Somewhere in the vast history of American pop culture lives the archetype of an older person who tries to fit in with a crowd of youngsters, often relying on their ‘hip lingo,’ peppered with several ‘groovies’ and the occasional ‘super-fly.’ This image alone strikes fear into the souls of most teenagers, and understandably causes that uncomfortable cringe to go creeping into the stomachs of the younger generation. This irking feeling is certainly present while listening to the biggest ‘face-palm’ of 2013 thus far, entitled Hardly Workin’.
Created by Andrew Mason, the co-founder of the ‘deal-of-the-day’ website Groupon, Hardly Workin’ essentially seeks to educate the younger generation about the world of business. While he certainly conveys some pertinent information, Mason does not seem to have many concerns about the musical value of his lyrics. The stale and seemingly forced lyrics of Mason’s songs reveal the unspoken stereotype toward music from businessmen of his ranks as he raps and crams his words into a rhythm with a consistently predictable vocal melody which often seems choppy and unorganized. Mason utters every single word without once sacrificing a single syllable for musical and phonetic purposes, and a chorus of talent female vocalists harmonizes with the hook of each song (because that’s what hit songs do, right?).
The trite and, for lack of a better term, corny nature of Hardly Workin’ would certainly coincide with the cheesy children’s programs you would find on a public television broadcast at three in the morning. Its overall composition and instrumentation and the gives the impression that a man who thinks that his success in his business will transfer over into the music industry, and represents his opinion of successful music based upon what he heard on Top 40 Radio. Although the lyrical and creative content from Mason is not necessarily outstanding, the work contributed by the musicians on the album is superb. The band is tight, and the musicians demonstrate their abilities on their instruments with occasionally grooving riffs and succinct solos.
Hardly Workin’ is certainly hardly working, and is exactly what you would expect to get from a businessman who wanted to to venture into the music industry. The motivational rock album seems like (and very well may be) a well-conceived joke, which put a respectable sum of money into the pockets of several welcoming studio engineers and session musicians. As a clear example of the fine line between the worlds of business and music, Andrew Mason’s Hardly Workin’ serves as a message to aspiring businesspeople in an ambitious, musical translation.