01 Up every morning just to keep a job,
02 I gotta fight my way through the hustling mob.
03 Sounds of the city pounding in my brain,
04 While another day goes down the drain (yeah, yeah).
05 But it’s a five o’clock world when the whistle blows.
06 No one owns a piece of my time,
07 And there’s a five o’clock me inside my clothes,
08 Thinking that the world looks fine, yeah.
09 Trading my time for the pay I get,
10 Living on money that I ain’t made yet,
11 Gonna keep going, gotta make my way,
12 While I live for the end of the day (yeah, yeah).
13 Cuz it’s a five o’clock world when the whistle blows.
14 No one owns a piece of my time.
15 There’s a long-haired girl who waits, I know,
16 To ease my troubled mind, yeah.
17 In the shelter of her arms everything’s OK.
18 She talks and the world goes slipping away,
19 And I know the reason I can still go on,
20 When every other reason is gone (yeah, yeah).
21 In my five o’clock world she waits for me.
22 Nothing else matters at all,
23 Cuz every time my baby smiles at me,
24 I know that it’s all worthwhile, yeah.
This song tells the story of a married man who struggles to make ends meet (01). Though he works for a living, he feels he is wasting his life away (04). His wages don’t pay all his bills (10), so he goes deeper in debt every day. He fights rush-hour traffic to commute to work (02).He works from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm (05); this is what we call a “9-to-5” job. At the end of his work day, he can’t wait to get home (12) so he can use his free time to be with his loving wife (15). He suffers through his working life (11) so he has enough money (09) to allow him to enjoy quality time with his wife (17). He sometimes falls into despair (16, 19-20), but his wife’s love inspires him and makes his suffering worthwhile (17-18, 22-24).
Questions for the Students
- Line 01 says he has to get up every morning in order to keep his job. This implies that, if he doesn’t show up at work, what will happen?
- Which line number is referring to rush-hour traffic and crowded sidewalks?
- Is his city quiet or noisy? Which line number?
- Is he happy with his working life? Which line number?
- In Line 04, what does “to go down the drain” mean?
- In Line 06, what does “own a piece of my time” mean?
- In Line 12, what does “I live for the end of the day” mean?
- In Line 13, what does “cuz” mean?
- In Line 13, what does “when the whistle blows” refer to?
- What do Lines 13-14 mean?
- In Line 18, what does “the world goes slipping away” mean?
- In Line 19, what does “I can still go on” mean?
- Does this story apply to you or someone you know?
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