Band on the Run: The Bad Day Blues

Sometimes bad runs happen to good people.  On a particularly gruelling slog I’m often motivated by a strange combination of angry songs reinforcing my pain and agony and upbeat songs reminding me that despite my pain and agony I will prevail (you thought I was going to say survive – I resisted, even though I’m not above that level of lameness).  In looking over my list I must conclude that I’m not as angry as I thought.  Seems I’m more into the pick me up out of my slump than I am into angry lyrics pushing me back on track.

Bad Day – Daniel Powter.  Let’s start with the obvious song.  They tell me your passion’s gone away.  Cause you had a bad day. You’re taking one down.  You sing a sad song just to turn it around.  You had a bad day. 

Danger Zone – Kenny Loggins.  I feel the need …. the need for speed.  Take the highway to the Danger Zone.  It’s a fine line between gutsiness and certain death, but walking that line can bring about great results.  Also, the music will make you think about Maverick and Goose and then –SPOILER for the one person who has never seen Top Gun– you’ll think sad thoughts about Goose dying and then you’ll think about Anthony Edwards and then you’ll think about running because Edwards is training for another marathon (NYC) and by the time you get through all that thinking your run will be over.

I Wanna be Sedated – The Ramones.  Hurry hurry hurry before I go insane.  I can’t control my fingers I can’t control my brain.  Hurry hurry hurry before I go loco.  I can’t control my fingers I can’t control my toes.  I wanna be sedated.  Seriously, someone send me something.  It’s been a bad week.

It’s the End of the World (And I Feel Fine) – REM (The Great Big Sea version is more uptempo).  Trying to keep up with the lyrics keeps me occupied for a solid half a kilometre.  I often catch up on the final word of the line, with the odd result of mumble mumble mumble mumble mumble mumble mumble mumble mumble WORD!  Usually out loud, in a squirrel scaring burst of excitement.  My favourite line for running you ask?  Left of west and coming in a hurry with the furies breathing down your neck.

Let’s Hear It For Rock Bottom – The Offspring.  Could you find my motivation?  I can’t see it through this haze.  We’re hitting rock bottom and going down in flames.  Well it’s not that bad.  Erm, I beg to differ.  Going down in flames is most certainly bad.

Mama Said – The Shirelles.  Moms are smart.  I don’t worry ’cause … mama said there’ll be days like this.  There’d be days like this my mama said.  Mama said, mama said.  This is for the c’est la vie runner, which I am most decidedly not.  Yet.   

Que Sera Sera – Doris Day.  See above.  Whatever may be may be.  The future’s not ours to see.  It sounds very Zen.  I’m trying.  But not yet.

So What – Pink.  It’s about a fight and it’s infectious.  The lyrics are kind of … typical Pink.  I got my rock moves and I don’t need you.

Little Miss Can’t Be Wrong – The Spin Doctors.  Hope you hear this song and it pissed you off.  I take back that I hope you are doing fine.  Prove him wrong.

Livin’ on a Prayer – Bon Jovi.  Whoa, we’re half way there, whoa, livin’ on prayer.  We’ve got to hold on ready or not.  You live for the fight when it’s all that you’ve got.  My parents once made the grave mistake of buying me a mini-keyboard.  This is the only song I could play, and by song I mean the chorus, and by chorus I mean the line livin’ on a prayer.  Over and over and over again.  Last musical instrument anyone ever gave me.

Just – Radiohead.  You do it to yourself.  You do.  And that’s what really hurts.  I know, this seemed like a great idea 16 weeks ago.  Five kilometres from the finish line you may be singing a different tune.  You did it to yourself.

Still Standing – Elton John.  Some days you need to grab ahold of every small victory.  Standing upright is better than lying in a heap sobbing at the side of the road.  Don’t you know I’m still standing better than I ever did.  Looking like a true survivor.  Feelin’ like a little kid.  I’m still standing after all this time. 

It Don’t Come Easy – Ringo Starr.  It will soon be over tomorrow.  You know it don’t come easy.

Cut Across Shorty – Eddie Cochran.  Don’t get the wrong idea, I don’t advocate cheating in a footrace…  but when the going gets tough stick to the tangents.  That’s right, cut across shorty.  No point running more than the official distance.

Crazy Train – Ozzy Osbourne.  I’m going off the rails on a crazy train.  At the end of a hard run you may feel a little unhinged.  The moment you find yourself relating to Ozzy you know you’re in trouble but good. 

Wrong – Depeche Mode.  I haven’t stopped singing this since their concert in July (much to Husband’s chagrin).  Every time I skip out early on a party to wake up early for a training run, I’m reminded:  Wrong, there’ something wrong with me.  Chemically.

We Gotta Get Out of This Place – The Animals.  Every race has a soul-sucking dead zone.  No spectators, nothing to look at, just you and your self-doubt.  A dirty old party of the city, where the sun refuses to shine.  We gotta get out of this place.  If it’s the last thing we ever do.

Boulevard of Broken Dreams – Green Day.  Anyone who just missed a goal has walked this street.  The survivor shuffle to the finish line can feel lonely.  The day after when folks don’t quite get why you feel so down can feel lonely.  My shadow’s the only one that walks beside me.

Don’t Fear The Reaper – Blue Oyster Cult.  Unless he’s standing at the 27th kilometre of the Around the Bay road race beckoning you into his graveyard.  Then run like hell to the finish line.

Eye of the Tiger – Survivor.  Is a playlist a running playlist without Eye of the Tiger?  You can’t escape it so you might as well embrace it.  Rocky made it an anthem to runners everywhere and now just a few notes will rise you up, back on the street. 

Break on Through – The Doors.  Try to run, try to hide.  Break on through to the other side.  I don’t know what you’ll find there, but if you are slamming into The Wall who cares?  It can’t be worse than that.

Let it Be – The Beatles.  The tempo is slow, but this is a song for the lyrics.  When I find myself in times of trouble Mother Mary comes to me, speaking words of wisdom, let it be.  Whisper words of wisdom.  Let it be.

Under Pressure – Queen.  Freddy Mercury is like your own personal motivator.  I propose that a Queen tribute playlist could get you from start to finish in style.  Pressure!  Pushing down on me.  Um ba be be.  Um ba ba de.  Ee day da.  Ee day da.  Screaming let me out!  Under pressure!  Another Queen contender is Death on Two Legs, only because it has The Best Title Ever.

We’re Not Gonna Take it – Twisted Sister.  Fight back against the pain and fatigue.  We’re right, we’re free, we’ll fight, you’ll see.  On a white water rafting trip my guide kept mangling the lyrics,  singing we’re not gonna make it, no we ain’t gonna make it.  Now I can’t hear this song without thinking about my certain death by “Greyhound Bus Eater”.  The raft flipped but I survived and the song lives on.

Waterloo – ABBA.  At Waterloo, Napoleon did surrender.  This is your Waterloo.  But think positively, never surrender.  Which is also a song, but one that is too slow and sappy for my playlist (yes, I have a line).  That song, for those of you not a little girl in love with Corey Hart in the 1980s, is Never Surrender.  Thou shalt not judge the 80s. 

Cable Car – The Fray.  Everyone knows I’m in over my head … with eight seconds left in overtime.  Nothing like acknowledging those nagging doubts.  But something about eight seconds left gets me moving.

Hit Me With Your Best Shot – Pat Benatar.  Cool rocker-gal reminds me I’m a  real tough cookie with a long history.  Fire away.

Get Up, Stand Up – Bob Marley.  Get up, stand up.  Don’t give up the fight.   This was the last song Bob Marley performed on stage.  Listen to him say get up stand up twenty-one times (I counted) and you might just get up and go.

Once in a Lifetime – Talking Heads.  The one line that bests all lines in this playlist:  And you may tell yourself, My God, what have I done?  That needs to be on a tee shirt.  If not for that line I would have selected Road to Nowhere.  You can’t go wrong with the Talking Heads. 

Fighter – Christina Aguilera.  Thanks for making me a fighter.  Making me a little bit stronger.  I secretly dislike her singing, but this song is beloved by runners.  This one’s for you.

All These Things I’ve Done – The Killers.  If you can hold on, hold on.  Help me out, yeah-ahah.  You know you gotta help me out.  There’s no shame in asking for help.

Painted Black – The Rolling Stones.  It’s not easy facin’ up when your whole world is black.  When you hear the call from the black pit of despair fight back.  The escalating tempo will help.  Black pit monsters don’t like escalating tempos.  If not the song, take inspiration from the world’s oldest rock band.  They’re still going strong at 478 years of age and you can too.

End of the Line – Travelling Wilburys.  Well it’s all right, sometimes you gotta be strong.  Well it’s all right, doing the best you can.  Well it’s all right, even when push comes to shove.  Well it’s all right, we’re goin’ to the end of the line!  How awesome are the Travelling Wilbury’s?  Very.

Nowhere Fast – The Smiths.  I’d like to drop my trousers to the world.  Hee.  Lie in the middle of the street and die?  Maybe you can relate. 

Lose Yourself – Eminem.  Featuring the two great bad run motivators: Fear and Anger.  Feet fail me not! 

Impression That I Get – Mighty Mighty Bosstones.  I love a big band in suits.  They played the university circuit back in my school-days and it was love at first note.  Have you ever felt a pain so powerful, so heavy you collapse?  Have you ever had the odds stacked up so high, you need a strength most don’t possess?  I never had to knock on wood, but I know someone who has, makes me wonder if I could. 

Message in a Bottle – The Police.  I’m old-school, otherwise I’d pick Rhianna’s S.O.S.  Instead I’ll send an S-O-S to the world.  I hope that someone gets my, I hope that someone gets my, I hope that someone gets my message in a bottle.

I Will Survive – Gloria Gaynor.  Of course this song made the list.  What is the point of a playlist without an eye-rolling injection of cheese?  You know every word and despite your hipster cool, you know it gets you moving.  Put it on your list, I’ll never tell.  xoxoGossip Girl


This list was more optimistic than expected.  Please send some angry music my way.


13 responses to “Band on the Run: The Bad Day Blues

  1. Pingback: Running with the Team « Pikapika20's Blog

  2. greatest angry runner song ever is offspring’s Bad Habit.

    i’ve used the rarely attempted three-noun multiple expletive with a triple lutz many times as the rear-view mirror approaches a little too close. (sadly, a 20-ounce water bottle has to sub for pistole when you get to the “show my piece” part). key words are dashed out for the sensitive reader.

    Drivers are rude
    Such attitudes
    But when I show my piece
    Complaints cease
    Something’s odd
    I feel like I’m god
    You stupid dumb—t g—-m motherf—-r

    • Husband suggested this as well and I can’t remember why I pooh-poohed it. Maybe because Offspring makes me think of my youthful days of late-night revelry and I can’t reconcile that with angry motivation. I’ll give it a test drive, but I suspect I’m not graceful enough for a three-noun expletive. Maybe I should start with two noun anger. I don’t want to hurt myself.

  3. I have half of these songs on my playlist! Now I’m going to go check out some of the others.

    I agree that no running playlist is complete without Eye of the Tiger.

  4. Heres one for when you have given up in a race and want to wallow in your sadness.

    Bif Naked – Stolen Sidewalk – I’m a weakling, you are strong. Pick me up from where I lay. Here on a stolen sidewalk. Baby, don’t make me beg.

  5. If you want to maintain some of your hipster cool, leave off the Gloria Gaynor and replace it with Cake’s cover. Same effect, but enough irony to make it cool.

    • I need hipster cool help. I failed that course in high school. Is it cooler to listen to the original even in the face of ironic alternatives? As in, I’m so cool I can rock out to Gloria Gaynor in public?

  6. We had to play Eye of the Tiger in grade 8 band. I played it on the flute. The original Survivor version is much more running inspiring!

  7. Some ANGRY! songs from my playlist
    Metallica – St. Anger
    Metallica – Fuel
    Limp Bizkit – Break Stuff
    Nickleback – Never Again
    Nickleback – Flat on the Floor
    System of a Down – ATWA – built in Fartlek song!

    Get the BPM’s up on your playlist, and the fast twitch muscles will magically appear!

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