In this week’s Monday Mixtape, Marco Cartolano helps you get into the zone during your workout. Find this week’s mixtape on Spotify here! Transcript below.
[“The Champ” – Ghostface Killah]
Welcome to Monday Mixtape. I’m Marco Cartolano, and I love listening to music when I hit the gym. For me, workout music should have either high intensity performances or a good groove to keep you moving, and “The Champ” by Wu-Tang Clan member Ghostface Killah has both. Cheered on by infectious guitar licks and righteous horns, Ghostface spits brutal verses using his energetic flow to silence his haters. As is appropriate for a song called “The Champ,” Ghostface fills his verses with boxing references and even uses a bell to introduce each new section of the song. It’s great motivation for the beginning of a tough workout.
[“Caught in a Mosh” – Anthrax]
If we’re talking about intensity, we need to give a shoutout to “thrash metal.” An extreme subgenre of metal that fuses the genre’s complex musicianship with the fast drumming and aggression of hardcore punk, the “thrash” scene produced the mega-selling Metallica. However, “Caught in a Mosh” comes from the equally legendary thrash band Anthrax. A mosh pit anthem, singer Joey Belladonna compares dealing with frustrating people to the chaos of violently moshing at a concert. The song’s secret weapon is a catchy chorus that manages to pump you up. Songs like “Caught in a Mosh” remind us that catchiness is just as important to a metal anthem as shredding.
[“The Trooper” – Iron Maiden]
Another metal anthem, “The Trooper” by Iron Maiden, puts you in the mood to take on any weight routine. Sporting an iconic harmonized lead riff from guitarists Dave Murray and Adrian Smith and a distinct melody, “The Trooper” is a blood-pumping track. Bruce Dickinson’s booming vocalizations show why he is one of metal’s greatest singers. Surprisingly, this song is based on an actual battle during the Crimean War, so you’re getting a history lesson with your workout playlist too.
[“Give Up the Funk (Tear the Roof off the Sucker)” – Parliament]
When it comes to killer grooves, classic funk is where it’s at. “Give Up the Funk” is an iconic jam from Parliament, George Clinton’s soul-inspired band. The horn and synthesizers give the track character while the drums and bass create a tight rhythm that will inspire you to keep moving on the treadmill. Because it is a more mellow track, it’s great to use for pacing yourself after a brutal set.
[“All Due Respect” – Run the Jewels]
When you want to ramp up the intensity, turn to Run the Jewels. The rap team of Killer Mike and El-P have torn up the rap game with their crushing beats, clever wordplay and unmatched chemistry. “All Due Respect” has all these features, plus killer drums from Travis Barker of Blink-182. Killer Mike and El-P trade verses about how they are the best in the game. Highlights include El-P’s bars about marrying greatness rather than flirting with it. The tight verses all lead to powerful group vocals on the hook.
[“One Armed Scissor” – At the Drive-In]
Our next track is going to take us into the world of “post-hardcore,” where hardcore bands adopted more complex song structures. At the Drive-In were pioneers in the subgenre with unusual guitar chords and a loud-quiet dynamic to their compositions. “One Armed Scissor,” At the Drive-In’s most popular track, shows off the power of the guitars. The song is also a showcase of Cedric Bixler-Zavala’s high-pitched vocals and shouts. I always feel more pumped to do pushups when an angry man is shouting in my ear.
[“Block Rockin’ Beats” – Chemical Brothers]
The final song on this workout mixtape has an electronic edge. “Block Rockin’ Beats” by Chemical Brothers features the high-tempo breakbeats and synth loops that were popular in electronic music in the ‘90s. The signature bass riff and a vocal sample from old school rapper Schoolly D complement the break beats to create an infectious track that could fit snugly in the soundtrack for an aerobic exercise.
[Reprise – “Block Rockin’ Beats”]
And that’s all for Monday Mixtape. This weeks playlist will be available on Spotify at mondaymixtape. Make sure to subscribe to Monday Mixtape on Apple Podcasts so you get a notification every time we post a new episode. Also, feel free to leave us a rating and review, it really helps the show out. To all the gym rats out there, keep up the good work. For NBN audio, I’m Marco Cartolano.