November Playlist: Slow it Down

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?


22 responses to “November Playlist: Slow it Down

  1. no joke. was totally thinking about crossroads last week. i got into this throwback rap/hip-hop mood.

    andddd i had tofu pad thai for lunch today! it’s too good.

  2. Actually, when running, I listen to mellower music almost exclusively, because my ipod usually only comes along with me on recovery runs. “Hoppipolla” by Sigur Ros is a pretty good embodiment of my preferred easy running music: relaxed, but still pumps me up in a chill way… ?

  3. I’m a sucker for ballads when I run…this is probably why I’m slow – I run at video montage tempo. Today, I was struck by the lyrics of “Reason to Believe” by Dashboard Confessional…they could really be describing a race. Yes it’s emo and totally angsty, but I’ve also been known to run to Kelly Clarkson, so I’d say this is a notch above my typical running music.

    I used to get Noodles & Co all the time in grad school – there was one right near campus. My favorite were the other Asian noodles, with tofu.

  4. I have no idea how people listen to techno/hiphop nonstop while they run. It’s like having a video game in your head. Since I usually listen to public radio podcasts, yeah…obviously I don’t have a big problem chillin’ out on the auditory level. But when I do listen to music, we actually have a lot of overlap – Kid Cudi, Ben Folds, Calexico. I bought the new Kid Cudi and it is AWESOME (“Erase Me” is the first single). Also pretty chill is Yeasayer and Mumford and Sons (“Sigh No More” is a particular fave).

    And, I know this is soooo yesterday, but hooray for running again!

  5. FYI – i was the biggest Bone Thugs fan in high school. You reminded me I need to add some of their songs to my playlist too!

    A few slower/beaty ones on my ipod:
    – One Republic “Apologize”
    – R. Kelly “Feelin on your booty” (remix) 🙂
    – Joe “Stutter” (remix)
    – Toad the Wet Sprocket “Walk on the Ocean”
    – Van Morrison “Here comes the night” and “Wild Night”

    Just a few slower jams 🙂 Enjoy!

  6. I feel like I listen to weird music when I run. Last night I ran to the Grateful Dead, it seemed perky enough to me. Your post put Sublime back on my radar, I might queue up some Sublime for tonight’s run.

  7. Dude, great playlist. I stubbornly try to refuse to listen to anything poppy but I have to admit I fuh-reaking LOVE that Leona Lewis song. When it came out I probably listened to it every day for a couple weeks. When no one was around.

    Also? Ratatat!!! Their remix of BIG’s Party & Bullshit is probably better than the original.

    As far as the chill music goes, I usually opt for the heavier stuff when I run — death metal and punk rock. But I did throw on some Christopher Willits once. He’s like…I don’t know what you’d call him. Ambient/experimental/guitar/noise. Usually more suited for the bathtub, but it was a nice departure.

  8. For early morning runs, I almost feel like it’s a shame to break the silence with loud, pumping music. So, I either run without the ipod, or I totally opt for really mellow stuff. I’ve been known to just listen through the entire Gladiator or Titanic sound track… old school and very mellow with mostly no words! When I’m doing long runs, I have a “relaxing” playlist or sometimes I’ll put entire library on random so I get a blend of fast and slow. This probably causes pace havoc, but it works out ok.

  9. Weirdly, I only listen to chill music when I run. John Mayer, Taylor Swift, Carrie Underwood. I like to have calm music to keep me calm.

  10. Just found your blog. Great post.

    Bleeding Love is an amazing song!!!

    I was just thinking about making a chill music list. Not so much “chill” music like you have listed but more classical music to chill out to. I have numerous cd’s of classical music and I think they would work nicely out on the trail sometime.

  11. +1 Bleeding Love by Leona Lewis. I also really like listening to Ra Ra Riot, MGMT, and Yeasayer for my “chill” runs.

    Also, WILL I SEE YOU ON DEC 5???? The only acceptable answer is yes.

  12. we must be the same age cause I’m with you on all the references!… Fact – I loved Dispatch in college.
    I make time for slow song runs too, India.Arie Ready for Love is great for this. actually, all india.arie!

  13. That pad thai looks delicious. It’s my favorite dish to order…

    I usually prefer upbeat songs when I run. Top 40, urban, hip hop, dance, pop…anything fast paced!

  14. i never run with actual music playing but sometimes a chill song will get stuck in my head. and i hate it hahahah. sorry. “hot toddy” was stuck in my in my head during my run today and even that was too slow for me!

  15. WE ARE MUSIC SOULMATES. omg! i have most of this already 🙂 fantastic playlist.

  16. ahhhhhh!!! Helles Belles! I so want to drive to Raleigh just to visit their brewery (and of course hit up WF!) That stuff is good and high alcohol content, we like.

    Noodles and Company actually has decent pad thai, who knew?

  17. 1. Love the Gusters, but yeah. They’ve gotten better about that, or at least they had last time I listened…

    2. Remind me to tell you about the hipster dude I know who is gay for Iron and Wine and posts random shit on facebook like “OOOOO TELL ME YOUR DEFINITION OF LOVE OOOOO MINE IS IRON AND WINE.”

    3. I’ve got some odd stuff on my ipod. Like, 70’s era Elton and Billy Joel that would probably qualify as “mellow-ish.” Among other things.

    4. WHERE IS LIKE A G6!??? O wait….

  18. I usually listen to mash-ups when I run, just to keep me distracted, but recently I put on my cousin’s EP and didn’t mind the slower tempo. He sounds a bit like Ray Lamontagne/Jack Johnson -ish, at least that’s how I describe him. Check him out on iTunes: BJSR

    The first time I read this post was after a bottle of champagne Wednesday night and I was absolutely in love with this playlist 🙂 Looking forward to downloading some of these. Hope you had a great Thanksgiving!

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