Picking the perfect playlist is nearly impossible. Magazines like Shape, Fitness and Women’s Health provide helpful suggestions of songs to add. But face it, most songs are those featured in the top 40. If you already have a healthy dose of Beyonce in your life from the radio, chances are you don’t want her stuck in your ear during runs. Now, there are times when you cannot get enough of a song and it makes it to your playlist. If you are like me, your playlist feature maybe 1-3 songs that would currently be heard on the radio but the rest are a weird mix of songs popular when I was two and songs that remind me of something and motivate me.
Certain artists appear frequently because they have multiple songs that match the mood and beat I want for a run. Madonna is a great example of this. Her catalog is impressive. I don’t love all of her songs, frankly, several of her songs I could go the rest of my life without having to ever hear again. The songs that I love and motivate me….
- Burning Up
- Get Together
- Give it 2 Me
- Hung Up
Perhaps the reason that Madonna makes such great work out music is because she is constantly working out. Seriously, did you see her at the Super bowl?
Trends in my own playlists remind me of things in my life. During college I ran to a lot of 311, Prince, Eminem and other rock. It was nice to run through campus and hear Ocean Avenue by Yellowcard pumping through my iPod. Now my playlist is more of a mix of what I call Gay club music with rap. I’m sure there is a more politically correct term for this but it’s true. Most of the music I am introduced to is while out, and I go to a lot of gay bars. The reason, it’s where my friends like to go and I like the drink specials. Whereas when I was in college, I was introduced to music by other friends, roommates, college bars that are much more likely to have the Foo Fighters playing than Lady Gaga. Now, it’s more likely that I will hear Lady Gaga, Beyonce, Madonna or Rihanna while out. To further prove this point, when I lived in Georgia, it was a mix of top 40 hits (think Akon, Kardinal Offishall, Lil Jon) and rap. This is because that is what I heard when out and driving. Your musical taste is greatly influenced by a pre-set notion of what you like. Some people only want to listen to country music. That is great, but it means that most playlists you read or celebrity playlists are not going to work for you.
My answer to this is discover what you like. Then fiddle with a formula that gets you jazzed while out running and pushes you. Then, use Pandora, Spotify, or other music programs that help discover artists that are similar. I’ve found great songs through Pandora by an artist I like but that song was never released to radio and I don’t love them enough to buy a whole album. Also, when is the last time you bought a whole album? Amazon and iTunes make it easy to just pluck the song you want and ignore the rest. Let Pandora and Spotify fill in the rest to find out if you like it or not and purchase accordingly.
Jog.Fm is an app that will pick songs from your library and base it upon a set pace goal. It does this by figuring out the BPM of songs and then matching that tempo to your page. The reviews for this are really mixed in my opinion. Some people love it, others hate it. This is to be expected, it would be great if this could be a combination of your own music library and Pandora. But it’s not. If you have a giant library catalog it could be helpful as one reviewer pointed out. If you want to discover new songs, this is not your app. Music Playlist is an app that appears to be like Pandora. I cannot tell based on the reviews or screenshots but it’s free. I may download it just to find out. Spotify is another app that can be utilized and is more of a mix between your own playlist and Pandora. However, you pay for it with a monthly subscription. There is a free version, but to my knowledge that only plays your music on the mobile version.
There is a multitude of ways to find new music that will make its way to your playlist. That is part of the beauty of the interweb. The hard part is knowing what you want to hear. I combat this by just putting at least twice the amount I need. If I am going for a 30 minute jog, I put at least an hours worth of music on the playlist. Also, make sure that your battery life is sufficient. Nothing is worse than your iPod,MP3 player, phone whatever dying in the midst of you jamming out to Bon Jovi. I’ve been there. It was a really tough first world problem to break through. But I did and I am here to tell the tale.
What’s on your playlist?