Commen’s Top 10 Running Albums Of The Decade


What a decade it’s been.

The first images of a supermassive blackhole were taken, Felix Baumgartner jumped from space right into our hearts, Jasmine Paris became the first woman to win the Montane Spine Race, Leicester won the Premier League, and… *sigh*…politics, lots of politics.

There was also a boatload of great music to come out of the decade – a veritable feast of options for the runner who likes pumping the tunes when they’re putting in the miles.

In fact there’s so much music to get through it’s a bit overwhelming, so to help you out our resident DJ has put together a list of our top 10 running albums of the decade (in no particular order). Enjoy!

Frank Ocean – Blonde (2016)

A beautifully stripped back album, leaving only what’s necessary as a hazy backing to the hypnotic vocal performance. It’s an album you can really sink into, transporting you away from those tough middle miles into Frank Ocean’s confusing, messy and poetic world.

A Great companion for your recovery run.

Weezer – Weezer (aka. The White Album) (2016)

Their 4th self-titled effort, and 10th studio album is an upbeat surfer-punk offering. Rivers Cuomo’s lyrics offer an always entertaining and thought-provoking respite from thinking about how far you’ve got left to run and the pop-rock-punk-beach bum guitar lines will keep your feet happily dancing along.

One for the tempo run for sure.

Original Broadway Cast – Hamilton (original Broadway Cast Recordings) (2015)

A bit of a cheat as it’s not really an album as such. If you haven’t seen Hamilton, go and see it, seriously. If you haven’t heard of Hamilton…well you’ve clearly never had a conversation with me longer than 2 minutes because I will work it in somehow. I. Love. It.

It’s hard to believe that a hip-hop musical about one of the founding fathers would be so good but it really is excellent, and pretty much all of it is covered in the songs which is a big plus for those who want to listen to the soundtrack and still have a full picture of the plot.

There’s some upbeat bangers, high tempo crushing tunes, and emotive love songs. Also it’s around two and a half hours long so a great option for those who want something to pay attention to on the weekend run.

Arctic Monkeys – AM (2013)

I remember when I first heard “I Bet That You Look Good On The Dancefloor”. I liked it. It packed a punch for an indie song. If it came on in a club (and boy, did it come on in the clubs), I’d enjoy it. Other than that though I didn’t have much interest in Arctic Monkeys, I filed them away in the “bands I could listen to but wouldn’t go out of my way to put on”.

That was until AM came out. This album is banger, after banger, after banger. The opening riff of “Do I Wanna Know” sets the scene perfectly for the upcoming 42 minutes, showcasing the band as a totally new entity. It’s got the same high energy as their debut single, but with more focus, drive and a even a bit more energy for good measure.

This is one of my go to albums for my high effort, shorter runs.

 

Kano – Made in the Manor (2016)

The 2010’s was the decade of grime in the UK. Stormzy, Skepta, Dizzee and Wiley all releasing what will go down as classic albums of our generation. They’re all brilliant but Made in the Manor holds the championship belt for me.

It’s the kind of album that someone who doesn’t like grime would listen to and think it’s amazing.  It’s also the kind of album that someone who has been into grime from the early days will listen to and think the same.

“Hail”, “This Is England”, “Garage Skank” are just a few of the high tempo, driving songs to keep the heartrate up while “Lil Sis”, “T-Shirt Weather in the Manor” and “Deep Blues” are there to keep you in check.

A solid all-rounder – I listened to this on every run I went on for about 4 months.

Emperor of Sand – Mastodon (2017)

A galloping, hard yet melodic, 50 minutes. This is arguably one of Mastodon’s more commercially tuned albums which is what makes it a perfect running album when you want a bit of intensity but also something that, at times, is borderline danceable.

It’s a bit less technical than other albums found in this sub-genre of metal, but once again this is what makes it a good album to run to, the time signatures don’t require as much concentration and allows your cadence to run perfectly with the songs.

This is a good album for speed sessions & intervals, where intensity is key.

Shura – Nothing’s Real (2016)

A super fun pop album – there are notes of psychedelia, indie and disco in this very well constructed album, culminating in a group of songs which are listenable to repeatedly without getting boring.

The lyrics are clever and emotive if you’re looking for something to focus on, but if you’re just putting on music for background then you’re still in for one hell of a treat with this 80’s/scandi inspired LP.

Lizzo – Cuz I Love You (2019)

One of my favourite albums of this year (potentially my favourite). In a digital age where online presence and acceptance are riches many of us strive to attain at the expense of our own sanity and sometimes health (looking at you – “influencers” flogging your weight-loss tea that makes you shit yourself), Lizzo’s jazz & funk enfused pop album tackles the subject of self-love in an incredibly sincere and moving manner.

It helps that every song on the album is flawless in its production and delivery. “Juice” is an upbeat romp of a tune long guaranteed to get you moving and keep you there and you’ll do it with a smile on your face. This is a great album to put on when you’re not really feeling up for it.

The Strokes – Angles (2011)

A garage-indie album with pared back guitars and drums, and vocals that are typical of the Strokes frontman Julian Casablancas, effortlessly cool. After a five year hiatus from the band this album arrived to remind us all just why the Strokes are so good.

The drum lines in this album are driving and ever present, which makes it a perfect training partner for the runs where you just need to keep moving forwards. It’s upbeat, warm, and a thoroughly enjoyable listen.

A Tribe Called Quest – We Got It From Here…Thank You 4 Your Service (2016)

The thing I love most about this album is that it arrived after eighteen years of putting out no music it would have been easy to steal from your back-catalogue, re-hash, re-record and send it out into the world (to be fair I would have still loved it).

This album is so far from that, it’s a collection of fresh, impressive tunes remaining in line with Tribe’s classic style: bottom heavy beats and an intoxicating lyrical flow.

This album is bang on an hour long and perfect to queue up as part of your long run playlist.


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