WE MADE YOU A MIXTAPE! SORT OF
Regular exercise in December deserves a round of applause. It’s cold, it’s busy, and many people are traveling from all over the place to central family locations just so they can eat more carbs and fats than they do in any other two months of the year put together. Continuing (or beginning!) to take time out of the day to exercise is time well bargained for. But nobody should have to sacrifice the holiday spirit for a workout! It might seem funny, but we think that taking the Christmas music to the gym is at least worth a try. So, it’s time for this month’s selected playlist! We’re two months in on this trend now, and it’s getting exciting for us to write these. (This office has some pretty big music heads.) We try to sample from as many tastes, genres, and decades as we can in our playlists, but we still want them to be workout worthy, so we dig deep into our own music collections as well as the collections of our coworkers and friends to cultivate the most jamming tunes to ever hit the pavement, pool, or hotel treadmill to. We’ve brought together the Eagles, Pentatonix, Kaskade, Burl Ives, R. Kelly, The Killers, Blink-182 and more, all for your listening pleasure. Good luck with those reps, and happy holidays from Underwater Audio!
BECAUSE YOU CAN’T BRING YOUR EGGNOG TO THE WEIGHT ROOM
Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas – Luther Vandross – 5:05 / 82 BPM
- In the first lines of the 2004 number one single “Slow Jamz”, by Twista and Kanye West, guest vocalist Jamie Foxx sings the memorable homage: “She wants some Martin Gaye, some Luther Vandross; a little Anita, will definitely set this party off right.” In that spirit, we introduce Luther Vandross’s swim-ready rendition of “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” as the first song in this playlist.
Last Christmas – Wham! – 4:23 / 108 BPM
- The high tenor vocals and ’80s synths in this tune make it a good choice of a song to play at your Christmas party, but the tempo also makes it a decent soundtrack for some laps in the pool, or potentially some strokes on the rowing machine.
White Christmas – Kaskade and Bing Crosby – 3:33 / 93 BPM
- In the 1992 animated Christmas special Frosty Returns, a schoolteacher complains about the cold winter weather to a young girl, saying, “Snow belongs in its proper places: mountain tops, poetry, and songs by Bing Crosby.” It has now been almost 25 years since that special, and more than 75 years since Bing Crosby’s first Christmas album, and the statement still rings as true as it did then, with some smooth rhythmic assistance from Kaskade, the famed electronic DJ.
Santa Baby (Remix) – Run-D.M.C., Mase, Puff Daddy, Snoop Dogg, Salt N’ Pepa, Onyx and Keith Murray – 4:04 / 98 BPM
- This song is the effective representation of old-school hip-hop on this playlist. Nonabrasive and almost laid back (save maybe Onyx’s late appearance), this record would find a good home in your ears while you’re using an elliptical.
Sunday Candy – Donnie Trumpet and the Social Experiment – 3:50 / 79 BPM
- On the other end of the hip-hop timetable, “Sunday Candy” features elements of upbeat, gospel-inspired harmonization, and the references to Santa Day are all in the second verse. I listened to it while doing core at the gym last week, and I can say for myself that it was definitely satisfying.
Last December – The Hectors – 3:15 / 75 BPM
- This indie band’s 2013 album Her Dark Majesty offers a great jogging song in “Last December.” It’s also a song that can stay in your workout rotation after the holiday season is over. 75 BPM can be pretty slow for short-distance sprinters, though; it might be easier to run to the rhythm when it’s one of several songs you listen to in a mile or 5K run, or something like that.
Hallelujah – Panic! At the Disco – 3:00 / 80 BPM
- Hallelujah, also known as “the song your daughter/little sister has been singing in the shower since September,” is the top-40 single from Panic!’s recent pop album Death of a Bachelor. It’s a good song to play right after you’ve hit a personal best in speed or endurance running. Seriously. When Brendon Urie sings, “if you can’t stop shaking, lean back and let it move right through you,” he’s totally talking about that post-workout protein shake.
- Merry Christmas (I Don’t Want to Fight Tonight) – The Ramones – 2:03 / 76 BPM
All I Want for Christmas is You – Mariah Carey – 4:01 / 75 BPM
- This one’s more of a challenge. If you can work out to this song, then you can probably work out to almost any other. And if you do it with a straight face, you can definitely work out to any other.
- Shake Up Christmas – Train – 3:52 / 82 BPM
- Forget December – Something Corporate – 3:12 / 127 BPM
- Boxing Day – blink-182 – 3:59 / 95 BPM
Don’t Shoot Me Santa – The Killers – 4:03 / 120 BPM
- When you’re lifting weights and you’re gunning for consecutive reps, especially within a certain time, you might want a song like this; faster beats per minute,
My Trigger – Miike Snow – 3:15 / 99 BPM
- This isn’t a Christmas song, but it was a popular song in 2016, and it’s one that possesses a similar key and tempo to many Christmas songs on this list, so go ahead, throw it in there. It’ll work. And I know the BPM doesn’t come close to the preceding song, but come on, I had to put those two titles next to each other.
- Christmas in Hollis – Run-D.M.C. – 3:00 / 95 BPM
- We Wish You a Merry Christmas – Weezer – 1:27 / 75 BPM
- Christmas at the Zoo – The Flaming Lips – 3:06 / 99 BPM
- Somebody to Love – Queen – 4:57 / 110 BPM
- Christmas / Sarajevo 12/24 – Trans-Siberian Orchestra – 3:25 / 93 BPM
- God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen – Rascal Flatts – 3:54 / 85 BPM
- Jingle Bell Rock – Bobby Helms – 2:10 / 119 BPM
- Home for Christmas – R. Kelly – 3:19 / 85 BPM
- You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch – Straight No Chaser – 2:51 / 84 BPM
- A Mad Russian’s Christmas – Trans-Siberian Orchestra – 4:42 / 140 (70) BPM
- A Holly Jolly Christmas – Burl Ives – 2:15 / 70 BPM
- Please Come Home for Christmas – Eagles – 2:57 / 182 (91) BPM
Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays – Pentatonix – 3:57 / 105 BPM
- Acapella group Pentatonix is one of the few groups who can get more online views of their cover of a song than the actual original song can. And who could argue? Their upbeat rhythms and infectious voices make them ideal for any physical activity-based mix.
- Just Like Christmas – Low – 3:08 / 92 BPM
Christmas in Harlem* – Kanye West, Teyana Taylor, Jim Jones, Vado, Cyhi the Prynce, Pusha T, Big Sean, Cam’ron and Musiq Soulchild – 6:31 / 86 BPM
- There are two versions of this hip-hop collaboration. This iTunes version clocks in at around four minutes, but there is a longer one (6:31) that also features singer Musiq Soulchild and hip-hop artists Jim Jones, Vado, Pusha T, Big Sean and Cam’ron, which was initially released online for free. This song would probably be best for the weight room, for things like leg extensions, curls, and presses, in addition to bench workouts. Personal favorite thing about this song: the string section in the background. (*NOTE: The longer version of the song contains slight profanity.)
Run Errands ‘til You Die – Blended Babies and Leon Q. Allen – 2:41 / 132 BPM
- Blended Babies are a hip-hop/jazz production duo that have a knack for creating a calm, wintry, inner-city feeling with their songs that few others are able to match. This instrumental song provides some exceptional theme music for an outdoor winter jog.
Song for Another Time – Old Dominion – 3:14 / 83 BPM
- Okay, so this last one isn’t a really a Christmas song… or even a winter-oriented song. The red-and-white cover art for the album it’s on is probably the most Christmassy thing about it. But, you’re going to need at least a few songs that can hang around in your workout playlist come January, aren’t you?
UPDATE: In honor of our latest product in development, we’ve added a link to our Spotify playlist. The Delphin will let you swim while using your favorite apps, including Spotify! Click here for more about this exciting new innovation in underwater listening.