Track of the Day: 'Keep Hope Alive'

Editor’s Note: This article previously appeared in a different format as part of The Atlantic’s Notes section, retired in 2021.

A reader serves up a trifecta of offbeat workout songs:

Darn, I missed your initial call for suggestions. Well, here are a few of mine anyway:

1) “Keep Hope Alive,” The Crystal Method, off their Vegas album (also the soundtrack for The Replacement Killers). When I worked in downtown South Bend, Ind., I ran in Howard Park, which runs along the St. Joseph River and includes a dam and a race waterway/fish ladder and old mills and factories sited on the river that have been turned into apartments among other things. So there is a lot of twisting and turning and little footbridges to run over as well as bridges that carry traffic over the river to run under. It always reminded me of being a little kid just running around outside in a particularly cool backyard. The starts and stops and twists and turns in this track match the mood, plus you feel like Chow Yun Fat or Mira Sorvino escaping gunmen bent on your destruction.

2) “Hope Runs Deep,” Steve Jablonsky, Gears of War 2 soundtrack. The guy who did the music for Transformers also did the music for Gears of War 2, a game that no one in my household plays. Full of anvils and heavy strings and big brass and deep-voiced Viking choirs, it brings to mind straight-to-DVD movies about special ops forces where one guy always gets shot but tries to keep up, shouting  “Go on! Save the men!” but manages to stagger along, shouting “I CAN MAKE IT,” which is how I more or less feel by the end of an eight-miler. Helps me stagger along.

3) “Beethoven (I Love To Listen To),” Eurythmics, Savage. One of the group’s weirder singles, but a nice driving beat. At the start of the playlist, it’s optimistic. In the middle, it’s a challenge. If you put it at the end, you’ll feel like that guy in the straight-to-DVD special ops movie and should just skip ahead to “Hope Runs Deep.”

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