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07 Sep

The Top 11: Surprising Workout Songs

I like to do a Top 11 list because I always feel bad for the one thing that just missed the Top 10.

Sometimes I’ll just toss songs on my Shuffle for the heck of it and see if they fit in my workout zone at the gym. There are songs that just don’t work and I end up dumping them, but every now and then I hit on one that I’m surprised really works well. Typically any dance or rock song with a moving beat can be fine so it is kind of cool to hear something out of the ordinary that gets me in workout mode.  Here are 11 that hit a mark with me and I’m always happy when the Shuffle brings ’em up:

1.  “O…Saya” – A.R. Rahman & M.I.A.

From the “Slumdog Millionaire” soundtrack. If I’m on the treadmill when this comes on, the treadmill has to keep up with me!

2.  “Layin’ It on the Line” – Jefferson Starship

Makes me feel like my big mullet, large arms, and beer belly can bench a lot of weight.

3.  “He’s a Dream” – Shandi

From the “Flashdance” soundtrack. I don’t know what happened to this chick, but she hits overdrive in the chorus – and I restrain myself from sitting on a weight bench and dousing myself with a bucket of water.

4.  “Sleepy Maggie” – Ashley MacIsaac

Here’s one I didn’t think belonged on the workout shuffle, but it really does keep me going.

5.  “Living in China” – Men Without Hats

A song I dusted off recently sounds pretty darn good and it makes me thing of fast 80’s aerobics.

6.  “Corduroy” – Pearl Jam

I practically pulled the arm off the elliptical machine by the time this song got to the mid-section.

7.  “How Far We’ve Come” – Matchbox Twenty

Just a great quick-step ditty. This is like the theme for a speed workout.

8.  “On the Loose” – Saga

Hasn’t this song reach classic rock status?  Seems to be lost somewhere…

9.  “King of the Mountain” – Kate Bush

Okay, this is a slow, quiet groove, but as the song builds I keep going faster or doing more. Just gets in my brain.

10.  “Peek-a-Boo” – Siouxie and the Banshees

One of the quirkiest things on the shuffle I believe (along with a couple of early Devo tracks). But it works.

11.  “Take a Picture” – Filter

Again, another slow builder with a rolling beat that just doesn’t stop.

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07 Aug

The Top 11: Solid Pop Songs of the Decade

I like to do a Top 11 list because I always feel bad for the one thing that just missed the Top 10.

Every now and then I begin to think that good pop music is either dead or in a coma. As an obsessive lover of ‘80s pop songs, I often have a hard time getting into the latest chart hits. A lot of them seem to sound the same and there are no distinguishable vocals either thanks to all the voice correction and effects in place. Sure there is an occasional piece of ear candy (I kinda enjoy Enrique Iglesias’ saccharine-laced “I Like It”), but good songs are few and far between these days. However, once in a while a song will come along that rejuvenates my faith in solid, well-written pop music. Here are 11 songs from the past 10 years that have kept my love of solid pop music alive.

  1. “Rocket” – Goldfrapp
  2. “Surround Sister” – The Soundtrack of our Lives
  3. “I Won’t Go Hollywood” – Bleu
  4. “Take Your Mama” – Scissor Sisters
  5. “Mockingbird” – Rob Thomas
  6. “Joey” – Sugarland
  7. “Drops of Jupiter” – Train
  8. “Music” – Madonna
  9. “Beautiful Day” – U2
  10. “Grace Kelly” – Mika
  11. “Aftermath” – Adam Lambert
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11 Jul

The Top 11: Summer Albums

I like to do a Top 11 list because I always feel bad for the one thing that just missed the Top 10.

These are albums that I always seem to call up during summer. The albums may have nothing to do with season, but for some reason I associate them with sunny, warm weather. Several of them are often played with the windows rolled down and the music cranked.

1. Pet Sounds – The Beach Boys

I listened to this constantly on a beach in Mallorca, Spain. “God Only Knows” is one of the greatest songs ever.

2. The Grand Illusion – Styx

This was the high school album for our clique. I think we wore out 4 cassette copies constantly playing it over and over.

3. Girlfriend – Matthew Sweet

I’m not sure how or why this turned into a summer album since it came out in the fall, but “Girlfriend” is a great windows-down song.

4. Skylarking – XTX

This one just screams summer. Even birds and flies make guest appearances. “Summer’s Cauldron” kicks it off in a lazy-day style and it never lets up.

5. Indigo Girls – Indigo Girls

I remember painting a kitchen during a summer evening and playing this over and over. I think the next day I pretty much knew all the lyrics.

6. Cosmic Thing – The B-52’s

“Love Shack,” “Roam,” enough said.

7. Rickie Lee Jones – Rickie Lee Jones

Laid back and just plain cool. “The Last Chance Texaco” is dusty, hot, and brilliant. One of my favorite albums of all time.

8. Loose – Victoria Williams

Quirky and playful with some great songs like “Crazy Mary,” which was covered by Pearl Jam. Some folks don’t care for her voice, but I love her unique delivery.

9. Too-Rye-Ay – Dexys Midnight Runners

“Come on Eileen” is an 80s iconic summer song, but there is a lot more here to dig into like “The Celtic Soul Brothers” and cover of “Jackie Wilson Said.”

10. Vacation – The Go-Go’s

Yes, this is not their best album, but with that cover image and the title single, it simply reeks of summer fun.

11. The Garden – Merrill Bainbridge

This is a real gem that has been lost along the way. You may remember her bouncy hit “Mouth,” but much of the album is full of dreamy pop that is perfect for the season.

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