Three songs for cleaning your bathroom : Pop Culture Happy Hour NPR Music has song recommendations for every occasion, from major life events to tidying up the house. As we enter the fall season, it doesn't hurt to spruce up and start afresh with a new playlist. Today, we're recommending three songs to play while dance-cleaning the bathroom.

Three songs for cleaning your bathroom

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NPR Music has song recommendations for every occasion, from holidays to life's major milestones. But first, you need to clean the bathroom. You need distraction. You need inspiration. You need a playlist. I'm Stephen Thompson. And on this episode of POP CULTURE HAPPY HOUR from NPR, we are recommending three songs for cleaning the bathroom, so don't go away.


THOMPSON: Welcome back. Joining us today is NPR Music contributor Cyrena Touros. Hey, Cyrena.


THOMPSON: Now, before you hit us with a song pick, tell me, what to you makes a great song for cleaning the bathroom?

TOUROS: All right, let me set the scene for you. 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, but you're not going to clean it twice in a row and let the other person slack, so you wait until they remember.

And then flash forward, and they never remember, and then you can't live like this. So there you are, scrubbing six weeks' worth of build up from your tub. So 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.

THOMPSON: (Laughter).

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) The fighting rips me all up inside. On the floor, I pace. I run my mouth. I pray and wait. I cross out his name on the page...

TOUROS: I am not shy about calling it the best pop song of 2020. It makes me happy every single time I hear it.

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. So I like that. That's a great pick - Perfume Genius.

TOUROS: Oh, yeah, absolutely. I want to imagine that, like, I'm like a Disney princess and I'm being helped out by, like, a bunch of birds. And we're just, like, twirling around with scrub brushes, you know, cleaning all the mold.

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 retrofuturism of the wonderful late Mexican bandleader Juan Garcia Esquivel and the song "Whatchamacallit."


UNIDENTIFIED PEOPLE: Whatchamacallit, Esquivel?

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. 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. But his songs, really like, are much more exciting than I just made them sound by saying that they were part of the '90s lounge music revival. His catalogue is an absolute treasure trove of, like, zingy, zazzy, joyful, really transporting music. So 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 for what makes for a good song to clean the bathroom to is a bit broader. It's just something that sounds great with speakers. So if you're the kind of person who plays music when you're in the shower, you might have noticed that music sounds so much better in the bathroom than anywhere else in your house. And that's actually because of the reflective properties of all the hard surfaces like tile, porcelain, glass, and it makes the acoustics really resonant.

So 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 Jessie 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. Baby, it's automatic. We touch and it feels like magic. Baby, it's automatic. We touch, and it feels like woo.

TOUROS: Lately, when I'm cleaning my bathroom, it's like a Saturday night. And any other year, I would have been, like, maybe out on the dance floor. And, you know, this year, I am just full of resentment, so I get to put on a disco song that makes me feel like, you know, this is the best situation for all of us that I'm just at home, safe, you know, being productive with my free time.

THOMPSON: (Laughter) Well - and for those of us who would probably be cleaning the bathroom on a Saturday night anyway, I'm right here with you.

Well, we want to know what songs you listen to when you're cleaning your bathroom. Find us on Facebook at and on Twitter - @pchh. And of course, thank you for listening to POP CULTURE HAPPY HOUR from NPR. If you want more song recommendations, make sure to check out some of the excellent podcasts from NPR Music, shows like Alt.Latino and All Songs Considered. This brings us to the end of our show. Cyrena, thanks so much for being here.

TOUROS: Yeah, thank you, Stephen.


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