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...