Here are sample playlists put together from my own (admittedly limited) library, each one "arced" for a particular purpose. Then I asked a few folks who can really pick out a tune to share their sample lists.
It's siesta time. I feel myself lapsing into food coma, eyelids drooping and motivation flagging. Flo Rida's sunny dance beats shake me awake, and
"Good Feeling" by Flo Rida
"Party Rock Anthem" by LMFAO
"Feel So Close" by Calvin Harris
"Armada Latina" by Cypress Hill, featuring Marc Anthony and Pitbull
It takes me a step or two to transition from a ball of stress into lounge mode. "Electric Feel" by
"Electric Feel" by MGMT
"For What It's Worth" by Buffalo Springfield
"Like a Feather" by Nikka Costa
"In the Waiting Line" by Zero 7
WORK IT OUT:
When I want to push my limits, the Heavy's vengeful driving funk can send me sprinting.
"How You Like Me Now?" by the Heavy
"What You Waiting For?" by Gwen Stefani
"Memories" by David Guetta, featuring
"Touch It" by Daft Punk
RICO LOVE (singer-songwriter and record producer)
I wake up really early in the morning, no matter how late I am in the studio. I believe in no days off, so to get me up and moving before I go to the gym, I listen to:
"Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough" by
"Aguanile" by Hector Lavoe
"Why I Love You" by
"Hello Good Morning" by Diddy-Dirty Money, featuringT.I.
I've been really stressed out this past week, so what really gets me to calm down and focus when I have one of those kind of weeks:
"In the Air Tonight" by
"Vicious World" by
"The Sweetest Taboo" by
"Losing My Religion" by R.E.M.
WORK IT OUT:
I can't start any day without going to the gym — its gives me that extra burst of energy that I need to go through the day. So when I'm working out with my trainer, I listen to:
"Without You" by David Guetta, featuring Usher
"We Found Love" by
"Way Too Gone" by Young Jeezy, featuring Future
Garth Trinidad (
PICK ME UP:
Having kids means no matter what time I hit the sack, I'm up at the crack of dawn. For the ride to school, Murs has the whole fam head-bopping, while Yellow Alex and Big Moves provide bright, playful, high-energy indie rock and pop rhythms perfect for playground plans and, of course, the rest of Daddy's daytime adventures.
"Fresh Kicks" by Murs and Terrace Martin
"Lisa Lisa Lisa" by Yellow Alex and the Feelings
"Inspiration as a Recurring Theme" by Big Moves
When the workday ends at 3 a.m., nothing like plugging in the headphones for some head nodding to chill those beta waves out. The down tempo swing and sublime vocal harmonies of
"Volver" by Ana Tijoux
"Love Song -1" by the Internet
"Trust Fall" (Down We Go Remix by Jensen Sportag) by Madi Diaz
WORK IT OUT:
We'll call this one hypothetical, as it's been a while since I've witnessed the fitness. Spirit Animal's raucous punk funk is on repeat while we get the blood pumping on the treadmill. Then we go hard on benches, squats and free weights with the heavy monster sound of Blah Blah Blah and savage speed of Stiffed.
"Crocodile Skins" by Spirit Animal
"Why Am I the Only One Laughing?" by Blah Blah Blah
"What You Gon' Do?" by Stiffed
Randall Roberts (pop music critic,
These songs serve myriad inspirational purposes, as the psychic fuel in my life, from Arthur Russell's ode to the dream life to the explosion that is Beyoncé's "Countdown," along with jazz iconoclast Sun Ra's wonderfully sloppy "Rocket No. 9" and L.A. punk band the Weirdos' burst of fury.
"Come to Life" by Arthur Russell
"Countdown" by Beyoncé
"Rocket Number Nine" by Sun Ra
"A Life of Crime" by the Weirdos
These songs are comfort food for me: Shuggie Otis' "Island Letter" is an exquisitely rendered musical note penned on a beach, and British pop minimalists
"Jesus' Blood Never Failed Me Yet" by Gavin Bryars
"My Old Man" by Joni Mitchell
"Island Letter" by Shuggie Otis
"VCR" by the xx
WORK IT OUT:
Hard rhythms are natural performance enhancers, and given the right song, a workout can transform what's often a daily drag into a virtual dance party. Before you know it, LCD Soundsystem's "Losing My Edge" is igniting your heart, or the Stones' classic "Street Fighting Man" is pushing you forward. Kanye West's "The New Workout Plan" is a literal aerobics ditty, and the Detroit techno wind-sprint "Knights of the Jaguar" is a 138 bpm, six-minute boot camp.
"Losing My Edge" by LCD Soundsystem
"Street Fighting Man" by the
"Knights of the Jaguar" by DJ Rolando
"The New Workout Plan" by Kanye West