Former Groupon CEO Andew Mason’s album debuted on iTunes yesterday. Predictably, it sucks.
But, hey, at least Mason spent $35 on stimulating album art. Which is pretty much what you expect from music that is announced with a promo message like this:
This album pulls some of the most important learnings from my years at the helm of one of the fastest growing businesses in history, and packages them as music. Executives, mid-level management, and front-line employees are all sure to find valuable takeaways.
Valuable takeaways: Those are, clearly, what all of us are looking for in new music, no? Even the artiste himself is learning new things just by listening to his own words repeatedly:
I’ve probably listened to the album over a dozen times now, and with each spin I feel like I learn something.
That makes one of us, at least.
One sure chart topper is My Door is Always Open, which extolls the benefits of open-door policies and workplace sharing of ideas and includes immortal prose like this:
Mason as the business exec: Where do you think that ideas come from?
Whiny kid/female voice, presumably an underling of some kind: From people like me who bring them to your door, which is always open!
Mason: Why would we keep our thoughts bottled inside of our heads?
And then of course, there’s the oh-so-cute K.I.S.S., in which Mason adopts deep country-ish tonality as he begs for kisses while imploring employees to Keep It Simple, Stupid. “You know, my dahlin’, complexity will kill you,” he croons, adding helpfully that “the best things in life are clear without instructions.”
Which is of course why we have sex ed in schools.
Mason apparently thinks the album will help companies motivate their workers, and suggests that managers end their “next all-hands meeting with It’s Up to Us,” which tells us not very musically that “execution” is “all around us.” Or, executives could send an employee a copy of Thinking of You on a flash drive to stimulate “transformational breakthroughs.”
Or harassment lawsuits.
Mason is a notorious trickster, so there’s always the possibility the entire album is a joke. If so, however, the joke appears to be on him, as the songs are somewhat pathetically earnest and, if funny, tragically funny in the way that only well-meaning but unwitting and frankly clueless bosses can be.
That’s the tragic, but it’s also the magic, as Mason channels a little bit of Steve Carell playing Michael Scott in The Office. He’s joking, but the joke’s on him. The joke isn’t funny, but him thinking it is, is.
In the same odd, twisted way, Hardly Workin’ hardly works.
But it does work just enough that it’s worth listening and laughing to — for a minute.