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16 Modern Rock Songs to Add to Your Ultimate Running Playlist

A Compilation of Tracks to Company a Perfect Run

Foo Fighters (© Brantley Gutierrez)

We’ve all been there—stuck at the gym having to listen to the same selection of songs some suit in a head office has approved for revenue. Or worse, outside and facing the rest of a route with not much to listen to but familiar tunes that just aren’t cutting it anymore. As a big runner myself, I owe so much to these songs for their existence. Collectively, these are the tracks that have stayed with me though the years, never failing to keep me going through the rough and hard times. If you’re in need of some solid rock anthems for company while you run, you might want to consider adding these to your running playlist today.

1. "Monkey Wrench" by Foo Fighters

Let’s start with a classic. Not only has ‘Monkey Wrench’ got it a nice fast tempo (174bpm) to move with, but it also has relentless energy throughout. Dave Grohl’s vocal performance takes you on a journey that ends with a final chorus that’s enough to break any mental wall you might have to overcome.

2. "Pretty" by Don Broco

Quite frankly, anything from their Technology album would suffice, but it’s that riff that follows the “eight days a week,” mantra that secures the song's spot in this list. The track has a constant rhythm that will keep you going from start to finish. 

3. "Whiskey in the Jar" by Metallica

James Hetfield and Kirk Hammett (© Metallica) 

Here’s another band with a plethora of songs that could’ve easily fit this playlist. I’ve opted for their cover of a Thin Lizzy classic. It respectfully pays homage to the original, making it a little heavier by supplementing that legendary riff with one much beefier.

4. "Uma Thurman" by Fall Out Boy

A track about one of the most badass woman in film set to the theme tune from The Munsters—what’s not to love? It’s a song that almost teeters away from the rock genre here, but for what it is and not what it isn't, the track deserves a spot in this playlist.

5. "Somewhere I Belong" by Linkin Park

It is undeniable that Nu-Metal left a dent in rock history during it’s short-lived takeover in the pop charts. I’ve opted for the lighter side of the sub-genre, one that gives a little rap in return. But don't be fooled, once you hear those dense layers of guitar kick in, you'll understand exactly why this one's been brought along for the run.

6. "Sabotage" by Cancer Bats

Cancer Bats (© Tim Whitby)

Although the Beastie Boy's original would also work here, there’s a good reason I’ve selected this cover. The snarls of singer Liam Cormier provide enough bite to shake you from the worst of funks. It’s a song that really brings with it a rush of adrenaline. It demands your attention, it’s alarming, and frankly it’s a little frightening.

7. "The Hand That Feeds" by Nine Inch Nails

Here's another track that blends genre, and if I’m going to choose any electronic rock song for this playlist I need not look any further than this one. It’s a nice balanced track with an industrial rhythm—a good song to drop into the middle of your playlist to keep you comfortably ticking over. 

8. "Sleep Now in the Fire" by Rage Against the Machine

Why not burn some calories while thinking about the gross injustice of our western capitalist system that allows corrupt politicians and the corporate elite of the world to get away with exploiting the working class for their own financial gains? Oh, and it's got a great riff.

9. "Devil in a Midnight Mass" by Billy Talent

Billy Talent (© Canvas Media)

An absolute belter of a track from—in my opinion—a truly underrated band. This is always a welcome addition in any run. The guitar work of Ian D'Sa alone is enough to keep you motivated.

10. "L.A. Devotee" by Panic! at the Disco

We’ve gone a bit dark, so it’s only right to throw in a little light. This song has a solid arrangement that provides comfort in its predictability. It’s even got a key change in the last chorus, which delivers a nice boost when in need of one.

11. "Ignorance" by Paramore

If we can stay near the pop genre for just one more, I’d like to recommend this track. A seemingly innocent pick from a mid-point in the band’s career with a hell of a lot of drive. Drummer Zac Farro never actually demands your attention, but—through smart beats and fills—requires it nonetheless.  

12. "Before I Forget" by Slipknot

Corey Taylor (© Deposit Photos)

If we’re going to go back to heavy we might as well go this heavy. "Before I Forget" is my go-to track whenever I’m feeling stuck in a slump. I typically place it in the latter half of my playlists, so that it comes right in when I need a good pick-me-up.

13. "Losing My Religion" by Scary Kids Scaring Kids

By now you may have realised I’m quite fond of a cover song. This interpretation of an R.E.M. classic has a faster beat, rawer vocals and even some synth. What more could you possibly want?

14. "All I Want" A Day to Remember

As with so many of the bands on this playlist, it’s hard to narrow down just one song to represent a wealth of material that’s great to run too. "All I Want" is one of A Day to Remember’s most staple tracks, but consider it merely a jumping off point into an impressive back-catalog.

15. "I Was A Teenage Anarchist"

Against Me! (© Jason Thrasher)

“Do you remember when you were young and wanted to set the world on fire?” asks Laura Jane Grace in this song’s chorus. There’s something equally and nostalgic and euphoric about the way that statement is delivered that makes it a perfect running song. It appeases both my mind and my body.

16. "Word Up!" by Korn

Last, but by no means least, is Korn’s take on Cameo’s greatest hit. The original—as fabulous as it is—is unfortunately not the best of tracks to run too. Thankfully, Korn has sorted you out good and proper with this one.

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