I find people’s workout playlists fascinating. There is something funny about hearing that your straight-laced friend lets loose to David Guetta’s “Sexy Chick” when she works out, or hearing that when push comes to shove in a race, nothing can keep another friend going like downloaded army running chants. I get it. There is an indescribable umph factor to certain songs . The key to creating the perfect playlist is finding songs that continue to make you want to keep after it, to push just a little bit harder. Sometimes they are oddly great, meaning that they defy what one would think of as a good song to run to (and I concede that these ones are HUGELY subjective). I mentioned in a previous post that The National’s “Don’t Swallow the Cap” is a fantastic song to run to, but I remained somewhat mystified by just why.  On a whim one night I took some of my favorite running songs from a playlist that I keep coming back to because it guarantees a good run, and I checked the beats/per/minute of those songs. All of my favorites clocked in at 180 beats per minute or translated to a double time 90 bpm song. These songs had actually helped me lower my pace per mile and I thought I was just listening to great music. I am not the first to discover that bpm can translate to pace per mile (although I felt like I had made the discovery and that it was tantamount to say, discovering penicillin ) I didn’t discover it, BUT, I am glad that I found this because it is immensely helpful in crafting new playlists and perhaps even setting  goals for faster times.

So I have been tinkering, and there are still some things I can’t account for 1. Sometimes bpm doesn’t matter. Some songs are much slower but move me just as quickly. 2. Then there is the more obvious issue that some songs seem to fit the bill but don’t have that umph factor.  I had high hopes of the scientifically perfect playlist, but while I do think perfection in music is possible, it is perhaps not quantifiable. It is definitely worth seeking though, so I tinker on…

Today’s song is from the Garden State Soundtrack (which deserves a post of its own) and is definitely a great song to run to. Lebanese Blonde actually kind of makes you float magic-carpet style. It’s 92 bpm, so a brisk 184, quick and light double time.

Thievery Corporation “Lebanese Blonde”

Have a great day.


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