Music’s Most Neglected Day of the Week

The day after Memorial Day — or any day that directly follows a beginning-of-the-week holiday — is one of those Tuesdays that feels like a Monday. A certain temporal fog lingers and will continue to confuse you all week: “Wait, what day is it again?” Well, today it is Tuesday. And I am here to offer you a sonic cure for that fog, something to ground you in the present: a playlist of Tuesday songs.

Friday, Saturday and Sunday are all perennial muses of popular music; even the dreaded Monday (Monday) has its memorable anthems. Tuesday, though, tends to get short shrift — or at least it did until 2014, when the rapper iLoveMakonnen released a ubiquitous ode to clubbing on the most banal day of the week. But Makonnen’s “Tuesday” certainly wasn’t the first song to pay tribute to (or shake a fist at) the second day of the traditional workweek. Decades earlier, Stevie Wonder and Lynyrd Skynyrd both used it as a backdrop for heartache, and it also inspired the moniker of a fictitious Rolling Stones heroine, in a song later covered beautifully by the recently departed folk singer Melanie.

All those songs are featured on today’s playlist, along with tracks from Blood Orange, the Pogues and, of course, the ’80s new-wave act ’Til Tuesday. If you find yourself wondering what day it is, just hum one of these tunes and all will be well. As long as they don’t stick in your head until tomorrow …

Yesterday don’t matter if it’s gone,


It’s bad enough to be heartbroken — but being heartbroken on a Tuesday? Stevie Wonder understands the double indignity of that situation on this jazzy number from his great 1972 album “Talking Book”: “Tuesday heartbreak seems to be unfair, ’cause you say that you found another man.”

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Makonnen’s 2014 hit is slyly boastful: Anyone can get the club goin’ up on a Saturday, but a Tuesday? That’s powerful. This track’s popularity hit another level when Drake hopped on the remix, but in the interest of remaining Switzerland in the current rap war — and because it was Makonnen’s song to begin with — I’ve chosen to feature the original solo version here.

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Tag yourself: I’m 1985 Aimee Mann’s rattail braid. This wrenching song goes unbelievably hard from the jump — those ominous, palm-muted chords! — but becomes something sublime in its final minute, when Mann suddenly breaks the silence imposed by a controlling lover with her impassioned, belted-out vocals.

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Originally released as a double-A-sided single with the more suggestive “Let’s Spend the Night Together,” this fond farewell of a breakup song is a highlight of the Stones’ baroque-pop output. Brian Jones handled the track’s memorable alto recorder flourishes, while the double bass took two Stones to play — Bill Wyman fingered the notes and Keith Richards bowed.

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A thick malaise suffuses this atmospheric track from “Angel’s Pulse,” the producer and musician Dev Hynes’s 2019 mixtape as Blood Orange. The R&B star Tinashe, whose current single “Nasty” is the viral sensation du jour, provides lush backing vocals.

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When the Pogues ousted Shane MacGowan in 1991, the longtime backing vocalist and tin whistle player Spider Stacy stepped up to become the band’s frontman. The bittersweet “Tuesday Morning,” from the 1993 album “Waiting for Herb,” is a high point from the post-MacGowan era and a showcase for Stacy’s aching croon. “Too many sad days, too many Tuesday mornings,” he sings, as if the two are synonymous.

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Finally, here’s a mournful, soulful slow burner from Lynyrd Skynyrd’s landmark 1973 debut album, later covered by Metallica, Gregg Allman and Hank Williams Jr., among others. Next time somebody yells “Free Bird” at a gig, try requesting this one, just to be different.

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“Music’s Most Neglected Day of the Week” track list
Track 1: Stevie Wonder, “Tuesday Heartbreak”
Track 2: iLoveMakonnen, “Tuesday”
Track 3: ’Til Tuesday, “Voices Carry”
Track 4: The Rolling Stones, “Ruby Tuesday”
Track 5: Blood Orange featuring Tinashe, “Tuesday Feeling (Choose to Stay)”
Track 6: The Pogues, “Tuesday Morning”
Track 7: Lynyrd Skynyrd, “Tuesday’s Gone”

I cannot mention Stevie Wonder’s “Talking Book” without recommending this great feature that Jon Pareles put together for the album’s 50th anniversary in 2022. Says Macy Gray of “Tuesday Heartbreak,” “You know, nobody ever talks about Tuesday! Just Fridays and Mondays and the weekend.” She gets it.

Also, last week I watched a movie that features one of Tuesday Weld’s best performances, the darkly funny and incredibly tense 1968 thriller “Pretty Poison,” which is currently streaming on the Criterion Channel. Recommended if you like Anthony Perkins (who co-stars), amour fou and the experience of sitting in gripping dread for approximately 90 minutes.

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