Proust had his madeleines, but for my money, there’s nothing that evokes a particular time and place in my life like music. There are songs I play to conjure happy times, like the first up-tempo song at my wedding (Rosalita by Bruce Springsteen), or the song that was playing when I crossed the finish line of my first real distance race (Moving to New York by the Wombats). Other songs evoke such melancholy and pain, I can barely stand to listen to them (Tori Amos=high school angst, Josh Ritter=Steve’s deployments).
So it stands to reason that music can also serve as a vehicle for transition, and it’s in that spirit that I present the playlist below. For me, this week marked the transition between feeling like an invalid who is starting to resume normal activity to feeling like a normal person who is still kind of recovering from wrist surgery. Don’t get me wrong — I’m still in a splint, and I’m only just beginning range-of-motion exercises that will make my wrist functional again. But I truly feel like I’ve turned a corner, and I wanted to make a running playlist that would the transition from Percocet, casts, exhaustion and snow to good health, movement and cherry blossoms.
For the most part, these are positive, upbeat songs as appropriate for dancing as they are for running. The playlist devolves a bit toward the end, but five miles is still a long way for me — Feist is great in the beginning, but I need some Wu Tang Clan to help me get through that last mile. If you take nothing else from the five-mile playlist below, try listening to “Feeling Good” by Nina Simone on your next run. Let me know if you don’t feel somehow transformed.
Vibes and Stuff — A Tribe Called Quest
Mushaboom (Postal Service Remix) — Feist
Feeling Good — Nina Simone
Baby You’re Amazing — Josh Kelly
My Name is Jonas — Weezer
Walcott — Vampire Weekend
Get Right Back — Army Navy
Survivor — Beyonce
Dear Sergio — Streetlight Manifesto
Wonderful World — The Ramones
Gold Digger — Kanye West
Scenario — A Tribe Called Quest
M-E-T-H-O-D Man – Wu-Tang Clan