The “running” song

How do you judge your music?

Is it the brilliance of the guitar riffs? The digital perfection of the production? The intellectual ambiguity of the lyrics? The ass-shake-potential of the bass? The “add to my sex playlist” quality?

Those are all good categories, and there are scores I didn’t mention. They are all safe conversational bets that won’t make you look like a total idiot. Even if you say you once got laid to “I wanna wake up with you” you might be able to get a nod of acceptance. After all, it’s likely your conversation chum first had sex to Lionel Richie’s “Hello” or even worse, to “Stairway to heaven” after a night of sharing vodkas. Can you say anticlimactic?

Over the years I developed a passion for a type of song I cannot describe.

It’s more about me than about the song, because I feel it most when wearing the three glasses of wine or two beers smile. It’s the smile you have when rushing home from a bar on a summer night — slightly muggy, but acceptable for jeans. You have to be wearing a T-shirt and believe strongly that you will keep grinning like an idiot even if it rains (thou shall not frown!). One might say it’s the face of the movie character who has just fallen in love and he (or she) has forgotten for a couple of minutes that this love thing comes with plenty of low-brow movies, ackward sex moments in which you sometimes twist her/his nipple like it’s the dial on you radio, and the day her/his parents tell you proudly that you seem “so much more reliable” than the “creature” before you.

Back to this dubious song. So it’s best felt in a state of tipsiness, it calls for jeans and a T-shirt (and sneakers!) and summer night’s weather. Ok, but what does it do musically? Well, here’s how my lack of musical theory can describe it best: the song needs some high notes and bridges that accelerate (or seem to do so) the beat. What’s more weird is that this song exists is almost all genres of music if you really look for it.

Let me put it this way; if I was a movie director — directing more than me and a couple of friends spoofing Baywatch — I would use this song for the cheesiest scene in my movie. It goes like this:

Introduce male character (I can’t play the role of the female in this one scene, other scenes are negotiable). Male character is walking about a deserted beach, park, street, highway, country road, slaughterhouse. Whatever. He is one of those tortured men who always gets the hottest women because his pain and misery make him twice as deep as his cartoon-illustrated socks and boxers would suggest. He walks briskly, hands stuffed so deep in his pockets it looks they came with the pants. His hair can either be having wind-related issues, or it holds so much gel that it can compete by itself in a nut-cracking contest. His steps get faster and faster as this song gets going. The notes climb higher and higher (or seem to), the drums (or drum machine or keyboard) get more and more into it and the chorus is a such a blatant sing-along that even the pop charts would consider it a cliche.

This male character starts running and the camera runs alongside him, above him, around him. You get this eerie feeling you are watching a pathetic display that must surely involve a woman. A few skeptics will say the man mixed beer with milk and he’s trying to find one of those elusive outhouses that offers relief and revelation for the price of a few napkins to be used as toilet paper.

But the skeptics are wrong. It must be some woman, and the man is sad. He is sad because he is happy. And he is happy because at this moment he is running so gracefully he feels he can maintain coolness no matter the song that accompanies his plight. Audiences start crying tears the size of snowballs and the song sticks in all its corny glory.

You rush home and look for it online. And then you trust me to come up with a longer list of mix-tape ready, more or less pathetic and corny alternatives from all genres and eras. And I, of course, oblige:

Save Garden – Break me, shake me
Sonique – Sky
Pet Shop Boys – Always on my mind
RMB – Spring
Roxette – How do you do
Something Corporate – Woke up in a car
Real McCoy – Run away
Scooter – The logical song
Aqua – Roses are red
Green Day – Nice guys finish last
The Cure – Friday I’m in love
The Raveonettes – Great love long
Blondie – Maria

2 Responses to “The “running” song”

  1. How about Vank – 1000? 🙂

  2. Ben Folds Five- Philosophy

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