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Tag Archives: playlists

The Perfect Hopelessly Romantic Playlist

Note: You can find this and all my other playlists on Spotify by using the post titles as search terms.

Ah, love. The ultimate motivator for music, poetry, even a few fingerpaints somewhere, probably; every artistic medium is fueled by overwhelming devotion or shattered hearts. Here’s a collection of songs that will have the hopeless romantic in you sighing about that special someone–or the one that got away.

1. “Easy Silence” by The Dixie Chicks: “I just want to hold on to the easy silence you create for me / … / And the peaceful quiet you create for me / And the way you keep the world at bay for me.” A sweet ode to the comfortable quiet of a relationship, “Easy Silence” is about finding peace in another person. Or, if you’re single, just pretend this song is about noise-reducing headphones; they’re almost as good as sharing your life with someone, right?

2. “Make You Feel my Love” by Adele: Bob Dylan’s lyrics get a stunning makeover in Adele’s version of “Make You Feel My Love”: “When the rain is blowing in your face / And the whole world is on your case / I could offer you a warm embrace / To make you feel my love.”

3. “The Nearness of You” by Norah Jones: “It’s not the pale moon that excites me / That thrills and delights me / Oh no, it’s just the nearness of you.” This song captures the electricity of proximity–surely you’ve felt your pulse quicken in the presence of that one person (you know the one I’m talking about). As an aside, many, many artists have recorded versions of this song. I’m partial to Norah Jones’ slow and sweetly sultry rendition, but the Ella Fitzgerald & Louis Armstrong recording is thoroughly lovely as well.

4. “I’ll Be” by Edwin McCain: A classic wedding song, this anthemic track is one long promise of undying devotion. “I’ll be your crying shoulder / I’ll be love’s suicide / I’ll be better when I’m older / I’ll be the greatest fan of your life.”

5. “No Man is an Island” by Jack’s Mannequin: This song was written as a wedding present, and you can definitely tell. Self-explanatory: “As long as your heart’s beating it should never beat alone / No man is an island when a woman is his home.”

6. “You Don’t Know Me” by Michael Buble: Fear and shyness gets in the way of love in this story: “You think you know me well / But you don’t know me / No, you don’t know the one who dreams of you at night / … / Afraid and shy, I let my chance go by / A chance that you might love me too.”

7. “Blue Eyes” by the Cary Brothers: This song is slow and sweet and carries a hint of sadness behind the yearning lyrics. “All the lights on and you are alive / But you can’t point the way to your heart / … / I just want to be the one / I just want to sing a song with you.”

8. “In Your Atmosphere (L.A. Song)” by John Mayer: Sometimes when love goes bad, certain places are rendered uninhabitable by a coating of painful memories. This phenomenon is the focus of John Mayer’s plaintive lyrics: “I don’t think I’m gonna go to LA anymore / I’m not sure that I really ever could / … / I’m gonna steer clear / I’d burn up in your atmosphere.”

9. “One and Only” by Adele: I’ll admit this song didn’t catch my notice the first few times I listened to Adele’s Grammy-winning album, 21. It’s a bit of a sleeper, but it gets under your skin–give it a couple listens and you’ll be hooked on her brazen pleas. “I dare you to let me be your / Your one and only / I promise I’m worth it / To hold in your arms / So come on and give me a chance.”

 10. “Basket Case” by Sara Bareilles: As the title suggests, this song is about the emotional destruction a bad breakup can wreak. Simple guitar and harmonica support Ms. Bareilles’ silky voice perfectly. Listen to this if you’re in a wallowing mood. “He’s not a magic man or a perfect fit / But had a steady hand and I got used to it / … / Now I’m just a basket case”

11. “Colors” by Amos Lee: Simple in sentiment, delicate in delivery. “When you’re gone / Colors seem to fade.”

12. “City Love” by John Mayer: This particular love story paints a picture of day-to-day romance grounded in geography, namely NYC. I love the way he zooms in on the details: “She keeps a toothbrush at my place / As if I had the extra space / She steals my clothes to wear to work / I know her hairs are on my shirt / I tell everyone I smile just because / I’ve got a city love / … / And I can’t remember life before her name.”

13. “This Year’s Love” by David Gray: Poor David Gray. He’s been burned before, and that makes it hard to fall into something new with the same innocence, no matter how right it feels. “When you hold me like you do / It feels so right / I start to forget how my heart gets torn / … / It takes something more this time / Than sweet, sweet lies / Before I open up my arms and fall / Losin’ all control.”

 

You can find this playlist on Spotify by searching for “The Perfect Hopelessly Romantic Playlist”.

-Benevolent Siren

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The Perfect Playlist for Changing Your Life (Part II)

Note: You can find this and all my other playlists on Spotify by using the post titles as search terms.

To read the first part of this post, visit The Perfect Playlist for Changing Your Life (Part I). As the title suggest, this playlist is the perfect soundtrack for taking action, taking chances and taking charge of your own destiny. Also, the songs are pretty catchy if you’re into that sort of thing.

 

8. “Defying Gravity” from the musical Wicked: This is the ultimate feel-good, do-your-own-thing, break-all-the-rules anthem. Plus it’s from a musical and thus a perfect sing-along. “Something has changed within me / Something is not the same / I’m through with playing by the rules of someone else’s game / Too late for second guessing / Too late to go back to sleep / It’s time to trust my instincts, close my eyes and leap / It’s time to try defying gravity / … / And you won’t bring me down” Aaand goosebumps. Yeah, obstacles, you WON’T bring me down. So there.

 

LIKE SO.

9. “I Woke Up In A Car” by Something Corporate: “Here I am, well here I am / … / I’ve never been so lost, I’ve never felt so much at home / Please write my folks and throw away my keys / I woke up in a car.” This song is about the freedom and clarity that can arise from aimlessness, which I definitely need to hear about at this juncture. Plus it’s really fun to dance to, and it’s impossible to worry when you’re dancing with the appropriate level of enthusiasm. (In case you’re wondering, the appropriate level of enthusiasm when dancing is AS ENTHUSIASTIC AS YOU CAN BE.)

 

10. “Shake It Out” by Florence + The Machine: In which Florence reminds me that you can’t really control what happens, so just get ready to roll with the punches and take chances. All you can do is open yourself up to the world and let the experiences wash over you. “And I’m damned if I do and I’m damned if I don’t / So here’s to drinks in the dark, at the end of my rope / And I’m ready to suffer and I’m ready to hope / It’s a shot in the dark aimed right at my throat / … / But what the hell, I’m gonna let it happen to me, yeah”

 

11. “The Cave” by Mumford & Sons: The Cave was nominated for Record Of The Year at the 2012 Grammys, and it’s easy to hear why—it’s hard to resist screaming along that “I’LL FIND STRENGTH IN PAIN” and “I WILL CHANGE MY WAYS!” Anthemic and singable, this song isn’t to be missed. “But I need freedom now and I need to know how to live my life as it’s meant to be…”

 

12. “Dancing with a Gun” by Jack’s Mannequin: Dancing with a gun sounds like a fairly dangerous pursuit, but no guts, no glory. Like all the songs in this collection, “Dancing with a Gun” urges the listener to bust out of the comfort zone and take action, however uncertain the outcome. “Sometimes we’re stuck, most times we’re drifting / But tonight let’s move / … / You’re dancing with a gun / Your hands are shaking / Just take another shot in the dark / Don’t keep your safety on…”

 

Ah, the open road.

13. “Boston” by Augustana: This one’s a little melodramatic, but fitting nonetheless. The protagonist of this piano-rock ditty seeks the comfort of anonymity and a fresh start, which is an appropriate theme for a Change Your Life playlist: “I think I’ll start a new life / I think I’ll start it over / where no one knows my name…” As a bonus, the song is lovely.

 

BONUS. “The Motto” by Drake feat. Lil Wayne: Drake didn’t really fit musically into this collection of songs, but I couldn’t resist throwing this song in as a bonus track. It’s a rap song, not a ballad or anthem, but it’s a good one to have in your back pocket when you need to put a little attitude in your step. I certainly do every now and then. Use in case of self-confidence emergency: “You only live once, that’s the motto / … / **** what anybody say / Can’t see ‘em ‘cause the money in the way” …WHAT’S UP. The bass line will have you feeling like a champion in no time. (If you’re interested, you can read more about how bass can affect your mood.)

 

Well, that’s all the songs I have. Armed with this playlist and determination, I’m off into the great unknown to forge my path on this big blue orb. I’ll keep you posted.

 

-Benevolent Siren

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The Perfect Playlist for Changing Your Life (Part I)

Note: You can find this and all my other playlists on Spotify by using the post titles as search terms.

Sometimes you have to make a change, and for me that time is one week from now. I won’t go into details because I don’t really know the details yet, but suffice it to say I’m gearing up to make some major life changes (geographical and otherwise) and my future is totally open-ended. On the one hand, I know through and through that I need to shake things up and open myself to new experiences. On the other hand, change can be daunting and, if I’m totally honest, a little terrifying. I flip on a momentary basis between excitement and fear, and as the date approaches I’m finding the anticipation to be rather exhausting. Luckily, I’m of the opinion that there’s nothing that music flowing through my headphones can’t make a little easier, so I’ve combed through my library of tunes to find the gems that will help me navigate uncertain waters with optimism and joy and certainty that I’m doing the right thing. Without further ado, I give you The Perfect Playlist for Changing Your Life (Part I):

1. I’m Ready by Jack’s Mannequin: As the title suggests, this is a song about being READY. A strict interpretation indicates that the singer is ready to end a relationship, but this can also apply to making a change in general. I especially love the way this song starts, with the spoken line “And today was a day just like any other.” In a way, this reminds me of why I’m going for broke: I don’t want today, and the next day, and the next day to be just like any other. The rest of the lyrics are a mantra that I need to keep repeating until I believe it: “I’m ready / I’m ready to drop / I’m ready / I’m ready so don’t stop / Keep pushing, I’m ready to fall / Don’t stop, I’m already gone.”

2. No Such Thing by John Mayer: A common theme of this playlist is the assertion that one must forge his or her own path, ignoring preset notions of how to live your life and creating your own destiny. This theme is the core message of Mayer’s hit, with lyrics like “I just found out there’s no such thing as the real world, just a lie you’ve got to rise above.” Amen, John!

3. Unwritten by Natasha Bedingfield: This song is a definitive call to action with the most upbeat melody you could hope to find. Singing along makes me feel like I’m on top of the world and I can’t wait to embrace whatever’s next. “Reaching for something in the distance / So close you can almost taste it / Release your inhibitions / Feel the rain on your skin / No one else can feel it for you / … / Live your life with arms wide open / Today is where your book begins / The rest is still unwritten.” In other words, uncertainty is an essential part of an adventurous existence and today is the first day of the rest of my life. If it rained more than twice a year in California, I’d be inspired to go feel it on my skin right now.

4. Live Like We’re Dying by Kris Allen: A little on the nose, but I’m not looking for lyrical subtlety here. Kris Allen has essentially the same message as Ms. Bedingfield, but he’s a little more morbid about it, citing mortality as motivation to live in a meaningful way. At the end of the day, can you think of any better motivation? This song will always give me a kick if I need one. Also, death is pretty scary, so it makes moving away seem a lot less scary by comparison. Key inspirational lyric: “So if your life flashed before you, what would you wish you would have done?” [Incidentally, another song with the same message is “Hey Hey Hey, We’re All Gonna Die” by Jack’s Mannequin, but I already have far too many Jack’s songs on this playlist. If you want a shortcut to perpetual inspiration, you can stop reading this now and just buy their three albums—I won’t take it personally. On that note, on to another one…]

5. People, Running by Jack’s Mannequin: “We are only chemical and skin barely strapped in for this air-conditioned drive / We are tired of waiting, still we stand in line / … / You drift in no direction so it seems / That we are just these people running around / And I am in no hurry to figure it out / … / I think we’re learning that the answers never come / … / Just watch the people run.” This lyrical commentary on the absurdity of human pursuits is very existentialist, which to me is a comforting belief system. If you accept the premise that everything is inherently meaningless, you can’t possibly get it wrong as long as you indulge your whims and desires; the lack of inherent meaning gives you freedom to create your own. So, in my interpretation of existentialism, the locus of control is placed firmly with the individual and calls for a rejection of external ideals and…Oops, I’m waxing philosophical. Back to the music.

6. Why Georgia by John Mayer: This track documents Mr. Mayer’s “quarter-life crisis,” to which I can relate whole-heartedly. “I am tempted to keep the car in drive and leave it all behind / Cause I wonder sometimes about the outcome of a still-verdictless life / Am I living it right?” He perfectly captures the melancholy of monotony and reminds me that I’m not alone in my need to examine and take control of my life direction.

7. I’m Movin’ On by Rascal Flatts: Self-explanatory: “I’m movin’ on / At last I can see life has been patiently waiting for me / And I know there’s no guarantees, but I’m not alone / There comes a time in everyone’s life / When all you can see are the years passing by / And I have made up my mind that those days are gone.” I can’t listen to this song without getting emotional, but I’m not afraid of a few tears. Or, okay, a lot of tears.

 

I’m already a bit of  an emotional wreck putting this together, and I’m only half done, so it’s time for an intermission. If you’re still in one piece and ready for the rest, continue with Part II of the Perfect Playlist for Changing Your Life.

 

-Benevolent Siren

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The Perfect Hump Day Playlist

Note: You can find this and all my other playlists on Spotify by using the post titles as search terms.

It’s Hump Day! Are you dragging? Need some RADICAL TUNES to pump you up and get you through the rest of the week? Here’s a list of jams that are currently putting a pep in my proverbial step.

 

  1. “Big Machine” by the Goo Goo Dolls
  2. “People, Running” by Jack’s Mannequin
  3. “Use Somebody” by Kings of Leon
  4. “Paradise” by Coldplay
  5. “Baba O’Riley” by The Who
  6. “Mad Season” by Matchbox Twenty
  7. “This Love” by Maroon 5
  8. “Shake it Out” by Florence + the Machine
  9. “Ooh La La” by Goldfrapp
  10. “Sail” by AWOLNATION
  11. “Sing Out” by The Grand Magnolias

And if you need a new pair of in-ear headphones to rock out at work, there’s a 2-for-1 sale on vPulse at Velodyne.com in celebration of Valentine’s Day with promo code BEMYVELODYNE (1 per household; see promotion details). Because if there’s one thing I love more than music, it’s free stuff.

 

-Benevolent Siren

 

Admin note: This promotion is no longer in effect. Please visit Velodyne.com to learn about current promotions.

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The Perfect 30-Minute Cardio Workout Playlist

Note: You can find this and all my other playlists on Spotify by using the post titles as search terms.

Hi there! I’m the Benevolent Siren, and I’m going to be a regular columnist here on Velodyne’s blog. If you want to know more about me, feel free to read my bio. I’m thrilled to be sharing my thoughts, feelings, hopes and dreams with all you Velodyne fans. (Actually, it’ll be mostly music/audio talk, but I’ll probably slip a few hopes and dreams in there now and again.)

Now that we’ve been introduced, I’d like to share my formula for the PERFECT playlist for a 30-minute cardio workout. Assuming each song is about 3-4 minutes long, it’ll take about 10 perfectly-chosen songs to guide you through your workout without missing a beat. After all, pushing yourself is all about mind over matter, and as long as there’s music on your mind, fatigue won’t matter!

Songs 1-2: Upbeat, Dance-y and Cheerful (Sample song: I Like It Like That by Hot Chelle Rae): Welcome to your workout! The first few songs in your playlist should ease you in with a fun and bouncy track, reminding you that exercise can be fun even before your endorphins kick in. Warm up with a pop song with a catchy melody, like Hot Chelle Rae’s “I Like It Like That,” and before you know it you’re dancing down the track (or treadmill, or trail, or whatever).

Songs 3-5: Badass and Bass-Heavy (Sample songs: SexyBack by Justin Timberlake feat. Timbaland, How We Do by The Game): Now that you’re warmed up, it’s time to start taking yourself—and your workout—seriously. You’ve taken the time out to do something great for yourself, and you deserve to feel like a freaking badass doing it! Dominate your workout with pumped up, ego-boosting songs like SexyBack by Justin Timberlake or How We Do by The Game. Make sure songs 3-5 hit hard with the bass, so the music resonates throughout your whole body and keeps you going strong. A good rule of thumb: the more the bass kicks, the more you’ll kick ass!

Songs 6-8: Motivational and Fast-Paced (Sample songs: My Body by Young The Giant, Sexy and I Know It by LMFAO)

LMFAO works out--and if you do too, they've got some sweet tracks to keep you moving.

Getting tired? Must be time for songs 6-8. Any good workout will have its tough moments, and that’s when you need your tunes to take over and push you through with flying colors. Pay attention to the lyrics when selecting these songs; the right track can act as your personal trainer singing motivation right into your ear. For example, “My body tells me “NO”//But I won’t quit//’Cause I want more” (My Body, Young the Giant) or “I wanna see you move” (Chris Cox Britney Spears Megamix) or “I work out!” (Sexy & I Know It, LMFAO).

Song 9: Your Favorite, Fastest-Paced Song! (Sample song: Drop by the Ying Yang Twins, Smells Like Teen Spirit by Nirvana)

Now that you’re nearing the end of your workout, it’s time to pull out all the stops and throw your blood, sweat and tears into the next three minutes. This is the last song before cool-down, so dig deep and enjoy the endorphins you’ve worked so hard for. This is the place for your most motivational, fastest-paced, hardcore-to-the-max song, and I’m betting you already know what it is. For me, it’s Magic by B.O.B. feat. Rivers Cuomo, because by this time in my run I’ve proved to myself once again that I do, in fact, have the magic in me. Some other great choices are Smells Like Teen Spirit by Nirvana, Till The World Ends by Britney Spears, or Bangarang by Skrillex feat. Sirah.

Song 10: Moderately-Paced and Feel-Good (Sample song: Good Feeling by Flo Rida)

Good job! You’ve made it to the cool-down, but the workout’s not over yet, and neither is your playlist. You owe it to yourself to finish your workout on a high note, so choose a track that makes you feel amazing about yourself and your accomplishments. That said, this song should be a little mellower than your previous tracks. Bring your heart-rate down with a laid-back hip hop song like Empire State of Mind by Jay-Z if that’s your jam, or choose something more literal like Good Feeling by Flo Rida. Either way, ride that “good feeling” all the way to the end.

Phew! I pumped myself up writing this, so I’m going to go work out some energy on a run. Here’s the playlist I just made for myself following these guidelines, and I can’t wait to pop in my vPulse earphones and test it out. It’s about 37 minutes long, which gives me leeway to skip a song or two in my 30-minute run if I’m not feeling a particular track at the moment it comes on. Feel free to borrow from it:

1. Tonight, Tonight by Hot Chelle Rae
2. Teenage Dream by Katy Perry
3. I’m Really Hot by Missy Elliot
4. SexyBack by Justin Timberlake feat. Timbaland
5. Drop by the Ying Yang Twins
6. Chris Cox Britney Spears Megamix
7. Sexy and I Know It by LMFAO
8. My Body by Young The Giant
9. Magic by B.O.B. feat. River Cuomo
10. Young, Wild and Free by Wiz Khalifa and Snoop Dogg

 

Happy workout!

-Benevolent Siren

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