It’s not easy, when you are of-a-certain-age, to seek out new music – you’ve got so many decades of music you KNOW you like just waiting to be listened to; running has got me back on the lookout though – and there is always something great to be found. So that’s what I’m focussing on – ok, trying to focus on – here. And in the few days since I put Best of RDIRM – New Music together I’ve been absolutely loving it.
This is from early last year, so it’s not all that new. Perhaps more pertinently, it makes me feel like it’s about twenty years ago. This is immaculate dance music – chewy basslines, perfectly timed beat drops, the whole package – and that, of course, makes it great running music. Relentless. ‘And it just goes on’, goes the refrain – so you do. When this came on at the tenth mile of a hilly eleven mile run the other day I went off like a rat out of a trap, well-used knees be hanged.
More dance music – it’s only natural to follow the beat on into the next tune, eh ravers? – with The Forest. This has a buttoned down, steady old groove to keep you rolling, with a gently spooky spoken vocal and some filmic synth lines on the top – there’s a whiff of bad B-Movie about it, in a good way. I always enjoy a hint of Goth in my playlist – it’s nice to imagine you’re running through chilly, foggy woods, even if you’re actually cutting across a car park in the middle of Glasgow.
And this is where that love began for me. This is not new music – it’s frighteningly old – but I can’t help but think Joeski had it in mind; it also catches, not just the atmosphere of the forest, but it’s inexorable pull. Yes it’s all very Freudian, but if gets you round the park, why not. Sorry The Cure keep sneaking on to these lists – back to the new stuff…
Oh yes. My old, previously mentioned friend-and-DJ Dapple made me a brand new mix the other day, and it kicks off with this wonder, staying with the record-before-last’s dancey vibe, but shifting from spooky to sad, and opening up into our most spacious-sounding tune yet. The piano sound is delectably damped; soft, like a massage. I can’t help thinking this is what Coldplay ought to sound like these days; when I hear their Something Just Like This, I’m actually wishing it was something just like this.
Bless my beloved Public Service Broadcasting for bringing out new material in such a timely manner, making it possible for me to get them on yet another of these Best of… lists. And this song has a chorus to run over a hill under a big sky to – schplanng schplanng guitar and a lovely vocal (from Camera Obscura‘s Tracyanne Campbell) – showing that PSB do believe in progress, by using a sung lead vocal for the first time. Their house style is all present and correct, mind; samples of voices from the past, bubbly, retro sequencers, big builds and choruses. Can’t wait to run along to the new album.
Again, not BRAND new – two, three years old now – but this huge tune is definitely a new anthem in the popular canon. We’ve shifted gears smoothly through Public Service Broadcasting into full-on guitars/drums/synths stadium stuff here – I only wish singer Samuel T Herring wouldn’t swallow his vocal the way he does; he makes the Elton John-ish sound of a rock singer, but he never really opens up and belts it out, it’s very disappointing, particularly with a chorus as big as this. What’s that? Time for a Deering cover version? Aah, you guys.
See, this is the problem; when an old listener listens to new music, it will keep reminding them of the old music. But I make no apology for throwing this in here, for two reasons – one, the lovely, expansive synth chords here are basically the same as those on Seasons – which is fine by me. And two – just listen. If you are ever running and this song doesn’t hit the spot, I don’t know if we can be friends. The thing with a really muscular, repetitive beat-based dance tune is that it won’t just help you run, it’ll help you run faster. Whether you want to or not.
Some lovely variants on this tune in T2 Trainspotting, but I can’t see them on Spotify. When I find them, I think we can assume you’ll hear them.
So now we need something really new to re-establish my commitment to new music, and something really hard to follow Underworld. Step up Clark. This won’t be to everyone’s taste, being as edgy and syncopated as it is, but I love it, and it’s got undeniable forward motion – it sounds like a strobe light in a Berlin warehouse. The unsettling, kettle-drummish sound in the middle and the less-angry coda put me in mind of the Inception soundtrack, and you know how much I love that. See – you’re still running. Couldn’t help yourself.
A Tribe Called Quest’s new stuff last year was heartening in the extreme; they sound fresh for, er, superannuated guys. Good popular culture is, I suppose, the silver lining on the state of America these days. Dis Generation has the chorus power to make you feel like you’re jogging past serried ranks of supporters behind metal barriers even if you’re on a treadmill at the gym, and the verses pull you forward, refreshingly, with a lovely little guitar riff. This song is excellent. My only question is, are we talking about my/their generation, the next one, or, heaven forbid, the one after that?
I like to assume that the aforementioned young people are listening to this. Are they? How would I know, I can’t go in those bars without looking like, at best, a sad old sod. But it’s great. A cheeky little riff that, if you’ll forgive me, just won’t quit – try NOT to dance – and a poptastic chord change up to the chorus.
But, in the spirit of full disclosure, I would never have found the last tune without this Moby remix, and how old is he? I mean, you’d have to ask yourself, how much more ’90s could Moby be, and the answer would be – none more ’90s. This really motors, with a classic, all-the-way-down, all-the-way-back-up-again bit in the middle worthy of Rave’s golden era, or for that matter Elvis’s Suspicious Minds. There isn’t much Tinashe on it, and even less KDA, which means you can enjoy this remix and the original track independently – can’t decide which I prefer yet.
This is the first track from Goldfrapp’s new album, and it’s a real statement of intent. Its backbone is a fat, almost glam rock riff which puts it in the Strict Machine league of running-appropriate Goldfrapp songs. She also appears to be singing ‘oo, stop it’ at the end, which, if I’m hearing it right, is a wonderfully Frankie Howerd/Kenneth Williams-esque lyric.
I hope you enjoy this list as much as I have; I’m going to be reminding myself it’s always worth leaning into the new. The whole Infinite Running Music playlist is here, and if you’d like to sponsor me in the Virgin Money London Marathon – which is next week – the link is here. I’ll let you know how that goes, musically. But there’ll be another Best of… before then. Happy running in the mean time.