High Rotation

Matt Shapiro

We had Molly Seidel lined up to do this month’s installment of High Rotation, but then something went unexpectedly pear-shaped, and we were left high and dry at the eleventh hour. We literally had 24 hours to find a Molly replacement. Good luck, right? Who the hell is gonna drop everything and write about the five records they just can’t live without? I’ll tell you who—Molly Seidel’s boyfriend, the athlete, photographer, and new best human in the world, Matt Shapiro. He saved the day. Thanks, Matt!

Nails - Unsilent Death (2010)

I listen to Nails more than anything else. It gives me serious energy on the bike and the trails when running. I kind of can’t run or ride without it. I don’t follow a training plan, but I’ve found success with going hard when I feel good and backing off when I don’t, and music helps me regulate those days. I have numerous playlists that I use for long efforts, races, big training days, etc., and whenever ‘Lies’ comes on, the hair stands up and we go hard.

Precision Productions - Antilles Riddim: Soca 2012 Trinidad and Tobago Carnival (2012)

All of the songs use the same instrumental base and are made unique by each artist’s vocals. We used to listen to this album nonstop in college, riding bikes, making work in the studio, at parties... It’s all the same but sounds so different. I feel like it influenced so much of my creative journey, and, to this day, it puts me in an instant good mood. A decade ago, Kyle Murphy and I rode brakeless track bikes through Golden Gate Park trails, eating shit the whole way with ‘Bacchanalist’ blasting on our phone speakers, filming for MASH SF, and it’s one of my most cherished memories.

Nickelback - All the Right Reasons (2005)

Nostalgically, Nickelback goes way back to ice hockey practice in elementary school. However, it had the biggest effect on me in recent years. I paced my best friend Logan Williams for his first 100-mile race at the Wasatch 100. I ran with him from mile 70 to the finish, and during that time, he had horrible shin (maybe IT band, I can’t remember) issues, and it ended up being the longest, most formative 50k of my life. At one point in the night, he asked me to play ‘Rockstar’ on my phone for some motivation; he meant the Post Malone version, but I played the Nickelback version and it became a funny song we both shared and would play during races or long efforts to get psyched. I still hate but love the song so much.

Blink 182 - Take Off Your Pants and Jacket (2001)

This was the second CD I ever purchased and it made me who I am today. I still listen to it (and Blink in general) most days. ‘First Date’ is a national treasure. If you didn’t grow up with this album, I feel bad for you.

Eminem - The Eminem Show (2002)

On my 10th birthday, my friend gave me a gift card to a music shop. I went to the store with my mom, and it happened to be the day that The Eminem Show came out. I hadn’t ever bought an album and didn’t know much about music at the time, so when I saw all the posters for The Eminem Show around the store, I just picked that. The guy asked my mom if it was okay, since it had a ‘Parental Advisory’ sticker on it, but she said it was fine. I didn’t know what any of that meant. I played that CD in my gel-green knock-off Walkman for years. I ended up writing my thesis in school about Eminem and this album specifically. I’ll still make the argument that it’s one of the most complex, thoughtful, creative, and influential albums of all time.