The Haymarket Squares, ‘Working Reward’ [Exclusive Premiere]
Arizona-based group the Haymarket Squares are a surprising combination of punk and bluegrass (aka, "punkgrass"), and they're revealing a new song, "Working Reward," exclusively on The Boot.
"Working Reward" comes from the Haymarket Squares' forthcoming record, Light It Up, and from its very first note, the song is four minutes and nine seconds of pure fun -- but there's a deeper message behind its lighthearted feel.
"You're worth more than they'll ever pay you / Don't let your desire to please other people betray you," the band sings. "You may work for a day or a decade / Wake up feeling groggy and wondering if it was a fair trade."
The Haymarket Squares specialize in four-part harmonies, which shine throughout "Working Reward." At the same time, the band is able to sound a bit like misfits and rabble-rousers, pushing the song into anthem territory.
""Working Reward" was written when I was leaving a job I’d held for more than a decade and reflecting on how much time, energy and creativity I had given to my employer," explains band member Marc Oxborrow. "Although I started the job as a willing workaholic, devoting nights and weekends to my career, by the end, I felt like I was, in the words of the song, 'selling off the best years of [my] life.'
"It’s a situation most of us find ourselves in, doing things we’d rather not do in order to eat and put a roof over our heads," he adds. "And even full-time employment can’t protect us from financial ruin if poor health or Wall Street recklessness conspire to wipe out our savings — hence the line about 'a high-wire act with a safety net in tatters and a target on your back.'"
Oxborrow admits that he's always been motivated by praise, but he now wonders if that mindset set him up for exploitation, as shown in the lyrics "Don’t let your desire to please other people betray you."
"Working Reward" is unique to the Haymarket Squares because of its length: The band specializes in long shows and short songs, so the over-four-minute track is double the length of many of their tunes -- but for a good reason.
"One reason for the longer running time is the inclusion of a quote from "Road to Nowhere," the 1985 hit from the Talking Heads," Oxborrow explains. "As I was writing my song, the chord changes in the solo section reminded me of David Byrne’s tune, so I borrowed (and slightly changed) three lines from his composition and added a final line of my own."
For more information on the Haymarket Squares' upcoming shows and new record, due out on Feb. 26, visit HaymarketSquares.com.
Listen to the Haymarket Squares, "Working Reward":