It's been a good year for catchy, upbeat workout music thus far, and the potential for new albums (Rihanna! Ariana! Miley??) keeps getting stronger. Now that you've got your best leggings and fun matching sneakers, it's time to really, really embrace those exercise goals and get after a workout. If you don't have a favorite workout or hate physical activity (I get it), these songs are also good for walking, running errands, doing chores, and just generally when you want to CRUSH it, life-wise.
Be sure to check back throughout the year for updates to this list for a let's-do-this vibe that will help you literally tune out everything else.
"Tough Love" - Avicii, feat. Agnes and Vargas & Lagola
The track, which is part of the album TIM to honor Avicii and help complete some of the unfinished work he left behind, is glorious. The song was apparently 80 percent done, and Avicii apparently specified, "This one needs to be a duet. Coolest thing would be a real couple. Or a couple that have worked together enough to be almost considered a couple!" The lyrics are already potent and sweet: "Sweet tough love, you're my pretty good luck charm / There's no place I'd rather be than in your arms." But the musical interlude is what makes it come alive, and reminds us just how talented he was.
"Bury a Friend" - Billie Eilish
I'm sure everyone's tired of hearing by now how amazing Billie Eilish is (she features more than once in our Best Songs of 2019 list), but she more than lives up to the hype, in my opinion. The more obvious choice for this list is her super-popular and fast-tempo "Bad Guy," but don't let the relative quiet of this song fool you. Her whispery sing-songy voice is at odds with the thumping, pulsing beat of her songs, not to mention the dangerous, sharp lyrics. Jenna Dewan proved that the song is totally danceable, so lean into the cool, subversive energy it channels.
"Never Really Over" - Katy Perry
Wow, turns out I really missed a classic Katy Perry tune. This feels the most like the old school, "Part of Me" and "Firework" era, with a ridiculous music video to match. In my opinion, "Never Really Over" could mean that the singer is fully back (it's being billed as her "comeback," even though it didn't really go viral in the way she might have wanted). I want more. Actually, I think we all need more of this, right now—sometimes, all you need is a little happy tune to get you through some of the darkness.
"Before I Let Go" - Beyoncé
Honestly, most of the songs from the Homecoming live album are just phenomenal, but this is the one that has inspired a million gorgeous dancing Instagram videos, thanks to the singer's #BeforeILetGoChallenge. You likely have heard the "bunny hop bunny hop drop" section of the song, but the whole thing is just an upbeat, joy-filled tune that pairs well with, surprise surprise, more Bey songs. This, from our resident Beyoncé expert Ineye Komonibo, "If you really want to turn up a cardio session, listening to the Homecoming album straight, specifically towards the end when 'Countdown' transitions into 'Check On It,' is super lit." Amen to that.
"i'm so tired..." - Lauv & Troye Sivan
The two singers (who might be dating?) have come up with a meta and angsty song about...being exhausted by songs like this one. "So tired of love songs / tired of love songs / tired of love songs / tired of love." They called it an "accidental duet" to Rolling Stone because they liked hearing each other sing it so much, and I couldn't agree more. For a song that talks about exhaustion, it feels alive and sexy.
"Light On" - Maggie Rogers
Heard It in a Past Life is one of the most gorgeous albums of the year (it appears on our Best Love Songs 2019 list, too), and I'm pretty sure I'll still be listening to it in December. The upbeat "Light On" is a soulful reflection on a volatile relationship, and Rogers' told Billboard it's all about losing control—which parallels how she feels about her music. By the end of the song, she's soaring, and so are we.
"Lost in the Fire" - Gesaffelstein & The Weeknd
The latest in the matchup between The Weeknd and Gesaffelstein (their previous songs included "I Was Never There" and "Hurt You") is similarly groovy and nervy. Like a lot of The Weeknd's music, it's deceptively simple, and then it lodges itself permanently in my brain. I'll find myself humming along to the earworm constantly without realizing it—especially the verse, in the case of this tune.
"Moderation" - Florence and the Machine
Two new tracks that the band essentially released out of the blue—this and "Haunted House"—make a strong return to form for the band after the release of their 2018 album, High as Hope. "Haunted House" is the slower and moodier of the two, and "Moderation" is aggressive and spunky, just the way I like my Florence. "You think you need it, you think you want love / You wouldn't want it if you knew what it was."
"Everybody Wants to Rule the World" - Weezer
First it was Toto's "Africa," now it's "Everybody Wants to Rule the World." Weezer recently carved out a niche for itself covering pre-90s classics, and their Teal Album is ALL faithful covers. Some of them don't feel all that fresh or exciting—like their rendition of "Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)." But this one has a softer, easier vibe that adds just enough personality to feel like a refresh of the classic hit.
Bookmark this page and come back for more of the year's best workout songs when we have 'em.
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