If you’re all about music discovery then this article will be a roller coaster ride for you. This month Jennifer, Bill Pierce, and I put together songs that we thought fell into the “weird zone.” What’s that? Well, after seeing the collection we put together, it’s fair to say that it was either the lyrics or the sounds that got them here. I was happily surprised that there was a lot of overlap between our choices too. Not sure what that says about us…perhaps we’re a little more crazy than we thought!
How would you use these songs? Well, it depends on your own personality and, of course, your audience, but there are times when you want to add a little levity to a profile or just remind your riders that you have a goofy side. Throw just one track in, or try linking several together for a segment of goofy songs.
While I am guessing that most of you will just use a few of these songs here and there, I am hoping someone has the guts and creativity to put together an entire profile from this playlist of whimsical tunes. If you do, make sure you send it to us.
Here are some ideas for a profile name:
- Comical Climbs
- Silly Drills
- Wicked and Weird (see the song below)
- Whimsical Intervals
- Irreverent Intervals
- Drills and Giggles
- Lather, Laugh, Repeat or Laughter, Rinse, Repeat (A play on the “Lather, Rinse, Repeat” interval profile. Make all the recoveries humorous songs.
Or, maybe for a few weeks or months in the summer, you devote one day a week with a promise to have a few batty songs to keep everyone entertained. Here are some names for a weekly class devoted to being a bit silly:
- Weird-ass Wednesday (We’re partial to this one!)
- Whimsical Wednesday
- Funny Friday
- Silly Saturday
- Trashy Tuesday
- Make-You-Laugh Monday
As usual, we love to hear your suggestions in the comments. Not just weird songs, but profile or class names too.
Also, a warning: Make sure to listen to all the lyrics before you play one of these songs in your class to make sure they pass your personal (or club’s) explicit test! Sometimes the reason these songs are weird is that they are so irreverent.
Here are some of our favorites in no particular order. For the full Spotify list please scroll to the bottom of the article.
Artist: Buck 65
Song: Wicked and Weird
Album: Talkin’ Honky Blues
This track certainly highlights the theme—in fact, it can serve as the namesake of your weird music profile. Use it for some wicked high-cadence efforts to 107 rpm. Surge against a resistance for 30 or 40 seconds, then take a break (about the same length) before doing it again. Repeat throughout the song.
I’m not sure why Buck 65 isn’t more well-known…this song is awesome! It would also be a good track for a Route 66 or automobile theme ride.
Artist: Roisin Murphy
Song: Ramalama (Bang Bang)
Album: Ruby Blue
This is hands-down my favorite song to play around Halloween. Although there is nothing spooky about it, the sound is AMAZING. In an interview, Murphy refers to this song as “very avant-garde-something, nonsensical, and unusual.” The chorus uses onomatopoeia and plays on a hard tribal drumbeat. When I first played this song, I had a few students come up to me after class and ask to play it more often. Definitely check this one out.
Artist: DJ Shadow
Song: Mashin’ On The Motorway
Album: The Private Press
I initially used this song in my Intervals From Obstacles profile, which featured songs containing embedded sound effects causing riders to speed up. “Mashin’ On The Motorway” takes riders onto a road that’s heavily trafficked. The drivers become enraged with the cyclists, getting angry, driving crazier, and causing the cyclists to ride faster to avoid an accident. Ultimately it ends in a crash, which enables a recovery after going breathless, either from the high intensity of the interval or the stress caused by riding through traffic. Caution: The angry drivers scream explicit words that may offend some people.
Artist: Janelle Monae
Song: Make Me Feel
Album: Dirty Computer
Any song that can take a person clicking their tongue and turn it into a beat that resonates throughout the whole track definitely makes my list. While I don’t think it’s weird—I typically like world music and this has a hint of an African vibe to it—it’s not your normal top 40 song. Before Prince passed away, he collaborated with Monae and you can definitely hear it on this track. If you decide to do an entire weird music profile you might want to kick it off with this one as it’s a good way to dip riders’ toes into the water.
If you’ve followed any of my music posts, you’ll notice my choice in music is all over the place. One genre I haven’t highlighted too much is punk, especially female punk. Well, say hello to Le Tigre. They pull lyrics from a famous doo-wop song,”Who Put the Bomp (in the Bomp, Bomp, Bomp)” by Barry Mann, add in their own nonsense, and turn it into an energized punk song. But beware, there are lots of curses in this one, although they’re hidden fairly well so you might be able to get away with playing this track since most people won’t be familiar with the lyrics.
Artist: The Mathematicians
Album: Level Two
The Mathematicians were a quirky group from upstate NY, and all their songs had to do with math and were surprisingly good and witty. I typically throw a few of their songs on around Pi Day as it seems apropos. What I especially like about this song is it starts off mellow with a train whistle then quickly picks up for a fast working flat. You can ride the highs and lows of the tempos for rolling hills or accelerations where you push a faster cadence (5–10 more rpm) during specific sections of the song at the same resistance.
Artist: Alabama 3
Song: Ain’t Going to Goa
Album: Exhile on Coldharbour Lane
We all could use some consciousness expansion, right? All I can say is the lyrics of this song are some of the funniest I’ve ever heard—and it’s got a great rhythm to boot. It makes for a good recovery or moderate-intensity flat road at 88 rpm; that way you can listen to the lyrics and chuckle. You might even title your profile “Consciousness Expansion.”
If you are unfamiliar with Goa, you may not understand the humor behind the lyrics. Goa is a state in India that is known for its beaches and music. In the 1960s and 1970s it was known as the hippie capital, but since the 1990s it’s become a popular electronic music rave scene. There is even a sub-genre of electronic music called Goa Trance, made popular by Paul Oakenfold. They are mocking the drug-filled consciousness expansion of the hippie years!
If you haven’t listened to Alabama 3 before (you’ll also see them called A3), they have a lot of funny lyrics in many of their songs; you’ll even hear remnants of this song in other tracks.
Artist: Does It Offend You, Yeah?
Song: Attack Of The 60 Ft. Lesbian Octopus
Album: You Have No Idea What You’re Getting Yourself Into
As weird as the title is, the song is even more bizarre. It sounds like it’s taken from a cartoon. Its quick pace and short duration make this track great to use for a surge or a sprint. You can imagine being chased by Bugs Bunny or the Road Runner throughout the song.
Artist: Le Tigre
Album: The Punk Singer (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)
Artist: Nadia Rose
I posted this song before as a Mainstream Music Monday. You can read about what I do to this song on that post. When I play this song in my class, I repeat “Here kitty kitty, come hither” in her same voice and never fail to get some laughs. I’ll even repeat it later in the ride! All my riders know I’m a crazy cat lady so it fits me perfectly. Make sure to add it to your animal theme-ride playlist as well.
Artist: Macklemore & Ryan Lewis
Song: Thrift Shop (feat. Wanz)
Album: The Heist
How about a theme ride on shopping? Make sure to include this one! Use this song as a moderate flat road leading to or in between harder climbs or drills. All you need to know is this is f***ing awesome! (Note: The Spotify version is clean, the YouTube one is not.)
Don’t miss the parody of this song where some university physiology students replaced the lyrics with the steps of the Krebs Cycle. We posted this on ICA back in 2013. You’ll never think of the Krebs Cycle (or this song) in the same way again!
Artist: The Avalanches
Song: Frankie Sinatra
The Avalanches are known for two things: their painstaking crafting of songs from samples and their sense of humor. They took 16 years between albums to listen to hundreds of thousands of songs in order to select thousands to use on their second album. “Frankie Sinatra” was the first single from the album and always brings a smile to my riders’ faces. I use it as a high Zone 2 flat to extend the warm-up or a Zone 3 flat as part of a sweet-spot interval. In the ride introduction, I’ll ask if they’d like to hear some Frank Sinatra. When this song comes on instead of Old Blue Eyes, they are both shocked and amused. Other Avalanches songs that are funny and expertly crafted from samples include “Frontier Psychiatrist,” “The Hungry Eater,” and “Since I Left You.”
Check out the rest of our suggestions on the Spotify playlist below.