Top 5 Guilty Pleasures On Your Gym Playlist [FaN Extra]
Being a white male with the figure of a three-day-old hard boiled egg I had no use for dance music of any kind and thus dubbed it all “crap.”
Now that I spend so much of my time on a treadmill (humble brag alert unless you’ve seen a picture of me) it turns out that Tom Waits doesn’t keep my thighs pumping (I apologize for the image). No, I need something with a quick tempo, a simple melody and preferably, over-produced harmonies.
This isn’t necessarily true for lifting weights, any ol’ angry, screaming group like Strike Anywhere, Red City Radio or Polar Bear Club will do. For cardio though, I’ve found myself turning to music I would never listen to in the car, while I’m writing or anywhere else.
Music like the five on this list.
Below are the top five guilty pleasures (which is really just a shorthand for “songs I don’t want to take shit for liking”) on my gym playlist.
Go ahead and laugh, but what’s on yours?
1. Rihanna – We Found Love
I downloaded this song at 3am to keep a party going after a friend suggested it. She realized my iTunes collection was sorely lacking in what would be called “party music.”
Everything about it suggests something I’d instantly turn off. The beat is simple enough to make Fat Boy Slim roll his eyes. The lyrics are trite and simplistic. It really only does two things and yet, I spin this puppy at least once every three days.
I’ve tried other Rihanna songs hoping to duplicate the adrenaline rush this one provides but alas, nothing. What is it about this one? You would think with the amount of sweat I manufacture, Umbrella would be the…watch the shirt, I was leaving anyway.
2. Kelly Clarkson – Because Of You
I HATED this song when it first came out. HATED it. One night my wife was listening to it while doing homework (grad school jerks) and I secretly decided to give it a shot. Sadly, it really works.
The chorus is just big enough to push me through. Normally swelling strings in a pop song like this is a shortcut to emotional resonance and here it totally is…and that’s okay.
When I’m trying my best not to collapse, jettisoning myself into the front of the person behind me, I don’t need to connect with a song on a deeper level. Synthetic emotional weight is good enough for me.
No Kelly, because of you.
3. B.o.B. – Airplanes
This song is dumb. The opening piano riff sounds like it’s going into that Backstreet Boy snoozer I Want It That Way. The rhymes are barely acceptable for anyone calling themselves a rapper and Hayley Williams mails in her chorus contribution.
But damned if B.o.B.’s travelogue meets bad high school poetry doesn’t work under the right circumstances. Those circumstances happen to be when there’s very little oxygen in my brain but I’ll take it.
4. All American Rejects – Move Along
The vocals here approach annoying and the second half of the chorus makes me want to yell, “Come on, come on, love me for the money, Come on, Come on, listen to the money talk!” but Move Along succeeds in moving me along so I play it often.
Is it the on-the-nose pleading? The encouraging, “you can do it” vibe? Nope, it’s the silly choral arrangement in the bridge. I am such a friggin’ sucker for that (see: The Killers – All These Things That I’ve Done).
5. Blink 182 – Feelin’ This
This one isn’t fair because I actually kind of love this song. It’s a guilty pleasure because the lyrics are so goddamned awful, so absurdly embarrassing that I refuse to sing the verses to myself.
But the chorus. Oh sweet Brain Candy Jesus the chorus makes me so happy. I couldn’t give a rotten fur-matted feline hairball for anything else in the Blink 182 catalogue but Feelin’ This is one of those rare pop miracles like Brittany Spears’ Toxic that blends delicious confectionary melodies with inventive production.
If you see me working out, there’s a very good chance I’ll be mouthing, “Things fell short this time, your smile fades in the summer.”
So now that I’ve spilled my auditory guts, spill yours. What guilty pleasures are you secretly spin on your gym playlist?