B-Sides: Jams for the Gym
The summer is upon us, and the hot weather, beaches, and pool parties do little to motivate me to go the gym. So, this week in B-Sides, whether you go to the gym a lot or not at all, we will look at some songs that will hopefully help you power through those workouts.
“Forever” - EXO
This track is from EXO’s 2017 album The War, and it is a great song for warm-up exercises like dynamic stretches because this song will get you pumped.
Chen, the main vocalist of the group, immediately grabs your attention at the beginning of the song, and it escalates in its intensity from there. The track has a Middle Eastern-inpired sound with an interplay of major and minor chords that are filled out by EXO’s precise harmonies. Add the heavy beat and bass, and you cannot help but move with the song.
The stand-out part of the song is the rap verse, which is a syncopated exchange between the rappers Chanyeol and Sehun. The contrast of their voices against the hard beat and adlibs focuses the song in intensity and it makes you feel ready to do the workout. The beat is also consistent, so you can set your pace well. Overall, the song offers a good time, but it also empowers you and makes you think that exercise is possible.
“Runner’s High” - 3RACHA
Now that the warm-up is done, this track is a good fit for a cardio run on the treadmill (no pun intended). From the pre-debut Stray Kids rapper unit of Changbin, Bang Chan, and Jisung, the song offers a steady beat so you can set a good pace while on the treadmill. The high synth arpeggios also help to keep your energy and attention up.
Even though the three members were still trainees when they made this song, they really show off their talent in experimenting with the hip-hop/rap world. The boys have different rapping styles, but they blend well together as they play around with different rhythms against the beat. They also mix English and Korean to fit their needs for syncopation and rhyming in such a natural way. It is impressive how unafraid they were at such a young age to experiment with music and that courage is evident in this song. The song engages you so much that you will get an actual runner’s high on the treadmill like the runner’s high passion they describe in the song.
“Like It” - CLC
If you are feeling ambitious, then next is the ab workout, and this track by CLC will motivate you to keep going. From their 2019 album No. 1, CLC displays their classic powerful sound. The addicting beat and shifting bass push you forward, and the girls’ confident vocals make you feel unstoppable.
The pre-chorus slows the song down, but the simple chorus picks everything up again in a way that gives you enough time to rest briefly before resuming the workout. The rap line and vocal line blend very well together, making for a well-rounded sound. They sing about liking the feeling of being in love, but really they draw you in to fall in love with the song itself.
“Can’t” - GOT7
Finally, the workout is done and you can finish it off with some cool-down exercises and stretching. This song off their 2016 album Flight Departure is good for cool-down because it is still upbeat but with a more refreshing sound. With an inviting and chill vibe, GOT7 gives you a positive song to finish your workout on a high note.
The song is about how the members cannot resist falling for someone, but the song flows so well that you cannot resist listening to the entire song. Vocalist Jinyoung contributed to both the lyrics and composition of the track, and he shows that he has a talent for making catchy songs. The vocals and rap playfully exchange lines, highlighting GOT7’s overall chemistry as a group. The song will leave you feeling proud of your accomplishments and happy for being done with the workout.