A Workout Playlist: Synthpop For Jogging

Chris Lawhorn, the resident DJ at Marie Claire and Real Age, reviews 300-400 singles every month, trying to find the best new music for a workout. Every week, he’ll be posting an indie-centric playlist for MAGNET readers. To vote on upcoming tracks, hear this month’s contenders and find more resources for matching songs to the pace of your exercise routine, you can visit his workout music site.

I’m not sure why anyone would ask me who the Beatles of synthpop are. But, if anyone did, I would say Erasure. I haven’t actually given this much thought, but I’ve always had a general feeling that each decade or so has a band that can’t help but throw off brilliant hooks: Beatles in the ’60s, ABBA in the ’70s, Erasure in the ’80s. (I’m even tempted to credit Ash with the ’90s and Timbaland with the ’00s. But those are different conversations entirely.) And to whatever extent I’ve overlooked other obvious contenders, these are the first parties that sprang to mind. Anyway, the point of this is that when Erasure stopped spinning off pop hits, they started to make something equally magical. So, for this jogging playlist, I wanted to focus on overlooked gems from bands with synthesizers. To that end, there’s a high-energy track from Erasure’s artsier period, a cut from the Rentals’ sophomore effort (with backing vocals from Maya Rudolph) and one from Leiahdorus that takes pages from a variety of folks and binds them seamlessly into an overview of the genre.

1. Erasure “Fingers & Thumbs (Cold Summer’s Day)” (125 BPM)
iTunes

2. Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark “Speed Of Light” (123 BPM)
iTunes

3. Leiahdorus “Childhood’s End” (120 BPM)
iTunes

4. The Rentals “Barcelona” (144 BPM)
iTunes

5. Pet Shop Boys “Viva La Vida/Domino Dancing” (138 BPM)
iTunes

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