Music hath charms to soothe the savage breast, so they say. Music also has the ability to alter or moderate one's mood, for better or for worse. Furthermore, music can be used to drown out noises like your idiotic co-worker who sits in the next cubie over and has been coughing and grunting incessantly for the past five years. And music can make monotonous chores and activities tolerable.
I need my music when I run, no if's, and's, or but's. A lack of music is sufficient cause for me to cancel a run rather than try it without my sweet tunes. It inspires me, fires me up, and keeps my brain busy.
The following are the songs currently on my iPod's "Running" playlist, presented in alphabetical order.
Bad Romance/Telephone; Lady GaGa
Hey, these songs have a good beat and you can dance...er...run to them.
Buddy Holly; Weezer
Sometimes, there's a song you like, then time goes by, and you get sick of it. Then eventually, years later you hear it again and remember why you like it. That's why this one's in the rotation. Unfortunately, I'm getting sick of it again, so it looks like Buddy Holly may end up crashing. What...too soon?
Carrie-Anne; The Hollies
From Buddy Holly to The Hollies. Lately, I've been experiencing a bit of a British Invasion re-discovery/obsession. Always liked this one. But...what is Carrie-Anne's game, anyway?
Downtown; Petula Clark
For All The Saints
Hymns can be very stirring for the soul, and this one really does it for me. I particularly like the next to last verse, which talks about how a "distant triumph song" lifts the spirits, renews our energy and helps us to soldier on. Appropriate, no? This is by far one of my favorite hymns.
"...and hearts are brave again, and arms (AND LEGS!) are strong...
Happy Together; The Turtles
See Petula Clark and The Hollies. Now if only I can get the image out of my mind of Mario and Yoshi frolicking through a field then eventually punching each other out...
Head Over Heels/Our Lips Are Sealed; The Go-Gos
Catchy, upbeat, definitely gets the legs going. Also, it has some lines that are fitting for a runner...
"...been running so long; what I need is to unwind.."
How You Like Me Now; The Heavy
Oh, this one's a pure "posturing" guilty pleasure for me. Hey, I started out at 220, and now I'm down to 180. So, how do you like me now, sucker? That, and the pseudo-James Brown funky beat makes this one a good running companion. And I almost never have the image of that damned sock monkey from the Kia commercial running through my head anymore.
I Wanna Be Sedated; The Ramones
Fast, frenetic, and short. Like a good run!
I Won't Back Down; Tom Petty
What's that you say? I'm not getting any younger, the weather is hot, and I should take it easy? Screw that, pal...I won't back down!
"..gonna stand my ground; won't be pushed around; and I'll keep this world from pushing me around..."
It's The End Of The World As We Know It; R.E.M.
My all-time favorite song ever? Not on my running playlist? Yeah right...
Jocko Homo; Devo
The synthpunk industrial beat of this song makes it a perfect running choice, and the mechanical noises in the song's bridge bring to mind pistons and machinery pounding away rhythmically. I find my legs pumping in time with that beat, no matter how tired I am. And if there's no one else on the running path, then yeah, maybe sometimes I indulge in the "call and response" of "Are we not men? We are DEVO!"
Random observation: When Mark Mothersbaugh does the "we must repeat" call and response at the end of the song, he sounds like Ed from the cartoon Ed, Edd, and Eddy. You know, the dumb Ed.
"Okay, let's GO!"
Leaving New York; R.E.M.
Quite possibly the most beautiful R.E.M. song ever. It's a nice slow-down song, helps me maintain a more mellow pace.
Life Is A Rock (But The Radio Rolled Me); Reunion
One of the leftovers from my recent 70's kick. This one's starting to wear out its welcome.
The Mesopotamian s; They Might Be Giants
Sargon, Hammurabi, Ashurbanipal and Gilgamesh! This song from their latest CD is bouncy and upbeat. Never fails to perk me up a little.
Monster Zero March
A very recent addition, this instrumental theme totally kicks ass. No matter what state I'm in, no matter how hot it is, or how far into my run I am, this one kicks me into overdrive. Absolutely love it.
Onward Christian Soldiers; Stretch Arm Strong
A punk version of another of my favorite hymns. Fast, uptempo, and just a lot of fun.
"...we are not divided; all one body we; onward Christian soldiers; on to victorrrrry..GO TEAM!"
Story Of My Life; Social Distortion
I love this song, and it's got a good beat to it.
Superman Theme; John Williams
Do I really need to explain this one!?!?!
Supernatural Superserious; R.E.M.
The guitar work, the fast tempo, and the progressively more complex drum work make this one a good way to get my blood moving faster.
Tell Her No; The Zombies
Another of my British Invasion selections, but this one's starting to irritate me, as I find myself paying closer attention to the words. So basically, the singer is telling this other guy that if the singer's girl tells this guy that she loves him and wants him, he should just tell her no. What a wuss! How about "stay away from my girl or I'll rip your goddam lungs out, chump!"? Yeah, this one may be out the door soon. Love the band name, though...
Tessie; Dropkick Murphys
Hmmm...let's see...anthemic song, extols the Red Sox, and gives you a chance to yell out "Two...three...four!" as well as the ever-popular "Oi!". Yeah, I'm there...
This one should be obvious...the heat and the exertion is ready to knock you down...but you get up again! It's never gonna keep you down! Good morale-boosting song.
"...I drink a whiskey drink, I drink a vodka drink; and when I have to pee, I use the kitchen sink!"- H. Simpson
Working Girl; The Members
Obscure punk/new-wave song by slightly less obscure punk band. Good harmony during the chorus keeps this one on as a sing-along, but I think it's time is drawing to a close.
You're My World; Helen Reddy
Funny, but every iteration of my Running playlist has ONE unabashedly mushy song on it. In the past it's been songs like "Somewhere in the Night" by Barry Manilow, or "(I'll Be) The Greatest Fan Of Your Life" by Edwin McCain. Who knows. Maybe it has something to do with the endorphins that get churned up after I hit the "runners wall". I actually tripped over this one because, in checking British Invasion playlists, I initially found an earlier version done by Cilla Black (a protege of George Martin). That's when I remembered, "Hey! I've always liked this song!" I just think that Reddy's version is better. So this one serves as the requisite mush song.
Songs That May End Up On The Playlist Sooner Rather Than Later
The 1812 Overture (Finale)
Whip It; Devo
Twist and Shout; Beatles
Always Look On The Bright Side of Life; Monty Python