Swimming in Music
Few things in God’s big beautiful world can claim the soft spot that music holds in our lives. Our feelings, thoughts, moods and emotions are reflected in the music we listen to and in it, the beauty of the world is made apparent. Notes, voices and instrumentation of music, even in a foreign language will move you and carry you into a certain mood. In June, we celebrated World Music Day- Fete de la Musique- a day dedicated to celebrating music in all forms that impact the human essence.
There is something about your favorite track that fills your mind, moves the body and feeds your spirit when it comes on. Music is definitely part of your daily life whether swimmer, non-swimmer, fitness enthusiast or couch potato. Developments in tech have brought us swimmers waterproof earphones and you can jam to your favorite playlist while swimming.
To celebrate this day, we created a playlist with songs about swimming and water for you. The list is of course very shallow, and only explores an iota of the music available. Some songs miss out of the playlist as they might be too old, out of genres we don’t listen to, or the lyrics are either too politically incorrect or outright shady. Otherwise, the niko maji kama ile swimming pool line would top the list, as would uninyunyizie maji. The list is presented in no particular order.
- Swimming Pools-Kendrick Lamar
You know I had to start with this one. Off Good Kid Maad City, probably the best of Kendrick’s albums, the song’s chorus features a recollection about a friend who challenged Kendrick to turn it up a notch-stop babysitting his two shots and go to the pool full of liquor where they should dive in. The song offers insight into the struggles of Kendrick with alcoholism and is delivered with great poetry and flow.
- Waterfalls- TLC
The harmonics, instrumentation and production of waterfalls make it one of the best songs from the TLC trio. Probably a far-fetch in relation to swimming, this girl-group relates wisdom in their song that remains with me to this day. ‘Don’t go chasing waterfalls, rather stick to the rivers and the lakes that you’re used to’. For me, chasing waterfalls translates to chewing more than you can bite, or engaging in side-shows and non-issues, especially in business. While we all jam to this song in clubs and events, the lyrics are actually pretty dark, covering life and death, HIV, chances and even faith.
- Swim Good-Frank Ocean
For someone whose last name is ocean, we should really demand more lyrics about water and swimming from this man. Swim good is a song on pain, guilt and ambition delivered in the excellence of Frank Ocean’s vocals and contemporary R&B styling. When Ocean says swimming for something bigger than me, in my mind I’m kicking off my shoes and getting into my swimsuit, ready to hit the water.
- Cold- Maroon 5 ft. Future
Unless you have a heated pool or live at the coast where the water is ever warm, you always want to talk to the pool and ask “I don’t understand why you so cold to me” anytime you enter into cold water. Although the song is- again- completely unrelated to swimming, its popularity is undisputable. The video features Maroon 5’s Adam Levine who took a pill (in a house party not in Ibiza) and hallucinated all the way till he finds himself home. Surprisingly, he doesn’t forget the milk his wife insisted on- although the fridge was full of milk. Ultimately, the song represents this fusion of genres with some excellent production that reeks genius.
- Finesse- Bruno Mars (remix ft. Cardi B.)
Dripping in finesse is just one of those songs that remind you why Bruno Mars is up there with the greats. The beat, rhythm and mood in the song is just that of show-offy triumph, which is what you and me need once we have hit that goal we set. It could be learning how to float, how to breathe, getting over your fear and booking lessons (with us preferably), or any other goal you want to achieve. If you’re like me, you’ll want to appreciate the finesse dripping off you and celebrate how you can move like Jagger.
- Summertime- Vybz Kartel
No pool party is complete without this banger from incarcerated Jamaican dancehall star Vybz Kartel. Anytime the ‘Every massive haffi come along, go fi ya sun tan inna di summer sun’ comes along, you cannot help but feel the summer vibe. While summer is more than just swimming, it is an opportunity to enjoy warm water and get over these wintery July weather of Nairobi. Popcaan’s Ravin and Party Shot also in the same summertime riddim are also massive summer jams. On that riddim vibe too, Beenie Man’s Let’s Go deserves to be on this list.
- Swimming home- Evanescence
You can tell it’s a sad song about the afterlife from the title. That’s why I have only listened to it twice and don’t understand what it means.
- Feel Me Flow- Naughty by Nature
If rap should represent rhythm and poetry, Feel me flow is one of the smoothest rap songs out here. As a swimmer, a nice free flow when stretched and streamlined compares easily to the skill in the song. The tune features masterful language and technique that bids you to holla at me if you feel me flow- and also if you need swimming lessons.
- Flow- Sade Adu
From her 2000 album Lover’s Rock, Flow is one of the first jazz tracks I ever listened to and I have since fallen in love with Sade, her masterclass and the angelic voice that you don’t want to leave you. Even if the song never had any allusions to rivers, the sea or waves, it would still qualify for this list; it is such beautiful music.
Snoop’s I can’t swim, Ludacris’ Splash Waterfalls and Swim by Chase Atlantic qualify for this list but are too dirty for the editor’s liking. Please help me grow the playlist by adding music you believe should be in this list below.
- Chun Li- Nicki Minaj
I should have started with this one but I just didn’t think of it. Nicki starts of by going for swim, just the type of psyche we swimmers are looking for. Although I hardly relate with new Nicki, Chun Li might have changed that.