Songs For The Gym Or The Treadmill

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Working out isn’t always easy to do. Problem is, in a society obsessed with physical perfection, it’s something that most of us feel like we have to do. And the worst part isn’t even the workout itself. You have to make time for it in your day, usually early in the morning or right after you get home from work or school. More specifically, you have to change into your workout clothes, drive/run/ride to the gym (some people have everything they need in their home – lucky bastards), drive/run/ride back home, take a shower, and change your clothes again! It’s really pretty time consuming.

Believe me, as a certified personal trainer, I know how hard making that time can be.

But there’s an upside to it all. Once you finally get to the gym, you get to zone out to your favorite tunes. I’m a huge music lover, but unless I’m in the car, I rarely listen. That’s why I covet my workout time so much. Of course, feeling and looking better is not a bad perk to working out either.

So, to honor that rare hour or so of uninterrupted music listening, I thought I’d list my favorite workout tracks. Now, of course, we tend to listen to different things depending on the type of workout (or at least I do), so I’ll break it down into several playlists. Also, when I work out, I tend to work out hard, so some of these songs are pretty loud and, uh, intense.

Intense Cardio (running, sprints, plyometrics, interval training, etc.)
I like to listen to electronic music when I work out, and as you’ll notice, I’ve got a TON of Daft Punk on here. Half their songs sound like they were made for the gym. Don’t believe me? Listen to the lyrics. The heavy bass and repetitive nature of their music helps me zone out, too. It’s a bit like hypnosis, I guess. There are some other obvious choices on here as well.

Better Off Alone – Alice Deejay
Cinema (Skrillex Remix) – Benny Benassi
One More Time – Daft Punk
Aerodynamic – Daft Punk
Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger – Daft Punk
High Life – Daft Punk
Da Funk – Daft Punk
Around the World – Daft Punk
Rollin’ ’n Scratchin’ – Daft Punk
Robot Rock – Daft Punk
Technologic – Daft Punk
Musique – Daft Punk
Derezzed – Daft Punk
The entire Alive 2007 album – Daft Punk
Sandstorm – Darude
Moar Ghosts ’n’ Stuff – Deadmou5
Ghosts ’n’ Stuff (feat. Rob Swire) – Deadmou5
I Remember (feat. Kaskade) – Deadmou5
Strobe – Deadmou5
Bootleg Fireworks (The Rebirth) – Dillon Francis
Latch (feat. Sam Smith) – Disclosure
Bird Machine (feat. Alesia) – DJ Snake
Death By Robot – Feed Me
Hold Me Close – Flux Pavilion
Pardon My French – Gramatik
You Don’t Understand – Gramatik
Prime Time – Gramatik
It’s Just a Ride – Gramatik
Genesis – Justice
D.A.N.C.E. – Justice
Room for Happiness (feat. Skylar Grey) – Kaskade
4 AM (Adam K & Soha Mix) – Kaskade
Move for Me – Kaskade & Deadmou5
Lick It – Kaskade & Skrillex
Hello – Martin Solveig & Dragonette
My Eyes – Nero
Must Be the Feeling – Nero
Doomsday – Nero
Me and You – Nero
Wildfire – SBTRKT
Pharaohs – SBTRKT
Right In – Skrillex
Bangarang (feat. Sirah) – Skrillex
First of the Year (Equinox) – Skrillex
Reptile’s Theme – Skrillex
Rock ’n’ Roll (Will Take You to the Mountain) – Skrillex
Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites – Skrillex
Kill Everybody – Skrillex
Love & War – Wolfgang Gartner

Weightlifting (or cardio if I get tired of the first list)
There’s a lot of metal and alternative on this list. I actually don’t listen to it very often, but when I need an extra push, this list does it.

Falling Down – Breaking Point
Prayer – Disturbed
Indestructible – Disturbed
Perfect Insanity – Disturbed
Inside the Fire – Disturbed
Voices – Disturbed
The Game – Disturbed
Stupify – Disturbed
Down With the Sickness – Disturbed
Fear – Disturbed
Bodies – Drowning Pool
Reminded – Drowning Pool
Mute – Drowning Pool
Told You So – Drowning Pool
The Pretender – Foo Fighters
Dirt Off Your Shoulder / Lying From You – Jay-Z & Linkin Park
Jigga What / Faint – Jay-Z & Linkin Park
Points of Authority / 99 Problems / One Step Closer – Jay-Z & Linkin Park
Papercut – Linkin Park
Figure.09 – Linkin Park
Bleed It Out – Linkin Park
This Is the New Sh#t – Marilyn Manson
Battery – Metallica
Master of Puppets – Metallica
Enter Sandman – Metallica
Sad But True – Metallica
All Nightmare Long – Metallica
For Whom the Bell Tolls – Metallica
Follow You Home – Nickelback
Side of a Bullet – Nickelback
Smells Like Teen Spirit – Nirvana
I Don’t Wanna Stop – Ozzy Osbourne
Let Me Hear You Scream – Ozzy Osborne
Even Flow – Pearl Jam
Bulls On Parade – Rage Against the Machine
Killing In the Name – Rage Against the Machine
Dragula – Rob Zombie
Demon Speeding – Rob Zombie
Remedy – Seether
Headstrong – Trapt

Alternate Weightlifting or Light Cardio
If you crave heavy bass (and I know I do!), and you don’t like Electronic music, then you’ll like this list. The only problem is most of these songs don’t have a very high BPM, so this list isn’t very good for cardio. I actually had to leave out some great songs because of that.

Pop Bottles – Birdman
Stuntin’ Like My Daddy – Birdman
Bet I – B.o.B
Out of My Mind – B.o.B
Strange Clouds – B.o.B
Look At Me Now – Chris Brown
Hold On, We’re Going Home – Drake
I’m Goin In – Drake
The Motto – Drake
Forever – Drake, Kanye West, Lil Wayne & Eminem
Low – Flo Rida
How We Do – Game
Blame It – Jamie Foxx
The New Workout Plan – Kanye West
Stronger – Kanye West
Gold Digger – Kanye West
Flashing Lights – Kanye West
On Sight – Kanye West
Black Skinhead – Kanye West
Clique – Kanye West, Jay-Z & Big Sean
M.A.A.D City – Kendrick Lamar
Swimming Pools – Kendrick Lamar
Pursuit of Happiness – Kid Cudi
Bring It Back – Lil Wayne
Got Money – Lil Wayne
A Milli – Lil Wayne
Lollipop – Lil Wayne
Blunt Blowin – Lil Wayne
MegaMan – Lil Wayne
6 Foot 7 Foot – Lil Wayne
John – Lil Wayne
Everybody Drunk – Ludacris
Thrift Shop – Macklemore & Ryan Lewis
Hot in Herre – Nelly
Grillz – Nelly
ATLiens – OutKast
The Way You Move – OutKast
Hey Ya! – OutKast
B.O.B. – OutKast
Freek-A-Leek – Petey Pablo
Wildfire (OVO Remix) – SBTRKT
What Up, What’s Haapnin’ -T.I.
Worldwide Choppers – Tech N9ne
Riot Maker – Tech N9ne
Caribou Lou – Tech N9ne
Like Yeah – Tech N9ne
Let’s Go – Tech N9ne
Sickology 101 – Tech N9ne
Yeah! – Usher
In Da Club – 50 Cent
Candy Shop – 50 Cent
What about you guys? What do you like to listen to when you work out?

Capital Cities: In a Tidal Wave of Mystery – Review

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Every once in a while, you come across a song, album, movie, or book that no one is talking about. For whatever reason, it has been overlooked by society and left to be forgotten. Capital Cities’ new, and first, album doesn’t quite fit this description–or at least it doesn’t yet.

Aside from one radio friendly single, In a Tidal Wave of Mystery doesn’t have much going for it. The album has been privately produced, so it doesn’t have the marketing budget behind it that more high-profile albums receive. It also doesn’t exactly follow popular music trends or feature any current mainstream artists on any of its songs (Andre 3000 is the one exception). No, if it weren’t for In a Tidal Wave of Mystery‘s single radio friendly track, “Safe and Sound”, I probably would never had stumbled on this album at all, and that would have really been a shame, because this album so SO GOOD!

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Okay, so maybe it’s not the best thing I’ve ever heard, or even the best album that came out in 2013, but it definitely deserves more praise and recognition than it’s getting.

One of the greatest things about this album–which is probably a result of being privately produced–is that it doesn’t sound much like anything else out there right now. It’s a mixture of funk, EDM, jazz, and has a real strong `80s vibe. And believe it or not, it works! There is no song on the album that doesn’t feature either a trumpet, a saxophone, or a guitar, and I honestly wouldn’t want it any other way. It’s so rare to have real instruments in music today, so hearing instruments being featured prominently in an album is truly a breath of fresh air. Take that fact and add to it that every song is incredibly upbeat, and it’s a wonder that Capital Cities isn’t already starting to become a household name.

Ultra Music Festival Weekend 2 - March 22, 2013

That being said, this album is far from perfect. There’s more than a song or two that just aren’t good. For instance, there’s an almost whimsical quality to “Lazy Lies,” that just annoys me. And “Patience Gets Us Nowhere Fast” and “Love Away”, while not being terrible or unpleasant, are not memorable, and they come off as a bit bland.

One of the most interesting things about many of the songs from In a Tidal Wave of Mystery is that I generally enjoyed the singing in the verses more than in the choruses – an odd thing, considering that most songwriters strive for the opposite.

There were exceptions, of course. “Safe and Sound” and “Farrah Fawcett Hair” had great choruses that made me think, “I’ll probably be humming this later.” The others, however, like “Kangaroo Court,” “Origami,” and “I Sold My Bed, But Not My Stereo,” had choruses that either came off as a little harsh or uninspired. That’s not to say that these songs are not good, though. To be fair, “Kangaroo Court” is one of the best songs on the album.

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Overall, In a Tidal Wave of Mystery is a wonderful album, bringing some fresh sounds to a very stale music scene. It is a great first record attempt by a couple of ad jingle writers, especially considering that they made the album under their own label and produced it entirely by themselves. I said that this album could very well be forgotten by the mainstream in a few years, and unless Capital Cities knocks out a homerun with their next album, it very well may. If it wasn’t for the success of their Safe and Sound EP from 2011, the album may have never been made.

But maybe I’m being a bit too pessimistic. Capital Cities is an extremely talented duo. I’m sure they can be twice as successful with their next album, although I imagine they might hire another producer to help them make some more radio friendly tracks. Whatever their future is, I am in love with their current offering. If you haven’t listened to In a Tidal Wave of Mystery, you’re really doing yourself a disservice.

Overall, I give this album an 8 out of 10.

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And for those who care to know, I have ranked the songs from the album from best to least best.

1. Safe and Sound
2. Farrah Fawcett Hair (feat. Andre 3000)
3. Kangaroo Court
4. Origami
5. I Sold My Bed, But Not My Stereo
6. Center Stage
7. Chartreuse
8. Chasing You
9. Patience Gets Us Nowhere Fast
10. Love Away
11. Tell Me How To Live
12. Lazy Lies

Who is Daft Punk?

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Metal-heads have taken over the Grammys, and no, I’m not talking about Metallica and Lang Lang.

Daft Punk, in all their robo-themed glory, won every category they were nominated in, which is no small feat, considering they were up for 5. Their album Random Access Memories won Album of the Year, Best Dance/Electronica Album, and Best Engineered Album. Their Song “Get Lucky” also won Record of the Year and Best Pop Duo/Group Performance.

After being on the music scene for nearly 20 years and dishing out masterpieces like “Around the World,” “One More Time,” and “Technologic,” Daft Punk finally succeeded in showing the Grammy community the light (which gleams oh so majestically off their futuristic metallic helmets).

And there’s really no denying that “Get Lucky” and Random Access Memories were some of the most refreshing bits of music to come out in 2013. It’s a shame then that most people had never heard of Daft Punk until just this year. In light of their recent success, many are asking, just who exactly is Daft Punk, and why are they dressed like space men.

Allow me to enlighten you.

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Daft Punk is a French electronic/house (techno for those of you not familiar with the genre) Duo, and have been around since the mid ’90s. They are composed of Thomas Bangalter and Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo.

Their first album Homework was released in 1997, and is largely credited for bringing electronic music closer to the mainstream.

Their second album, Discovery, was released in 2001, and was met with enormous critical success. The song “Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger” from that album also won a Grammy for Best Dance Recording, and was sampled on Kanye West’s hit, “Stronger.”

In 2005, Daft Punk released their third album Human After All. Despite some success with singles like “Technologic,” it was met with mixed reviews, and was the last studio album Daft Punk made until the release of Random Access Memories in 2013.

Daft Punk released a live concert album in 2007 called Alive 2007, which received a Grammy for Best Electronic/Dance Album. They also did the score for Disney’s Tron: Legacy, which came out in 2010.

As to why they wear the helmets, the taller Daft Punk member, Thomas Bangalter, said that “nobody cared who I was until I put on the mask.” Er, wait… that was actually a quote from Bane in The Dark Knight Rises (Sorry. I couldn’t resist).

Actually, Daft Punk has stated on several occasions that they wear the masks to conceal their identities. When they wear their helmets, everybody sees them as Daft Punk, but whenever they take them off, they become just like anybody else. They can go out in public without being ambushed by fans and paparazzi, and enjoy absolutely normal lives. In a way, they’re like real life superheroes, minus the crime fighting part.

They can enjoy being famous without having to deal with the problems of being famous! Plus, those helmets make for some seriously good branding. How brilliant is that?!

Anyway, to celebrate Daft Punk’s winning night at the Grammys, I thought I’d link a few of their more memorable music videos. Check it out!

This is their first big hit from Homework, “Around the World.” Don’t let the repetitive lyrics stop you from watching this video. The vid is probably one of the better ones from the ’90s.

Instead of making a music videos for individual songs, Daft Punk decided to make an Anime movie for the whole album, Discovery, called Interstella 5555. This is the part of the movie that features the song “One More Time.” I’m not a huge fan of the movie (although I might like it better if the mouths matched the lyrics), but the song itself is great!

This video for “Technologic” is downright creepy! Rumor has it, the robot doll is actually Chucky from Child’s Play without his skin.

This is a snippet of the Alive 2007 concert. The Songs featured are “Around The World,” “Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger,” and “Television Rules The Nation.”

This is Kanye West’s “Stronger.” Cool vid. Cool song. Really cool Daft Punk Cameos.

This is the a cappella group, Pentatonix’s, tribute to Daft Punk. Every sound, from the bass to the synth noises, are made with their mouths. It is really pretty cool, and whether you’re a Daft Punk fan or not, it is worth watching.