I’m running a half-marathon this Sunday. Just under 22km..in just under 2 hours (hopefully). I’ve learned from past road races - staring at the backs of other runners gets boring after about ten minutes (word of advice - some of you should NOT be wearing spandex while you run. Just a suggestion). So, I figured I’d amp up my iPod (RIP Steve Jobs) with some sweet beats for the run to act as a distraction from chaos. Enjoy my favs, counted down in a clever backwards fashion :)
10. Lisztomania ~ Phoenix (Alex Metric Remix)
If you care to get technical (and a lot of you runners do), the term Lisztomania describes how crazy people would get when Franz Liszt performs. Who was Franz, you ask? Dude was a crazy piano player who is still regarded as one of the best, ever. Sorry Franz, piano doesn’t usually get me pumped up to run, so I’ll stick with Phoenix for now.
9. Hot Mess ~ Chromeo featuring Elly Jackson (Duck Sauce Remix)
Also filed under: “Theme Songs Suitable For My Life: Saturday, 3AM”
A little ‘Six Degrees of Musical Separation’ to go with this song:
Chromeo - Canadian. 1/2 of Chromeo - Dave 1. Dave 1’s brother = A Trak.
La Roux - English. 1/2 of La Roux = Elly Jackson.
Duck Sauce - American/Canadian. 1/2 of Duck Sauce: A-Trak. See what’s happening? A-Trak’s brother - Dave 1 from = Chromeo.
Now we just need Kevin Bacon to make a cameo.
8. What You Waiting For? ~ Gwen Stefani
The ticking of a clock in the background is a good reminder that this is a race and you are, in fact, being timed. That five minutes you usually take in the middle of a run to re-tie shoes (seriously…it’s like I never learned a double knot), will catch up with you in the end. Combined with a mental picture of Gwen’s abs, this song will keep you motivated and moving.
7. Chelsea Dagger ~ The Fratellis
Obvious choice, considering I do enjoy my name being screamed out by a Scottish musician in a top hat. Above and beyond that? The fact that this song and it’s ‘Chelsea, Chelsea’ chant has become a sporting anthem across the globe. Quick tempo + chanting + yelling + simple lyrics = good sport song. I’ve had resistance from hockey fans on this song, when the Blackhawks chose my anthem as their goal song. Considering I did once live in Chicago, I’ll let them have it - and keep it on my running list too.
6. Parlez-Vous Francais? ~ Art vs. Science
The first time I saw Art vs. Science I was at Parklife music festival in Melbourne, Australia. At the time, I was too busy dancing to bother thinking about running… but I did remember this song. The Sydney-based band recorded their debut EP in a Surry Hills studio called Big Jesus Burger, and if that’s not enough reason to love them, you likely have no heart. The video is a combination of great camera work and great mime work (miming work? mimery?), and the song will keep your legs pumping.
Side note: In my research I have discovered another song, with the same title, released in 1978. Performed in both French and English by Spanish band Baccara, it was a Luxembourg entry into a Eurovision Song Contest (how does that even make sense?). Haven’t heard it, but judge for yourself by the album art if it’s something you’d be into….
5. Feel So Close - Calvin Harris
I owe my obsession with this song to a DJ out in Vancouver, also known as the guy who wants to be the Guy on a Buffalo (Google it). He knows his sh-t.
Calvin Harris is Scottish, although you’d never know it by listening to his music. Can someone explain to me WHY you can never hear accents when people sing? He once lied about a laptop being stolen to buy extra time to finish his LP, and being a chronic procrastinator myself (Unrelated: is two days enough time to train for a half marathon?), I admire the efforts he went through. Solid tune.
4. 99 Problems ~ Jay-Z
Personal anecdote time. In 2004 I was in Toronto visiting a friend who was interning at MuchMusic. She got us tickets to the live-to-air video request show and the floor director, recognizing my friend, told us we could request a video on the show. A producer came to check which video we’d be requesting, so they could cue the tape for the live show later. Because we were going to a Dave Matthews Band concert the next day, we asked for DMB. The producer came back and asked us to pick something ‘more popular,’ Dave wasn’t going to cut it for that time slot. So, I picked Jay-Z. During the live taping, the host chatted with us about our plans in Toronto to see Dave and threw to the video in a ‘lets see some Dave for the girls” type manner. Not so much, Much :)
If you ever have a chance to watch “Fade to Black,” a documentary about Jay-Z, you’ll see Jay recording this with producer Rick Rubin (if you don’t know Rick Rubin…you need to rethink your life). Watching Rick and Perry Farrell crack up as Jay records is sheer entertainment. Seriously, what’s not to love? (it’s worth watching the whole thing - but “99 Problems” starts at 2:25)
3. B.O.B. ~ Outkast
Pitchfork Media named B.O.B. the #1 song of the 2000’s on their end-of-decade list. (A decision everyone and their dog hated, which is probably why Pitchfork made it in the first place). It never received the same airplay that Outkast’s other songs did (hands up if you know all the lyrics to “Ms. Jackson”). A commentary on everything ever sensationalized in the media (not everything…but they do reference war (debatable, but come on), politics, kids, Janet Jackson, and Taco Bell….not bad for one song). If you’re eager, there’s also a second version, kicked up a notch with Tom Morello from Rage Against The Machine and some awesomely angry guitar…you won’t even realize you just made it up that steep hill. The only hazard here is it might get you moving too quickly.
2. Walking on a Dream ~ Empire of the Sun
One of my favourite songs of all time, this song brings back happy memories of my time in Australia, has a beat that keeps your feel pounding and picking up, and the lyrics “running for the thrill of it, the thrill of it” is a great place to stop looking at your heart rate monitor and remember that sometimes - it’s just better to run for fun.
Fun Fact: The cover art for the single “Walking on a Dream” is inspired by a combination of movie posters for “Indiana Jones” and “Star Wars”. Makes sense!
1. Walk ~ Foo Fighters
Ironic that a song with this title could push me to run so hard. But the final minute of this song is the perfect way to end a run on a high note. It’s passionate, it’s intense, and it rocks. My love for Dave Grohl and his ability to perfectly wear a t-shirt, and my teenage dreams of marrying Taylor Hawkins may factor in.
From 3:40 on, the point where Dave Grohl “fights” Taylor Hawkins and Chris Shiflett in this video ~ it may be my favourite final minute of a song, ever. Imagining the finish line of a race, as Grohl screams about dancing on his grave and never wanting to die - you might as well be part of the sports montage movie that happens in my mind.
Fun Fact: The video for Walk is a recreation of a 1993 Michael Douglas movie called “Falling Down.” Check out the trailer below - who hasn’t wished for the courage to question a fast food burger and it’s complete lack of similarity to the photo?