Kick Out the Jams, Mothers (and fathers, and anyone else)

We’re heading to the beach today! In the course of overpacking last night, I optimistically included my running sneakers and two sports bras, even though in past beach trips, it’s been a miracle if I pull myself off the sand to run once. I’m hoping this time I may be able to ride my string of “freedom runs” into some beach activity. But I need your help.

My year-long breaks from running have helped me not get too sick of my running playlist, which I started compiling nine years ago. But now that I’ve been back on the run for a few months, it’s getting a little stale. I’m hoping you can help. I’m going to hit shuffle on my playlist, and share the first ten songs that come on. Please do the same, and tell me what gems you find. Or just tell me some of your most motivating, hand-gesture inspiring songs.


1) MIA – Paper Planes

Because there’s nothing like a mom running through the neighborhood at night pantomiming shooting a gun.

2) Cap’n Jazz – Little League
I’ve found that nostalgia is good fuel for running. I guess makes me feel like I’m 17 again; ironically, when I was 17, I wouldn’t run if you paid me.
See also: Superchunk, Braid, Archers of Loaf, Pavement.

3) The Clash – Rock the Casbah
It was on a run that I finally realized it was Sharif, not “Cherie” – as in “My Cherie Amour” – who “don’t like it.”

Where have you seen that shirt I’m wearing (far left)? That’s right, the opening credits to the Fresh Prince of Bel Air. 

4) DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince – Parents Just Don’t Understand 
Oh man, I love this one. It does not get old, even as I do. And I understand the irony that I am now the parent who would totally buy my kid Zips instead of Adidas if there were a sale.
See also: LL Cool J, Biz Markie, Young MC

5) Michael Jackson – Wanna be Starting Something
I actually prefer the The Jackson 5 to MJ for running tunes. But this works. Talk about nostalgia: this was the first poster I ever hung in my room. 

6) Palma Violets – Best of Friends
One of the newest additions to the list. It seems that the primary way I acquire new music these days is by seeing what Amazon will give me for free. They gave me this, and I like it.

7) 50 Cent – In Da Club
This has been on my playlist since I first started running; I tend to avoid it because it reminds me of nearly dying of heatstroke trying to run the Washington Duke trail in August.

8) Japandroids – House that Heaven Built
One of the few albums I’ve bought in the last year. Mostly because it makes me feel the same way a lot of the older ones (see #1) do.

9) Beastie Boys – Sabotage
A perfect workout song. Just think of the video: the running, the jumping from roof to roof and kicking in doors. And, of course, the moustaches.

10) The Wanted – Glad You Came
Okay, this is a little embarrassing; not only that this is on my list, but also what happens when it comes on. This song was popular when Rory was born. I’d be up at some God-forsaken hour trying to get him to sleep, and I’d sing him the chorus:  “The sun goes down, the stars come out, and all that counts is here and now. My universe will never be the same. I’m glad you came.”

I sang it to both boys in the car enough that one day it came on at the grocery store and Noah exclaimed “Mom, it’s our song!” I nearly cried. Anyway, there are a couple songs on my running mix that tend to get me choked up. And there’s nothing worse for your pace or your reputation than limping down the street with your ugly cry face on. 

Well, that’s enough music shame for one day. Give me your recommendations!