Let the memory of our horrific winter and soggy spring fade from your memory: summer has arrived. Inseparable from this, the happiest of seasons, is the necessity of bare skin to welcome the rays and vent the sweat and -- oof -- hit the beach. Are you ready for it?
Yeah, didn't think so. And neither are we, which is why we've gone to great lengths, alongside our friends at Spotify and The Echo Nest, to bring you the ultimate collection of music to exercise your -- our -- atrophied pecs and tris and obliques (those are a thing, right?) in order to blast out a beach bod for the ages and put to rest that hibernating bear, for now at least.
In order to put this list together, we at Billboard asked Spotify and their data science wing the Echo Nest to poll their 40 million users, and the one-and-a-half billion playlists those users have created, to generate the top songs people place in their exercise-related digital mixtapes.
Across the various criteria we gave Spotify's team -- running, cycling, weightlifting, crossfit, yoga, the gym, and tae bo, (no judgments, here) -- we have a playlist for each waiting in the wings. Here, we're showing off the top 25 songs across all of that music.
The results are an accurate cross-section of the music that may come to mind when you think of hitting it hard -- "Let the Bodies Hit the Floor," anyone? "Bulls On Parade," of course. Metallica, naturally. But also some less predictable choices from the data pool: Dropkick Murphys' "I'm Shipping Up to Boston," made famous by the soundtrack to Martin Scorsese's "The Departed," as well as Kanye's mega-politik "Black Skinhead." Ok, maybe "Black Skinhead" makes sense, considering it starts off with the sound of someone obviously straining on a stairmaster.
We hope you find these lists useful as you chase your fitness goals, or at least psych yourself up to plan on chasing them. We're totally hitting the gym. Tomorrrow.
Below, you’ll see a beautiful breakdown of the many characteristics underlying the music that we and Spotify found to be your favorite to sweat to. From the different songs’ loudnesses, energy levels, tempos and their general danceability to each type of exercise’s most-liked genre to the sweatiest genres overall (yeah, it’s hip hop).