Quarantine made me do it.
Starting back in the fall, I found myself categorizing my music by theme. I compiled songs about leaving home, songs about love, songs about growing up. As the summer progressed, it became more specific: songs that included or consisted of spoken word over music, songs about rain, songs about birds, and songs about Greek and Roman mythological and historical figures. This eventually led me to songs about weekdays. The more I listened, the more I noticed similarities among the songs. What follows are my thoughts on each weekday and the songs that share its name. I will also put you on to my favorite song for each day of the week. I hope this absolutely useless information might make you smile. Perhaps listening to these songs will help you to remember what day of the week it is as we endure our stay-at-home lifestyles a bit longer. God knows, at times, I’ve forgotten.
Monday certainly gets a bad rap. Monday is the universal start of the workweek, and therefore often aligned with feelings of depression, exhaustion, or disappointment. Because the idea of Monday being a total drag is popular, there are some really nice songs with Monday in the title. Though I like The Bangles’ “Manic Monday”, Mitski’s emotionally cutting “Jobless Monday”, Fats Domino’s rocking “Blue Monday”, John Prine’s charming and sharp “Long Monday”, T-Bone Walker’s blues track “Call it Stormy Monday”, The Mamas and Papas’s intricate and melodic “Monday, Monday”, and Fleetwood Mac’s jamming “Monday Morning”, I find “Rainy Days and Mondays”, by the Carpenters to be the standout track. Karen Carpenter sings with gravity and sincerity, “What I feel has come and gone before / No need to talk it out (talk it out) / We know what it’s all about… Rainy days and Mondays always get me down.” No better voice than hers could convey these mournful lines about depression; cyclical and inevitable, just like the days of the week. Carpenter finds solace in the one she loves, singing, “Funny, but it seems I always wind up here with you / Nice to know somebody loves me / Funny, but it seems that it’s the only thing to do / Run and find the one who loves me.” This song is certainly a downer, but it also celebrates tender love and the powers of companionship against sadness. I hate to see Monday with such a sad, albeit beautiful, crop of songs, but it cannot be denied. A Monday song will likely include some doom and gloom.
There’s less of a consensus on what constitutes a “Tuesday” mood. Songs such as Hippo Campus’ endearing “Tuesday”, A House in The Trees’s cryptic “Tuesday Afternoon”, and Yusuf / Cat Stevens’ expectedly groovy (think Peace Train), “Tuesday’s Dead” all focus inward on self-doubt or self-discovery. The best of the bunch, “Tuesday Feeling (Chose To Stay),” by Blood Orange and Tinashe, shares the idea of a restless person finding peace within. Blood Orange, AKA Devonté Hynes, quietly repeats, mantra-like, “Choose to ignore blues / Something to get in your way / You choose to stay.” These and other lyrics, beautifully echoed and embellished by Tinashe’s fluttering riffs, encourage the listener to create a peace-filled and healthy lifestyle despite emotional hardships. They sing, “I want the lifestyle for free,” but sometimes self-care must be achieved one difficult step at a time. I’d be remiss not to mention a subset of Tuesday songs that seem to champion partying on a Tuesday (let’s not forget Mardi Gras or Fat Tuesday). Drake and ILOVEMAKONNEN’s song “Tuesday,” and Migos’s song “Taco Tuesday” both fall into this category.
So, if we’ve learned anything about Tuesdays, it’s best that you take some time for self reflection and prioritize your mental health. Or party hard.
We’ve made it halfway! The songs for Wednesday are about change, both good and bad. The good is illustrated by Curtis Harding’s cry for a second chance at love on “Wednesday Morning Atonement”, “Wednesday Night Melody” by the girl band, Bleached, in which they enthusiastically shout, “Come on boy, dry your eyes / It’s good to feel just a little alive” and Macklemore’s hopeful and politically charged fight song, “Wednesday Morning.” The more negative change can be evidenced by Tori Amos’s “Wednesday” which describes a relationship coming to an unavoidable and unsavory conclusion, as well as “Wednesday Morning, 3 A.M.” by Simon and Garfunkel, my pick for best Wednesday song. “Wednesday Morning, 3 A.M.” tells of a man lamenting the crimes he’s done in bed at 3 A.M.. When the dawn breaks, he must leave his lover and run from the law. Simon and Garfunkel’s detailed songwriting and intimate delivery make for a claustrophobically heartrending tale in just 2 minutes. Just listen to this line, about the protagonist’s lover: “And her hair, in a fine mist / Floats on my pillow / Reflecting the glow / Of the winter moonlight.” The tight harmonies elevate and compliment the acoustic guitar, commanding the soundscape with what seems like an age-old folktale. Play it again!
All of these songs describe a turning point, whether that be a second chance, a life altering disaster, renewed hope, or simply re-upping your energy for the rest of the week. From these songs, I think we’ve learned not to give up until after Wednesday comes around.
Thursday invites a mix of songs grounded in memory of the past or anticipation for the future. Many of the song lyrics profess a certain vulnerability. Mitski’s “Thursday Girl” and Jess Glynne’s “Thursday” both open up to listeners. The lyrics center around identity and a desire to break from conformity going forward. There are songs looking back on love such as “Thursday” by Peach pit, “Jersey Thursday” by Donovan, and “Thursday” by Asobi Seksu. There are also songs that premeditate a relationship. GOT7’s “THURSDAY” and EXO-CBX’s “Thursday”, both extremely popular K-pop bands, profess similar sentiments, the former (translated to English) professes, “I’m anxious every day because of you / The slow-moving time is too much” and the latter (translated to English) goes, “My feelings I’ve held back / That I’d controlled well, overflow just like this.”
My favorite Thursday song is “Thursday in the Danger Room (Feat. Kamasi Washington)” by Run the Jewels. The song is an extremely personal work about the death of two friends, one at the hands of an illness and one who was murdered. Run the Jewels raps over a steady, intense techno beat about mortality and injustice. Famous jazz musician, Kamasi Washington, plays saxophone over the lyrics, “And I guess I say you left too soon (you left too soon) / But the truth is that you never left (you never left) / ‘Cause I never let myself forget (myself forget)”.
I find it difficult to generalize about this group of unique songs but from what I’ve heard, Thursday is a day for vision. This could be someone looking at themselves in the present and revealing true feelings, looking forward to a new relationship or looking back on painful events in one’s past. Interestingly, almost all of these songs share a driving and steady rhythm, and a more chill, less variant, tone. Thursday is a day to evaluate where you came from, where you are, and where you’re going.
The Friday songs are a riot. As we’ve been expecting, the dominant narrative about Friday is that it’s a day for fun, usually in the form of a party that lasts until Saturday. Not all songs mention parties, but most have the message of throwing away one’s inhibitions and very often, money. Here goes the list. “Friday” by Rebecca Black, “Friday” by Ice Cube, “Friday the 13th (feat. Octavian)” by the Gorillaz, “Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F)” by Katy Perry, “Friday” by FMB DZ, “Friday on my Mind” by The Easybeats, and “Friday” by Sir Charles Jones all fit the bill. Aside from these songs there are a few that defy categorization. “Freaky Friday” by Lil Dicky and Chris Brown is sung as if the two artists had actually switched bodies (along with a few other guest stars). “Friday Night” by Vigiland is a pop-dubstep number that is sung from the perspective of someone who wasn’t allowed in a club and vows to get revenge. “Thank God it’s Friday” by Ice Nine Kills is a theatrical metal/pop-punk song about “the curse of crystal lake” featuring spoken lines from the supposed mother of Jason (from Friday the 13th). The best Friday song and the only (kind of) love song I’ve heard in this category, is The Cure’s popular “Friday, I’m in Love”. Swimming in twinkling guitar, Robert Smith’s distinct voice is almost overwhelmed as he shouts the whimsical lyrics, “Always take a big bite / It’s such a gorgeous sight / To see you eat in the middle of the night / You can never get enough / Enough of this stuff / It’s Friday I’m in love.” It’s hard not to smile at that! Friday songs span a wide array of genres but almost always boil down to one thing: Friday is a day for joy.
Saturday is, classically, the best day of the week. Surprisingly, not all Saturday songs are as upbeat as one might expect. Sure, there are a bunch of songs that frame Saturdays as celebrations. Elton John’s “Saturday Night’s Alright (For Fighting)” off of his seminal record, Goodbye Yellow Brick Road, Khalid’s “Saturday Nights”, the 80’s inspired “Saturdays (Feat. HAIM)” by Twin Shadow, and the actual 80’s hit, “Saturday Love” by Cherrelle and Alexander O’Neal all comply. These songs seem to suggest Saturday is the day for going out on the town, but, more importantly, making human connections. It’s the day to cherish your loved ones, or meet someone new. The rest of the Saturday songs are not as cheerful but almost always agree with the classic Saturday diagnosis. “Saturday” by Real Estate, “Another Saturday Night” by Sam Cooke, “Sad Saturday” by JOBA, and “Suicide Saturday” by Hippo Campus have a different perspective on Saturdays. These songs are about not having someone to love on Saturday, or the pressures of Saturday’s social scene. Both sets of songs view Saturday in a similar light but don’t always share the same attitude.
Despite these more gloomy interpretations, my favorite Saturday song is Chicago’s swinging “Saturdays in the Park”. This song is, in my opinion, the essence of a perfect Saturday. It’s almost hard to listen to them sing, “Funny days in the park / Every day’s the Fourth of July / People reaching, people touching / A real celebration / Waiting for us all.” Even if you can’t be physically together just yet, Saturdays are days to tell people that you love them.
While Sunday is technically the first day of the week, let’s be honest, it’s really the last, and some songs are all too aware of this fact. Etta James’s soulful “A Sunday Kind of Love”, No Doubt’s “Sunday Morning”, Lonely God’s “Sunday”, Earl Sweatshirt and Frank Ocean’s “Sunday”, and The Strokes’ “Why Are Sundays So Depressing” all portray Sunday as a metaphorical last leg: the latter days of a life, a situation, or a relationship. All of these Sunday songs acknowledge the passing of time, and most are pretty much downers. The best Sunday song is the hyper-relevant, 1983’s “Sunday Bloody Sunday” by Irish rock band U2. It was written in response to violence against civil protesters in Northern Ireland, however, in wake of the BLM movement, COVID-19, and American politics, the lyrics are extremely reflective of our current age. They sing, “I can’t believe the news today / Oh, I can’t close my eyes and make it go away… How long, how long must we sing this song?” The sentiments of the song are clear: the people are tired. It’s a beautiful song about struggle, frustration, and railing against systemic violence perpetrated daily. This one certainly hits close to home.
So, Sunday might be a day for mourning or regrets, however there are also songs that portray Sunday as a day to relax or hang out with family. “Sunday Morning (Feat. Josie Dunne)” by Matoma, the momentarily viral “Sunday Best” by Surfaces, the sweet love song to grandmas “Sunday Candy” by Donnie Trumpet & The Social Experiment, and “Sunday Vibe” by Cisco Adler and G. Love & Special Sauce are all a lot more upbeat. These songs seem to say if you’re tired on Sunday, rest, but know there’s another week right around the corner.
Of course, anything can happen on any day of the week. These songs don’t dictate how you should feel about a day or what you should do on that day. However, when the days start to bleed together and it seems nothing changes, it’s fun to listen to music that diversifies and individualizes each day. If these songs don’t do it for you, and if you are so inclined, come up with a random key word, plug it in to Spotify, and listen to the songs it pulls up, you’ll definitely hear something you’ve never heard before.
Ultimate Weekday Songs:
- Monday: “Rainy Days and Mondays”, by the Carpenters
- Tuesday: “Tuesday Feeling (Chose To Stay),” by Blood Orange and Tinashe
- Wednesday: “Wednesday Morning, 3 A.M.” by Simon and Garfunkel
- Thursday: “Thursday in the Danger Room (Feat. Kamasi Washington)” by Run the Jewels
- Friday: “Friday, I’m in Love” by The Cure
- Saturday: “Saturdays in the Park” by Chicago
- Sunday: “Sunday Bloody Sunday” by U2