They say 80 percent of life is showing up, and about 80 percent of a good workout is a good playlist. Walt Hickey of FiveThirtyEight (who previously brought us the ultimate wedding reception playlist) recently put together the "Ultimate Workout Playlist," composed of 200 songs to blast as you work hard sweating it out.
To narrow down the big wide world of workout jams, Hickey consulted data from music streaming service Spotify. The company sent him playlists with “workout” in the title, and Hickey then curated even further by eliminating ones with less than an hour of music (therefore likely incomplete) and ones that weren’t played at least once a week but their creator.
With those filters in place, the top five workout songs are: “Panda” by Desiigner, “‘Til I Collapse” by Eminem, “One Dance” by Drake, “Jumpman” by Drake, and “Power” by Kanye West. The most common artists are Drake, Kanye West, Eminem, Jay Z, and Rihanna.
If you’re looking at that list and feeling like there sure are a lot of recent songs on the “ultimate”—and therefore presumably exhaustive—workout playlist, Hickey covered that too. He notes that many of the most popular songs on workout playlists are simply popular overall, and are present on all types of playlists.
To work around that, he also created a list of the songs that most disproportionately appear on workout playlists. That top five looks quite a bit different: “In My Room” by Yellow Claw (feat. Ty Dolla $ign & Tyga), “Bet You Can’t Do It Like Me” by DLOW, “Mmm Yeah” by Austin Mahone, “Revolution” by Diplo (feat. Faustix, Imanos & Kai), and “Catch Me” by Yellow Claw (feat. Naaz).
While the lists are predominantly composed of hip-hop and pop, their main unifier is their BPM, most commonly right around 130. That’s something to keep in mind if you’re ever trying to compose the next big pump-up anthem.
To see all 200 tracks on the ultimate exercise playlist, visit FiveThirtyEight.
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