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You thought it wasn't possible: these songs make cleaning the bathroom even more fun


NPR Music has song recommendations for everything from annual holidays to life's major milestones. But before you celebrate, you might need to clean the bathroom. For that, you need distraction. You need inspiration. You need a playlist. Stephen Thompson and Cyrena Touros from NPR's Pop Culture Happy Hour have you covered.

CYRENA TOUROS, BYLINE: So let's say that you share a bathroom with one other person, and you've agreed that it should be cleaned once a week, and you'll take turns. So let's say that your person forgets to take their turn, and then it's your week. You need something that elevates you beyond your feelings of pettiness and spite, and if you're anything like me, that is an extremely tall order for a piece of music.


TOUROS: You need a song that you hold such strong positive associations with that it's mentally impossible to have a bad time cleaning the bathroom, even though it is so tempting to do so. So the undeniably catchy song that I put on anytime I need a burst of joy is Perfume Genius' "On The Floor."


PERFUME GENIUS: (Singing) On the floor, I pace. I run my mouth. I pray and wait. I cross out his name on the page.

THOMPSON: Yeah, the song inspires a lot of movement. And it's interesting because, like, when I hear his music, there is always this kind of sway to it. And I like the idea of, like, scrubbing with style and kind of taking the energy that you might put into dancing and, like, directing it into, like, what you're doing with your arms.

TOUROS: Oh, yeah, absolutely. I want to imagine I'm like a Disney princess, and I'm being helped out by, like, a bunch of birds.

THOMPSON: (Laughter).

TOUROS: And we're just, like, twirling around with scrub brushes, cleaning all the mold (laughter).

THOMPSON: Nice. Well, in that spirit of being helped out by a bunch of birds, I envision myself as part of a different cartoon and thought of myself as a Jetsons-style bathroom-cleaning robot. And so I picked the space-age retro-futurism of the wonderful late Mexican bandleader Juan Garcia Esquivel and the song "Whatchamacallit."


THOMPSON: Basically, like, if you go into your bathroom, it's filthy, you start playing that song, and it's basically, like, take over, future robot.

TOUROS: (Laughter).

THOMPSON: But you are that future robot scrubbing away and just being carried along on the strength of this like zazzy (ph), silly, fun, strange but very futuristic sound. Juan Garcia Esquivel had kind of a commercial renaissance in the '90s as part of the, like, lounge music revival that came up. I recommend him so highly, especially when you're doing something boring. So, Cyrena, hit me with your other pick. Let's clean the bathroom.

TOUROS: So my other qualification - it's just something that sounds great with speakers. Maybe the song you want to play has a lot of layers that you don't always get to hear when you're enjoying it with headphones, or maybe it has a killer bass that you're about to recreate in your bathroom. So I'd recommend the stylings of a full-force rock song or reggaeton or disco. And I've actually pulled my last selection from disco. So this is Jesse Ware's "Soul Control."


JESSIE WARE: (Singing) It's automatic. We touch, and it feels like magic. Baby, it's automatic. We touch, and it feels like - woo (ph).

TOUROS: Lately when I'm cleaning my bathroom, it's, like, a Saturday night, and any other year I would have been maybe out on the dance floor. This year, I am just full of resentment.

THOMPSON: (Laughter).

TOUROS: So I need to put on a disco song that makes me feel like this is the best situation for all of us - at home, safe, being productive with my free time.

THOMPSON: (Laughter).

SHAPIRO: That's NPR's Cyrena Touros talking with Pop Culture Happy Hour host Stephen Thompson.


WARE: (Singing) Soul control, that's how you want it. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.