Tuesday, January 11, 2011

First Annual Music Post

Yesterday was a snow day and I was unable to meet my normal (I use the term loosely) running crew, and had to go it alone in the sleet/freezing rain.  So, I dusted off my old MP3 player and headed out into the tundra with only 3 or 4 hundred songs and some podcasts to keep me company.  Having not run with my MP3 player in a long time, I was able to appreciate listening to music and it prompted me to write down my thoughts about some great tunes for running.

Now, I know that some runners have strong feelings about headphones, but I don't.  If you want to run with headphones and are being safe, then go for it, If you don't like it, then don't wear 'em.  The use of music in training or races is certainly not indicative of a runners performance, and purists who are against headphones are just being a little bit snobby if you ask me.  I think about this the same way I think about the super-short, split-side, old-school running shorts--if you want to rock those babies, go ahead, but they are not for everybody.

Back to the music.  First of all, I am a music junkie.  The first thing that I do when I get paid each month is spend a couple hours selecting an album to download.  I buy the entire album because I am old; trying to cherry-pick good songs is depressing and unsatisfying to me.  I really try to find new music, but also look up stuff that I missed somehow.  So, my year-end music recommendations are a combination of new music and old.

My first recommendation is The album Stuck On Nothing by Free Energy.  You will only like this album if you like rock and roll, because that's all it is...just good rock and roll.  Nothing pretentious, just good guitar licks, simple lyrics, and cocky R&R strut.  I can't get enough of it.

The next standout is Haughty Melodic by Mike Doughty, released in 2005.  Mike Doughty is the former singer/songwriter for Soul Coughing, who, as it turns out, never really stopped making music and touring since Soul Coughing's demise.  I was very excited to stumble upon Doughty's solo work because I loved Soul Coughing, and I like his solo work even better.  He has a very distinctive voice, and the songs on this record have a driving rhythm and cadence that is perfect for running.  Doughty's sings his lyrics with such authority that I imagine I am the main character of the songs even though I am not sure what they are about. 

For something a bit more indie, try Halcyon Digest by Deerhunter.  The songs on this album combine dreamy, ethereal melodies with 70's glam rock influenced rhythms, but manage to be original (check out the blistering sax on Coronado) and very listenable.  Great for long stretches of open road. 

Finally, my wife turned me on to All Day by Girl Talk.  This is the greatest running music, ever.  All Day is a mash-up of hundreds of popular songs to create a continuous one hour and eleven minutes of running bliss.  The beauty of this music is that it changes frequently and I make a game of trying to recognize and identify the different songs in the mix.  It has a good rhythm for running and seamlessly blends hip hop, rock, R&B, and folk to create something new and exciting...and it's free!

1 comment:

  1. This is a great idea for a running blog. I can't focus on my surroundings while listening to music but do enjoy it on the bikes or elliptical. I am very impressed.