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RPM 62 Music Review

rpm-62-booklet

Part of my process of learning an RPM release is to listen to the music first before doing anything with the choreography. Considering the Les Mills program directors pick the music first and choreograph later, I’m trying to approach the release in the same way.

Disclaimers:

  1. Some of the tracks on the actual RPM release may be slightly different than the version released by the artist. For example, some are edited to make a track longer. Also there are times when Les Mills can’t obtain the licensing rights and use a cover artist instead.
  2. The YouTube links to the songs are not under my control; hopefully the links stay live.

Pack Ride

Counting Stars – OneRepublic

  • Genre: pop
  • Personally really enjoyed “If I Lose Myself Tonight” from RPM 60 (Mixed Terrain)
  • Upbeat, good energy
  • I like the two drum hits at 2:07 (“watch it burn”)
  • The hesitation between the bridge and the chorus creates some tension, which I hope goes with the choreography
  • Motivational lyrics:
    • “Everything that kills me makes me feel alive”
    • “Everything that drowns me makes me wanna fly”

Pace

Wake Me Up – Avicii

  • Genre: EDM/folktronica
  • Interesting mix of folksy guitar/vocals with driving/upbeat synth
  • On first listen, I could easily hear this as a pace track (where the sprints and climbs should go)
  • I wish the music editing were a little cleaner on the verse repeat for the last round
  • Avicii has been in several RPM and BODYJAM releases
    • I Could Be the One (John Christian Remix) (last track of BODYJAM 66 — Jammin’ for the Rest of my Life, Mountain Climb track of RPM 61)
    • Levels (Skrillex Mix) (Swedish Tango from BODYJAM 68)
    • This song was also the groovedown for BODYJAM 68
    • Drowning (Avicii Remix) (Speed Work from RPM 55)
  • Motivational lyric: “I can’t tell where the journey will end, but I know where to start”

Hills

Tonight – Manian & Nicco

  • Genre: eurodance/hi-NRG
  • Manian has been in plenty of BODYPUMP releases, so I feel a little cheated that this track sounds more like a Back and Hamstrings track; overall I’m not really super-excited about this one
  • Has more of a typical club feel (e.g., party, drinks up, getting high)
  • Manian has been in other program releases
    • Welcome to the Club 2011 (Dancefloor Kings Remix) (Hills track from RPM 53)
    • Hold Me Tonight (Empyre One Remix) (Mountain Climb from RPM 54)
    • Loco (Empyre One Remix) (Pace track from RPM 55)
  • Motivational lyrics:
    • “You ’bout to feel it now” (usually comes before a beat drop, so that’s probably where we add gears)
    • “We ’bout to run this party right”
    • “We belong to the music all of the way”

Mixed Terrain

Supersoaker – Kings of Leon
  • Genre: alternative rock
  • On this release, this song is my least favorite. I’m okay with something other than EDM (e.g., the Intervals track “Ready to Rock” from RPM 61); however, this piece doesn’t jump out at me as a good workout song. Plus the lyrics are weird: “I’m a supersoaker red white and blew ’em away” (????)
  • With the heavy reverb, gruff vocals, overdriven guitar, this track seems misplaced. Previous Mixed Terrain tracks have been a little lighter in feel.
  • Motivational lyrics: “I just lay it on the line”

Intervals

Love Me Again – John Newman

  • Genre: pop/breakbeat/northern soul
  • It was interesting hearing a more electronic/processed sound from John Newman, given he was also in a recent Intervals track (“Not Giving In“) from RPM 60
  • On initial listen, the song has some good elements — driving synth, build-ups, blend of instruments — however, it gets a bit repetitive and the effects of those elements wear off quickly for me (i.e., after the first round)
  • The build-up starting at 0:45 is excellent — you know something good is coming, and it inspires movement
  • Motivational lyrics: “I told you once I can’t do this again” (I imagine you would flip that and say that we are going to do it again for the next round.)

Speed Work

This Is What It Feels Like (W&W Remix) – Armin van Buuren feat. Trevor Guthrie
  • Genre: progressive house
  • Armin van Buuren is no stranger to Les Mills, and I’ve liked all of those tracks
    • Forever Is Ours (Speed Work from RPM 61)
    • Drowning (Speed Work from RPM 55)
    • D# Fat (last track of the back half of BODYJAM 66 – #makethecrowdgo)
  • I love the drum hit at 0:14 where the beat comes in
  • When the song first comes on, I know I’m going to get a good ride
  • The blend of instruments and vocals is excellent, plus there are some good reference lyrics:
    • “I don’t even know if I’m alive”
    • “This is what it feels like”
  • The drop at 2:51 is excellent — especially because there are four beats of delay, which “breaks our guessing machine” of when it will happen
  • I can hear where the recovery parts are (when the lyrics come back in), but there’s still good energy — this song is well-matched for speed work

Mountain Climb

Adagio for Strings (Blasterjaxx Remix) – Tiësto
  • Genre: big room house
  • Tiësto is certainly no stranger to Les Mills either
    • Break My Fall (Speed Work from RPM 51)
    • Just Be (Speed Work from RPM 54)
    • Pair of Dice (Speed Work from RPM 59)
    • Work Hard, Play Hard (last track of the front half of BODYJAM 61 – Dance Hard, Work Hard, Play Hard)
    • What Can We Do (two tracks of the front block of BODYJAM 63 – Hardcore Screaming)
    • Beautiful World (last track of the back block of BODYJAM 63 – Thunder Kicks, Ninja Styles)
  • When I saw the track title, I was a little disappointed — everyone has done some kind of remix of this Samuel Barber piece. I was pleased that there are parts of the track that have nothing to do with Adagio for Strings and are straight-up EDM (e.g., 3:25)
  • The build-up at 2:45 is a bit long an unimaginative in my opinion; interesting drum beat before the drop, though.
  • Overall, I don’t think it should be a bad Mountain Climb track — gritty/driving synth with a good beat

Ride Home

Alive – Empire of the Sun

  • Genre: electropop
  • I’ve never heard anything from this group — based in Sydney, Australia
  • The blend of synth, beats, and vocals feels perfect for this track; this song seems very simple — there’s nothing extra that doesn’t need to be here
  • The lyrics are very positive:
    • “Loving every minute ’cause you make me feel so alive, alive”
    • “Giving makes us feel good”

Stretch

Swim Good – Frank Ocean

  • Genre: R&B
  • This is not a track I would have imagined Glen/Sarah picking, but there’s something that intrigues me about this song — maybe it’s the non-standard chord progression and how the melody works with it
  • I’ve never heard of this artist before — New Orleans
  • Nice, slow pace with some interesting lyrics — good groove

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