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RPM 68 Music Review

rpm-68-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.

Pack Ride

When the Day Comes – Nico & Vinz

  • Genre: R&B / Afrobeat
  • Key: C major
  • Origin: Kahouly Nicolay “Nico” Sereba and Vincent “Vinz” Dery are from Oslo, Norway
  • Released: September 2014
  • Nico & Vinz are both new to RPM and BODYJAM
  • Feel: welcoming, simple, upbeat
  • Thoughts
    • Bright instrumentation, percussion, and vocals; this would probably make a good BODYFLOW track
    • Musically very simple — mainly three chords
    • Initially I didn’t care for this song, but it’s grown on me after a few listenings
  • Good lyric cues
    • “Tryna find my peace”
    • “Today I will march for me, today you will march for you”
    • “So we just gotta keep running” (just before a sprint, most likely)

Pace

I Want You to Know – Zedd feat. Selena Gomez

  • Genre: electropop
  • Key: C major
  • Origins:
    • Selena Gomez is from Texas
    • Anton Zaslavski (Zedd) is Russian-German
  • Released: February 2015
  • Other releases
    • This track is also in this quarter’s BODYJAM release (74, Get It Lit block)
    • Selena Gomez is new to RPM and BODYJAM
    • Zedd
      • RPM 59 (Hills) and BODYJAM 60 (Warmup) – Save the World (Zedd Remix)
      • BODYJAM 71 (Break on D Floor) – Break Free
  • Feel: energizing, poptastic, transporting
  • Thoughts
    • The build is very steady, yet remains musically interesting at each phrase
    • I love the two drum hits on beats 5 and 6 at the halfway point of the first sprint
    • The vocals, instrumentation, and lyrics combine to make an excellent first working track; the participants should easily feel the different energy levels from the music
  • Good lyric cues
    • Most of this lyrics can be used because their motivational and talk about togetherness
    • “…it’s our time”
    • “You and me run the same course”

Hills

Reason (Extended Mix) – Cascada

  • Genre: Eurodance
  • Key: C minor
  • Origin: Cascada is a German group consisting of Natalie Horler, Manuel Reuter (DJ Manian), and Yann Peifer (DJ Yanou)
  • Released: February 2015
  • Other releases
    • Cascada has been in several BODYPUMP releases
    • RPM 46 (Mountain Climb) – Evacuate the Dance Floor
    • RPM 54 (Pace) – San Francisco (Remix III)
  • Feel: blood-pumping, synth-heavy, thumping
  • Thoughts
    • It’s been a while since I’ve heard a Eurodance track, and they make for good strength tracks (they were typically Back & Hamstrings tracks in BODYPUMP); it does get a bit repetitive at times, though
    • The rounds sound like they’re about 45 seconds once the chorus comes in
    • I like that Round 2 has a part where the music holds back just before the drop; that could mean something special in the choreography
  • Good lyric cues
    • “Give me a reason”
    • “…takes my breath away.”
    • “Can I believe that your heart still beats…”

Mixed Terrain

Mr. Brightside – The Killers

  • Genre: indie rock / post-punk revival / new wave
  • Key: D-flat major
  • Origins: The Killers (Brandon Flowers, Dave Keuning, Mark Stoermer, and Ronnie Vannucci, Jr.) are from Las Vegas
  • Released: September 2003
  • Other releases:
    • RPM 63 (Ride Home / Stretch) – Shot at the Night
  • Feel: gritty, overdriven, fast
  • Thoughts
    • This genre continues the trend from Mixed Terrain tracks from past releases (Heartbeat by The Fray {65}; Run, Run by Jeremy Redmore {66}; Shut Up and Dance by Walk the Moon {66})
    • Clever use of breaking rhyme — “but she’s touching his chest now”
    • As for cadence, this is the fastest RPM track I have — 148 bpm
    • The last two rounds have this phrasing — 30-second chorus, 8 second change is energy, 25-second mostly instrumental section like the chorus; perhaps the double-sprints from RPM 67 are making another appearance, although there’s not enough time to fit a climb in between
  • Good lyric cues
    • “How did it end up like this?” (probably for a motivational cue for the last round)

Intervals

Say Goodbye – Krewella

  • Genre: drum and bass
  • Key: d minor
  • Origins: Krewella is a music duo from Northbrook, Illinois consisting of Jahan Yousaf and Yasmine Yousaf
  • Released: November 2014
  • Other releases:
    • RPM 64 (Intervals) – Alone Together (Krewella Remix)
    • BODYJAM 69 (Trap Jump) – Party Monster
  • Feel: vengeful, driving, room shaking
  • Thoughts
    • The electric guitar part after the vocals of the chorus reminds me of the Intervals track from RPM 52: Witchcraft by Pendulum (see time marker 1:07)
    • There’s a lot of aggression in the instrumentation, vocals, and cadence, which can create energy to ride hard
    • The last two phrases have a section where the music gets quiet; I’m not sure if those translate to 2 split blocks, or 4 individual blocks; the timing is 50 seconds of “on,” 35 seconds of “off,” and then 30 seconds of “on” again
  • Good lyric cues
    • “It still kills me that I can’t change things”

Speed Work

Motion – Chicane feat. Paul Aiden

  • Genre: trance / house
  • Key: D-flat major
  • Origins:
    • Nicholas Bracegirdle (Chicane) is British
    • Paul Aiden is from London
  • Released: January 2015
  • Other releases: Both artists are new to RPM and BODYJAM
  • Feel: building, euphoric, lose yourself
  • Thoughts
    • We don’t hit the first sprint until 2:15, so there’s a long build-up ahead of it; the sprints are 45 seconds
    • I do so enjoy those EDM kicks where there’s a big drum hit on the 8th beat just before the drop/sprint
    • This song reminds me of the Speed Work track from RPM 51: Break My Fall (Original Mix) by Tiësto feat. BT (see time marker 1:06)
  • Good lyric cues
    • “It’s spinning round and round” (that’s pretty low-hanging fruit, but I’ll take it)

Mountain Climb

Together (In a State of Trance) (Alexander Popov Remix) – Armin van Buuren

  • Genre: progressive trance
  • Key: f minor
  • Origins:
    • Alexander Popov is Russian
    • Armin van Buuren is Dutch
  • Released: December 2014
  • 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)
    • RPM 66 (Mountain Climb) – Ping Pong (Kryder & Tom Staar Remix)
    • BODYJAM 66 (#makethecrowdgo) – D# Fat
    • BODYJAM 71 (Bounce Generation) – Ping Pong
  • Feel: room filling, electro, intense
  • Thoughts
    • I love the “quiet” drop 30 seconds in — a little unexpected but with good energy for what is probably the first climb (60 seconds)
    • Rounds 2 and 3 sound identical: a 45-second build with 30 seconds of room-filling synths
    • The drop that happens one minute before the end of the track will probably be one of those 30-second standing climbs followed by 30 seconds in the saddle

Ride Home / Stretch

Heartbeat – Mat Kearney

  • Genre: pop
  • Key: C major
  • Origin: Mat Kearney is based in Nashville
  • Released: February 2015
  • Other releases: Mat Kearney is new to RPM and BODYJAM
  • Feel: catchy, friendly, sweet
  • Thoughts
    • The style of this track is a good way to wind down the workout
    • Yes, this is probably one of those over-processed pop tunes (e.g., Auto-Tuned vocals), but it’s pretty well put together and ticks all the right boxes for me
    • We’re probably hopping off the bike around the 3-minute mark
  • Good lyric cues
    • “You are the rhythm of my life”
    • “…right next to me” (good tie-in to the group effect)

Outro

Lay Me Down – Sam Smith

  • Genre: soul / R&B
  • Key: E major
  • Origin: Sam Smith is from London
  • Released: February 2013
  • Other releases
    • RPM 65 (Outro) – Stay with Me
    • BODYJAM 73 (Groovedown) – Latch
  • Feel: beautiful, melodic, soulful
  • Thoughts
    • The song begins with lots of space — minimal, sustained chords on the piano with solo vocals; it provides a very intimate feel
    • Drums, strings, bass, and backup vocals come in around 1:40 add some layering to the song
    • About a minute before the end of the track there’s a more energetic section, which provides contrast but doesn’t seem to fit with the style of the track
    • The lyrics are about a strong feeling of sadness because two people can’t be together and how wonderful they’ll feel when they reconnect. Although that makes sense as a “goodbye” track for the class, I feel it digs a little too deep — almost aching, rather than a light-hearted “see you next time.” The first time I listened to this, I actually cried.

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.

Musically there’s quite a variety, which should make for a good ride.

  • Warm Up – quirky and upbeat
  • Pace – EDM at its best, I can’t wait to ride this one
  • Hills – I automatically associate Cascada with heavy lifting, so this won’t disappoint
  • Mixed Terrain – super-fast and gritty
  • Intervals – heavy and angry to get the heart rate up
  • Speed Work – spacey vocals and synths for transcendence
  • Mountain Climb – I’ve loved every other van Buuren track, and this one delivers as well
  • Ride Home / Stretch – uplifting pop track to wind things down

The Outro track was added in RPM 63:

  • RPM 63: On Top of the World – upbeat
  • RPM 64: Rather Be – upbeat
  • RPM 65: Stay with Me – down-tempo, a little soulful
  • RPM 66: Best Day of My Life – upbeat
  • RPM 67: Classic – funk, upbeat
  • RPM 68: soulful

My personal preference is to have something up-beat that continues the post-workout endorphin rush, rather than something that makes people think about how things are over and we have to wait until we reconnect again.

The next RPM 68 post will be about the workout itself, so stay tuned!

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