This manly beautification playlist is here to help you exfoliate and rejuvenate yourself via soaps, lotions, and creams (before taking on the world at large). It is intended to soundtrack your morning and/or laid-back primping ritual. The music slowly builds like the sun rising in the sky until percolating with a little funky soul and gently morphing into a more rigorous, raucous crescendo, ultimately concluding with a fading tranquility.
The first golden nugget to twinkle in our mining pan is “In Search Of The Perfect Shampoo” by the mustachioed Michael Franks. This song craftily echoes itself by becoming perhaps my greatest discovery in the search for the perfect preparation song. (Michael Franks is Joseph Conrad in a Heart of Darkness-esque quest for that elusive optimal shampoo. I am Francis Ford Coppola trying to pull off an epic Apocalypse Now-ian odyssey for grooming tunes.)
Our next star shines in the shape of David Gates, the soft-spoken founder and lead singer of Bread. His track, “Soap [I Use The],” is another bedazzling jewel in the crown of cleansing music. By flipping the song title in the opening line, we know we’re in for a truly special ride. As Gates first proclaims, “I use the soap to wash the dirt off my face,” we don’t realize how tragic a character our narrator is about to become when he discovers the aforementioned soap will not assist him in washing away the sorrow of losing his lover.
Our next gold star (for robot boy) goes out to Paul Davis and his re-visitation of the complexities of washing oneself with soap, only to find that the pain of love lost can not be washed away. Originally popularized by The Jarmels in 1961, this 1971 version of “A Little Bit Of Soap” maintains the Motown bass line, backup singers, and gentle strings, which all swirl together with a heartbroken Davis to create a swinging, lighthearted groove that belies the heartache pulsating down below the rainbow-bubbled surface.
For all the many beard-praising tunes out there, it’s somewhat shocking to find that there aren’t more songs about the beard’s more streamlined brother: the mustache. Thank goodness for That 1 Guy, who swiftly breaks down the facial hair barrier with the electro-glitchy “Mustaches” in all its thundering digital, whip-cracking glory.
You can listen to the beard episode of The Manual podcast (aptly named Beards, Booze, and Bacon) right here:
From there, we get into some uptempo alt rock, culminating with The Beards (of Australia) and their head-of-the-nail-hitting song, “Stroking My Beard.” These boundary-pushing musicians have managed to amass an enormous collection of tunes that exclusively celebrate beards of every shape, size, and color. With this particular song, The Beards reflect on the shortsighted stereotypes that are all too often attributed to a bearded hero.
Following a quadruple dosage of dental tunes — don’t forget to brush your teeth! — we begin our final descent into maximum groom-ifaction, decelerating through an ever-slowing smattering of eclectic manscaping songs until we arrive at our ultimate (quietly emotive and whispered) goal: “I’m Clean Now” by Grouper. And with that, we are ready to go grab life by the loofah and squeeze as much happiness, success, and fulfillment as possible out of it. You look great!
Featured image courtesy of David Turnley/Getty Images.