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Name that (economic) tune
Aug 31, 2023
Episode 995

Name that (economic) tune

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We'll hear the songs for today's economy.

Not sure how to feel about today’s economy? Perhaps putting it to music will help. Today we’re dedicating the entire show to the economic anthems of this moment. We’ll play a round of Name That Tune with songs our dear listeners submitted. Plus, Kai and Kimberly will share their song picks!

Here’s everything we talked about today:

Join us tomorrow for Economics on Tap. The YouTube livestream starts at 3:30 p.m. Pacific time, 6:30 p.m. Eastern. We’ll have news, drinks, a game and more.

Make Me Smart August 31, 2023 Transcript

Note: Marketplace podcasts are meant to be heard, with emphasis, tone and audio elements a transcript can’t capture. Transcripts are generated using a combination of automated software and human transcribers, and may contain errors. Please check the corresponding audio before quoting it.

Kai Ryssdal

Hey everybody, I’m Kai Ryssdal. Thanks for everybody for joining us on this Thursday. Today it is the 31st day of August, can you believe tomorrow is September holy cow.

Kimberly Adams 

Ah, but not the 23rd of September, which we gotta wait to get to because that’s the best. Anyway, today while I’m talking music, we’re going to dedicate the entire show to the economic anthems of the moment. It’s the songs that sum up how we’re feeling about the economy.

Kai Ryssdal

So we’re gonna play a little round of name that economic tune if you will, using some of the songs that all y’all shared with us. And then Kimberly and I are gonna give our own reveal as it were of our economic anthems.

Kimberly Adams 

Although now I just realized that I missed the assignment a little bit because I was thinking like your personal economic anthems not the economic anthem of the moment. So I may need to

Kai Ryssdal

I think well, so I think two things apply here number one, it’s our podcast we could do what we want and number two, I think personal or general trend is fine.

Kimberly Adams 

Okay, fine. All right. So let’s get started with the first mystery song.

Bleachers

I didn’t know I was lonely ’til I saw your face

I wanna get better, better, better, better

I wanna get better

I didn’t know I was broken ’til I wanted to change

I wanna get better, better, better, better

I wanna get better

Kimberly Adams

I’m guessing it’s called “I want to get better.”

Kai Ryssdal

I want to get better, that’s as far as I got, right. We need a little help from the producers.

Kimberly Adams 

I don’t know it. This song was sent in by SJ from Richmond who wrote “speaking to the desire for the interest rate increases to fix this mess.” It’s gonna get harder before it gets easier. So drumroll please.

Kai Ryssdal

I’m waiting for Courtney to finish typing. They’re leaving us hanging, the producers were like “we’re gonna help you out”

Kimberly Adams 

The song is, “I want to get better” by Bleachers. 2014. Yes, everybody wants the interest rates to get better.

Kai Ryssdal

Another fun game would be how many of these bands or songs, does Kai have no frapin idea about. I would guess it’s gonna be a high number. All right, let’s go with number two, see how I do. I got Chumbawamba once and then that was it.

Kimberly Adams 

Yeah, I heard that.

Kai Ryssdal

I know. I was pretty proud. Alright, let’s go Drew.

R.E.M

Tell me with the Rapture and the reverent in the right, right

You vitriolic, patriotic, slam fight, bright light

Feeling pretty psyched

It’s the end of the world as we know it

It’s the end of the world as we know it

Kimberly Adams 

world as we know it.

Kai Ryssdal

Yeah, that’s bad because I’m beating myself. R.E.M, “end of the world as we know it”. Alejnadra who said they chose the song quote “because the cost of living crisis and unaffordable housing” is of course the end of the world as we know it. That’s not a bad anthem. That’s not a bad anthem. I kinda like that one.

Kimberly Adams 

Yeah that works. That works. You know, I was thinking earlier today when when I was thinking is it like a economic anthem of the moment or as an economic anthem for me? I was thinking of a
“Flagpole Sitta” by Harvey Danger. Where it’s like “I’m not sick, but I’m not well.”

Kai Ryssdal

Oh, well. I mean, you know, you got the sniffles right now. You got the sniffles and there’s a little correlation.

Kimberly Adams 

Oh no I meant about the economy.

Kai Ryssdal

I know, I know, as I was saying it. Well, you know, whatever. Okay. It works both ways.

Kimberly Adams 

All of it, all of it.

Kai Ryssdal

It works both ways.

Kimberly Adams 

Yes, yes. Yes. Yes. Okay, so but the one that I actually chose is a little bit different. Here is the one I chose sort of for a more personal economic anthem.

Donna Summer

She works hard for the money

So hard for it, honey

She works hard for the money

So you better treat her right

Kimberly Adams

Gotta love it. Donna Summer. Oh, you know it. I should have let you get through that one.

Kai Ryssdal

I knew that one.

Kimberly Adams

Okay, Donna Summer, “She works hard for the money,” of course. You know, when I was looking this up today, I was on Genius, the lyrics website, and I read the backstory of the song, which I’d never heard before. It’s just two paragraphs. I’m gonna read it. “When Summer went to the ladies room at the upscale Chasten’s Bistro in LA, she startled the washroom attendant Onetta Johnson, who apologized for having dozed off and explain she was exhausted from working two jobs. After thinking, “she works hard for the money,” Summer returned to her table and wrote down that thought and the woman’s name and a hit was born. “She works hard for the money,” was a top 10 hit in several countries with a number three peak in the U.S in August 1983. Of her 12 U.S top 10 hits, it was her eleventh.” I thought that was a really great story,

Kai Ryssdal

That’s a great story, that’s a great story.

Kimberly Adams

You know, and kind of does match the most Then of people just grinding trying to make do, especially with this high interest rate, environment rising prices. Yeah. We’re all working hard for the money. All right. What about you, Mr. Ryssdal?

Kai Ryssdal

So here’s my, I have to set this up with a little story and it goes like this. I graduated from Briarcliff High School in Briarcliff Manor, New York in 1981. Okay. And then, and for those of you who have ever been Briarcliff high school, or just picture this in your mind, the graduation there were 104 kids in my graduating class, it was pretty small. And graduation was held on the lawn outside the back of the school. And the back of the school was a two story brick wall that must have been 100, or maybe two or three feet wide between the two wings of the school. Okay. Okay, so graduation obviously was like on a Friday night at six o’clock, or whatever it was. So we get there for rehearsal in the morning of that Friday morning. And somebody in in five-foot-high letters across the back of the school had painted “What a long strange trip it’s been, ‘77-‘81, which is the years I was in high school, right. So so we go and we have the graduation ceremony that night, they had hired a sandblaster. So somebody came in and sandblasted that thing off that whole strip of wall before the graduation but of course, there was a bear strip of sandblasted brick wall for all our moms and grandmas and aunts and uncles to see and it was just a thing. Parenthetical note here to an already parenthetical story. It wasn’t until like our 30th high school reunion that the guy who did it confessed to the principal, at the time.

Kimberly Adams

Oh wow.

Kai Ryssdal

We had Mr. Troy to our like 30 grand high school reunion or whatever. And he confessed. And he was like Mr. T, I’m really sorry, blah, blah, blah. Anyway, so that it eventually did come out. But it was 30 years that we found out who did it or until the school found out who did it because a lot of us already knew. Anyway, so when I started thinking about songs that sum up these economic times, that for some reason is the alert. It’s not alert. That is the album title that came to my mind. “What a long strange trip it’s been” is the title of a Grateful Dead compilation album that came out in double album actually in 1977. I am not a deadhead. I couldn’t tell you a one deadhead lyric. I don’t know any dead songs. The only thing I know about the Grateful Dead other than Jerry Garcia had part of a finger missing is that Jay Powell is a fan of the Grateful Dead. That’s really all I could tell you. But that’s what’s stuck in my mind. So that’s why I’m picking that as my anthem of this economic moment.

Kimberly Adams 

Okay, that was a great story.

Kai Ryssdal

There you go. Wow, strange.

Kimberly Adams 

I got nothing to add. All right. Well, all right. What a long strange, what what a short, strange show this has been. But we’re done. So that’s it for today. Thank you to everyone who sent in a song. We’ve created a special Spotify playlist with all your submissions, you can check it out. We’re going to include a link in the show notes.

Kai Ryssdal

Tomorrow is economics on tap. I’m going to have a beer, Kimberly is going to have something much more creative than that YouTube livestream starts at 3:30 Pacific, 6:30 Eastern. Log in, check us out, offer your comments, whatever. It’s good to have you all along.

Kimberly Adams 

This is my favorite economic anthem. Make Me Smart is produced by Courtney Burgsieker. Today’s episode was engineered by Charlton Thorp. No, it was Drew, Drew engineered today’s show. Ellen Rolfes writes our newsletter. Our intern is Niloufar Shahbandi.

Kai Ryssdal

Mariska Cabrera is our senior producer. Bridget Bodnar is the director of podcasts. Francesca Levy is the executive director, director hello Kai, of digital and on demand.

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