Songs for a Specific Purpose – Discuss

I’m sporty.  I’m not very good at any of it, but I’m happy to give it a go.   My current sport of choice is road cycling.  I say current, because I try new activities and they then become my new favourite thing.  I’ve only owned my road bike for just over a year.  I also have a mountain bike and take that out every now and again to give me an adrenaline rush.  I also run.  I also swim – summer lido life is my favourite time of the week.  I’ve given up netball – it’s too hard on my knees.  This summer I am spending 5 days learning how to surf.  You get the picture.  Sport keeps me fit, deals with any stress I’m feeling as I beast my body, it’s social and I get a sense of achievement when I do something I never thought I could manage.

When I run and in the winter when I use my bike on the turbo trainer, I have to listen to music.  It’s a way of distracting me from my ragged breathing and any pain I might be feeling, the beat also keeps me going.  Some of the music I use on my various running and turbo playlists is not at all what I would listen to on a day-to-day basis – it has a purpose; to motivate me.  I associate certain tracks with activity (I have a pavlov’s dog type reaction when I hear Pendulum – I just want to run!) and rarely listen to them when I’m not running or on the turbo trainer.  The music I use is varied, ranging from hard rock to dubstep to mainstream pop.  What the tracks have in common are high BPM or soaring melodies.

I mentioned Pendulum above;  I remember the first time I saw them perform.  I was blown away by the music and the light show.  Witchcraft, Watercolour and Propane Nightmares have all found their way onto my running playlist.  The way they all start quietly and lift to thrashing drums and synths helps me speed up and maintain a good fast pace, the gorse and heathers of my local common a blur in my peripheral vision as I concentrate on keeping up with the beat.

Then there’s Britney’s Toxic.  A good track for the front or back end of the running playlist.  Steady, pulsating beat for warming up or down.  The bass line played loud through headphones is awesome.  Crazy in Love by Beyonce is another good pop tune I’m very happy to plod to.  Rudimental’s Feel the Love is the sort of track you want to come on just as you are reaching the mid-point of that stubborn sandy hill that’s always such a bitch to get up.

Then there’s the heavier stuff; Clutch are a relatively recent addition to my running list.  Their track X-Ray Visions is a fabulously noisy tune to get my arse up most hills, as is Fuckshovel’s Long Time Dead, originally introduced to me by Darcey’s Dad on RR. Drowning Pool’s Bodies is one that is great when you are gritting your teeth to just get through.

In terms of turbo training on my bike, it’s dubstep all the way.  I love the undulating, off-kilter beats this sort of music offers.  It means I can pedal at high cadence and then just as the track kicks in, get out of the saddle and grind out and imaginary hill.  Skrillex and The Qemists both have great tracks for this sort of training.

I’ve put a little playlist together of some of these tunes for you to enjoy (?)

So, why am I telling you all of this?  These are pretty much all tracks I wouldn’t listen to at any other time other than to train.  I want to know your tracks you only listen to for a particular reason.

Yet again ‘Spillers I come to you to discuss this issue.  What do you know about all of this?  Do you have tracks that you train to, or that get your creative juices flowing?  Are there tunes you need to listen to at work to help you concentrate?  Do you have a favourite song that lulls you to sleep?  If you are a performer, is there something you need to listen to before heading on stage; a musical lucky charm?  What are your tracks you save for a particular purpose?

16 thoughts on “Songs for a Specific Purpose – Discuss

  1. Aside from driving / exercise / sex, I presume you mean. I’m a single mum, hedonist, would-be hippy, kind of stuck in a place and a responsible role I never saw coming. I’m “nice”. I don’t have anyone close enough to share frustrations with so I walk, and work, and help people. I have relationships with stupid men who hurt me and leave me wondering why I bother. So occasionally there are moments when this song says it all, full volume on headphones and preferably with air guitar: Boy Hits Car – I Am A Cloud: “I am so full of love, I am so full of hate…” The rest of the album’s not bad either. (Apologies for the overshare).

    • Hi Ali – oversharing and support is what this place is about isn’t it? Hope all well – I notice there is no Sounds on Sunday today. The men who you describe as stupid who’ve hurt and left you are clearly idiots. I’m on a self imposed social media ban at the moment (4 weeks of no looking or posting so far – liberating), but when I was still checking FB, I noticed you do a lot of walking. Do you ever listen to music when you walk?

      • Just ran out of time for Sounds on Sunday, lots of things happening last week but all straight now (??) I think. Also local beer festival at the w/e which was something of a distraction. Normal service will be resumed next Sunday! I don’t listen to music when I’m walking because I nearly always have the dog; she weighs 5 stone and is a bit of a liability if you don’t give her your full attention! tfd very kindly gave me her old ipod a few years ago; I listen to music on that if I’m travelling by train, or when Sam’s in hospital, but I don’t pick out anything in particular, it’s just a mix so I “shuffle”.

  2. My getting things done songs… Oh! Well number one is Makes No Sense At All by Husker Du.

    Nots/Jlin/Weekend (US noise meisters) are my driving music.

    Ministry, early Swans, Young Gods are my hoovering music.

    Northern Soul is my get up and feel happy music.

    Richard Skelton, The Caretaker/Leyland Kirby provide contemplative tunes.

    Bunnymen/Joy Division/Teardrop Explodes/Beat/Specials/Madness are my way to remember where I grew up and enable the recapturing of certain feelings.

    Dramatics/Al Green/Marvin Gaye/Donny Hathaway to make me feel relaxed

    Wild Nothing/Delay Trees/Washed Out for dreams and nostalgia.

    Atmosphere to make me think about being who I am and the insight I get from it.

    There are many more but I usually play music to be inspired. I also play it to find something new about the situation I’m in and these are some current favourites. 😉

    • Do you know what is the biggest disappointment about this very generous list you’ve offered? That you didn’t say that “I Want to Break Free” by Queen is your hoovering track….

  3. I stopped doing such playlists as I found I wasn’t that structured in planning my activities. So it’s usually a solid mix of genres and compilation albums at that. And Sony Xperia has an app that shuffles your music according to time of day with additional options for you to tweak it.

    But the one specific playlist that blew me away is Panthersan’s music for chores. He posted it somewhere in the 5000+ post thread during the schism. Pity I didn’t save it.

  4. Hmm. I used to be a runner and now i’m kind of a voracious walker. But i absolutely do not want to listen to any music while i’m walking, i like to hear the birds tweet and as i space out a lot, i figure it’s probably a good idea to be able to hear any cars coming that might be about to pick me off if i happen to not notice a stop light.

    Yoga. Generally quiet when i do it at home, or some of the chants and kundalini music they play in classes. Probably the only time i really listen to this stuff though. Speaking of classes – the music makes or breaks it for me. I love rock and hip hop, but NOT in yoga class. If i’m irritated by the music in class, i’m probably not taking that class again.

    At home, i do a lot of photoediting, research, and artwork at the computer. Photoediting i can listen to some music to while i’m doing it, so the Dead is ideal for that. Chris left a couple lovingly curated Deadlists here on the Spill, and i made one of my own. Also stuff like Neil Young, Joni, Counting Crows, Elliott Smith, and some ambient like Brian Eno.

    Up at the print studio, i listen to whatever someone is playing. Luckily i happen to like what most people play, usually chill indie or hip hop.

    As i’m doing a lot of shedload research these days, and a lot less editing, i don’t really get a chance to listen to much at all these days. We make our tradeoffs. I’m still waiting to get the chance to do a batch of editing along with Leavey’s playlist.

    • I don’t listen to music while riding my bike out on the road for the same reason you don’t listen to music when walking – it’s too dangerous. I agree that yoga can only be done in silence or to very soft music. In terms of work; slightly counter intuitive this, but often when I really need to concentrate, if I’m working on numbers that I really need to get right, I find that I can manage better by putting very noisy music on really super loud!

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