R&B might be best known as lovers' music, but that's not to say that some singers don't know how to put a high energy song or three out there. As artists like Usher, Beyonce and Ne-Yo have demonstrated over the years, the R&B genre doesn't always have to live up to the 'Blues' portion of its Rhythm & Blues name. In fact, some songs are practically custom made for listening to while burning calories. And with said, here's our picks for some of the best R&B songs to listening to while working out at the gym, going out for a run, hiking, or engaging in any other activity that requires high energy and motivation.
This is a near-perfect workout song. From the defiant lyrics, to the soaring music to the strong lyrics, Destiny's Child managed to create one of the all-time best power anthems. Much motivation to keep going during a rough patch is apparent within the lyrics: "I'm a survivor, I'm not gonna give up, I'm not gonna stop, I'm gon work harder, I'm a survivor, I'm gonna make it."
"New Day," a buzz track from Alicia's 2012 album, Girl On Fire, features hard-thumping hip-hop production by her husband, Swizz Beatz. The upbeat, fast-paced backing music overpowers the vocals throughout much of the song, but the positive, optimistic vibe in Alicia's voice is pretty clear.
This Michael Jackson was released in 1979, when disco music was still the craze. But MJ adds a little funk to this track, which is part of the reason it's managed to become so legendary. And the message in the title can be applied to many situations, be it on the dance floor, in the gym or elsewhere.
This song, which has spiritual overtones, features the duo Mary Mary singing about overcoming adversity: "Look at me, I'm trying, Everyday, I fall down, I make mistakes, Get back up, Try again," they sing. "Next time that you see me I'm walking, I'm walking, I'm walking."
This is an upbeat dance anthem that really took off after the music video's prancing and dancing landed on TV screens and computer monitors. "On "Single Ladies," Beyonce reminds all the women out there that if their man hasn't made a serious commitment to the relationship, then he can't get mad if she wants to do her own thing: "If you liked it, then you shoulda put a ring on it," she sings.
"100 Yard Dash," is a short-but-sweet treat from singer-musician Raphael Saadiq's's 2008 album, The Way I See It. The two-minute, 18-second ditty about a man who's completely twisted over a honey-sweet woman was new when it was released, but has a fun, energetic classic R&B vibe to it.
This booty-clapping power jam by rising star Ester Dean almost sounds like it was custom-made to be played in a strip club. And the topic -- sex -- perfectly fits that theme, too.