The song was released as a single in 1982, and included on the album, “Picture This”, which came out the same year. The track by Huey Lewis And The News didn’t reach as high up on the charts as some of their later hits, but it still did well. “Workin’ For A Livin'” peaked at No. 41 on the Billboard Top 100, and No. 20 on the Billboard Top Tracks.

Even though “Workin’ For A Livin'” was released three years before the year Stranger Things Season 3 is set in, it was undoubtedly a song all of the characters were familiar with. In 1985, Huey Lewis And The News was incredibly popular. And their inclusion in “Back to the Future”(released in 1985) resulted in another spike of popularity.

Lyrics

“Workin’ For A Livin'” is a song about, you guessed it, work. More accurately, it’s a song about struggling to just get by with whatever job you can get until something better comes along. For that, it serves as a perfect match for Nancy Wheeler.

“Some days won’t end ever and some days pass on by
I’ll be working here forever, at least until I die
Damned if you do, damned if you don’t
I’m supposed to get a raise next week, you know damn well I won’t”

That last line specifically illustrates the exact frustration that Nancy feels about her job. Along with that, the line, “I’m takin’ what they’re givin’ ’cause I’m workin’ for a livin'”, matches with Nancy’s current mindset in this episode. Jeez, it’s almost like they thought about the songs before they put them in, huh?

Final Thoughts

Unlike yesterday, we’ve got no Stranger Things clip to show you, so you’ll just have to watch the first episode yourself to hear Huey Lewis And The News’ “Workin’ For A Livin'”. What we do have, however, is a perfectly ridiculous music video for the song. If you weren’t already fed up with the ’80s after binging Stranger Things Season 3, you will be after you watch these goofballs.

That about wraps up our discussion for today. Tomorrow, we’ll be back with another song straight from the soundtrack to Stranger Things Season 3.

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