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RPM 65 Music Review

rpm-65-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. Track timings refer to the specific tracks I was given, which may not coincide with the official versions released by the artists.
  2. The YouTube links to the songs are not under my control; hopefully the links stay live.
  3. When mentioning other releases artists have been in, I’m referring to RPM and BODYJAM tracks that I have. Les Mills usually reuses songs in their other programs.

Overall thoughts

Note: I don’t look at the masterclass or even read the sizzler before writing these notes. I have the track list, my music player, and a nice pair of headphones and listen to each track at least three times.

  • This release has a variety of styles, and each track has its own unique musical feel.
  • I wasn’t as blown away by this particular selection of tracks, but as with any Les Mills program, once you add movement to the music, magic happens. (Of course, there are occasions where I end up still not liking the song.)
  • Setup to off-the-bike is 42m 32s; RPM 64 was 44m 1s, RPM 63 was 43m 20s.
  • I’m still on the fence about whether I like outro tracks (versus a specific track for recovery and another track for stretching). I understand that the goal is to get the working effort under 45 minutes, and it’s nice to have a “put away the bikes & connect” track playing in the background.

Pack Ride

Calling All Hearts – DJ Cassidy feat. Robin Thicke & Jessie J

  • Genre: pop / funk/ disco
  • Key: c# minor
  • Origins:
    • DJ Cassidy (Cassidy Durango Milton Willy Podell) is from New York
    • Robin Thicke is American (doesn’t seem to be associated with a specific city); best known for “Blurred Lines”
    • Jessie J (Jessica Ellen Cornish) is from London
  • Released: April 2014
  • All of these artists are new to RPM (and have not been in BODYJAM either)
  • Feel: energizing, retro, fun
  • Thoughts
    • EDM meets disco
    • Welcoming (“calling all hearts to the dance floor, let’s start”)
    • About 3/4 way through, good place for a pedal drill
    • I could easily see this as a goofy BODYJAM groovedown track (or maybe a SH’BAM track)
  • Good lyric cues
    • “Calling all party people in the place to be”
    • “Leave all your problems and your drama”
    • “You gotta let go because it’s all right” (just before the chorus)

Pace

Summer – Calvin Harris

  • Genre: electro-house / dance-pop
  • Key: C major
  • Origin: Calvin Harris (Adam Richard Wiles) is Scottish
  • Released: March 2014
  • Calvin Harris is new to RPM but has been in other BODYJAM releases
    • BODYJAM 48 – Dance Wiv Me
    • BODYJAM 60 (Bonus Moombahton) – Feel So Close (Dillon Francis Remix)
    • BODYJAM 63 (Groovedown) – Feel So Close
    • BODYJAM 65 (Isolations) – Iron
    • BODYJAM 65 (Maximal Jam Crazy) – Sweet Nothing (Tiesto Remix)
    • BODYJAM 68 (Konnichiwa Sweden) – Let’s Go (Swanky Tunes & Hard Rock Sofa Remix)
    • BODYJAM 70 (Straight Up House) – Eat Sleep Rave Repeat (Calvin Harris Remix)
  • Feel: catchy, simple, driving
  • Thoughts
    • Sounds like a long sprint in block 1, which isn’t common
    • Heavy synths with major key and up-beat feel (and major key) is interesting
    • Unlike other pace tracks, there aren’t really any good lyrics to hook into (this situation is more common in a Speed Work track or Mountain Climb track)
    • A bit repetitive musically, which means that the coaching will need to be stronger
    • The synth hook is definitely an earworm

Hills

Anthem #2 (Nick Skitz & Technoposse Remix) – Nick Skitz

  • Genre: electro-house
  • Key: e-flat minor
  • Origins:
    • Nick Skitz (Nicholas Agamalis) is Australian
    • (I wasn’t able to find out where Technoposse is from, or their associated group DJ HYO)
  • Released: April 2014
  • Nick Skitz was part of the Mountain Climb track for RPM 63 (“Toca’s Miracle (Original Mix)”) and I believe has done other tracks for other Les Mills programs
  • Feel: electro, heavy, massive
  • Thoughts
    • Nice drum intro at 0:15
    • Feels a little quicker than previous Hills tracks (71 vs. 66 bpm)
    • Don’t care for the lyrics — jarring and very little to tap into
    • Change of synths at 2:08 makes for a nice contrast
    • A bit repetitive musically, which means that the coaching will need to be stronger

Mixed Terrain

Heartbeat – The Fray

  • Genre: alternative rock
  • Key: A major
  • Origin: The Fray is from Denver, Colorado
  • Released: October 2011
  • The Fray did the Mixed Terrain (“Hurricane”) in the last RPM (64)
  • Feel: dramatic, melodic, shimmering
  • Thoughts
    • The off-beats make this song feel slower
    • “Hurricane” was an excellent Mixed Terrain track, and this track has a bit of the same feel
    • The beat emphasis combined with the soaring feel doesn’t make me want to ride fast
    • This sounds like it should have been a Ride Home track
  • Good lyric cues
    • “Rain is coming down and we’re on the run”
    • “Don’t look back”
    • “I feel your heartbeat”

Intervals

House of the Rising Sun – Fiction Saint

  • Genre: heavy metal
  • Key: e minor
  • Origin: This is a cover of the cover by Five Finger Death Punch, a heavy metal band from Las Vegas
  • Released: November 2013
  • None of the artists (including covering ones) have been in RPM or BODYJAM
  • Feel: aggressive, gritty, well-known
  • Thoughts
    • Triple-cover! (Fiction Saint -> Five Finger Death Punch -> The Animals)
    • This song came out in 1964, and is such as well-known tune so my participants are likely to get into it; I’ll have to see how the heavy metal style goes over
    • Heavy rock and very gritty
    • Very repetitive, so the choreography and cuing need to help engage the riders
    • Alternating verses and guitar solos probably correspond to interval training (effort vs. recovery)

Speed Work

Earth Meets Water (Club Mix) – Dash Berlin & Rigby

  • Genre: trance
  • Key: E major
  • Origins:
    • Dash Berlin is from The Netherlands
    • (I couldn’t find anything about Rigby)
  • Released: April 2014
  • Rigby is new to RPM and BODYJAM, but Dash Berlin has been in several other RPM releases
    • RPM 52 (Speed Work) – Disarm Yourself (Club Mix)
    • RPM 53 (Speed Work) – Wired (Extended Mix)
    • RPM 56 (Mountain Climb) – Apollo Road
    • RPM 57 (Alternate Speed Work) – Better Half of Me (Club Mix)
  • Feel: blood-pumping, lyrical, transporting
  • Thoughts
    • On the first listening of the music, this is the first song that resonated with me; however, I’m a bit biased toward a certain style — all tracks end up growing on me in some fashion
    • I’m curious as to whether the choreography will incorporate some overgearing (heavy gear to engage Type-2 muscle fibers); some recent Speed Work tracks have done so

Mountain Climb

Get Loose – Showtek & Noisecontrollers

  • Genre: Hardstyle
  • Key: f minor
  • Origins:
    • Showtek is Dutch
    • Noisecontrollers is a duo (Bas Oskam and Arjan Terpstra) from The Netherlands
  • Released: April 2013
  • Showtek is new to RPM but has been in BODYJAM several times
    • BODYJAM 64 (D.R.E.A.M Two) – How We Do (Original Mix)
    • BODYJAM 67 (Get Loose When the Beat Drops) – Get Loose (Tiësto Remix)
    • BODYJAM 67 (Get Loose When the Beat Drops) – Get Loose (Original)
    • BODYJAM 68 (Ilovebooyah) – Hey!
    • BODYJAM 68 (Ilovebooyha) – Booyah (Original)
    • BODYJAM 69 (Alors on Danse) – We Like to Party
    • BODYJAM 69 (Mash It Block) – Cannonball
  • Feel: explosive, insane, room-shaking
  • Thoughts
    • I’m very familiar with this from teaching BODYJAM 67; this is not quite the same mix, though
    • Heavy contrasting synths with the driving beat will make for a good heavy-load climbing track
    • I’d love to see how the tempo change at the 4-minute will be dealt with

Ride Home / Stretch

Rude – MAGIC!

  • Genre: reggae fusion
  • Key: D-flat major
  • Origin: MAGIC! is from Toronto, Canada
  • Released: October 2013
  • MAGIC! is new to RPM and BODYJAM
  • Feel: carefree, laid-back
  • Thoughts
    • Breezy and smooth feel; great way to end the class
    • Probably hopping off the bike to stretch at 2:21

Outro

Stay with Me – Sam Smith

  • Genre: soul / R&B
  • Key: C major
  • Origin: Sam Smith is from London
  • Released: April 2014
  • Sam Smith is new RPM and BODYJAM
  • Feel: enchanting, soulful, uplifting
  • Thoughts
    • Interesting feel and message for an outro track
    • This is the only song that gave me goosebumps in the entire release, and it’s not even a song where we’re doing anything on the bike!
    • I hope this doesn’t offend anyone… Smith has a certain soulful vocal style that I rarely hear from white singers

Intervals (Alternate)

Holding onto Heaven (Kove Remix) – Foxes

  • Genre: drum and bass
  • Key: D-flat major
  • Origins:
    • Foxes (Louisa Rose Allen) is from Southampton, Hampshire, England
    • Kove is from London
  • Released: March 2014
  • Foxes (and Kove) are new to RPM and BODYJAM
  • Feel: bouncy, euphoric, repetitive
  • Thoughts
    • First alternate track since RPM 57 (Q2 2013)
    • Syncopated off-beat; good driving synths with a quick tempo
    • I personally prefer this track over the regular Intervals track, but I tend to prefer EDM over metal

2 Comments

  1. Paula

    Hello Geoff! I was looking for the alternate song for intervals like crazy over here. Thank you! I always feel bonded to the people conected to the Les Mills programs around the world. I also prefer the Foxes song to the original #5. Best wishes!

    • You’re quite welcome! I figured a handful of folks (mainly instructors) would find these LM posts useful.

      I like that alternate #5 as well. Have you tried the bonus Hills track from RPM 66?

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