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Philly singer-songwriter Laura Lizcano challenges the status quo of the gig economy and questions the culture of productivity on “Overworked & Underpaid,” the third and final single from her upcoming debut album Heart.

“Overwork and Underpaid” is a lyrically-driven composition that incorporates elements from Lizcano’s jazz background with prominent piano and saxophone, plus a flare of pop. Much of the vocals border spoken-word and singing, similar to Fiona Apple on her 2020 record Fetch The Bolt Cutters. This vocal delivery feels appropriate, as Lizcano tears apart the working machines our culture has turned people into, proclaiming her exhaustion and frustration with this system of living, “I don’t mean to complain but I’m spread too thin / I can’t keep living this way.”

Lizcano describes the track as an expression of a common frustration with the working system and the high demands it imposes in order to make a living. As she explained in a press release:

“‘Overworked and Underpaid’ is about millennial burnout: the idea that we must work harder and harder to build a better financial future for ourselves. Yet, minimum wage has remained stagnant throughout most of the country and people have to work multiple jobs to make ends meet. Meanwhile, the ‘American dream’ idea tells us that if we just work more, things will get easier. Now, during the COVID era, many folks have lost several of their part time gigs. I think it illustrates that job security is a myth, and that the 9-5 job is a rarity.”

The direct lyricism on “Overworked and Underpaid” helps convey these universal themes. Lizcano’s vocal delivery throughout the track is unique; Her voice is clear and strong in the bridges, then becomes muffled and speech-like in the chorus with accompanying background harmonies chanting “overworked and underpaid.” Although the topics of burnout, comparison, and imposter’s syndrome within the track are pressing and common, it is a lighthearted and almost cathartic criticism of working culture in the United States.

Listen below. Lizcano’s debut album Heart is out October 16. Pre-order is available here.

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