Staff Picks: Power Songs for Marathons and Beyond

Bryan Parys
April 12, 2019

Inspired by the Boston Marathon, the External Affairs team shares the songs that help them dig deep, from Beyoncé to Bruce Springsteen.

Album art from the Marathon Monday playlist

Born to run? Even if you don't own a pair of running shoes (confession: I don't), we all have those moments in the middle of a challenge where we need to reenergize, gather focus, and power through. In this playlist, the External Affairs staff digs deep into the songs that give them the boost they need to keep running, finish a work project, or just generally feel like a boss.

1. "Get It Together," Drake, Black Coffee, Jorja Smith

Chosen by Harshetha Girish, visual designer:

"This song is completely driven by its lounging jazz piano and dancehall rhythms. Not sure how you'd actually categorize this song—a motivational power love duet? The song's lyrics clearly speak of a more romantic aspect, but the rhythm is so groovy that it's truly motivational."

2. "B.O.B.," OutKast

Chosen by Nick Balkin, director, Editorial Services:

"Rocketing out of the gate at a brisk 150 beats per minute, this genre-bending hip-hop classic is the aural equivalent of a high-speed chase scene. It sounds just as vital and exhilarating today as it did when it dropped nearly 20 years ago."

3. "Sing for the Moment," Eminem

Chosen by Michelle Parkos, lead graphic designer, Boston Conservatory at Berklee

4. "Violet," Hole

Chosen by Katie DePasquale, proofing services administrator/communications copy editor:

"No one does conflicted rage and on-key screaming like Courtney Love. Plus, you can scream along, if it helps keep you motivated."

5. "The New Year," Death Cab for Cutie

Chosen by Kevin Levesque, associate director, Design Services

6. "KC Accidental," Broken Social Scene

Chosen by John Mirisola, communications manager:

"About a third of a way into a long bike ride, this song tends to pop into my head, and I'll use it to keep a rhythm for the rest of the ride. It's got a guitar melody you can get lost in for miles, but also plenty of dips and swells to keep things interesting."

7. "Bleeding Out," The Lone Bellow

Chosen by Bob Melvin, senior software architect and lead developer

8. "Priestess," Pumarosa

Chosen by Sophie Innerfield, director, curriculum management, Academic Affairs

"This incredible song helped me get through the most difficult part of labor during the birth of my second daughter. The songwriter wrote this as a love song to her sister, which made it even more meaningful in my case; I felt very spiritually intertwined with the music and lyrics. I still listen to it whenever I need a boost!"

9. "Django," Brutus

Chosen by Bryan Parys, senior communications manager:

"Drummer and lead singer Stefanie Mannearts enters this song screaming, so it's hard to believe there's anywhere else to go after that. I know the feeling well—starting strong, but soon doubting I'll be able to make that final push. That's why 'Django' works so well for powering up—toward the end of the song, she harmonizes with her yelps, combining the primal with the beautiful, and ends the song somehow stronger than how it started."

10. "Night of the Living Baseheads," Public Enemy

Chosen by Margot Edwards, associate director, Media Relations:

“Once I decided to choose something from this album, it became a tough decision! One of the many, bombastic, in-your-face songs from PE’s seminal album It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back by a group on fire, demanding to be heard."

11. "Crazy in Love," Beyoncé

Chosen by Jonathan Foo, marketing manager, Berklee Presents:

"Because everyone needs a Beyoncé anthem." (Ain't it the truth, Jonathan. Ain't it the truth.)

12. "This Is Me," Keala Settle, Kesha, and Missy Elliott (from The Greatest Showman soundtrack)

Chosen by Colette Greenstein, publicist

13. "Magenta," DEQN SUE

Chosen by Sarah Riggs, director of communications, Marketing and Communications:

"Any attempt to describe this song's magic will fall woefully short, so I'll just say this: I played this song about 30 times in a row the first day I heard it. Give it a listen whenever you need to power up."

14. "Can't Hold Us," Macklemore and Ryan Lewis

Chosen by Katie Gibson, communications manager:

"My absolute favorite for pushing through a tough workout or the end of a hard run."

15. "Just like Fire," P!nk

Chosen by Jen Shanley, assistant director, Design Services:

"For me, running is where I have all the arguments that I can’t actually have in person. These songs usually just makes me feel strong, like I’m winning the fight."

16. "Golden Brown," The Stranglers

Chosen by Kimberly Mathews, director, Digital Strategy:

"I wanted to pick a Tool song, but apparently they are not on Spotify, so I'm going a different direction. When it comes to finishing the last leg of a long run, this Stranglers's song's tempo is perfectly matched to my (ideal) running cadence. If my feet are starting to drag, I put this on, and fall into step. I stop thinking about how terrible I feel, and get carried forward by the song."

17. "Born to Run," Bruce Springsteen

Chosen by Magen Tracy, director of digital marketing and audience development

Related categories: