100 ATRO #82: Unexpectedly good workout songs

If you didn’t already know, ATRO stands for Awesome Things Rip-Off because I totally ripped off the idea from this guy.

A song can make or break a workout, at least for me.  While I love soft and soothing ballads on the bus ride home, they just don’t get my blood pumping for a run.  For that I need dance music, hip hop, or rap.  MIA, Britney, JT, Christina, J.Lo, Kanye, Madonna – if it has a good beat and I can dance to it, it’s going on my workout playlist.

Then there are the tunes that you wouldn’t think make good workout songs.  Wait, isn’t that folk music? Do I hear an acoustic guitar? Is that fiddle and a harmonica? But hey, people dance to fiddles and harmonicas too.

“A Hard Rain’s Gonna Fall,” Edie Brickell & The New Bohemians

What makes this work as a workout song, at least for me, is the driving, almost monotonous rhythm. It almost imitates the feeling of running. Plus I love the lyrics.

“Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da,” The Beatles

What better way to get your feet moving than a happy, jaunty song. And if it makes you think of that show Life Goes On, so the better.

“Rise,” Eddie Veder

That acoustic guitar again! Or this time, ukelele.

“Return to Roan Inish,” 1 & 2

I’d say about a third of my iPod selection are soundtracks. (Come to think of it, “A Hard Rain” and “Rise” are both from movie soundtracks too.) These two tracks are from this beautiful Irish movie you may or may not have heard of, and which make me want to do a Riverdance jig. If I knew how, that is.

“All I Want Is You,” Barry Louis Polisar

One of my favorite songs, not just for running but in general. I think of it as MB’s and my song (whether he knows it or not), because it’s from one of the first movies we saw together; it has a harmonica, which MB can play; and it reminds me of him – joyful and full of life. This is cheesy, but when I hear this song, I imagine us whirling around a dance floor.

And for some reason, I run better.

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