“Top Ten Running Songs” Lists Always Suck

One of my favorite things about the internet is Amazon’s monthly $5 MP3 albums selection. Here I’ve been able to beef up my music collection by grabbing old classics I haven’t heard in years or never owned while also checking out some bands I’ve always wanted to get into for super cheap. I don’t buy things every month and most months it’s only 2-3 albums but I’ve bought as many as 8 or 9 in the past when it’s a particularly good month.

This morning I picked up Slayer’s Reign In Blood, Queens of the Stone Age’s Songs for the Deaf, and Lou Reed’s Rock’n’Roll Animal all for a whopping $5 each. I’d call that a bargain!

While I’m a huge fan of vinyl and the CD (I have big collections of both) I’m also all about some digital music. I love being able to bring along with me a small portion of my collection everywhere I go. My car’s Bluetooth feature makes it way easy to play back that music from my iPhone so I don’t have to hear the same tired pop songs on the radio every day and I’m able to vary it enough that there’s always something on there that can fit my current mood.

Or current activity…

I’ve read several lists recently from the likes of Runner’s World, Men’s Health and LiveStrong that outline the “best” running songs of all time; songs that will get you pumped up, feet moving, heart racing and ready to knock out the next few miles. I look to these for ideas and motivation but just like the radio, these lists are made up of some of the most tired, overplayed songs you can imagine and some are only on the list because the word Run is in the song title.

I intend to switch up the music on my iPhone this weekend to add some of my recent acquisitions and a few others but I figured that since this list situation was bugging me so much that I’d share 10 songs that are my favorites – currently on my iPhone – that get me moving when I arrive at the track on those foggy mornings:

10. Superdrag – “I’m Expanding My Mind” from the album ‘Head Trip in Every Key (1998)
Not a super fast-paced song but it starts slow and has a great build-up. I like to put this on when I’m doing my warm-up walk.

9. Metallica – “Whiplash” from the album ‘Kill ’em All’ (1983)
Classic Metallica will always get a person moving. The rhythm in this song is like a locomotive that isn’t merely chugging along. It’s definitely enough to get me up that last hill.

8. Skrillex – “Bangarang” from the album ‘Bangarang’ (2011)
I’m almost hesitant to even admit that this is on my phone because I’m not totally a fan of Skrillex but the few songs of his that I can tolerate I jam and often loudly. The beat in this sets a good running pace but leaves you wondering if you’re not some kind of machine by the time it’s over.

7. dan le sac VS Scroobius Pip – “Thou Shalt Always Kill” from the album ‘Angles’ (2008)
Like the previous, this song has a beat that all but forces a nice running pace. I love everything I’ve heard from these guys even if they are “just a band”.

6. The Wonder Years – “The Bastards, The Vultures, the Wolves” from the album ‘The Greatest Generation’ (2013)
Erin likes to give this song a hard time because of the use of the word Bastards in the title but it’s really a great running song. With several different movements, this works out great during interval training.

5. Crash and the Boys – “We Hate You Please Die” from the album ‘Scott Pilgrim vs. The World (Official Soundtrack)’ (2010)
While not my favorite song from the soundtrack, this jam is great for hitting the track – while short in length it’s fast paced and intense enough to give you a nice burst of energy when you need it. I also love the cymbal count-off before each song half by the girl that’s a boy, too.

4. Tim Timebomb – “Concrete Jungle” from the album ‘Tim Timebomb and Friends’ (2012)
I’m a big Specials fan and this is a great song by them. I once had a lot of Specials on my iPhone but due to a very long story I don’t at the present. I DO, however, have the 30+ track Tim Timebomb and Friends by Rancid and Operation Ivy leader Tim Armstrong and he does a great job covering this song about having to constantly be on your toes in the city because your life is probably being threatened (therefore a pretty good reason to run!)

3. Bill Conti – “Going the Distance” from the album ‘Rocky (30th Anniversary Edition)[Original Motion Picture Score]’ (2006)
Listen, if watching the Rocky films doesn’t pump you up then you don’t love Jesus and you don’t support the troops. Heck, I even watched the training montage from Rocky I in the car before going to Spin on Thursday morning just to wake myself up and get me motivated to move. While ‘Going the Distance’ isn’t as obvious as ‘Gonna Fly Now’ I included this on the list because like the Superdrag cut above, it’s a great song to get warmed up go – maybe even the best song to get warmed up to.

2. TRV$-DJ AM – “Rock with American Boy” from the album ‘Fix Your Face’ (2008)
This may be cheating because this mashes up a few different songs – namely ‘Rock With You’ by the late Michael Jackson and British rapper Estelle’s hit ‘American Boy’. Both flow into each other so well it’s beyond pleasant and both include a foot-stomping boogie-down vibe that I could hear throughout my morning trek.

1. Girl Talk – “Oh No” from the album ‘All Day’ (2010)
Alright, just like number 2 this one may be cheating because it includes…Oh, I don’t know, about 19 or 20 songs mashed up. Firing up with a great mash of ‘War Pigs’ by Black Sabbath and Ludacris’ ‘Move, Bitch’ with some 2 Pac ‘How Do You Want It’, and a double dose of Jay Z with ’99 Problems’ and ‘Empire State of Mind’ thrown in you end up getting some great hip hop lines and beats mashed with one of my favorite guitars in rock history all before the first minute of the song is complete. Throughout the 5 minute jam you’ll hear the likes of Jane’s Addiction, T.I., Color Me Badd, Slick Rick and the Doors before ending with a lovely a combo of The Ramones ‘Blitzkrieg Bop’ with Missy Elliott’s ‘Get Ur Freak On’ – now THAT is a moving combination!

Eh, like I said, I’m about to re-arrange my iPhone library to accommodate some new stuff / revive some old stuff so this list will be changing very soon. One thing I can guarantee is you’re not going to find ‘Born To Run’ on any of my lists – mostly because I don’t like the song but also because it’s a flat-out lie. And I hate lying (sometimes).

What song(s) get YOU moving?

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