Whitney & Songs About Quitting Work


While critical and commercially successful "soft rock" music is rare in 2019, the Chicago band Whitney found a way to make it sound fresh and indie. This week, Jim and Greg talk with the two main members of the band about how they came to their unique sound and their new album Forever Turned Around, released August 30th. Plus, in honor of Labor Day, the hosts select their favorite songs about quitting work.

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Songs About Quitting Work

In honor of Labor Day, Jim and Greg thought they would be a touch contrarian and share some of their favorite songs about quitting a job!


  • Jimmy Reed, "Big Boss Man"
  • Descendents, "I Quit"
  • Beck, "Soul Suckin’ Jerk"


  • Canibus and Biz Markie, "Shove This Jay Oh Bee"
  • Bob Dylan, "Maggie’s Farm"
  • Wire, "Mr. Suit"


Max and Julien

In 2014, Max Kakacek and Julien Ehrlich were members of Smith Westerns, touring extensively behind their third album, Soft Will. By the end of that year, the band had broken up and Max and Julien were hanging around cheap Chicago apartments, enduring a brutal winter. One day to amuse themselves they wrote a song together and recorded it. The results surprised them- the finished product ("Dave’s Song") was too good to just be a joke.

The duo kept at it, drawing on three main musical inspirations: The Band, Donnie and Joe Emerson and Amanaz. Julien and Max explain to Jim and Greg that Levon Helm's singing and drumming, Donnie and Joe's male falsetto singing and Amanaz's soulful off-kilter guitar were all appealing to them. The synthesis of these sounds comes through clearly on Whitney's 2016 debut, Light Upon the Lake, which Jim describes as "classic indie rock with a little Chicago soul."

After the album's lead single, "No Woman," started to catch fire, the band was able to tour Europe multiple times. It was a far cry from their earliest tours, when the seven-piece band shared one ten-person tent (and Julien and bassist Josiah Marshall slept on bunk bed cots).

Now the release date of their sophomore album, Forever Turned Around, has been declared "Whitney Day" by Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot. Julien tells Jim and Greg that on Forever Turned Around they were trying to evoke the constant state of flux many people feel now without being too much of a bummer.

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