Faster and faster I should run
January 10, 2011 11:02 AM   Subscribe

2011 Resolution: Go running at least twice a week. What I need: Music to facilitate this. The twist: I want things that sound like these two specific Janelle Monae songs, that one Outkast song, and that Cee Lo Green song everyone is singing, but this is not a genre of music I know anything about.

Considering that my tastes usually skew towards quiet folk, indie rock, and 90s pop punk, I've been baffling myself by skipping over the up-tempo QOTSA, Sultans, Iggy & the Stooges songs I carefully selected for my newly-created exercise playlist. The songs that make me run faster and actually (*gasp*) put a smile on my face while doing so are the ones I'm a little surprised I even have in my iTunes library: Cee Lo Green's "Fuck You", Outkast doing "Hey Ya!" and Janelle Monae "Faster" and "Dance or Die".

What are songs that sound like this? Other songs on these albums don't work well for me because they're either a) too slow, b) too much rapping (actually, I really can't stand rapping at all normally, and too much of it is just not a thing I can deal with), or c) kind of boring (the last half of The ArchAndroid is a bit dull). Telling me other artists that may fit the bill would be sort of helpful, but I'm especially looking for specific songs (with links, if possible!) that I can dump into my exercise playlist.
posted by booknerd to Health & Fitness (18 answers total) 51 users marked this as a favorite
I would make a Pandora station with "Fuck You" and the Janelle Monae and Outkast songs you dig, and see what comes up.
posted by Sidhedevil at 11:08 AM on January 10, 2011 [7 favorites]

I make my wife's running mixes. You sound somewhat like her. How about:

Oakenfold's "Starry Eyed Surprise"
De La Soul "Say No Go"
Gorillaz "Clint Eastwood" (this sparked a major discussion between us; I would have though the tempo was way too slow, but she apparently just double-times it, and loves the ploddingness of it)
Lady Gaga "Bad Romance"

...and then her taste really falls off a cliff, because she insists that Cher's "Believe", Mambo #5, and the Numa Numa song goes on there, along with lots of other stuff including NON IRONIC RICK ASTLEY.
posted by norm at 11:08 AM on January 10, 2011 [1 favorite]

Ke$ha's 'Tik Tok', Monae's 'Tightrope', and Lady Gaga's 'Telephone', are on my running/exercising mixes.

Have you tried making a Pandora station from one of the songs you listed? You may get additional ideas there.
posted by rokabiri at 11:18 AM on January 10, 2011

Well . . . I don't know why but my favorite running song has consistently been this obscure one by Guster: Say That To My Face . Honestly, I don't know why, it must be the tempo of the song or something. But I had a similar experience where I made this playlist for the gym and found myself skipping all the other songs I thought I wanted to hear, and then settling on this one while running. Actually, I guess it does have something in common with your songs. It has kind of a "fuck you" (the sentiment, not the song) vibe to it. Which I find to be good running fuel. Yeah, give this song a try if you can. It's been my favorite on the running playlist for years now.

. . . And just now, I changed the link from the first one that came up on youtube, to the second one. Of a guy dancing to it in his kitchen. Because it's so much more awesome and captures it perfectly.
posted by GastrocNemesis at 11:19 AM on January 10, 2011

This is not a direct answer to your specific question, but have you taken a look at Podrunner? I've found it to be nice, "don't have to think about, look for or make a playlist" solution.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:20 AM on January 10, 2011 [1 favorite]

I do this exact same thing. Pandora may help, but I've found it completely and totally unhelpful when I'm looking for songs that sound very similar to what I've input.

Beautiful Girls by Sean Kingston sounds similar to me, it's on all of my workout mixes but it may be too slow for running (Fuck You also sounds just like "Sugar Pie Honey Bunch" to me, fwiw).
posted by kro at 11:23 AM on January 10, 2011

Have a listen to the latest girl talk album (its free) and see if it floats your boat. It's just a continuous mix of fun, uptempo songs blended with other fun, uptempo songs. I love it for running, but have a hard time listening to it doing anything else.
Girl Talk - All Day

If you like it, there are 2 or 3 other albums of his that also work, plus a few other DJ's who do similar blends
posted by ShootTheMoon at 11:24 AM on January 10, 2011 [3 favorites]

I don't know the Janelle Monae songs, but the other two songs (esp. "Fuck You") are appropriating elements of uptempo soul and Motown. There's a lot of music like that- is it OK if the songs aren't modern? (Bonus: no rapping.) If so, I'd suggest you spin through the last two disks of the box set "Beg, Scream and SHOUT!" Uptempo ighlights include:

I'm Blue (The Gong-Gong Song)- Ikettes, The

(Sweet Sweet Baby) Since You've Been Gone0 Franklin, Aretha

Wack Wack- Young Holt Trio

Rescue Me- Bass, Fontella

Out of Sight- Brown, James

I Was Made to Love Her- Wonder, Stevie

Love Is Like an Itching in My Heart- The Supremes

Tainted Love- Jones, Gloria

Can I Get a Witness- Gaye, Marvin

Who's Making Love?- Taylor, Johnnie

Grits Ain't Groceries- Little Milton

It's Your Thing- Isley Brothers

Cool Jerk- Capitols, The

(I Know) I'm Losing You- Temptations [R&B]

Shake a Tail Feather- Five Du Tones
posted by Clambone at 11:25 AM on January 10, 2011 [3 favorites]

"Satisfied" from the same Cee Loo album as "Fuck You" is pretty similar to my ears.
posted by ghharr at 11:26 AM on January 10, 2011

I love running to Leslie Hall, especially Blame the Booty. She's the best.
posted by apricot at 11:27 AM on January 10, 2011

This is probably weird, but I've always felt that The Faint's "Southern Belles in London Sing" has something in common with "Hey Ya".
posted by neushoorn at 11:30 AM on January 10, 2011

My running soundtrack is very similar, I would add Mos Def Quiet Dog Bite Hard.

That whole album kicks it for running.
posted by wingless_angel at 11:49 AM on January 10, 2011 [1 favorite]

I really enjoy running to all the songs you listed. Some others I enjoy are:

-Carry Out (Timbaland)
-Poker Face, Paparazzi (Lady Gaga)
-anything by MIA
-American Boy (Estelle feat. Kanye West)
-Me against the music (britney spears)
-No rest for the wicked (cage the elephant)
-Sexy Can I (Ray J)
-What are you waiting for (gwen stefani)
-Pon de Replay (Rihanna)
-Promiscuous (Nelly Furtado)

Like you, I feel a little sheepish at my enjoyment of some of these songs...but they serve a purpose!

p.s. @ Norm - I'm with your wife on the "clint eastwood" debate - it's a great workout song.
posted by angab at 12:01 PM on January 10, 2011

You might like:

Janelle Monae: Cold War, or Tightrope (featuring Big Boi from Outkast!)
Blackalicious: somewhat older but just as delightful
Lupe Fiasco: smart and uptempo, though perhaps not as cheery as your other choices
Kanye West: New Workout Plan (and others, including his new album!)
Mika: Lollipop, or Love Today
Robyn: Seriously infectious danceable pop, upbeat and smary! Maye Fembot, or Handle Me

I also enjoy: Phoenix, Sahara Hot Nights, and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, though YMMV.
posted by hepta at 12:28 PM on January 10, 2011

How about How You Like Me Now by The Heavy?
posted by Rock Steady at 4:14 PM on January 10, 2011

While we're talking about the awesomeness that is "Fuck You" by Cee-Lo, I have to share this link to an ASL interpretation of the song. So incredible, I almost wanted to post it on the Blue.
posted by Sidhedevil at 4:42 PM on January 10, 2011

We have similar tastes. I just downloaded Tightrope and Cold War yesterday to run to! I am kinda surprised by what songs give me the running kick sometimes. And no shame--pop music guilty pleasures new and old are made for this! Here are some songs on my running playlists that might fit you, too:

Iko Iko-The Dixie Cups
Sound and Vison-David Bowie
The World Should Revolve Around Me-Little Jackie
ABC-Jackson 5 (all their stuff might fit for you)
Just Fine-Mary J Blidge (more soul/R&B than rap)
Elevator Music-Beck
Balthazar-The 1990s (fun power pop)
North American Scum-LCD Soundsystem (their songs are really hit and miss for me, but they HIT when they hit)
Oops (Oh My)-Tweet featuring Missy Elliot (some rap but really fun)
I was Denied-Thee Oh Sees
Heavy Cross-Gossip
Home-LCD Soundsystem (fast forward the first 45 seconds if it's too slow to start)
Cold War-The Morning Benders
Florence + the Machine- The Dog Days are Over
Dap Walk-Ernie and the Top Notches (I usually need lyrics to run but this is fun)
Welfare Bread-King Khan and the Shrines (you might like more of these guys if you like this)
Strange Overtones-David Byrne and Brian Eno
Love Sick-Friendly Fires
Close to Me-The Cure
Run-Gnarls Barkley (also Crazy and Going On)
Mr. Big Stuff-Jean Knight
Don't Stay-Laura Izibor
Don't Stop til You Get Enough-Michael Jackson
Time-The Rumble Strips
Genius of Love-TomTom Club
I Start to Run-White Denim
Million Dollar Bill-Whitney Houston (MOST EMBARASSINGLY)
I'm Good, I'm Gone-Lykke Li
Let There Be Horns-RJD2
In the Hospital-Friendly Fires

Happy running! I'm looking forward to seeing the responses on here!
posted by shortyJBot at 6:02 PM on January 10, 2011 [2 favorites]

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