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RPM 66 Music Review

rpm-66-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.

See also: RPM 66 Review

Pack Ride

Angel in Blue Jeans – Train

  • Genre: pop rock / folk pop
  • Key: a minor
  • Origins: San Francisco
  • Released: June 2014
  • Train is new to RPM and BODYJAM
  • Feel: country, melodic, easy
  • Thoughts
    • Has kind of a Western feel with the steel guitar and lyric choices
    • Upbeat rhythm and bright instrumentation should make this a good warm up track
  • Good lyric cues
    • “I think my heart could pound out of me.”
    • “Like a highway headed my way”

Pace

Ugly Heart – G.R.L.

  • Genre: pop
  • Key: A major
  • Origins: G.R.L. is an American-British-Canadian girl group made up of members Lauren Bennett, Emmalyn Estrada, Natasha Slayton and Paula van Oppen
  • Released: June 2014
  • G.R.L. is new to RPM and BODYJAM
  • Feel: energizing, poptastic, upbeat
  • Thoughts
    • I’m over the ukulele meme in pop music, so I’m pleased it doesn’t overpower the song
    • This is a variant of a four-chord song (following the I-IV-vi-V progression)
    • The melody is simple and catchy with a polished pop feel
    • The sustained sung note where the instrumentation drops out at 2:34 creates a bit of tension, maybe where we prep for the sprint at the chorus
    • The phrases just before the sustained note would be a great place for a climb with one gear addition
  • Good lyric cues
    • “And I wonder does it blow your mind; that I’m leaving you far behind”

Hills

Keep on Pushing 2K13 (RainDropz! Extended Mix) – RainDropz! feat. Bass Bumpers

  • Genre: eurodance
  • Key: b-flat minor
  • Origins:
    • (I wasn’t able to locate much about the producer RainDropz!)
    • Bass Bumpers is a German DJ and record production team
  • Released: November 2013
  • RainDropz! was in BODYPUMP 78 in Q2 2011 — Tonight Is the Night 2K10 (Extended Mix), back and hamstrings track
  • Feel: old school, synth-heavy, thumpy
  • Thoughts
    • Apparently The Impressions have a song called “Keep on Pushing” from 1964, which bears no resemblance to this track; this is a remix of the Bass Bumpers song that came out in 1995
    • This is an interesting blend of a 90s techno feel with the more modern eurodance sound
    • The quiet place in the chorus is probably where we power climb in the middle of the block, followed by standing climb and attack
  • Good lyric cues
    • “Keep on pushin'”
    • “Take me higher”
    • “Don’t despair, don’t give up, control what’s deep inside.”

Mixed Terrain

Run, Run – Jeremy Redmore

  • Genre: pop / indie folk
  • Key: D major
  • Origins: Jeremy Redmore is from Bay of Plenty, New Zealand
  • Released: July 2014
  • Redmore is new to RPM and BODYJAM
  • Feel: driving, lyrical, soulful
  • Thoughts
    • The chorus starts quietly, so I’m not exactly sure what will happen in the choreography
    • This track continues the trend from RPM 65 of fast-paced Mixed Terrain tracks (144 bpm for this track, 145 bpm for the last release). At least this track has a more defined beat letting you hear that the tempo is faster.
    • The climbing phases should match the music pretty well for the last two blocks of work.
    • There’s potential to tap into the theme of running as a motivational cue.
  • Good lyric cues
    • “Make it straight and true”
    • “Just hold your arms out, give me a sign.”

Intervals

1000hp – Godsmack

  • Genre: hard rock / heavy metal / alternative metal
  • Key: d minor
  • Origins: Godsmack is from Lawrence, Massachusetts
  • Released: June 2014
  • Godsmack is new to RPM and BODYJAM
  • Feel: aggressive, gritty, intense
  • Thoughts
    • We’re staying with a heavy rock feel again (RPM 61, 63, and 65 also had this theme)
    • At 3:45, “Time to rewind” is a great reset cue
    • There are more blocks of work (6) than a typical Intervals track
    • A 7-minute Intervals track with a heavy, driving feel is going to make for a beast of a workout, and also possibly a challenge to pair it with other shorter tracks in my mixes
  • Good lyric cues
    • “Then we took the stage and everything changed”
    • “Make it all go faster”
    • “Take it a thousand horsepower”
    • “Turn it up, turn it up, one more time”

Speed Work

Raging Bull (Extended Mix) – ATB & Boss and Swan

  • Genre: house / trance
  • Key: E-flat major
  • Origins:
    • ATB (André Tanneberger) is a German DJ
    • Boss and Swan is a brother/sister duo from Toronto, Canada
  • Released: April 2014
  • Boss and Swan are new to RPM and BODYJAM, but ATB has been in other RPM releases
    • RPM 56 (Mountain Climb) – Apollo Road
    • RPM 58 (Mountain Climb) – Never Give Up (Clubmix)
    • RPM 64 (Speed Work) – Face to Face (Rudee Mix)
  • Feel: euphoric, lose yourself, powerful
  • Thoughts
    • Another variation of a four-chord song (I-iii-II-vi)
    • There are several soft parts where we’ll either stretch or add working load
    • 3:47 and 5:42 — two strong drum hits before the chorus/sprint
    • The lyrics in the chorus are bit tiring but the instrumentation and beat are solid and should make for a good sprinting track
  • Good lyric cues
    • “Gloves are off, towels in”
    • “And all the odds are in my hands”

Mountain Climb

Ping Pong (Kryder & Tom Staar Remix) – Armin van Buuren

  • Genre: big room house
  • Key: f# minor
  • Origins:
    • Kryder and Tom Staar are from London
  • Released: April 2014
  • Kryder and Tom Staar are new to RPM and BODYJAM, but Armin van Buuren has been in other releases
    • RPM 55 (Speed Work) – Drowning (Avicii Remix)
    • RPM 61 (Speed Work) – Forever Is Ours
    • RPM 62 (Speed Work) – This Is What It Feels Like (W&W Remix)
    • BODYJAM 66 (#makethecrowdgo) – D# Fat
    • BODYJAM 71 (Bounce Generation) – Ping Pong
  • Feel: dynamic, room shaking, tribal
  • Thoughts
    • When I originally saw this on the track list, I thought it would be very similar to Ping Pong from BODYJAM 71; however, this mix is very different
    • Even though there aren’t any lyrics to tap into, there’s enough musical variety to keep things interesting throughout the track
    • The sub-beats (i.e., percussion hits on eighth-note rhythms rather than just on the beat) give the track a little more subtle energy

Ride Home / Stretch

We Are Done – The Madden Brothers

  • Genre: folk/alternative rock
  • Key: B major
  • Origins: Brothers Joel Madden and Benji Madden are from Los Angeles, both of whom are also founding members of the rock band Good Charlotte
  • Released: May 2014
  • The Madden Brothers are new to RPM and BODYJAM
  • Feel: carefree, fun, singalong
  • Thoughts
    • I couldn’t think of a more appropriately titled track to end the class
    • The chord progression and harmonizing/vocals during the chorus has a 60s feel

Outro

Best Day of My Life – American Authors

  • Genre: indie folk
  • Key: D major
  • Origins: A group of four musicians (originally The Blue Pages) who met in Boston, Massachusetts
  • Released: March 2013
  • American Authors is new to RPM and BODYJAM
  • Feel: happy, playful, well-known
  • Thoughts
    • I’m glad this track is an outro instead of a main track because it’s had plenty of radio play and I’m a bit tired of it
    • Positive lyrics and a happy feel make this a great post-class track; it would have also made a good Ride Home track

Hills (Alternate)

Classical Gas (Extended) – Nick Skitz & Technoposse

  • Genre: electro-house
  • Key: a 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: May 2014
  • Both Nick Skitz & Technoposse have been in other RPM releases
    • RPM 63 (Mountain Climb) – Toca’s Miracle (Original Mix)
    • RPM 65 (Hills) – Anthem #2 (Nick Skitz & Technoposse Remix)
  • Feel: electro, modern, transporting
  • Thoughts
    • I first heard Classical Gas on a 1987 Mannheim Steamroller album of the same name; the first version of the song was written by Mason Williams in 1968
    • The familiar tune combined with the thumping beats, buzzy synths, and trance instrumentals should make this a good ride
    • Usually the alternate tracks don’t have as much appeal as the chosen track for a particular focus. That’s not the case here; this will definitely be in my rotation once I start creating a mix for May-June 2015

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.

  • Lots of new artists! Six out of the ten tracks were new to the programs I teach, and the artists for the other four tracks have a track record (no pun intended) that make for good rides.
  • It was interesting that I had the same first-listen experience as with RPM 65 — all of the standard tracks didn’t thrill me, but the alternate track resonated with me the most. After intentionally listening each track multiple times, I’m warming to them and looking forward to applying the choreography.
  • As is typically the case with RPM, this release covers several styles — pop, electronic, folk, and rock. The variety is what keeps the program from getting stale.

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