Sunday is the most dreadful day of the week—for me, for most people, and for Aminé. Or so I thought.
On “Sundays,” the eighth track on his newly-released debut, Good For You, the beat opens languid and labored, and Aminé attests that he has “no motivation in [his] body.” The track's first 30 seconds are one long, groaning stretch, as if Aminé is trying to buy time before approaching the song while listeners, like myself, buy time before confronting the day. I expected the four-minute track to be a rumination over the looming anxiety of a Sunday.
To my surprise, I was met with something much brighter.
Not only can the Sunday blues be recolored, they must be.
“Sundays” is initially framed around avoidance and potential disappointment. Where Aminé struggles with religion, I struggle with productivity and burnout. Where Aminé laments being religious yet lazy, I worry about being ambitious yet lazy. I spend so much time agonizing over my ever-growing to-do list, I often find myself paralyzed by my own perfectionism. To the point where the day is a wash—where every day becomes a wash—because this sense of dread rolls over for weeks on end. It’s as if we view Sunday as more than a day or a state of mind; we view it as an ugly addition to our identities.
When Aminé can’t bring himself to go to church, I can’t bring myself to get out of bed and commune in my own writerly way. In comes the first lesson. Instead of being knocked out by the letdown, Aminé shows us how to redirect. The truth of the track is simple: Sunday ought to be the undisputed day of rest.
The Portland native spends the majority of the track redefining a Sunday, exploring avenues to find peace:
“Fruity Loops and Stanley Kubrick / Peanut butter jelly / Cousin bumping Makaveli / Sipping Stellas with my fellas / Bumping nothing but Fela Kuti”
After and including the hook, Aminé flips the dread of Sundays into “Sun”days. In comes the next lesson. Between moments of getting lost in our own anxiety, it's important to remember that “most days the rain comes down,” but never on Sundays. Though wrought in their own right, Sundays still have the opportunity to be soothing. An opportunity that we should allow ourselves to seize.
In that same breath, Aminé flips my entire perspective on the day. Lines like “My health is more important than my album,” emphasize how important it is to relax and separate yourself from your work. In comes the next lesson. Working to the point of sickness isn’t a part of the hustle. There’s nothing glamorous about toiling away. In a way, Aminé uses this standout selection to demystify the culture of overworking, and breaks down the false equivalence of hard work and burning out.
Instrumental to this message is Aminé’s mother. Her affirmations (“She said, ‘Don't worry 'bout me, baby, get your problems solved’”) frame the second verse onward and subvert our collective worries from the first. In a way, her wise and enigmatic presence on the track gives us the okay to reclaim the day as one of rest. With her guidance, we can all say "fuck a Monday,” fuck the rat race and learn to appreciate what a Sunday was always meant to bring.
I’m left thinking, "What are my Sundays?" Aminé gets a smoothie from the Costco and spends time with his mother, I read a Murakami novel on the porch and write some poetry. Each of us taking the time to “realize who I am and who I'm not.”
Sundays give Aminé necessary pause. And if his recent success is any indication, the most important parts of the hustle are the pauses.