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Friday Five: 5 Songs My Gym Made Me Love


It’s usually some warped remix version that plays at the studio I work out at, but then, hey, aren't we all some warped remix version of ourselves when we work out?

I’ve been pretty good about my health these last few months but that means the gym and the people I work out with have had a growing influence not just on what I eat or how I exercise, but also on other aspects of my life. I suppose the instructors are all much more savvy than I am when it comes to contemporary Top 40 tracks, though they tend towards terrible remixes that make me rush home to find out if the real thing is better (spoiler: it usually is).

There are many, many days when I have them to thank for incredibly persistent earworms... and many days when I curse them too.

So here are 5 of of those tracks for you: songs I may never have enjoyed as much had I not sweated it out to them, again and again and again. It’s a weird sort of conditioning, repeatedly exercising to the same music: eventually you get the endorphin release based just on hearing the sounds. Too bad listening to these won't lower your BMI or make your heart stronger. Too damn bad.


The Weeknd - Can’t Feel My Face 

So much MJ. A little bit Prince. So great. Is it about drugs? Cocaine? Is it about love? Is it about way too many manmakers and burpees? All of the above I say, all of the above. This is a great pop song with all sorts of throwback retro disco feelings thanks to that bass line and the generous synth, regardless of what it may be about. The vocals are at times so absurdly Michael Jackson that it makes me want to go straight back to The Way You Make Me Feel. Who else did these little breaths, pants and ooooohs so well other than MJ? No one. And you love it.  

GymPoints score: Low. Cocaine is no way to go if you want longevity or a healthy heart. Tsk. Busting a move MJ style isn’t going to save you, even if you are on fire doing it.   


Jason Derulo - Want to Want Me

A little bit MJ. So much Prince, down to the glamour model love interest, the silken sheets, the bathtub. And that’s just the video. The lyric structure of the song itself is pretty Prince too, with it’s little chronological story about Derulo’s sheets on the floor, keys misplaced, foot out the door, hey, he’s gotta leave, now he’s in a cab, now he’s at her place, oh hey, she’s wearing nothing but a smile. Doesn’t it remind you of Raspberry Beret’s song structure? It’s all very neat and tidy and organised. But sexy. Because why wouldn't that be?

I’ve no idea what Jason Derulo gets up to on the weekends but hey, can we hang out, work out or try on your cool jackets in that little pretty apocalypse of yours?  

GymPoints: High, for that bathroom door ab workout alone. Hashtag couplegoals?


Taylor Swift - Bad Blood  

Look, this may be cheating because it’s not like I didn’t know of this song earlier. Of course I did, I love Tay-Tay. You love Tay-Tay. We’ve talked about this. But had I really focussed on it before it was blaring over my head as I did wobbly lunges? No, I had not because Style and Shake it Off and Blank Space had taken precedent. But pain makes you focus on other things and sometimes those things are Bad Blood.

I can’t say any more about how cool Taylor Swift is or what she has to do to get those legs, and we all already know this is a solid pop song. So instead, here’s a list of people not to have bad blood with: your trainer. Their trainer. Your gym buddies. Your boxing partner. The woman who stands behind you, probably doesn’t really like you and could swing a kettle bell into your head if you side-eyed her form while squatting one day. Don’t snort, we’ve all got one of those.


Walk the Moon - Shut Up & Dance 

What is this thing? Is it alive? Who dragged it’s sorry ass here from the 80s? I hadn’t seen this video until today, I know nothing about this band (do they sound like this all the time?) and I can’t even be bothered to Google them. All I know is, I have been singing the lines ‘We were victims of the night/The chemical, physical, kryptonite’ with complete abandon for far too long.

GymPoints Score: Medium. Useful if you’re in an 80s themed dance class, otherwise sing under your breath & don’t wear a white suit.


Major Lazer feat. MØ & DJ Snake - Lean On 

Wtf, ammiright?! I hadn’t seen the video for this until just now. I’m laughing so much I’m crying. Or maybe I’m just crying. I want to yell cultural appropriation something something but I just can't because it’s so absurd I can’t even take it a tiny bit seriously and imagine it to be harmful in any way. This video is an utter disaster. The song was rejected by Rhianna and Nicki Minaj both, with Danish singer MØ eventually coming in with these very strange, slinky vocals. It’s got a catchy hook but makes it makes little sense to me because what is she saying? ‘Buttkiss, fire guns/ We all need somebody to lean on’? No, really - is it buttkiss?

GymPoints score: -27. I was going to say zero for the frightening video and awful dancing by the band but then I deleted 27 points for that atrocious legs splayed strange partial squat position MØ seems to be in permanently.