Daily* Deep Track: Air “How Does It Make You Feel”

Four years ago, I walked into a gym for a first time. I felt out of shape and out of sorts and really felt that getting more fit would help my morale, not to mention help in my desire to run my first-ever 5K. I was making decent progress, ran my first couple of 5Ks, and then the inevitable happened: Winter, and my crazy double-duty work schedule.

Fast forward four years: I’ve run a few 5Ks, even two 10Ks, and in the past two years I’ve run those 10Ks mostly right “out of the box,” with minimal training and maximum willpower. Of course, it showed in the time: a few minutes over an hour each time. I really hope to shatter the one-hour barrier when I run the Beach to Beacon this August. After my poor showing at this past Saturday’s Hard Cider Run 5K in Portland (bad race, good Urban Farm Fermentory cider at the end), I knew it had to be done: I had to get back into a gym groove. Now, I could have been all dramatic, walking into the gym with my race bib and my cheesy “everyone gets a trophy” medal, plunking down my debit card, saying “hit me.” Nah, I gave it a couple of days, decided this is something I definitely want to do, and lo and behold, I’ve become a Planet Fitness lemming.

Today was my first time back in a gym in nearly two years. It was a “get a feel for it” workout, if anything. A little stretching, a little balance work, working with some small-ish weights for a while, and then getting a good half hour on the treadmill (okay, 23 minutes.) It was important to ease into things so that meant the earbuds had to have airsomething to suit that approach: I popped on Air’s 2001 “10000 Hz Legend” album.

It’s widely agreed that Air’s “Moon Safari” is their masterpiece; of all the Air albums I’ve listened to, I’d have to agree. I’d put “10000 Hz Legend” down as a close second. It came out in 2001, a year when, I didn’t find a whole lot of new music that excited me. “10000 Hz Legend” had plenty of those Air trademarks, washes of analog keyboards, vocoders, occasional guest vocalists and languid beats. Where “Moon Safari” truly floated, “10000 Hz Legend” has a slightly darker hue overall, with a touch of tongue-in-cheek humor, as evidenced on “How Does It Make You Feel.”

My mind often drifts back to the summer of 2001 when I hear “How Does It Make You Feel.” I barely lived paycheck to paycheck, and looking back, I enjoyed most every minute of it. It was my second full year in the radio business, I was the afternoon drive guy and music director at Q106 in Claremont, New Hampshire, and I had just launched my deep-cuts show called “Beyond and Before,” which lasted through my entire tenure at the station. I was driving a beat up old Oldsmobile. My sound system consisted of a Discman with a cassette-player adapter.  I didn’t have a mini-beer gut yet. Late that summer I fell in love like I had never done so before (that torrid romance lasted two months and change). I didn’t realize it at the time, but life was pretty good, and outside of figuring out which bill to pay which month, life was pretty footloose and fancy free. “10000 Hz Legend” was my chill-out album of choice that summer.

Would I go back given the chance? Nah. I prefer the sound system in (and reliability of) my new-ish Subaru over the whole Discman getup. I’m a bit wiser to most things. I make better facial hair decisions (usually). I’ve had enough tenure to get four weeks of vacation per annum. And I’d much rather listen to “10000 Hz Legend” on a treadmill in Portland, Maine than in a little leaky-ceiling shoebox apartment in Lebanon, New Hampshire.

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