Saturday, March 26, 2011

Hungry On Arrival (Spring Heel Jack Remix | Outernational Meltdown

Song: Hungry on Arrival (Spring Heel Jack Remix) | Band: Outernational Meltdown < Click to Stream whole song
BPM: 84

I found this song on a compilation, and placed it on my running playlist that I have on my ipod shuffle. At the start of my first half marathon a little while ago, it came on as the first song, and propelled me along for a good part of the first mile. It is a longer song (over 8 minutes), but has an energetic bass and drums with enough subtle variation to sustain interest during any part of a run. It isn't one of those songs with a pounding beat...more of a driving, expansive beat.

Note: While exploring the BPM of this particular song, I used a small application that allows you to tap your space bar, or click your mouse to the beat in order to figure out the BPM (Cadence BPM Tapper). I wound up getting a reading around 170 BPM. All of the various applications I have been trying recently (BeaTunes, Cadence, Tangerine!, and Mixmeister BPM Analyzer) all come up with 84 BPM. I still wonder what the exact correspondence to song BPM my running cadence has, since I always seem to keep a steady 84 BPM, no matter how fast or slow the song. Particular songs just seem to give a boost.

Friday, March 11, 2011

There's No Other Way | Blur

SONG: There's No Other Way - BAND: Blur < Click to Stream whole song
BPM: 112

There's No Other Way - Leisure

An oldie (?) from 1991 (?). The drummer really whacks the snare drum hard and the guitar plays a really cool lick. The reverb on the vocals reminds me of most of the pop bands from around that time (and a bit before).

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

A Little Less Converstaion | Elvis vs. JXL

SONG: A Little Less Conversation - BAND: Elvis vs. JXL < Click to Stream whole song
BPM: 114

A Little Less Conversation (JXL Radio Edit Remix) [Elvis vs. JXL] - Elvis: 30 #1 Hits
Elvis had a new hit. This song is from one of Elvis' movies, Live a Little, Love a Little, from 1968. In 2002, the TV special version of the song was remixed by Junkie XL for the NIKE Football World Cup advertising campaign. A single, credited to "Elvis vs. JXL," was issued and was a Number 1 hit in over 20 countries, as well as showing up on Elvis' 30 greatest hits as number 31. This song has a great Timbales part!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Listening to and/or Buying MP3s

If you have spent any time here, you know that you can listen to the whole songs via the top link in each post. All of those links have been tested and now work. If, for some reason, you would like to purchase an MP3, you can now do so via the Amazon MP3 player, and shortly, you will be able to do the same through the itunes store. Note that the Amazon player, as well as the itunes player will only play a excerpt of each song.

At present, the BPM listings may be slightly inexact, since I have been using a manual BPM tapper, which is a little inaccurate. I will correct these as time goes on. If you happen to know the exact BPM, please feel free to add a would be appreciated!

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Busting Up a Starbucks | Mike Doughty

SONG: Busting Up a Starbucks - BAND: Mike Doughty < Click to Stream whole song
BPM: 115

Busting Up a Starbucks - Haughty Melodic

The idea of busting up a Starbucks has probably crossed a lot of people's minds, maybe as the result of caffeine withdrawal, or perhaps as a reaction to grand mediocrity in atmosphere...who knows. The songs doesn't really explain, but it has a very catchy chorus. The snare drum rings with the snare off, being whacked nice and hard by the drummer. The bass line along with the acoustic guitar and bass drum keep the momentum going in the song...even a saxophone solo near the end.

Solitary Man | Chris Isaak

SONG: Solitary Man - BAND: Chris Isaak < Click to Stream whole song
BPM: 156

Solitary Man - San Francisco Days

This song was on one of my very first running tapes. I used to run over the Brooklyn bridge, and down the Promenade in Brooklyn Heights, breathing in all those exhaust fumes. Maybe the wind was blowing them elsewhere, but I am sure I got a good wiff. This song has a great backbeat (at least this version). It was originally done by Neil Diamond, but I think the brass part bopping behind his voice really detracted from the song. Maybe when the song came out, that was the hip magic bullet for producers (the brass section). While looking for the non-existent link for the Isaak version on Amazon, I found this version by a group called Smokestack Lightnin', which is kind of fun.

Fast As I Can | Stone Temple Pilots

SONG: Fast As I Can - BAND: Stone Temple Pilots < Click to Stream whole song
BPM: 192

Fast As I Can - Stone Temple Pilots

Double sticking on the snare drum gives this song a really nice push. The guitar riff is really energetic. I am not really sure about the lyrics though...I don't get the line about the liquor store, but with running songs, I find I can overlook the lyrics (usually); however, that said, if you listen to something over and over again, you are bound to find out things you never really wanted to know. 50 per cent!

Just Because | Jane's Addiction

SONG: Just Because - BAND: Jane's Addiction < Click to Stream whole song
BPM: 98

Just Because - Strays

The bass drum is really heavy in this song mixed with nice bright snare, and the wall of sound metal fuzz guitar creates a nice forward motion. The lyrics are pretty good as well, with a nice round reverb, and a doubling on the chorus. I also like to run to Three Days (BPM: 105), but it starts out slow and doesn't double time until 3:01 into the song (so I usually anticipate the double timing right from the start). Your milage may vary with the latter.

Hey Ya | Outkast

SONG: Hey Ya - BAND: Outkast < Click to Stream whole song
BPM: 160

Hey Ya! (Radio Mix/Club Mix) - Speakerboxxx / The Love Below

This song makes you want to dance around the room, so, of course, it is good for running. I tend to rotate this one in and out of my playlists. The beat is great, and you have to appreciate the acoustic guitar strumming in the background. The lyrics are fun and quirky, and will have you singing along as you move. While I know that this song Rollin' isn't by Outkast, but by Big and Rich, for some reason I associate the two songs. It must be the banjo on Rollin' reminds me of the acoustic guitars on Hey Ya. For some reason the version of Rollin' on Grooveshark seems slower than the one I run to...perhaps the one I have is a live seems to have more umph to it.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Salvador | Jamie T

SONG: Salvador - BAND: Jamie T < Click to Stream whole song
BPM: 144

Salvador - Panic Prevention

I came upon Jamie T's music around the same time that I first heard Lily Allen. The bass in this song really rolls, and meshes well with the drums. The hit on this, his first album, was Sheila, which is kind of a quirky song (listen to the lyrics). Both Lily Allen and Jamie T occasionally sing in a sort of cockney accent, which is also why I think of them together.

Take What You Take | Lily Allen

SONG: Take What You Take - BAND: Lily Allen < Click to Stream whole song
BPM: 100

Take What You Take - Alright, Still

Lily Allen's first album had a lot of great upbeat songs (this is one of them)...interesting lyrics, a crackerjack band, and a top notch producer. The drummer in this particular song sounds like he is having fun, and the sound of the snare drum always makes me feel like I'm running on air. I haven't heard much from her lately...I wonder what's up.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

*** Leave Song Suggestions Here ***

Please leave song suggestions in the comments of this post.

All and any type of music, as long as it moves you.

Thanks for your help, as I would like to add new songs to my ipod as well!

Also, let me know if you have any suggestions for the blog format, especially the links to Grooveshark; and perhaps any alternatives. I have found that being able to listen to a whole song is a plus, as most places you would purchase a song will only allow you to hear a snippet of the song. I have added both Amazon and iTunes links for purchasing mp3s.

Telephone Operator | Pete Shelley

SONG: Telephone Operator - BAND: Pete Shelley < Click to Stream whole song
BPM: 120

Telephone Operator - XL1

An oldie but goodie. Shelley was probably better known for his song Homosapien, but I find Telephone Operator to be better produced, with a clear and heavy back beat. Electronic drums and keyboard synthesizers...maybe James Murphy of LCD Soundsystem listened to a bit of Pete?

Someone Great | LCD Soundsystem

SONG: Someone Great - BAND: LCD Soundsystem < Click to Stream whole song
BPM: 112

Someone Great - Sound of Silver

All electronics. The xylophone doubles the vocal melody, which is one of the little things that I've always liked about this song. The beat is bubbly and happy, although the lyrics are a bit sad. It is one of those songs that are longer time-wise; but it keeps pushing/pulsing along, which is good for a running song.

Bonzo Goes to Bitburg | Ramones

SONG: Bonzo Goes to Bitburg - BAND: Ramones < Click to Stream whole song
BPM: 176

My Brain Is Hanging Upside Down (Bonzo Goes to Bitburg) - Animal Boy

"Egads, Pick up the pieces..." The song was written in reaction to a visit paid by then US President Ronald Reagan (Bonzo references Reagan's role in a film called "Bedtime for Bonzo," in which he tries to teach human morals to a chimp) to a military cemetery in Bitburg, West Germany. See the Wiki for the song for more information. A catchy lyric for sure. The guitar and drums contain the Ramone's typical raw power, with the addition of a "Ah, nah, nah, nah" chorus as well as an xylophone clanking in the background (it always reminded me of a train).

Brimful of Asha | Corner Shop

SONG: Brimful of Asha - BAND: Corner Shop < Click to Stream whole song
BPM: 120

Brimful of Asha (Norman Cook Remix) - The Greatest Hits - Why Try Harder

The version of this song is a remix by Norman Cook a.k.a. Fatboy Slim. The original sounds washed out by comparison. Cook clarified the vocal, upped the bass and gave the drums some kick. Funny, that the original version has the same BPM as the remix, but somehow sounds slower. The bass is much fatter in the remix, and the drums sound a lot crisper with the addition of a tambourine (never underestimate the power of a simple tambourine).

Monday, February 28, 2011

Cool | Pylon

SONG: Cool - BAND: Pylon < Click to Stream whole song
BPM: 118

Cool - Gyrate Plus

This is an interesting older song from the punk era that I used to listen to quite a bit. The song begins with the bass and drums with the guitar coming on with the full chords and the interesting riff. It has a quality of restrained power.

Fire | Kasabian

SONG: Fire - BAND: Kasabian < Click to Stream whole song
BPM: 118

Fire - West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum (Deluxe Version)

This one starts out slow, but I usually just double my speed in the beginning until the fast part comes in, and then it rocks out with a background chorus and everything.

Gold Guns Girls | Metric

SONG: Gold Guns Girls - BAND: Metric < Click to Stream whole song
BPM: 178

Gold Guns Girls - Fantasies

I don't know if the lyrics to this song would make sense in any context; but the drums (which sound electronic) propelled me along at the very end of a 10k race fast enough to pass a good number of people on a slight hill. "Tools in the box..."?

Detroit Rock City | Kiss

SONG: Detroit Rock City - BAND: Kiss < Click to Stream whole song
BPM: 178

Detroit Rock City (Edited Version) - The Very Best of Kiss

I am a sucker for guitar solos that have a doubled guitar part. There are certain classic rock songs where this is de facto. This song is kept alive by the drum beat for sure. The band members also had really long tongues as well as pre-dating the costumes of the Broadway musical Cats.

Ready to Go | Republica

SONG: Ready to Go - BAND: Republica < Click to Stream whole song
BPM: 130

Ready to Go - Republica

I could swear there was a Cure song that had lyrics similar to the one "always love the one that hurt you," but I'm not sure. Did I hear this rhythm in a song from the 70s or 80s? It doesn't matter, the song is fun to run to, and the lyrics are catchy with that guitar riff that multiplies the drums and bass.

Beggin' | Madcon

SONG: Beggin' - BAND: Madcon < Click to Stream whole song
BPM: 129

Beggin' - Conquest

Funny, but when I first started listening to this song while running, I had to create a custom version of it with a slightly lower bass, because the bass distorted in my ipod no matter what volume I had it on. Needless to say, the song has a really nice beat that reminds me of some of the Motown hits of the past.

Saturday Night's Alright for Fighting | Elton John

SONG: Saturday Night's Alright for Fighting - BAND: Elton John < Click to Stream whole song
BPM: 153

Saturday Night's Alright for Fighting - Goodbye Yellow Brick Road

I used to listen to this song a lot when I was a kid, and found it listed on quite a few web playlists of songs for running. The drums and bass keep it driving and the jangly electric guitar strumming keeps it energetic all the way throughout. A great running song, even if it is rather retro.

Black Venom | The Budos Band

SONG: Black Venom - BAND: The Budos Band < Click to Stream whole song
BPM: 102

Black Venom - The Budos Band III

The folks in this band have the heaviest beat imaginable, which I think is partially because of the brass section perhaps doubling the bass. I sometimes try to imagine this band without a brass section. I wonder what would fit into these songs as a replacement instrument. In any case, they seem to put a lot of emphasis on the brass section, so I don't imagine they will come out with any non-brass songs unless someone does a remix.

Youthless | Beck

SONG: Youthless - BAND: Beck < Click to Stream whole song
BPM: 116

Youthless - Modern Guilt

Beck has always been able to put together some of the most listenable contemporary beat oriented music that I have heard in the recent past. His lyrics never fail to put a smile on my face ("Shake your sea sick legs around..."), and he employs the most interesting producers for his records. The bass sounds almost as if it is doubled on this track, possibly because I hear what sounds like a cello bowing the bassline as well as the bass itself.

Dancing Days | Led Zeppelin

SONG: Dancing Days - BAND: Led Zeppelin < Click to Stream whole song
BPM: 118

Dancing Days - Houses of the Holy (Remastered)

I've always liked Jimmy Page's guitar riff in this song, and you can never go wrong with John Bonham on the drums. The lyrics approach the frou-frou, but they are what they are...a tadpole in a jar. For some reason my BPM program had a hard time figuring this one out, so I had to tap out the rhythm for it.

Love Song | Simple Minds

SONG: Love Song - BAND: Simple Minds < Click to Stream whole song
BPM: 70

Love Song (Edit) - The Best of Simple Minds (Remastered)

This song has a bouncy driving bass that melds well with the bass drum to help propel one forward. I remember playing Simple Minds on my radio show when I was in college...a song called Citizen was a favorite of mine. The drum/beat sound seems to have continued to later songs like Love Song, but the lyrics have progressed a bit.

Until the End of the World | U2

SONG: Until the End of the World - BAND: U2 < Click to Stream whole song
BPM: 102

Until the End of the World - Achtung Baby

This song has been a favorite of mine since I first heard it playing during the ending credits of the Wim Wenders film of the same name. While I thought the movie was OK, I liked the song a lot better, and have had it on running mixes since. I like the bass line in this song quite a bit, and think I recall having downloaded a remix of it years ago that featured a clearer, thumpier bass, but haven't been able to find it recently.

Midnight Man | Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds

SONG: Midnight Man - BAND: Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds < Click to Stream whole song
BPM: 71

Midnight Man - Dig, Lazarus, Dig!!!

This is another one of those songs that I used to repeat, especially if it came near the end of a run, since it never fails to motivate my running speed. I love the swirling organ combined with the static organ part. Cave's voice also has a power that effervesces. It is curious that the BPM is so low, yet it seems faster. Maybe the BPM is generally taken from the bass drum beats, which may not be as fast as other parts of the song. Any ideas?

Satellite | Robyn Hitchcock

SONG: Satellite - BAND: Robyn Hitchcock < Click to Stream whole song
BPM: 75

Satellite - Eye

I have always liked this song, but just started listening to it while running. I love Hitchcock's quirky lyrics that don't always make sense, but are catchy nonetheless. It doesn't have a heavy drum beat, but it does seem to gain propulsion from the guitar strumming and his energetic voice.

Natural's Not in It | Gang of Four

SONG: Natural's Not in It - BAND: Gang of Four < Click to Stream whole song
BPM: 81

Natural's Not In It - Entertainment! (Remastered)

The driving drum beat with the roiling bass line makes this song interesting for me (although I expect most of the songs I run to have a driving beat). Also, the guitar line has a neat bend to it that always reminded me a bit of the bend of a note on a sitar.

BPM measurement applications

I started using Cadence for Mac OSX (PC and iphone versions available) to figure out the BPM of selected songs in my playlists, and this first one came out at 146 BPM. I am still trying to understand the connection between BPM and running cadence. I seem to be keeping a fairly steady 84 BPM in my running cadence, but I don't feel the music interferes with it, even if I sing along. If anyone knows the connection between running cadence and song BPM, please leave a comment. Typically I don't run at a fixed steady pace, especially with varying terrain (on a treadmill you can't help keeping a steady pace), which makes it easier to adjust to a song's BPM. I also think that for much faster songs, let us say ones around 168 BPM (which would be double the 84 BPM cadence I have been sticking to), one could run at half the speed of the actual BPM. I just find it curious that I can keep an 84 BPM cadence while listening to music with varying BPMs.

Holiday | Green Day

SONG: Holiday - BAND: Green Day < Click to Stream whole song
BPM: 146

Holiday / Boulevard of Broken Dreams - American Idiot

I like the drum beat in this song, as well as the lyrics (I tried to figure out the lyrics by listening, but finally looked them up, and was a bit surprised at the words I mis-interpreted, although that is neither here nor there...someone made a funny viddeo about those mis-hearings). Maybe the appeal of this song is its current relevance to daily occurrences in the news from around the world, or perhaps it is just the bounciness of the tune, but it is one of the songs that I've occasionally replayed while running up hills in order to keep the motivation going..

For some reason, iTunes will only let you purchase the MP3 of Holiday attached to the band's other hit Boulevard of Broken Dreams...there is no way to purchase just the song Holiday from iTunes, unless you want the single from the Broadway Musical, which isn't the same. Go figure. Boulevard of Broken Dreams isn't a bad song, but you can't even hear in the preview how the two songs meld (or don't). Do they segue? Who knows.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

The Use: Introduction

Hello Folks. Welcome to another blog about songs to listen to on your mp3 listening device whilst running. I've been to a lot of sites that seem to be involved in offering suggestions to good songs, but none that have really appealed to my listening senses, however eclectic they may be.

I have been using Eric Orton's training plans for runners since last fall. For the first 8 week course called Strength/Endurance, he focused on keeping a steady cadence (or footfalls per minute), adjusting the stride to adjust speed. He recommended a cadence of around 21 right footfalls per 15 seconds, which works out to 84 footfalls per minute (or 84 Beats Per Minute when related to music). During Eric's course, the New York Marathon took place, and on the web forum related to the course, someone mentioned that they counted the footfalls of a couple of the elite runners, and found that the particular runner was using 84 footfalls per minute (with the stride of a gazelle, of course).

While I am not sure how Eric feels about listening to music while running, I seem to enjoy the runs more, especially the long ones, when I have music to listen to that has a driving beat, or even if it just happens to be a song that I like with a pleasant steady lyric.

While doing the Strength/Endurance class in the fall, I only listened to music during the longer runs that didn't involve running on a track, and paying close attention to cadence and speed monitoring. The current half marathon course I am doing now involves working within a specific heart rate zone (with a heart rate monitor), so I have taken to listening to music again. I don't quite know the exact correspondence to Beats per Minute (BPM) for a song and the actual running cadence one keeps to the particular song, but I am sure there is a relationship. I haven't paid a lot of attention to the BPMs of the songs I like to listen to while running, but I have a feeling they are close to 84 beats per minute.

There is so much music available now, especially with the internet being what it is, that it is hard to filter choices for current and older songs that are good for running. Some musicians seem to have more songs that I never tire of (Peter Gabriel), and some that I have listened to so many times that I just can't stand to hear them again. What I want to do with this blog is to compile readers selections of music they like to run to, offering information about BPM, and to offer a wide enough selection of musical types that would appeal to a larger range of musical tastes (there are many older classic 60s, 70s, 80s songs I know of, but not so many contemporary).

I plan on using Grooveshark to offer listens to music that is available there (I noticed there was no Peter Gabriel available). If another outlet appears, I will switch, but for now, you can easily hear single songs with just a mouse click. So here we go...