10 Pieces of Music

As I’ve joined a gym, I’ve dug out the old mp3 player and have started running through the catalog of songs.  Most of what’s on there is a carryover from Christmastime (yes, it’s been that long since I updated it) but there are still a couple of jogging and up-tempo mixes on there.  As I’ve been listening to it with an ear toward what will keep me lifting my legs and feeling the burn, I’ve come to find that there are 10 immutable classics without which I can hardly make it through a single workout.

They are:

1. Gonna Fly Now – Bill Conti.  You’d think after 16 billion listens, I’d get tired of this song.  But I can’t.  When I accidentally stumble across it when I’m just about anywhere, I start doing whatever I’m doing with more zeal.  I also like to keep it in reserve for the running portion of the evening, because if you’re gassed and you need to dig deep, ain’t nothing like it.

2. Theme from Superman (Concert Version) – John Williams.  Yep.  Same sort of thing as Gonna Fly Now, but worse.  I’ve actually probably come close to pushing myself to a heart attack with this piece of music.  It’s just perfectly stirring.  And I even get a little emotional because for very complicated reasons, it reminds me of my late cat Boo, whom I will miss for the rest of my life (I still have a picture of her on my desk at work).

3. Battle – Gang Starr. Did I just blow your mind?  It’s a great track and I have no right to enjoy it as much as I do.  When rap/hip-hop is done right, this is what you get.

4. Don’t Look Back – Boston.  Great cool-down song.  A great song in general, but perfect for keeping the energy flowing without trying to blow yourself up.  Honestly, a lot of Boston songs are good for cooldown/warmup/transition work in the gym.  There’s something about the flow of the music that helps you switch gears; each song builds, crescendos and then gently comes down.  That’s good stuff anytime, but when you need to go from one gear to another it’s even better.

5. Yahweh – U2.  Another cool-down song, but simply beautiful.  How has U2 managed to sneak faithful, religious songs out into the world for so long and not taken heat for it?  I love that.  And I love this song.

6. Battle of the Heroes – John Williams. I’m not surprised either.  But it’s great for heavy lifting work (that’s a relative term) and hill biking/running.  There’s a lot of raw emotion in it.

7. Dare – Stan Bush. This song is from Transformers: The Movie (1986).  This is not to be confused with Transformers: The Piece of Crap that came out a few years ago, directed by Michael Bay.  It’s schlocky, it’s classic 1980s generic wanna-be rocker pop metal, but it’s just so innocent and explosive.  The lyrics are great, too, for when you’re trying to fire yourself up.

8. If I Can’t – 50 Cent. To be honest, I can’t and don’t want to relate to a single lyric outside of the hook/chorus.  But that hook is strong and it’s good for an activity that requires a lot of effort.  This is in no way an attempt to make myself seem hip.  As evidence, isn’t the song something like 7 years old by this point?

9. The Return of the Jedi – John Williams. Wow.  Is this the third John Williams piece on here?  It’s the third John Williams piece on here.

10. The Touch – Stan Bush.  I should be sad that I like this song as much as I do.  But every time I listen to it I’m 12 years old again and nothing could stop you from conquering the world.  It’s also from the Transformers animated movie from 1986. This blog is starting to reveal more about me to myself than I wanted.  Ugh.  I’m a freaking child.

Naturally there are many more songs on the player to which I listen.  But these are the 9 that are in constant rotation, can’t-miss killers that are making the constant appearances. I am so hopelessly stuck in my childhood, and I hate that I’m so honest that I won’t stop writing this blog or try to toughen it up by writing that I listen to…to…I don’t know.

I occasionally listen to Johnny Cash on a workout.  Does that count for something? Other people have Lady Gaga and whatever the kids are listening to nowadays, I have movie soundtracks.  Is there something wrong with me?


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