Posted on August 9th, 2021
[as seen on Stereogum]
Are we working from home or have our homes turned into workspaces? It’s been an urgent question for the past year and a half as the pandemic continues, and it’s what Stuck, a post-punk Exploding In Sound Records band, are reckoning with on this new track “Labor Leisure.” “There’s no worth without work/ There’s no joy without pain/ A quantum state of play/ When labor and leisure feel one and the same,” vocalist Greg Obis intones. It’s from the band’s forthcoming EP, which is sardonically titled Content That Makes You Feel Good.
Read what Obis said about the song:
“Labor Leisure” is about the dissolving boundaries between work life and home life. As we are constantly reminded about how we can optimize our productivity, our diet, our free time etc, we internalize that “hustle mindset” and it negatively reflects in our personal lives. Often it can make what we do for fun feel like a task.
I particularly struggle with maintaining these boundaries between work and play, and it can suck the joy out of my free time. As an audio engineer, it is my job to be critical, and as a result I can become harsh and judgmental towards things as simple as playing a video game, reading a book, making dinner. I think a lot of people probably feel this right now as folks continue to work from home on top of the other ways our personal and work lives become intertwined.
This song isn’t the only one on the EP to touch on neo-feudalism; that work life and home life are becoming the same thing. When that happens, work becomes inescapable, and you don’t actually have the freedoms that capitalism promises you.
This song follows “City Of Police,” a more experimental single that’s as full of lyrical frustrations as “Labor Leisure.”