[Ashin has a newish (August 12) blog entry on a subject very close to my heart: music for jogging and running. As a result, I had to translate, but I could not help having a lot of editorial comments - always identified by the brackets - and I'm adding some of my own favorites on the end. ]
In so many things we bring music along to keep us company, so no matter how hard they get, they can still be pleasurable.
A long, solitary road trip, an endless wait, because of what’s collected in the mp3 player, is transformed from being dry and dull to being a marvelous journey.
Jogging, with the addition of your favorite music naturally becomes twice as enjoyable!
I’ll share with everyone my “Running Playlist,” version 1.0:
“Welcome to the Jungle,” Guns ‘n’ Roses [amusingly, Ashin misses the plural on the end]
My high school idols, that fierce sounding voice was instantly popular with us “soon-to-be adults.” In this song there’s a rarely seen shift from slow to fast tempo, it’s well-suited for warming up and and accelerating.
[This is a great running song, I agree, though it starts out so fast I can't quite see it for the very start of a run! Two notes. First of all, look how young Axl Rose looks in that video! Amazing. Second of all, Ashin would have been what, 12 when this song was released? 11? I know, because i was 9. 'Course, that same year was the formal end to Marital Law in Taiwan; this makes me wonder if the song only got there when the boys were in high school, or if that's just when he discovered it.]
“Who Am I, Who Am I, Who Am I (我是誰我是誰我是誰),” Magic Power
Magic Power’s songs often have a very steady beat, driving one step in front of the other, very well suited to listening to while jogging. Everyone is occasionally seized by a sense of listlessness; jogging is not only a physical activity, but also kind of therapeutic. I’m just me; when I’m feeling lonely and useless, I can take myself jogging and push all my troubles to the back of my head.
[Preach it! I've always run much more for stress relief than physical health. When I was finishing up my dissertation in grad school, I'd get my best ideas out jogging; for about six months there, I never went without a pen to scribble ideas down on my hand. Of course, that was summer in DC; by the time I'd get home, I'd have sweat them all away!]
“Get Out,” Magic Power
Another MP song, just like “Who Am I, Who Am I, Who Am I” (that song title is so long!), the song “Get Out” is really inspiring when you’re getting tired and short of breath.
[I don't know Magic Power at all - no opinion one way or the other, as I confess looking up these links was the first time I've listened to any of their songs. I'm always a little skeptical of a band with a designated DJ - it's just not my kind of music usually. But if they've got good songs for running, perhaps I should give them a try. I did not fail to notice, of course, the heavy emphasis on B'in Music artists on this list, though....]
“Jump – Remix by Stone,” Mayday
Listening to one of our own songs while running seems weird, I’m always a little worried that I’ll be out on the road and start singing along. But Stone’s remix fills me with energy.
“To Be With You,” Mr. Big
In high school, this band was the idol of everyone in a band, every musician’s skill honed to perfection. As it turns out, an incredible band can get huge fame starting from a single, simple love song, ha.
[I don't think there was anyone at my school who was not obsessed with this song. We all thought it was so romantic and poetic, especially "waiting on a line of greens and blues...."]
“Daddy, Brother, Lover, Little Boy,” Mr. Big
Another of Mr. Big’s famous songs. These days, following my mi Coach day and night, I think a lot of people will find the mi Coach to be just as close as your “Daddy, Brother, Lover, Little Boy.”
Because of producing responsibilities, a mid-production version of this song has always been with me. What makes it different from your version is that mine has S.H.E singing an a cappella version of [erm] “Beethoven’s Fifth” at the beginning.
[Did S.H.E have a song called, "命運交響曲"? Are there, um, lyrics to this? Now, as much as it kills me to confess this, I can sort of see the chorus of "SHERO" being good to run to, at least for people unlike me who do not feel compelled to pull their own hair out every time S.H.E starts singing. For me, the song might interfere with my pacing.]
“My Adidas,” Run DMC
Don’t be skeptical; a heavyweight American music group really did once write a song called “My Adidas.” And it’s absolutely not any kind of advertising song – it was because in African American society, having a pair of Adidas shoes was apparently like having wealth to flaunt and collect, hah.
[Of course, Ashin does not mention that the song was originally released in 1986. On a somewhat related note, I often wish I could get Ashin to come and audit my general history courses. I just sort of think he could use a better grounding in such things, if his lyrics are any indication.]
“Night Cat (夜貓),” Della Ding
When I first heard 831 band member Uplee’s demo for this song I liked it right away – I’ve always liked music that combined rock + dance music elements. This song’s dance moves are really interesting; next time Show Luo “pays his respects to a queen of dance” he could add this dance.
[Hahaha... I *love* Snarky!Ashin. So much fun. And at least he recognizes that this song was just Ding Dang channeling Jolin....]
“Let’s Break Up (分手吧),” Della Dang
Another one having to do with producing; I have three production versions of this song on my Walkman. Uplee took charge of the arrangement – it starts as an acoustic guitar ballad, then suddenly turns into rock at the chorus. The bridge is particularly unusual; every time I hear it I smile as I run.
[That's all well and good, but my running playlist has the original A-yue version of this song, and I admit I do prefer it. Though this song does raise the question: did B'in Music buy up all of A-yue's back catalog for Della to cover??]
“Love Foolosophy,” Jamiroquai
This band’s music has a kind of lasting charm no matter when you hear it. Disco+Funk style, combined with wearing my [Adidas] “Clima Cool [cool breeze]” shoes, makes each step like a bursting cool breeze.
“Cosmic Girl,” Jamiroquai
Another Jamiroquai song; I have to wonder whether this band’s drummer might also be wearing “cool breeze” shoes while hitting the bass drum?
[Wow, Ashin gets his funk on. This begs the question: does he by any chance have a little ABBA in there to run to?]
Okay then, next time I have a chance I’ll share more with everyone.
If you have any running advice of your own, you’re welcome to stop by and leave a message. I’ll also share my experiences with you!
Mayday’s 5K Challenge is underway!
Okay, that’s the end of Ashin’s playlist, but here are a few of my own favorites for running:
“City (城市),” sodagreen
In spite of the fact that they never seem to play it in concert, this is one of my favorite sodagreen songs, and one I like no matter what the occasion. As it happens, though, this is also an awesome warm-up song. Start with stretches, getting out the door, maybe walking a bit to get going, and then by the second verse, start the jog. By the time it swells near the end, you’re running.
“A Petal of Freedom,” Glay
This song maintains a decent beat all along, has a few tidbits of English that are nice for those of us with no Japanese and therefore no real sense of what the song is about, and in a couple places the music swells to a climax that makes me want to run faster and – if at all possible – embrace the air. It’s hard to describe, but it just makes me feel happy. Must be all that “Don’t Worry” business – I mentioned earlier that I run to relieve stress, and this song really helps.
“Back to Black,” Amy Winehouse
This is a good early-to-mid run pacing song. Nice beat, not too fast, fun to listen to.
When I’m running, the rule is: if it’s A-yue, I want to hear it.
“Prince Noodles (王子麵),” Kid & Dream (i.e. Mayday’s Monster and Ashin + Stephanie Sun)
I switch up the Mayday songs on my playlist pretty frequently, and I admit for running I lean more old-school: “Motor Rock,” “Chu Chu Chu” (even with its annoying slow-down on the bridge), “People Life, Ocean Wild,” etc. But this song seems to stay on the list no matter how much I move around the others.
“Lover, You Should Have Come Over,” Jeff Buckley
Another song which, despite the frequently meloncholy tone of the lyrics, just makes me almost perversely happy with the swelling of the music. It’s an odd choice for exercise, I imagine, but I love the lyrics and the feel of it so I’m always glad to have it come on.
“I’m Not Jay Chou (我不是周杰倫),” Totem Band
Another good pacing song, and I do love the touch of cowboy-oriented snark as they mumble the lyrics.
“Them (他們),” P.K.14
Another great pacing song with a good beat. Admittedly, the switch up at the chorus can throw you off a bit, but I run around a lot of corners so they never seem to faze me.
“Loved Wrongly (愛錯),” Leehom Wang
This is my running uphill song. Seriously. The good beat doesn’t really kick in until over a minute in, but it always gives me a push when I’m at a “heartbreak hill” (i.e. something steep and near the end of a run). It might be that I’m picturing all the sweaty shirtless boxing in the video, but hey, whatever motivates you, right?
“Mama Told Me Not to Come,” Three Dog Night
Near the end of a run, this is a great song for keeping momentum. Actually, I’ll run to just about anything Three Dog Night, with “Let Me Serenade You” scoring high as another favorite.
“Bad Romance,” Lady Gaga
Admittedly, this is the only Lady Gaga song I know. I’m a little behind on the English Top 40 at the moment, but this is a GREAT song for the end of a run. I always look for it on my iPod shuffle for the last half mile, when you want to speed up and finally sprint in.
Anyway, here’s hoping Ashin posts some more of his running suggestions! I’m always on the lookout for good songs for the playlist.