Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Pump It

There’s nothing like a good sweat. Fitness has become a huge and constant part of my everyday life, and I'm so content with that being the case. The feeling of gaining strength and watching my body adapt to new levels of elasticity, distance and force is most definitely something I look forward to each day.

Then again, like every other human, there are those moments of weakness and lack of motivation where the last thing I want to do is run another mile or lift another weight. There are those times when I want to give up as soon as I start, mosey on home to sit in front of the television with a jumbo bag of Starbursts in my embarrassingly massive Sherpa housecoat and call it a night.

But, then I remember - I like it too much. And it feels great. And life is happier, healthier and fresher when I do it each day. Therefore, I thought I would share some of my work-out tunes; what it is that stretches me that extra distance and makes me not want to bang my head against the screen of the elliptical. These songs - some probably unexpected and really bizarre, and some more popular – are each a wicked way to get that blood pumping.

So, pop these on your playlist and lace up – we’ll see if you agree or not!

1. Come With Me – P. Diddy feat. Jimmy Page: Remember this music video? Where Puffy, adorned in a white suit, crip-walks alongside Page and raps cockily underneath the mammoth T-rex from 1998’s Godzilla? Well, even if you don’t – you best be getting your hands on this jacked-up soundtrack single. If you didn’t think “Kashmir”, the 1970s heavy-rock track from Zeppelin, could get any better – think again. Page rips up this song by sampling the background guitar loop while Diddy raps angrily over crashing drums and booming orchestral strings. Something about this song, no matter how cheesy, braces me for a full sprint.

2. Drop the World – Lil’ Wayne: I’m sure everyone remembers Lil’ Wayne and Eminem’s astounding banter paired with Travis Barker’s thrashing drums as the debut of this track at the 2010 Grammy Awards. It was my introduction to the eerie and strong-worded rap-rock track and I was instantly hooked. It’s heavy, symbolic and when Wayne mutters the opening lines over twilight-zone keyboard effects, he's impossible to ignore. “I got ice in my veins/ Blood in my eyes/ Hate in my heart/ Love in my mind/ I’ve seen nights full of pain/ Days of the same/ You keep the sunshine, save me the rain.”

3. Strange Times – Black Keys: A little bit of pure electricity. These dirty south rockers slam and smear their famous drum and guitar pairing across this track, making their energy undeniable. The hurried rock guitar and wailing vocals batter against the loud percussion, and I find myself immediately going harder and stronger than before. It’s addiction in its finest form.

4. Girls Fall Like Dominoes – Nicki Minaj featuring The Big Pink: I like this little gal. Well, little-voiced and little-framed I suppose, but when it comes to Nicki, we all know baby’s got back. This song is tons of fun, with Nicki cutely manning the bouncy rap verses while The Big Pink steal the Brit-pop chorus,  right away flipping your mood upside down. When I’m having a hard time getting into the routine, I throw this on and stay focused – it’s almost like a Minaj audiobook, amusing you during your exercise.

5. Ghetto Rock – Mos Def: One of my favourite Mos Def tracks to date, this song is chilled out with a heavy beat and fuzzy vocals. If you’re looking for less of an amped-up experience, this song will glide you through your routine with cool ease and confidence – similar to that of Mos Def’s message.

6. Consoler of the Lonely – The Raconteurs: Hands down, without a doubt one of my staple rock favourites for over three years. Jack White’s shrieking vocals and searing guitar against Brendan Benson’s smooth croons are the special ingredients to this versatile anthem. A back and forth commentary that begins with a kickdrum and Benson’s howls before alternating to White’s slowed-down screams and licks - this is guaranteed to help you push out that extra set on your most dreaded machine.


7. Walking on a Dream – Empire of the Sun: This song has the cheeriest disposition and a happy, youthful message. The upbeat pop-dance track by these goofy space men has swept the nation, and it’s even appropriate for the subject. Why? Because they’re “always running for the thrill of it, thrill of it, always pushing up the hill, searching for the thrill of it.” You'll be in such a good mood by the end of it, you won't have noticed the sweat dripping from your forehead.

8. Sittin' Sideways (Remix) - Lupe Fiasco featuring Jay-Z:  This song is easily explained. I don't like the original, because I really can't stand Paul Wall. But, I've always loved the beat and sampling, big time. So, imagine my surprise when Lupe and Hova souped up this old track into a tolerable and thumping piece of tasty hip-hop goodness.

9. Mondo ’77 – Looper: This Vanilla Sky Soundtrack tune is, in a nutshell, what does it for me. It’s comprised of an electro hip-hop beat that’s decorated with a Moby-style voice yelping “Come on! Come on!” at you throughout the duration, motivating you to push further. Little spurts of piano, dance effects and varying rhythm make this without a doubt my favourite work-out song of the batch. Repetitive, building and catchy – it’s just what you need when you’re in the zone.

Happy Fitness!

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