Self-Titled Debut

Rush, Wal-Mart & the Working Man

 EPIC FAIL or Hilarious Prank?

I ran across this Wal-Mart promotional video today on The, courtesy of Rocco Pendola.

Ostensibly, this is a Wal-Mart motivational piece in order to help change their image as only selling imported goods and their over all image as just plain evil mongering, capitalistic assholes.

Which is great. Wal-Mart takes a great deal of shit about both the way they treat their workers and the number of imported goods they sell.

Rush Self-Titled Debut
Self-Titled Debut

Coupling the thumping Rush song “Working Man” with images of blue-collar workers and closing with Wal-Mart’s pledge to spend “250 billion dollars over the next ten years to purchasing products made from American factories…And honoring the men and women who make them.”

Nothing about that sounds ridiculous, right?

Sounds down right decent, don’t it? Downright American.


Two points.

The band whose song is being used is Rush. They’re Rock and Roll Hall of Fame members, arena rock stalwarts, 40 year music veterans, sold over 40 million albums worldwide…and so on.

They’re also happen to be Canadian.

Nothing against Canada, mind you, but maybe if you are an American company committing yourself to purchasing and supporting American products, maybe it’s best NOT to use a Canadian band.

Certainly, Wal-Mart could argue that they meant NORTH AMERICA, but I don’t think that is the case.

Secondly, “Working Man” is NOT the esoteric and lyrically dense type of song for which they came to be known for. In fact, it’s just the opposite.

It’s extraordinarily simply and isn’t riddled with complex metaphors and weird imagery. You’d probably be hard pressed to find a more simple song in the Rush catalog.

You’d also have to be a complete moron to not pick up on the tone of resignation and defeat in the lyrics.

Whoever picked this song is a complete moron.

I get up at seven, yeah,
And I go to work at nine.
I got no time for livin’.
Yes, I’m workin’ all the time.

It seems to me
I could live my life
A lot better than I think I am.
I guess that’s why they call me,
They call me the workin’ man.

While I’ve been a modest Rush fan most of my life, I have ALWAYS found this song decent enough, but kind of depressing. My take on those lyrics is diametrically opposed to the way Wal-Mart is trying to use it. I think it is anything but a celebration of blue-collar life.

Something is afoot here.

Certainly that first verse would fall into line with the Wal-Mart work ethic, but even that’s a stretch. Of course, it’s a safe bet the band signed off on Wal-Mart’s use of the song, so is Rush having a laugh?

Is Wal-Mart pivoting and changing straight forward advertising for irony? Historically, nothing about the company would indicate anything like that.

Was this really made by the company?

If we presume it was, something tells me Rush is punking Wal-Mart.

How on earth did NO ONE pick up on the tone of the song? I can’t imagine my read on it is wrong.

How did this make it through all the channels it had to go through to get to this point without ONE PERSON standing up and saying “Uhh, you know that song is probably not about what you think it is.”

A chuckling head scratcher for sure, see for yourself: