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Work This! Part 1

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I’ve tried several times to sit down and come up with a list of my Top 20 Albums, but I fail each time. It’s not that I can’t come up with that many, it’s that I can’t narrow things down to that few. It helps to think of entire albums instead of simply individual tracks, because some of my favorite songs are surrounded by drudgery. Still, even with complete albums, it’s hard to come up with any kind of inclusive list.

So I give up. For now.

Admitting defeat is hard, so I’ve countered my humiliation by setting a more achievable project and completing it instead. What follows is a list of nineteen tracks that I recently burned onto a CD for something to listen to while I work out in the morning. I’ll save the commentary for after.

1 2 Unlimited No Limit 03:32
2 Alicia Keys Fallin’ 03:30
3 Arrested Development Tennessee 04:32
4 Audio Adrenaline Free Ride 03:22
5 Audio Adrenaline Big House 03:31
6 B-Side Players Spill The Wine 05:11
7 Beastie Boys Intergalactic 03:29
8 Ben Folds Five Stevo’s Last Night In Town 03:27
9 Blues Traveler But Anyway 04:09
10 Boyz II Men Motownphilly 03:55
11 Bruce Hornsby Rainbow’s Cadillac 04:38
12 Church Of Rhythm Take Back The Beat 04:36
13 Filter & The Crystal Method (Can’t You) Trip Like I Do 04:28
14 Harry Connick, Jr. To Love The Language 05:00
15 Pink Get The Party Started 03:11
16 Santana Smooth 04:55
17 Scatman John Scatman (Ski-Ba-Bop-Ba-Dop-Bop) 03:33
18 O.C. Supertones Louder Than The Mob 03:53
19 Us3 Cantaloop (Flip Fantasia) 04:37

Creating that table was rather more exhausting that I had expected!

When I compiled this album, I simply dragged songs that I like and thought of as “peppy and energetic” into an iTunes playlist, the trimmed it down to fit onto an 80 minute CD. I’ve paid for almost all of these albums, some new, many used, and at least two on emusic.com. I debated trying to pick a certain order for things, but in the end I decided to let them go in alphabetical order by artist, and that has worked out beautifully.

Though the length of the songs vary, I know that the first eight songs make a great thirty-minute session on a Precor EFX556 Elliptical torture device. The initial charge of No Limit settles down nicely with Fallin’, and just when I think it’s time to quit, Intergalactic kicks things up a notch before sending me out with a little Ben Folds Five. I couldn’t have planned it better.

Sometimes, for variety, I’ll start with track nine and end things with Smooth, but I have to admit I’ve never gone longer than thirty minutes on one machine, so I’ve never actually gotten to the last three tracks in the gym.

I even made a paper case for it. Apparently NEATO makes rigid punch-out envelope cards that you can buy and print on yourself. I know that they include a template for them on the floppy disk that came with my disc labels, so I grabbed a relatively appropriate cover art image for the front, put the table you see above on the back, printed and cut on the lines. It’s a little worse for the wear right now since I left a slightly damp towel sitting on it all day long last week, but it works.

Of the nineteen albums represented by this list, only two or three would actually make my top albums list, but they’re all pretty darn good. They’re not exactly widely representative of my taste in music, though, so I forsee volume 2 coming soon. I just need to find better cover art!

(This article originally appeared at W6 Daily.)

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  • Thanks, TT. As I assemble future workout CDs, I’ve decided to start using themes, and one will definitely be an all-Christian disc. When mixing this one, I couldn’t think of a ton of Christian stuff that had the kind of beat I was looking for to work out to, so aside from AA, only Church Of Rhythm and Supertones made the cut.

    Then, of course, I threw in Bruce Hornsby’s tune to balance the whole thing out. I used to work for a televangelist, so I’ve got a pretty jaded view of those types of people. I would have put Genesis’ Jesus He Knows Me, but I only have a live version, and live tracks don’t seem to work well on mix discs.

  • The Theory

    interesting mixing audio adrenaline in there. thier version of “free ride” is cool.


  • Eric Olsen

    Very cool workout list – i think I’ll go do my lats right now!! Let’s go, now, okay now!

  • There, I fixed it! Now one of my true Top 20 albums (Harbor Lights) appears in the list.

  • Oops, I forgot that I’m limited to ten albums. I probably would have skipped the one for which Amazon has no cover art if I’d remembered…