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Songs For A Drab And Unfulfilling Existence


If you're reading this between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m., chances are pretty good that you're at your desk at work, which means you've still got a job. Congratulations! You're not desperately unemployed, and you're not working on an assembly line in which you melt the beaks off of chicken carcasses all day. Worse hands have been dealt than the one you now hold, and yet you remain overwhelmed by the gnawing sense that you're but one tiny, crushingly insignificant speck in an indifferent, even hostile world.

As grateful as you may be to continue drawing a paycheck, it's easy to wallow in unfulfilled potential — mountains unclimbed, memoirs unwritten, crushes unconsummated and enemies unvanquished. As you sit in your drab, gray cubicle and wrap up those third-quarter reports, be sure to take a moment, sweep away the ashes of your dashed dreams, don a pair of headphones, and listen to this five-song playlist as you plod grimly through this waking life.

For more entries in NPR Music's Listen While You Work series, click here.

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Stephen Thompson
Stephen Thompson is a host, writer and reviewer for NPR Music, where he speaks into any microphone that will have him and appears as a frequent panelist and guest host on All Songs Considered. Thompson also co-hosts the daily NPR roundtable podcast Pop Culture Happy Hour, which he created with NPR's Linda Holmes in 2010. In 2008, he and Bob Boilen created the NPR Music video series Tiny Desk concerts, in which musicians perform at Boilen's desk. (To be more specific, Thompson had the idea, which took seconds, while Boilen created the series, which took years. Thompson will insist upon equal billing until the day he dies.)