Playlist: July 2014

I cringe a bit when I think of how long I have gone without a music update. No time like the present to remedy that, right?

Here’s this morning’s playlist; my legs were still a little weary from yesterday’s red-eye flight from Portland (more on that trip forthcoming), but this sixty-minutes of musical motivation got me going in no time, flat. The workout was primarily speed intervals under varying levels of resistance, in an attempt to really boost the effectiveness of the effort. Legs screaming, heart racing, and lungs burning? Yes, please.

The list kicks off with the infectious and ecstatic “I Wanna Get Better” by Bleachers, a group formed by Fun. guitarist (and lyricist) and Lena Dunham squeeze Jack Antonoff. This track, with its sing-along-ready chorus and optimistic lyrics reminds me why we all climb on the bike in the first place. No one I know goes into a ride thinking, “I just want to stay the same.”

I particularly love the herky-jerky piano and the bizarre little samples which play off Antonoff’s vocals, ranging, as they do, from teen screamer to Eno-esque baritone. Also, there’s a sweet guitar solo that would be at home in the ’80s, lines about friends getting wasted, and this sobering revelation: “I miss the days of a life still permanent.”

I included two Foster the People tracks from the latest album, remixed a bit to make them interval-worthy. Once again, Mark Foster proves his knack for coming up with hummable pop hooks, and tracks like the funky “Best Friend” take up residence in your ears as much as they get your feet tapping. Although not in the original version of the song, the inclusion of the lyric, “The choices that you make affect you for the rest of your life,” (while it does kind of make me chafe) is certainly true in some meta-sense and provides an opportunity for a thoughtful pause as well as a good turn of the resistance dial to the right.

“Just Keep Breathing” by We the Kings reminds us, especially in the wake of the lung-exploding intervals before it, to attend to the basics: breath, awareness, patience. The prompt “Without the dark, the light won’t show” caught me by surprise (pleasantly) as did the consolation, “Remember that you’re not alone.”

The list also features a healthy dose of classics: young Steven Tyler’s soaring jugular on “Dream On,” George Michael’s stylish croon on “Freedom 90,” Eric Clapton’s uncredited guitar work on “While My Guitar Gently Weeps,” and Fleetwood Mac’s “The Chain,” which features one of most memorable bass lines in all of popular music, and like many other songs on Rumors, turns private pain into something universal. The monumental dobro on riff is pretty cool, too.

Here’s list: Screen Shot 2014-07-18 at 8.04.04 AM And here’s where to find some free tunes:

Foster the People’s “Best Friend” here and “Don’t Stop” here

The slamming Nero mix here

The MAGIC track here

And the Dirty Pop rendition of Sam Smith’s torch song here

Happy riding!

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