Club Goin Up On A Tuesday, or, no 48 Hours for 48 thrills
“And when I’m working on the weekend I’ll look back and think how we had the club goin up on a Tuesday”
ILOVEMAKONNEN’s song “Tuesday” is about going out dancing and drinking on a Tuesday night because “Working graveyard, shifts every other weekend/ain’t got no fucking time, to party on the week-end.” As Drake raps, “I ain’t got no time/to party on the weekend” because “always workin OT/All the time in and out of town/Shit is crazy back home/Kills me that I’m not around.”
This is a party anthem for flexibilized, casualized, hyperemployed neoliberal labor, people who work evenings, weekends, overtime and over city/state borders. Interestingly, the video explicitly connects the “hustle” of the drug dealer to the “hustle” of neoliberal labor more generally. Tressie McMillan Cottom draws out some of the implicit connections between hip hop aesthetics and disruption/creative destruction here:
Disrupt. Uncage. Unleash. Unbundle. Can’t you hear that being dropped in a 16 bar with the lazy staccato of a Notorious B.I.G.? It’s all there. The terms used to reinvent higher education are masculine, violent even. This isn’t change. This is fundamental disruption. I am not just going to rob you, like a nice stick up boy. No I want you to stop, drop and give me the loot. I don’t just want to possess your bounty. I want to take it from you like MOB. The taking, the unleashing — that’s part of the joie de vivre of it all.
Splicing images of entrepreneurs, service industry workers, and hyperemployed middle classes with lyrics about drug dealing on the streets, “Tuesday”’s video visually demonstrates the parallels Cottom correctly identifies in the aesthetics of both 90s hip hop and neoliberal political economy.
The 9-to-5 grind is now a constant hustle, so the concept of the “weekend” as escape is obsolete. Moreover, because “disrupt/uncage/unleash/unbundle” is now what we’re all expected to do for work, when we do get a chance to relax, we don’t want to let loose (because that’s too much like work); instead, we just sit back and “have another…drink.” Like, even taking recreational anti-anxiety meds is too extreme: Drake raps “Upstairs I got Xans in an Advil bottle/I don’t take them shits but you do, so I got ‘em for you.” When it’s too much work to pop a Xanax for fun, then you know your leisure has been totally, fully, and really subsumed, and that the only way to really escape is to actively do as little as possible. The models in the video are even wearing masks, as though the labor of looking beautiful or having facial expressions was just too much like work (which, you know, is a totally valid point–when you’re an affective laborer, having facial expressions IS your job).
And you can hear this in the music: the aesthetics of this hip hop song are light years away from the hip hop aesthetics Cottom identifies in her playlist. “Tuesday” is held together by a woozy, distorted organ synth or sample. Unlike mainstream white EDM club music, this song never, ever builds up, drops, or breaks down; it just stays on a pretty consistent cycle of organ loop which marks out a quarter-half-quarter [1-23-4] rhythm. The raised pitch on the fourth beat each measure gives it the effect of a pickup into the downbeat of the next measure, so that just as the half note fades out of energy, the pickup comes in to boost us over the bar back to a downbeat…sort of like how going out to the club on a Tuesday is the boost that you need to get you over the hump of your next totally irregular, exhausting work week, till next Tuesday, or whenever you get a free night.
This aesthetic is totally, completely different than the one we get in The Clash’s 1977 song “48 Hours.” This song is about having “48 hours for 48 thrills”–in Fordist but rapidly deindustrializing Britain, boring, repetitive jobs left working-class kids like The Clash’s ideal fan-base with 48 hours–the weekend–to have any and all the fun they could. Instead of Xanax, they took amphetamines. And you can hear this in the song–it’s so fast and hard-hitting that it seems to try to deliver the 48 thrills the lyrics demand. You can even hear this in Strummer’s forceful, staccato delivery: it’s like he delivers each word with a punch.
Instead of woozy shuffling and laid-back, affectless aesthetics, “48 Hours” is an onslaught of antsy affect, jittery as it’s waiting to be let out of the gate.
You can hear the difference between the political economy of work and labor each song speaks to in their different treatments of delayed object nouns–”drink” and “thrills.” “Tuesday” repeats the refrain “I just need another…drink,” and “48 Hours” repeats the line “48 hours needs 48/48 hours needs 48/48 hours needs 48…thrills” (it even ends on that line). The Clash use repetition to build tension, which is then released on the downbeat with “thrills”–it’s an explosive punch. “Tuesday” doesn’t build tension–the pause before “drink” is almost like a space to catch a breath or take a sip. And in a way this is a microcosm of each song’s aesthetic function: “48 Hours” is designed to produce thrills, whereas “Tuesday” is designed to be a moment of relief in an otherwise nonstop onslaught of hustling, drama, and overextension.