Songs to scrub to

Culture Music

If you’re averse to singing in the shower, it’s because you’ve suffered psychological damage. Beginning in your early elementary school years, you were told what you cannot do. You’re no good with a paintbrush. Your papier-mâché is crap. You can’t catch a baseball. You look terrible on stage. Your stories are garbage. Your haikus are worse.

And next thing you know, you are a passionless creature, robbed of all the talents, sophistications and gifts of expression that make you a human being. Stop that right now. You have vocal cords. Use them.

Envision your shower as your own little sound studio. Position a rubber ducky in your shampoo nook; entertain your audience. You’ll have difficulty starting up. Any artist does. Here are some suggestions of what to start out with — some tracks made to be covered in your bathroom.

“The Lion Sleeps Tonight”
by The Tokens

You know the one. A great little ditty made famous in the ’50s that staged a comeback in The Lion King. Excellent re-sing value. For variety, and to test vocal ability, alternate between baritone backup (“Wimoweh”) and soprano chorus (“Ee-e-e-um-um-a-weh”). Go big, hit the high notes; feel your skull oscillate.

“Black or White”
by Michael Jackson

Get physical. You’re naked. Time to banish stage fright forever. Dance like the king of pop. Bust a move. Slide on down the enamel on your knees. Warning: be mindful of your decreased stage size and possible damage that may occur to your exposed areas. (Other suggested upbeat MJ songs to test your footwork: “Rock with You,” “They Don’t Care About Us” and “Will You Be There” — if you’re up for a gospel chorus and truly rousing morning tune.)

“Johnny B. Goode”
by Chuck Berry

Great for not only morning showers, but Friday night freshen-ups, “Johnny B. Goode” is the quintessential shower song — energizing, fast-paced, nostalgic but timeless, and simple. Bust out your air guitar. Let your knees wobble. Do the twist. Get jazzed for your midterm or your date or whatever it is you look forward to as an intelligent, cultured, young and clean person. Warning: it is not advisable to sing “Johnny B. Goode” while shaving. The song’s too lively; the risk too great.


Any of the Detroit rapper’s songs will do, provided you know the words and your roommate doesn’t mind profanity. But then, if you have roommate troubles and are fresh out of passive-aggressive tactics, belting out the lyrics to some of Eminem’s violent (but always audible) lyrics may be up your alley. For extra fun, treat your shower nozzle like a microphone. When you’re done with the rap and the facial scrub, drop the nozzle with attitude.

“Ave Maria”
by Franz Schubert

In search of catharsis? Nothing helps like water and song. Sing this one sparingly. Belt the ballad in Italian if you’re able, or memorize the antiquated English lyrics, or just recite the chorus. Sing from your soul. Everything’s going to be okay.

“In the Air Tonight”
by Phil Collins

Did you know this song has nothing to do with anyone drowning, but was inspired by one of Collins’ divorces? And the lyrics are grim and full of anger. Whether or not you are, this is a tune for a scrub-down. Shampoo during the slow and lengthy buildup. Get some facial wash in there if you have time. When you reach your break and things crank up, don’t play it down because you’re limited to vocals — you’re not. The percussion’s the highlight here. Collins got to sing and play drums, and you can too. Hammer your palms against the tiled wall. Get rhythmic. Get obnoxious. Get ready to be a morning person for the rest of your life.