When I run with music, it’s typically fast paced, high energy and occasionally angry. You know, music that will inspire you to push harder and run faster. Because that’s what we all want to do, right?
Well, not always.
Coming back from injury, I’m taking it slow and low. The other day, I realized I needed a running playlist that would chill me out a little. I scrounged my iTunes library and voila – fifteen great songs that have enough of a beat to keep you awake, but will promptly make you think of sipping a beer on a sunny patio somewhere rather than tempting you to pick up the pace.
1. Never Had Nobody Like You (feat. Zooey Deschanel) – M. Ward: This song makes me want to sway back and forth and clap my hands. (But like…in a fun “I love this song” way, not in an “I have issues” way.) [listen]
2. Landed – Ben Folds: With trademark Ben Folds aggro-piano and earnest vocals, this song’s energy steadily builds. [listen]
3. Beg Steal or Borrow – Ray LaMontagne & The Pariah Dogs: Most Ray LaMontagne is quite lovely, but a little too slow and soulful to run to. This song has a nice beat that makes it perfect for a mellow run. [listen]
4. Mistaken for Strangers – The National: This one borders on being too high-energy for a playlist like this one, but I think it’s just laid-back enough. [listen]
5. Armada Latina – Cypress Hill (feat. Pitbull and Marc Anthony): Oh my god, well, you all know that I love Pitbull. And I also love classic rock samples – the Crosby Stills & Nash so works in this song. BAM. LOVE. [listen]
6. Careful – Guster: I like Guster, but am I the only one who thinks all of their songs sound really similar? Anyway, their mellow rock style is perfect for a playlist like this. Sub any Guster song you want and it would probably work just as well. [listen]
7. History of Lovers – Calexico and Iron & Wine: I know – Iron & Wine? Running? But this song has a little zip to it and it’s perfect for an easy run. [listen]
8. Young Forever – Jay-Z: Yeah, this song is kinda played out. But I like it. See earlier comment about classics and hip-hop getting in bed together. I’m a sucka. [listen]
9. Bleeding Love – Leona Lewis: Leona Lewis just has a beautiful voice. The beat of this song reminds me oddly of early-90s Mariah Carey. But it works. [listen]
10. Come On Get Higher – Matt Nathanson: Oh, Matt Nathanson. With your soulful guitar plucking and gushy lyrics. You have mastered the art of morphing from an average-looking paunchy dude to a total hot guy. Now don’t go all John Mayer on us, please. Dave Matthews is a far better role model for you, sir. [listen]
11. Pursuit of Happiness (Nightmare) – Kid Cudi feat. MGMT & Ratatat: I’m not sure why I love this song so much, but I do. It reminds me of the sort of song you’d listen to while pulling out of a Denny’s parking lot as the sun is coming up after a mega bar night. (Because…that is something I’d do. Like, ten years ago. Sigh.) [listen]
12. The Angels Hung Around – Rilo Kiley: Jenny Lewis. Girl crush. Enough said. [listen – crappy copy, but the best YouTube can do, apparently]
13. Right Me Up – State Radio: Fact – I loved Dispatch in college. Fact – I sat next to Chad Urmston on a flight from Cleveland to Boston once. Fact – I love State Radio too. Fact – this is a great song for just about anything, including running. [listen]
14. What I Got – Sublime: Another great “anything” song. With an added bonus that it totally reminds me of my junior year of high school. 🙂 [listen]
15. Tha Crossroads – Bone Thugs-N-Harmony: I recently got in to a very intense debate over which Bone Thugs song was most well-known. I argued vehemently on behalf of “Notorious Thugs,” while my adversary insisted that “First of the Month” was clearly the answer. Unfortunately he won on a technicality, as “Notorious Thugs” is actually a Biggie song. What. EVER. Anyway, Crossroads is also one of my favorites and perfect for rounding out a nice mellow run. And then retiring to your balcony with a 40. [listen]
That’s all, folks. A nice short playlist for a time when many of us are doing nice short runs. The fall marathon season is done-zo. Time to coast until spring training time!
Today’s EAT: My kitchen is going to see major action this week. So I took the night off and picked up some tofu Pad Thai from Noodles & Company:
Authentic? Not at all. Quick and convenient? You betcha.
Today’s DRINK: At least my beer was authentic.
Big Boss is a local Raleigh brewery, and I had the pleasure of tasting their Harvest Ale at a bar over the weekend. It was fabulous – shades of pumpkin pie, but a million times better than actual pumpkin pie, because well…because it’s beer. And beer > pie.
Anyway, I spotted the Helle’s Belle from Big Boss at Whole Foods so I snagged a six-pack. This Belgian is quite light – a little cloudy and a little lemony, almost more like a Hefeweizen. Delicious in any event, and well worth sipping at 7% ABV.
Today’s RUN: I took my mellow playlist on a nice afternoon run-break: 5 miles, 8:30 pace. It is still ridiculously gorgeous here. 75* and sunny today! And the crunchy leaves are still abundant. I’m kind of in love with running right now, and that is a great feeling.
Today’s QUESTION: Do you ever opt for chill running music? What would you add to my slow-it-down playlist?