Office Space may have been a major box office disappointment, but it made up for it afterward, becoming a cult favorite that even now, over 20 years after its release, still stands up incredibly well. Directed by Mike Judge and starring Ron Livingston, Jennifer Aniston, and Gary Cole, the film takes a satirical look at the working lives of a group of disengaged employees at a software company. The soundtrack is just as enjoyable as the film, featuring a hugely listenable mix of old-school gangsta R&B along with a couple of anti-work-themed songs like 9-5 and Take this Job and Shove it. Here’s how we rank all the songs from the Office Space soundtrack.
12. 9-5 – Lisa Stone
Ultimately, Dolly Parton’s original version of 9-5 is and will always be the definitive version, but even if it lacks the spark of the original, Lisa Stone’s cover for the Office Space soundtrack is still a decent listen.
11. Home – Blackman, Destruct & Icon
This next track comes from Blackman, Destruct & Icon, a short-lived project helmed by John Forte of Refugee Camp All-Stars fame.
10. Big Boss Man – Junior Reid
Luther Dixon and Al Smith wrote it, Jimmy Reed recorded it, Elvis Presley and B.B. King covered it, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame named it one of the “500 Songs That Shaped Rock and Roll,” and in 1999, Jamaican dancehall singer Junior Reed won a space on the Office Space soundtrack with his island-flavored version.
9. This Jay-Oh-Bee – Canibus with Biz Markie
Back in 1977, Johnny Paycheck earned his first (and last) number one hit with Take This Job and Shove It, a comic song about a bitter man, a bad boss, and an unrewarding job. It’s been covered no end of times since, including by the Dead Kennedys and Chuck Barris and the Hollywood Cowboys. Canibus and Biz Markie’s left-field, modified version might be a world away from the country style of the original, but the sentiment is just the same.
8. Get Off My Elevator – Kool Keith
Eccentric, unique, unusual… whichever way you choose to describe him, there’s no doubting Kool Keith is a Character with a capital C. He invented horrorcore (according to him anyway) and has invented and killed off so many stage personalities, he’s admitted “I don’t even feel like I’m a human being anymore.” But when he’s not being weird, he’s making music like this irresistible track from the Office Space soundtrack.
7. Mambo #8 – Pérez Prado
Pérez Prado might not have invented the mambo, but he did pioneer several mambo sub-genres, including dengue, bolero-mambo, guaracha-mambo, mambo batiri, and mambo kaen. He also helped popularise it across the world thanks to major hits like Mambo No. 5 and his mambo take on Louiguy’s Cherry Pink (and Apple Blossom White). Known by the nickname “King of Mambo,” he released dozen of albums and hit singles of his career, including the dancefloor-ready bop Mambo #8 from the 1952 album, Pérez Prado Plays Mucho Mambo For Dancing.
6. Peanut Vendor – Pérez Prado
Another mambo masterpiece from Pérez Prado next, this time in the shape of Peanut Vendor from the 1956 album, Havana, 3 A.M.
5. Get Dis Money – Slum Village
Get Dis Money appears on Slum Village’s second album, Fantastic, Vol. 2. The album was originally intended to be released in 1998, but after A&M Records shut up shop before it could be finished, it ended up going into limbo until the group finally found a new home with Goodvibe Recordings & Barak Records two years later. Released in 2000, it was a massive underground hit, prompting SF Weekly to proclaim, “Slum Village is going to single-handedly save rap music.”
4. Still – Geto Boys
The Resurrection is widely considered to be the Geto Boys’ best album, with All Music writing “The Resurrection outstrips every other Geto Boys record in every sense — it is the leanest, meanest, and funkiest thing they’ve ever recorded.” Like most of their output, the topics aren’t pretty, but there’s a celebratory quality to the album that keeps the mood high. Released in 1996 to mark the end of a 3-year hiatus, it took them to number 6 on the Billboard 200, becoming their highest charting album in the US. There’s not a bad song on the entire album, but Still, which was later pulled for the Office Space soundtrack, is particularly phenomenal.
3. Down for Whatever – Ice Cube
Described by All Music as an “overlooked, smoothly delivered cruising tune,” Down for Whatever might be a much mellower effort than you’d expect from Ice Cube, but it’s none the worse for it.
2. Damn It Feels Good to Be a Gangsta – Geto Boys
The Geto Boys might not be as well-remembered as some of their contemporaries, but back in the ’90s, they were hailed as southern rap pioneers. Their lyrics might have been controversial, but that didn’t stop them from earning a series of gold and platinum records and hit records. In 1992, they released Uncut Dope, a compilation album of 12 tracks pulled mainly from their biggest selling albums, The Geto Boys and We Can’t Be Stopped. The album also presented listeners with a few new tracks, including the hard-hitting Damn It Feels Good to Be a Gangsta.
1. No Tears – Scarface
No Tears might be used in one of Office Space’s daftest scenes, but there’s nothing silly about this hard-driving gangsta rap masterpiece from the Geto Boys’ Scarface. If you want to find out why About.com named him as one of the 50 Greatest MCs of Our Time, this should do it.