New album from ex-Groupon CEO fails to crack iTunes Top 100

Andrew Mason's "Hardly Workin" is an opus of limited musical scope, but it's the lyrics, melding Tom Peters and Bob Dylan, that will surely inspire. Perhaps, though, it's an acquired taste.

Mason, before his musical career took off. CBSNewsOnline screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

I confess that I have never bought a Groupon, because it always seemed to require paying money to do something I didn't want to do.

I feared I might feel the same way about listening to former Groupon CEO Andrew Mason's new album "Hardly Workin'."

I had understood that Mason was a bit of a wag and a prankster, and I thought that when his opus hit iTunes Tuesday morning there might be, well, a Groupon. Or at least a deal.

With only seven tracks, there was surely that possibility.

And yet, when I went to the iTunes store, I discovered that the price of these seven little ditties was $9.99 (or $6.93 if you buy the tracks individually -- but then you don't get the no doubt unmissable "digital booklet" that comes with the album). This struck me as something of a Group(Turn)off.

I therefore listened only to snippets.

But I had been told the lyrics were quite outstanding. They are already being analyzed at RapGenius. Moreover, Mashable told me this was a serious work of art.

Indeed, it was as if Tom Peters and Bob Dylan had enjoyed a brief romance and decided to span the business/poetry continuum.

Here is a sample from the song "Look No Further":

I see you look at my bookshelf

Eyeing 'Catcher In The Rye'

Jack Welch didn't

Need no 'Tipping Point'

And friend neither do I

I was climbing Machu Picchu

As I beheld the splendid view

An idea came for 100 million of shareholder value.

Having read these inspiring words, I felt sure that "Hardly Workin'" would have already broken into the iTunes Top 100 and spawned a self-help book or 10.

Sadly, the chart is currently free of rambling Masonry. Instead, it is full of albums by bat-eaters, alleged child molesters, and the Beatles.

Becoming a rock star, like becoming a rock star CEO, can take time.

Mason majored in music. However, in listening to the previews (you didn't really expect me to pay the 10 bucks, did you?), even the briefest moments did bring a touch of discomfort.

The track "My Door Is Open" involves what sounds like a child actor, down on his or her luck. In response to Mason singing "Where do you think great ideas be coming from?" this prepubescent voice offers: "From people like me who bring them to your door."

It's as if someone had dragged Shirley Temple into a recording studio and made her recite the collected works of Tony Robbins.

I worry that a work that is allegedly intended to be motivational may not create the conditions for sufficient motivation to purchase.

Still, like all great artists, Mason has penned a blog post to accompany this new release.

He explains that he's taking all his vast learnings from business and "packaging them as music."

He adds: "Executives, midlevel management, and front-line employees are all sure to find valuable takeaways. I've probably listened to the album over a dozen times now, and with each spin I feel like I learn something."

Oh, of course it's a joke. Isn't it?

 

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