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Walkin’ Music

December 9, 2010

Hebert Hall (where I walk for most of my classes) when it snowed in December of 2008.

You know when you’re just walking along (maybe to class, maybe down the street, maybe even in the mall), and you wish you had a good song playing in the background of your life to entertain you? Well this blog post is dedicated to those songs. I’ve realized over the past few years that some of the most peaceful moments I’ve had are when I’m listening to my iPod as I walk somewhere. Every day when I go to class, I make sure that I have my music ready for the trek down McAlister Drive. My iTunes library is large enough for me to have a different song playing every time I step onto the road, but I can’t help but always pick the same songs for the journey. Whenever I hear these songs out in the real world (i.e. not playing through my head via earphones), I usually make the comment to whoever is listening, “This is a good walkin’ song.” There are particular songs that I listen to when I’m feeling a particular way, and there are songs that I just love so much, I can’t help but want to listen to them all the time. So I present to you:

Anna’s “Walkin’ Music”

  1. My absolute go-to walking song for the past month has been Dr. Dog‘s “Nobody Knows Who You Are“. I’m pretty sure I can safely say that I’m obsessed with this one. Dr. Dog really is the “sun that shines from afar;” the honey on my peanut butter sandwich; my cool side of the pillow. The rhythm provides a slow walking pace (and anyone who has ever walked anywhere with me knows that I’m a rather brisk walker), but it isn’t necessarily the pace that calls me back for more. When I’m walking along with this song playing in my head, all I wanna do is jam out and dance.
  2. Recently, Regina Spektor‘s “Fidelity” has been the headliner of my iPod. I liked this song when it came out a few years ago but never really paid that much attention to it. A few weeks ago in my yoga class, my teacher had it on her playlist, and it instantly became lodged in my brain. It’s a pretty low-key song to listen to while merrily strolling to class. If you’re not in too much of a hurry, the rhythm is a good walking pace as well. I just relax, enjoy the day, and “hear in my mind all this music.”
  3. The song that I find myself drawn to when I have to get myself up early to walk to my 8AM is “Lowdown” by My Morning Jacket. I dunno what it is about this song that makes me wanna listen to it early in the morning. Maybe it’s the dream-like effect that seems to flow through the song. Yim Yames’s voice is truly hypnotizing. Or maybe it’s just the name of the band (get it!?). The song starts off pretty smooth, but as you travel to the end, it adds hints of a build-up that wakes me up little by little. It’s like transferring from a subtle dream-like state to a more realistic one.
  4. I like to walk to “The Stars are Projectors” by Modest Mouse when I’m not in a very happy-go-lucky mood (like with items 1 and 2). This song is for those times when I’m feeling particularly driven. If you see me walking down the street with a determined look on my face, I’m most likely rocking out to this song in my head. Walking to it makes me feel like I can face any challenge presented ahead of me. Also, when I’m listening to this song, I tend to become absorbed in it and will most likely not pay too much attention to the things around me (that means I probably won’t give my usual smile and wave to people I see because, gosh darn-it, I’ve got somewhere to be!).
  5. The next two are both Deerhunter songs, and they go back to back. For a while, I would just listen to the entire album of Halcyon Digest for my walkin’ music. I eventually caught myself feeling like walking to two particular songs more often than the entire album. These two songs run right after one another on the album, so I think that line-up just stuck. First I’d start with “Memory Boy” because it’s a pretty up-beat, fast paced song. Since it’s such a short song (only about 2 minutes long), I would just kinda melt into the next (much longer and in my opinion better) song, “Desire Lines“. And let me tell you that “Desire Lines” is one of the BEST walking songs out there. The pace isn’t too fast, nor is it too slow. It’s got that sorta hypnotic “I’m in my own world” type of sound, and the lyrics are PERFECT. “Walking free/ come with me/ far away/ everyday.” Yeah, I could definitely walk with Deerhunter to far away places every day.
  6. I’m a little bit afraid to go into this next band, because there’s so much that I listen to while walking. That’s right: it’s Wilco. Perhaps I should just mention the ones I’ve walked to recently. Let me start with “At Least That’s What She Said” particularly Live at Keystone Park (Brooklyn – July 13, 2009). I gotta have that raw, distorted sound that only a live show can supply. I know, I know! It starts pretty slow, and isn’t necessarily walk-like, but once you get to that break-down, BAM! You’re walkin’! Another good one is “Theologians“. It’s the perfect walking speed for me. I just put my hands in my pockets and go. I listened to this one a lot a few weeks ago because I had to write a paper on Peter Abelard for my High Middle Ages class, and I wasn’t in the best of moods about it. Next is “I’m the Man Who Loves you“. Just another perfect walkin’ song. I shouldn’t really go on with more because I’m pretty sure I could fill at least 10 pages worth of Wilco walkin’ songs (and yes, it would include “Walken” from Sky Blue Sky). If you’re looking for a good Wilco song to walk to, I would recommend not even bothering with one particular song and just putting on Yankee Hotel Foxtrot. Pure Gold.
  7. Another very pleasant song for walking (I think I tend to walk to this in the morning) is “Haiti” by The Arcade Fire. The lyrics aren’t necessarily uplifting, especially if you understand the french parts, but if you let yourself get lost in the sound, that’s all you need. I’ve decided that my dance/yoga teacher has really awesome taste in music because we used to do warm-ups to this song. The entire album is amazing as well. If “Haiti” is too mellow for you, go for “Rebellion (Lies)” or “Neighborhood #3 (Power Out)”.
  8. This is probably going to sound stupid, but whatever. When I’m not in a very good mood, and I have to go to class, I usually turn on “There, There (The Boney King of Nowhere)” by Radiohead. It’s probably not one of the best songs to listen to when you’re not feeling particularly chipper, but I suppose it’s sort of a form of catharsis. Plus, it’s just a stellar song. I have a secret dream of choreographic a dance piece to it one day. But I guess that’s not really a secret anymore…
  9. So ever since I saw (500) Days of Summer, I’ve found that “You Make My Dreams” by Hall & Oates is such a great walkin’ song. Every time I listen to it, I imagine myself in the middle of a crowd of people dancing around me. Best feeling ever. It’s a good pace, and it makes me believe that its making my dreams come true. And since Daryl Hall and John Oates sort of creep me out, I illustrated this with the movie (really, just google image them, and you’ll understand what I’m talking about). It’s a super cute movie that I absolutely love. I recommend it to everyone!
  10. Last for this list (but certainly not least) is one of the most feel-good, calming, groovy songs ever written. Yup, it’s “The 59th Street Bridge Song (Feelin’ Groovy)” by Simon & Garfunkel. You can’t listen to this song without instantly feeling better about anything. It’s simply impossible. Just kickin’ down the cobblestones, you make your way happily to your destination without a care in the world. “Life, I love you. All is groovy.”

Now these weren’t in any particular order so don’t take this as some top ten list of Anna’s favorite songs. They are some of my favorite Walkin’ Songs. What are some of yours?

One Comment leave one →
  1. December 12, 2010 2:16 PM

    This is fantastic! — well written and quite enjoyucational! Thanks! I also enjoyed your reviews of Pho Danh on Yelp; however, your review of Sucre is…crazy.


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