by Jennifer Ward
Before I became sick with COVID last May, I loved to walk and do interval jogging. Fitness has always been a big part of my life. I did it all—aerial yoga, Zumba, dance yoga, HIIT, cardio kickboxing, vinyasa yoga, cheerleading, track, aerobics, Pilates, Peloton, personal training, and of course, the treadmill. Unfortunately, I haven’t recovered enough yet to do these intense workouts. I am grateful that I seem to be improving and can go for short walks. Who knows? Full recovery might not be too far off in the distance.
One of the benefits of walking or running when you’re a writer is that it gives you time to think. Not only are you doing something great for your body, but you are giving your brain a workout too. I like to use this time—my short walks—to daydream about characters and ideas for stories. It often helps me cope with getting stuck.
Let your mind wander during your next walk or run while listening to these songs from my music library. I hope they give you some creative energy. Full disclosure: If you happen to hate pop music, you are not going to like this list.
1. Circles by Post Malone
Who doesn’t like a song with a heartbreak theme? Compared to the rest of his music, this tune from his album Hollywood’s Bleeding is much softer with its melody and words. I could argue this is his best song ever, but I prefer a much lighter sound. I will say this is the perfect pop song for many reasons.
2. We’re Good by Dua Lipa
This is another favorite song I’ve listened to a lot—during my car rides to and from work, in addition to walking. A similar heartbreak theme is found in Post Malone’s “Circles.” It’s another song that captures the failure of relationships and the unhealthy patterns that lead to pain. I guess I can’t get enough of these toxic relationship songs. I love the lyrics…what else can I say?
3. As the World Caves In by Sarah Cothran
A slower song that has made it onto this list but a good one. Cothran sings a song showing a couple spending their last night together as the world ends. The lyrics are beautiful and heart-wrenching at the same time. The world may not have survived, but at least they had each other.
4. As It Was by Harry Styles
This is a more upbeat song to switch things up. It also sits at the number three spot on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. Although the melody is happy, the lyrics reveal a mix of emotions hinting at a sad undertone. Like so many things in life, feelings are fickle, and we struggle to make sense of them. Harry Styles’ song gets how change in life isn’t easy.
5. American by Lana Del Rey
Bringing it back to a slower rhythm, Lana Del Rey’s “American” is one of several great songs from her album Paradise. I don’t know about you, but I’ve played the hell out of this album over the years. Not only does Lana Del Rey have impeccable style, but her voice is incredible too. Released a decade ago, the song’s lyrics reference Tom Petty, Bruce Springsteen, and Elvis, which help create its nostalgic mood.
6. Modern Love by David Bowie
Back to an up-tempo song with darker lyrics, David Bowie’s “Modern Love” is another favorite I’m adding to the list. I had to include at least one song from the 80s, which is arguably the best decade for music. I can’t listen to 80s music and not think of being a little kid. There are different ways to interpret Bowie’s words, but it seems that the man in his song is looking for something with substance and only finds shallow relationships. Therefore, he loses his faith in modern love. Hmm…something a lot of us can probably relate to. We may never be able to figure certain things out, but at least we can try.
7. Riptide by Vance Joy
Vance Joy sings about a woman he admires, but it’s much more than a simple love song. This song is a blend of words and lines that seem unrelated throughout, but somehow, they all fit together. I have found myself thinking about this song hours after I’ve listened to it. The melody is simple yet, catchy and fun. The lyrics reveal what sounds like a turbulent relationship while his lady is “taken away to the dark side.” But in the end, it seems he loves her, nonetheless.
8. Rooster by Alice in Chains
Let us wind down with a slow-building alternative rock song from the 90s– “Rooster” by Alice in Chains. This song is worth listening to, even if 90s rock isn’t your thing. Its lyrics reveal the singer’s interpretation of his father’s experience fighting in Vietnam. The struggles his father faced are something I’m sure he could sense as a child. At a little over six minutes long, it’s a good song to listen to while cooling down at the end of a workout.
There it is — eight interesting songs you can add to your workout playlist (if you haven’t already). I would have made this list ten, but eight happens to be my favorite number.
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