Saturday, March 22, 2014

RPM: Shortest and Longest Mixes (RPM01-RPM61)

Right, so it's been a while since I've posted on here - and for good reason, which you'll see when it comes to my reviews of RPM 61 and 62.

Before that though, I'm going to run down the list of tracks in RPM 61 and review their length.

TRACKTITLETRACK LENGTHMEDIAN LENGTH
1Treasure4:334:47
2Turn Around4:495:22 [DOWN]
3Don't You Worry Child6:316:13
4Death Valley4:575:17 [DOWN]
5Ready To Rock5:235:47
6Forever Is Ours7:166:27
7I Could Be The One6:326:42 [DOWN]
8Mirrors4:293:45
9Royals3:103:55
TOTAL
47:36

Once again, no movers on the shortest list, but a new longest ride home on the longest list.

SHORTEST RPM MIX
TRACK 1 - RPM 43 - Closer - 3:59
TRACK 2 - RPM 05 - Oya Como Va - 4:35
TRACK 3 - RPM 01 - Road To Nowhere - 4:32
TRACK 4 - RPM 40 - Let Go - 3:47
TRACK 5 - RPM 26 - Don't Worry Baby - 4:33
TRACK 6 - RPM 03 - Mysterious Times - 5:02
TRACK 7 - RPM 03 - Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For - 4:49
TRACK 8 - RPM 59 - Sitting At Home - 2:50
TRACK 9 - RPM 43 - Love Is A Losing Game - 2:34

Total
: 36:39

LONGEST RPM MIX
TRACK 1 - RPM 52 - Beautiful People - 5:52
TRACK 2 - RPM 55 - We Found Love - 6:25
TRACK 3 - RPM 52 - Rhythm Of The Night - 7:04
TRACK 4 - RPM 60 - If I Lose Myself - 6:08
TRACK 5 - RPM 58 - Feel The Love - 7:18
TRACK 6 - RPM 54 - Just Be - 7:37
TRACK 7 - RPM 58 - Never Give Up - 7:31
TRACK 8 - RPM 61 - Mirrors- 4:29
TRACK 9 - RPM 26 - She Will Be Loved - 4:30

Total: 57:22

It's been paired with a very short stretch track, so the net time spent cooling down is probably the same... yet interestingly in the choreography there aren't any stretches on the bike so that there's less to do once you get off. *shrugs*.  I like that Mirrors is in there though, it's a very different sound for a ride home.

I'll be back in about a week or so with RPM 62's tracklisting, and the respective lengths of those.

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

RPM: Best of 2013

I know I haven't written my review of RPM 61 yet - one of the clubs I teach at was a bit late in launching for good reason, one of our key instructors was struck down with appendicitis (yowch) so we held off for a week and waited for her to get better. I'd like to give them a bit more of a chance to look at the release in the new year before I put my review together.

So that is in the pipeline.

I did this post last year where I reviewed the best tracks from RPM for the year, and I figured, since I'm stuck at home with the runs (yuck, and TMI, sorry), I might as well keep the tradition going. This is what I think were the top tracks from RPM 58 - RPM 61.

DISCLAIMER: This is my personal opinion based on my personal music preferences and experiences with teaching the releases in the clubs I am based at. These preferences and experiences may differ from yours.

TRACK 1 - RPM 58 - Good Time AND RPM 61 - Treasure

Oh lordy. For the first time I actually could not choose between the two of these tracks. And a heads up, this isn't the only time in this post where that happens. Both of these tracks went down a treat with members, really put everyone in a good mood and set the tone for the class. Both worked equally well in morning classes and evening classes.

Members generally sang along to Good Time, and bopped along to Treasure even if they didn't know the words (it does have that vibe to it, you can't help but bop). Both were of a reasonable length and will find places in many playlists to come.

TRACK 2 - RPM 59 - Numb

Standout T2 for the year. Beautiful sound, this definitely was the one that landed the most with the members. A timeless track. I'll be teaching this one for years to come. (assuming I'm still teaching... which... I hope I am). It provides gorgeous contrast between an upbeat T1 and a driving, dark, aggressive T3 - let's face it, there are loads of aggressive T3s, and this track really allows instructors to take their participants on a journey.

TRACK 3 - RPM 58 - Party Bounce

This track is the one that stopped the rut. T3s have been crying out for a new sound, a new feeling, something fresh and different for quite some time. RPM 57 tried to go there with Magnificent. Party Bounce blew it out of the water and completely reinvigorated the hill climb. Definitely the best T3 since Ecuador, and some people put it on parity with Ecuador. I personally think Ecuador is superior, but that could be down to opinion rather than fact. All of the other T3s for the year are very strong. Heck, RPM 61's T3 completely changed the training stimulus. I feel though, that the rest of these tracks would not have come to fruition had Party Bounce not come along.

TRACK 4 - RPM 60 - If I Lose Myself

No contest. GORGEOUS song. My only gripe? WAY too long. Makes it incredibly difficult to fit into a playlist without having to select incredibly short tracks around it. The other T4s of 2013 weren't really anything of note. RPM 61 tried to be innovative with the slingshot choreography (holding into power climb before releasing to working load for the sprint), though the music was neither here nor there. Unmemorable. If I Lose Myself was the only T4 that was memorable this year, and thank goodness it wasn't just memorable, but amazing.

TRACK 5 - RPM 60 - Not Giving In

This track was so different that it generated a negative reaction from a lot of instructors who saw it for the first time. I'll admit, I received my kit and listened to the track and couldn't make it through the first few bars because I just. couldn't. picture. it. I tried to keep an open mind and THANK GOODNESS I DID. Both the base and high performance choreography for this one was a winner with participants. The number of times, even well after launch, that they were caught out by the fourth and fifth rounds of work, signifies how challenging the track was.

 I do need to point out that there were a lot of instructors who threw a hissy fit and said 'DUBSTEP AGAIN!?!?!?! Y U DO DIS.'

Ummm... People, this is not dubstep!

In fact, for the whole of 2013, NO SINGLE T5 WAS A DUBSTEP TRACK.

Dubstep appeared in T2 in RPM 60, and T7 in RPM 59. THAT IS ALL.

If you're crying about too much dubstep in RPM, put that into perspective. 2 dubstep tracks in the last year.

TRACK 6 - ALL OF THEM

What an amazingly strong year for T6's it was. First half of the year, two upbeat, driving, thumping, epic monsters. Back half of the year, two soulful, dramatic, intriguing tracks.

Some might say that Million Voices is annoying, and you know what, as far as I'm concerned, that's part of the appeal. Of all of the tracks this year, the moment I put this one on, I see a look of terror in my participants eyes. That moment of "Oh gawd not this one...", they know they're going to get a whooping. All four T6s are T6s which will have value and relevance years from now. Great job, Glen & Sarah.

TRACK 7 - RPM 60 - Just One Last Time

This was a hard decision. This, and Never Give Up from 58 are both awesome tracks. Never Give Up is a beautiful, uplifting tune and the power training in it is a nice touch. However, I have not taught this track since launch. WHAT. HOW?! Because of how long it is. Over 7 and a half minutes. It is just too difficult to use every day. I've always opted for other, shorter, more usable tracks to Never Give Up. That is the only downfall to that tack, and if it weren't 7 and a half minutes, it would've been my top T7 for 2013. In light of that, Just One Last Time was the one that really landed well with participants.

RPM 61's T7 also provided shock value with the innovation towards the end of the track, though what does the track have once the shine of that innovation wears off? Grunty chorus sounds with contrasting melodic verses... nice, but not amazing. I personally loved RPM 59's T7, but I know instructors the world over struggled with teaching it. I love it because of how it challenges me as an instructor. RPM 60's T7 is a bit more straightforward to teach as far as setting the mood and taking participants on the journey goes. Plus there's loads of motivation that you can hook into with the lyrics.

TRACK 8 - RPM 58 - Hall Of Fame

Damn pretty tune. Love this song, the majority of members recognise the tune, and if they don't, they learn it pretty quickly enough to interact on the OOOoooOOoooOOoo (okay so my articulation of the lyrics isn't great, but you know what I mean surely). Mirrors, from RPM 61 gets an honourable mention, but good lord, 4 and a half minutes?! Definitely not one I can play all of the time. I can play it in my evening class where they're not in a rush to be anywhere else, but definitely not usable in the morning. Hall of Fame though, is not a completely unreasonable length, whilst still being pretty. Great selection.

TRACK 9 - RPM 58 - Try AND RPM 61 - Royals

Again, I couldn't decide between these two tracks. I will probably use Royals more than Try because of its length, though if I do have the time to use Try, it's certainly the most perfect way to round out a hard workout. When I look back on the changes we saw in 2012 for RPM, 2013 next levelled that. RPM 61, while perhaps not the strongest musically (and therefore, didn't feature heavily on this list), was incredibly innovative chorey wise and I hope it is a sign of what 2014 has ahead.

 A brief moment to talk about my year. I started off the year wondering if I was ever going to teach again. I had no classes, and it actually ached whenever fellow instructors uttered "Ugh, I've got to teach tonight, I so cannot be bothered." While I do understand that viewpoint, it hurt like a mother when I was on the other side of the fence, longing for my next change to get back on the mic.

Then in April, right around my birthday in fact, it all changed. I got a mid afternoon call to cover a class the following morning. Then suddenly, it all changed. I suddenly had 3 x RPM classes and 1 x Spin. I hold onto them so much more tightly now that I know what it feels like to have it all taken from you - either justifiably or unjustifiably so.

 People, treasure your classes. I know there's politics, and it gets hard with personalities and people who don't respect the programs. Also, it's easy to get all knotted up over Oh Lord Are They Using Swedish House Mafia Again and musical preferences when there are bigger battles. Fighting these battles is not worth sacrificing what you do. How would you feel if it were all taken away in a heartbeat? This is the love and passion that you need to give to your classes, and to the program.

 I loved being back in 2013. I'm so looking forward to continuing being back in 2014.

Happy 2014, everyone.

Monday, November 18, 2013

RPM 60: In Review

Ack.  I'm not sure how it happened that it took me this long to get this post written.  Quarterly workshops for RPM 61 in Auckland were yesterday, yet I still haven't reviewed RPM 60 for you guys.  My bad! This somehow got on top of me.

But, I can then give you a true run down of how RPM 60 really went in the clubs I taught it at.

TRACK ONE - Let Me Love You
TRACK TWO - Diamonds
TRACK THREE - Army Of Hardcore
TRACK FOUR - If I Lose Myself
TRACK FIVE - Not Giving In
TRACK SIX - Million Voices
TRACK SEVEN - Just One Last Time
TRACK EIGHT - Miss You
TRACK NINE - Let Her Go

TRACK ONE - PACK RIDE - Let Me Love You
When I heard that this track was the pack ride I thought, "... meh.  Average. Not exciting."  It ended up being a lot nicer than I expected, even if the lyrics are a bit cheesy.

It's another one of those warmups that is approaching 6 minutes, so it really doesn't have much flexibility in a regular playlist.  As nice as it is, I haven't really taught it much for that reason.

TRACK TWO - PACE - Diamonds
On the flipside, this track is one of the shortest T2's that we've had of late, yet even so, there is still plenty of time within the track to coach effectively.  The only dubstep that appears in the release is in this track, and it's in a couple of phases at the end of each sprint.  I really like it, and members like this one too.  It's dark, it's quick, and it's a recognisable tune.  This one's going to get put into the playlist quite often.

TRACK THREE - HILLS - Army Of Hardcore
This was our first look at a new concept - Base vs High Performance training.  Instructors I spoke to scoffed at the concept, some of them not even teaching the Base at all, and others criticising the small difference between the Base and High Performance on paper.

Let me tell you that on paper it might look like a small difference, but in the ride, it ain't.  Members were flattened by the base version and then blown out of the water by the high performance.  The tune is thumping, and such a good fit for a T3.  The choreography itself isn't overly innovative, but it hasn't reverted back to the 'rave-top-40' style T3s that we had from 51-56.  This one is going to get used over and over again.

TRACK FOUR - MIXED TERRAIN - If I Lose Myself
This track is my favourite of the release.  HOWEVER.  When I got my kit, my heart broke when I saw how long it was.  It packs out at the longest T4 that RPM has, which means that if I want to play it, I'll be needing to use the very small number of short tracks around it to make sure that I run a class on time.  Kings and Queens while similar in length, isn't one that you do want to play regularly due to the innovation of the terrain.  This one is a different kettle of fish.  It's so beautiful that you *do* want to be playing it often, but the length makes it tough.

I said the same thing about We Found Love from 55, and I've just made it work because that too is an awesome track.

Glen and Sarah, note! Please don't make such pretty tracks so hard to fit into a playlist!

TRACK FIVE - INTERVALS - Not Giving In
The first time a friend of mine rode RPM 60 they contacted me after the class going "OMG. T5 is AWFUL."  For realz.  Then when I got my kit, I listened to the song and when it started I was like "... What the hell is this?!"  I listened a little longer and then couldn't take it and skipped forward.  I thought maybe I'd understand when I watched the DVD.  I watched it, and I still found myself skipping forward through it as I was not inspired at all.

Then the quarterly workshop came around.  Carrie and Sarah presented the release, and *then* I understood.  The lead up to that first attack is suspenseful, and it's a more subtle interpretation of what Ecuador, Push The Tempo, and Numb did in their choreography.  This track was a MASSIVE hit with members.  It got an awesome response and oh, the GROANS at the halfway point of the track!

What I found amusing was that members on the LM forums were complaining about 'dubstep again'... Ummmm... this isn't dubstep, guys.  Get your EDM sub-genres right.  This is drum & bass, and I was thrilled that the version of the song we got didn't get the Feel The Love treatment where the main vocalist was switched to a female.

I tend to use the base version of this track more than the high performance version - the base version is hard enough if you coach it properly.  It's not a case of 'easy version' vs 'hard version'.  It's 'hard version' vs 'harder version'.  High performance was a challenge for me too as I needed to bump up my own fitness to be able to continue to coach effectively during the intervals.

I also love how the lyrics of the song are intrinsicly motivational too.  This one's timeless.

TRACK SIX - SPEED WORK - Million Voices
I first heard this song upon listening to the Tiesto Club Life Podcast where it was a featured track.  I fell in love with it then, and did a happy dance when I heard that it was in RPM 60.  I will admit, I did find it hilarious that many instructors found it annoying - I can see how that would be the case.  But regardless of whether you find the tune annoying or not, you can't deny that this is one hell of a track.  2 minute sprint, wowzers!  Even now, members will come in and will quietly say to me, "Please don't do the 2 minute one today...".

This track has done exactly what it's supposed to - it's struck fear into the heart of members.  When they hear that intro and that first eh eh eh eh eh ah ah ah ah ah, their quadriceps go OH GAWD NOT THIS ONE, and they know they're going to get a challenge.  Bonus is, the track overall is actually really short.  I wouldn't teach it regularly because of the fear that it creates - I think of this one as an 'impact track', one you chuck in occasionally to take them to next level training.

TRACK SEVEN - MOUNTAIN CLIMB - Just One Last Time
Awesome, awesome, awesome.  Love the power training efforts in this one, love the grunt and aggression, and the not-quite-so-straightforward choreography.  I'll admit I haven't been using this one as much after launch, but I'm not sure why.  I might even put it in my playlist this week - members have responded to it well and it's the perfect way to round off the release.

OVERALL
My only real disappointment with this release was that Track 4 was so long.  I wouldn't be so disappointed if it were an average track, but because it's pretty and I want to teach it more often, I'm gutted at its length.  We already have enough challenges with trying to build mixes and tracks like that make it even harder.

The rest of the release has gone really well with members.  At one club I teach at, the members were used to a previous instructor that used her own music and made up choreography.  When she left and other instructors came in and taught properly, it was a real uphill battle as the members found what we did 'boring'.  Releases like this make our job easier.  One member said to me after I taught RPM 60 for the first time, "I liked that today, it's great when you change the choreography."  Hah!  I didn't change the choreography!

Plus if they thought I was changing the choreography for this release, they've got no clue when it comes to RPM 61 - I'm looking forward to ripping that out in the next couple of weeks... hopefully that review will not take me 2 months to do like it's taken me this one :-/

Friday, August 30, 2013

RPM: Shortest and Longest Mixes (RPM01-RPM60)

Before we look at the shortest and longest mix, let's check out how this release stacks up against other releases.

TRACKTITLETRACK LENGTHMEDIAN LENGTH
1Let Me Love You5:454:47
2Diamonds4:505:23
3Army Of Hardcore6:356:13
4If I Lose Myself6:085:18 [UP]
5Not Giving In5:545:59 [UP]
6Million Voices5:586:29 [UP]
7Just One Last Time6:326:44 [DOWN]
8Miss You3:393:45
9Let Her Go4:113:55 [UP]
TOTAL49:2348:35 [UP]

No movers on the shortest RPM mix, however, we have a new entry on the longest RPM mix.

SHORTEST RPM MIX
TRACK 1 - RPM 43 - Closer - 3:59
TRACK 2 - RPM 05 - Oya Como Va - 4:35
TRACK 3 - RPM 01 - Road To Nowhere - 4:32
TRACK 4 - RPM 40 - Let Go - 3:47
TRACK 5 - RPM 26 - Don't Worry Baby - 4:33
TRACK 6 - RPM 03 - Mysterious Times - 5:02
TRACK 7 - RPM 03 - Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For - 4:49
TRACK 8 - RPM 59 - Sitting At Home - 2:50
TRACK 9 - RPM 43 - Love Is A Losing Game - 2:34

Total
: 36:39

LONGEST RPM MIX
TRACK 1 - RPM 52 - Beautiful People - 5:52
TRACK 2 - RPM 55 - We Found Love - 6:25
TRACK 3 - RPM 52 - Rhythm Of The Night - 7:04
TRACK 4 - RPM 60 - If I Lose Myself - 6:08
TRACK 5 - RPM 58 - Feel The Love - 7:18
TRACK 6 - RPM 54 - Just Be - 7:37
TRACK 7 - RPM 58 - Never Give Up - 7:31
TRACK 8 - RPM 55 - Paradise- 4:27
TRACK 9 - RPM 26 - She Will Be Loved - 4:30

Total: 57:20

T4, oh why do you do this to me.  You're such a beautiful song too! How on earth am I going to fit you into any reasonable playlist?! I pretty much will never be able to teach you in any of my morning classes where everyone is in a rush to get to work.

The other track of note, while not making the list, is T2.
RPM 05 - 4:35 - Oya Como Va
RPM 26 - 4:46 - Hole In The Head
RPM 60 - 4:50 - Diamonds
RPM 28 - 4:52 - Ride It
RPM 30 - 4:55 - Spin That Wheel (Original Mix)
RPM 18 - 4:56 - Rapture
RPM 27 - 4:56 - Love Foolosophy
RPM 37 - 4:57 - When You Were Young
RPM 44 - 4:57 - Sober
There are very few short decent T2s, and when you want to try to compensate for longer tracks throughout your mix, these tracks get churned through pretty quickly.  Out of the above listed, the ones that I use regularly are these:
RPM 26 - 4:46 - Hole In The Head
RPM 37 - 4:57 - When You Were Young
RPM 44 - 4:57 - Sober
And I'll admit, I use 'When You Were Young' begrudgingly, as I'm a Killers fan and I am not a fan of that cover, but, otherwise, I'll end up thrashing Sober like a dead horse.  Having a similar length track is definitely a boost to my mix-making abilities, and using some of the longer tracks.  If I'm trying to fit in If I Lose Myself, Diamonds is very likely to be paired with it because of its shortness.

So far, I've launched this release at one gym, and waiting to see how it goes down at the other club that I teach at.  Also will see how other instructor friends think their participants receive the release, and then I'll write my review.  Will check in with you all then - happy riding, friends!  

Saturday, July 20, 2013

RPM 59: In Review

Unlike with RPM 58, I got to know this release inside out. Not only did I teach it at a variety of clubs, but it then became the release that I did my recertification on.

Most countries around the world don't have to go through recertification, just initial certification - it's basically a biannual check that you're still doing the basics that are covered in the module, and that you're still teaching a safe and effective class. I had two unique and different opportunities to see how this release went down - firstly, to members who had been riding RPM for years, had had RPM on their timetables for years, and were familiar and loyal to the program. Then, I got to teach it at a newly licensed club where they were still getting their heads around RPM, and where the current timetabled instructors were completely responsible for the RPM culture there.

 The result was the same at both clubs, which I found very interesting. Even more interesting... and disappointing, however, was the instructor reaction when they received the release. I saw Facebook posts, Tweets, forums posts, all blasting RPM 59 before they had even ridden, or taught the release. Some instructors were so incensed by the music that they were demanding that their agencies refund their money as the release was so horrid.

I was especially disappointed when a friend of mine very publicly announced that RPM 59 was the first release that they didn't like. They did it in such a manner that their participants would have all seen her statement, and likely would have formed an opinion of the release just based on that. Given that this was a friend, I was so disappointed in them. They will probably blame the release for not being liked by their members, though I say, they laid the groundwork for that dislike. It was my wanting to observe the instructor attitudes and how that propagated to the members that delayed this post.

Other clubs launched later than the ones I teach at so it meant a fair bit of waiting. Let's break it down.

TRACK ONE - Make The World Move
TRACK TWO - Numb
TRACK THREE - Save The World
TRACK FOUR - Flesh And Bone
TRACK FIVE - Daydreamer
TRACK SIX - Pair of Dice
TRACK SEVEN - I Don't Deserve You
TRACK EIGHT - Sitting At Home
TRACK NINE - Clouds

TRACK ONE - PACK RIDE - Make The World Move
Very few people responded to this track in an "OMG I love this song" type way. I think it's nice that song tracks are like that, though those tracks can date very quickly. This one won't date. It's a good, solid warmup, not too long, not too short, with adequate time to cover all of the bases. And man, how good a job does Dan McDonogh do presenting this! I love it whenever he is on a DVD, he delivers everything in such an intelligent way - I strive to educate my members in the wonderful effortless way he seems to.

TRACK TWO - PACE - Numb
When this track was filmed, I thought "... I wonder if Usher is going to remain a male...", and waited until the release came out. I let out a sigh of relief when yes, Usher remained a male. After John Newman became a female in RPM 58 and Jason Derulo became a female in RPM 56, I was concerned that Usher might undergo a sex change for RPM 59.

Before you go, "Why would Usher become a female? He's been used in BODYPUMP and BODYJAM without that happening?" It doesn't matter, even if the original of a track has been used in another program, sometimes a cover still pops up - example, Club Can't Handle Me in RPM 50 was an original, while in BODYATTACK 73 a cover was used (and the track was a conditioning track at the same pace as the original).

My personal opinion? This track is beautiful. What is interesting though is that I haven't observed this track go down well at other clubs. The feedback has been that 'it's not driving enough'. I personally don't feel that the music has to be driving in order for it to be a good track. One of my most favourite tracks of all time is Adagio for Strings from RPM 29, and it is a dark, subtle, moody, eerie track, without an epic, booming beat.

One of the participants attended a BODYCOMBAT class where the instructor didn't teach the prescribed format (tsk tsk) and the music was epic, booming, doof doof trance all throughout. The participant got a bit bewildered and often questioned, "... haven't we done this song already?", as the music had all sounded the same.

So I utterly ADORE this T2. Not only is it challenging with that extra gear of working resistance whacked on the end of the 2nd and 3rd work phases, the music is smooth, sultry, and provide beautiful contrast within itself, and nestled in amongst other tracks. I'm going to be using this one a LOT.

TRACK THREE - HILLS - Save The World
Party Bounce is a hard act to follow, and I love that this track also works you hard while providing a different mood. Party Bounce was a fun, up beat, funky tune, while Save The World is more of a grunty, heavy, darker tune.

As I mentioned in the post where I discussed the timings of the track, the best part of this for me is while being so challenging, it is also a short T3, which our RPM library is bereft of in modern times (RPM 26 onwards). The number of mixes that I'll be able to build with this tune is exciting - thank you, Glen and Sarah!

TRACK FOUR - MIXED TERRAIN - Flesh And Bone
YAY it's not Coldplay or Flo Rida! But, it's not really an innovative track by all means. As far as low points in the release go, I'd say this is it. There are some nice lyrics to hook into as far as motivational coaching goes, and the fact that after your first race on the beat you don't go into a ride easy position definitely challenges the fitness differently. This one just passed the members by - they didn't love it, they didn't hate it. I'll use it occasionally, but I will be very surprised if anyone requests it.

TRACK FIVE - INTERVALS - Daydreamer
Feel The Love gave our ears a break from the dubstep, but was so repetitive, and so long, that I don't think I will be using it very often. A return to drum and bass was inevitable, but I feel that personally Daydreamer does a better job of it than Feel The Love does. The only advantage that Feel The Love has over this one is that it's a mainstream song that members will recognise. This track is SO hard, and you are required to tap into a different side of yourself to teach it. I foresee several instructors not doing this track justice as it's not an angry, aggressive track. T5's don't need to be aggressive and angry! They can be anything! Variety is good, people - not just variety in the sound, but variety in the delivery. Embrace the challenge!

TRACK SIX - SPEED WORK - Pair of Dice
Lordy, what a THUMPING tune this is! The moment Sarah O played this in class for the first time I was like "WHOA!! What is that song?! It's AWESOME!" The first time I taught this release, it went down well, but *this* track, sent the members into spontaneous cheering and whooping. The energy that it automatically brings is unparalleled - yes, Push The Tempo comes pretty close, but it also strikes fear into the heart of the participants, an 'Oh No Not This One' type feeling. This track creates jubilation and exhilaration, and that extra challenge of having the extra gear on in the back half of each race phase is awesomeness personified.

And the length is perfect. Not too long, meaning I'll be able to build a great variety of mixes from it. Sarah, Glen, well done.

TRACK SEVEN - MOUNTAIN CLIMB - I Don't Deserve You
This one gets on top of you quickly - I'm going to love using this one whenever participants suggest to 'take out the recoveries'. I will never ever take a recovery out of a track, but instead I will manipulate the tracks I do have and build a mix where the tracks 'run into' each other. For example: Breathing from 56 will run straight into Show Me Heaven from 44, Viva La Vida from 41 will run straight into Voodoo People from 43.

I LOVE this tune, I LOVE this track. But! Because it was dubstep, and our first dubstep T7, I was concerned about what the members would think of it. To my complete surprise, not only was this track a hit at my gyms, but at all of the gyms that my instructor friends teach at as well. The amount of contrast in it, the fact that the dubstep wasn't as aggressive on the ears as the dubstep that's been used in T5s of late... it makes this track a winner.

While I adore Never Give Up from 58, because of how long it is I'll hardly be able to use it. As this track, while still on the long side, is more of a standard length, I'll be able to get much more mileage out of it. Job well done. I'll never get tired of teaching this, as this track demands skill and respect.

TRACK EIGHT- RIDE HOME - Sitting At Home
I don't normally write about any of the cooldown tracks, but for this release I'll mention that this is the shortest T8 that we've ever had. The last one was 'Busy' from RPM 53, and the way that was choreographed, it acknowledged that the cooldown was short and the stretch track started on the bike. This one doesn't have that, and I will honestly say that sometimes when the members are particularly smashed, they don't look ready to come off the bike.

I make a note to my members "If you feel like your heart rate hasn't come down fully, that's okay, this track is shorter than normal. It's on a downward trend, so in the next minute or so it will come to a normal level." Nothing really to say about the song itself, it's nice enough, didn't have the impact that Hall Of Fame had, but it does the job. Can't really complain about that!


OVERALL
When you listen to the music in this release, there is NO WAY that you can have any appreciation for how incredible this release is. After mixing it out, I had to teach it top to bottom for my recertification and it floored me as to how hard it was as a whole. That's why it was SO disappointing when instructors wrote the release off before they had ridden it, and before they taught it. This one will challenge your fitness, RIDICULOUSLY. I love it, my members love it, and I know I will be hard pressed to let go of it.

Sarah and Glen, I'm invoicing you for a new pair of legs.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

RPM: Shortest and Longest Mixes (RPM01-RPM59)

All right everyone - this has been a bit late in being posted, but better late than never? Well go with that

Before we look at the shortest and longest mix, let's check out how this release stacks up against other releases.

TRACKTITLETRACK LENGTHMEDIAN LENGTH
1Make The World Move4:454:47 [DOWN]
2Numb5:425:23 [UP]
3Save The World6:086:13 [DOWN]
4Flesh And Bone5:075:17 [DOWN]
5Daydreamer6:515:57
6Pair of Dice6:226:27 [DOWN]
7I Don't Deserve You7:016:40 [DOWN]
8Sitting At Home2:503:45
9Clouds3:173:51 [DOWN]
TOTAL47:5848:34

No movers on the longest RPM mix, however, we have a new shortest T8.

SHORTEST RPM MIX
TRACK 1 - RPM 43 - Closer - 3:59
TRACK 2 - RPM 05 - Oya Como Va - 4:35
TRACK 3 - RPM 01 - Road To Nowhere - 4:32
TRACK 4 - RPM 40 - Let Go - 3:47
TRACK 5 - RPM 26 - Don't Worry Baby - 4:33
TRACK 6 - RPM 03 - Mysterious Times - 5:02
TRACK 7 - RPM 03 - Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For - 4:49
TRACK 8 - RPM 59 - Sitting At Home - 2:50
TRACK 9 - RPM 43 - Love Is A Losing Game - 2:34

Total
: 36:39

LONGEST RPM MIX
TRACK 1 - RPM 52 - Beautiful People - 5:52
TRACK 2 - RPM 55 - We Found Love - 6:25
TRACK 3 - RPM 52 - Rhythm Of The Night - 7:04
TRACK 4 - RPM 53 - Kings And Queens - 6:00
TRACK 5 - RPM 58 - Feel The Love - 7:18
TRACK 6 - RPM 54 - Just Be - 7:37
TRACK 7 - RPM 58 - Never Give Up - 7:31
TRACK 8 - RPM 41 - Umbrella - 4:25
TRACK 9 - RPM 26 - She Will Be Loved - 4:30

Total: 57:14

Other tracks of note is T5... again, another track that is approaching the 7 minute mark.  It's a good one, so I'll have to apply the best of my mix-putting-together abilities to make sure that the rest of the playlist doesn't run too long whenever I use that T5.

Thankfully, to balance it out, we have a reasonably short T6 and hello, what's this?  A very short T3!  Sure, the shortest playlist of all times reads out the shortest T3 as 4:32, but that was in a very very early release where the program hadn't really developed.

If we remove T3s earlier than when the modern evolution of RPM really began (from RPM 26 onwards), and focus on the remaining tracks that are less than the median length, we really end up with a handful of T3s.
RPM 39 - 5:45 - Tribal Dance
RPM 50 - 6:00 - Ravers In The UK
RPM 49 - 6:04 - Russian Roulette
RPM 45 - 6:06 - True Faith
RPM 43 - 6:07 - Spaceman
RPM 32 - 6:07 - Woman In Love
RPM 59 - 6:08 - Save The World
Every other T3 is either on, or longer than the median, which means, they tend on the longer side.  The upshot of all of this is shorter T3s are hard to come by, and it's fantastic when a good one does come along.  I know that I have thrashed Ravers in the UK as the remainder of tracks haven't really landed with my members (although I could give Russian Roulette another go sometime... it has been a while.)

I'll be writing my full review soon.  There's a reason why I've held off writing on it - I know RPM 58 was pretty late in being written, and I didn't expect to take this long with RPM 59 either.  There is a method to my madness though, I promise.
 
 

Saturday, April 06, 2013

RPM 58: In Review

This review has been pretty slow in going up for a couple of reasons.  Firstly, I had a bit of a gap in teaching - about 4 months, no regular classes.  I won't go into the detail of why that is on here, but if you want to send me a message via Facebook or email, I'll happily tell you.  Secondly, the gyms that I was associated with/regularly covering/team teaching at were very late to launch the new release, so it was quite a long time before I got the chance firstly to teach at all, then to teach RPM 58 in particular.

But now I'm back in the saddle (literally) and can give a run down of how RPM 58 stacked up.

TRACK ONE - Good Time
TRACK TWO - Get It Started
TRACK THREE - Party Bounce
TRACK FOUR - Let It Roll
TRACK FIVE - Feel The Love
TRACK SIX - Can't Stop Me Now
TRACK SEVEN - Never Give Up
TRACK EIGHT - Hall Of Fame
TRACK NINE - Try

TRACK ONE - PACK RIDE - Good Time
Ahhhhh.  What a beautiful, happy, feel good time to start a class.  Warmup perfection, even with the cover.  I listened to the song originally and was like "... Man, what a good RPM warmup this would make."  By the time I suggested it to Sarah Ostergaard, her and Glen had already begun choreographing it!  Great minds?  I'll say that, hehe.  Only minor thing is that you don't find working resistance in there, although I note that there seems to be a trend to not 'find' working resistance anymore?  In both 57 and 58 there are no tracks that find working resistance - all well in good if you've got a regular set of members that have been doing RPM for years, but I'm in a situation currently where I'm teaching a newly licensed club with members that are completely new to RPM.  But that is minor.

TRACK TWO - PACE - Get It Started
The first time I heard this song I was like ".... eh?"  Shakira and I aren't exactly BFFs.  I can't say I get along with Pitbull either.  But when the beat kicked in which maps to the racing phases? Fantastic!  In my opinion, even though I'm not a fan of the song and never will be, this song rides awesomely.  It rides way better than it sounds.  I like it, it's a keeper, and members like it too.  There's loads of awesome little hooks into the lyrics that you can use to create an upbeat vibe and to motivate.

Will I say it's my favourite track 2 ever? No... We Found Love and Till The World Ends are more to my liking, but it's not about me.  Members love it, and the response from it has been good.

TRACK THREE - HILLS - Party Bounce
AWWWWW YEAH. AMAZEBALLS.  Best Track 3 since Ecuador.  Music, choreography, all awesome.  Love love love.  It's on the long side, but it's definitely not one of the longest tracks around, so it'll have a place in many mixes without causing an imbalance.

Not only does it use the innovation which was introduced in RPM 55 (holding onto resistance, recovery through cadence rather than through resistance release), it adds power training into the mix.  Power training has been used in RPM before, though I think the last time we would've seen it was in RPM 48, "It's Not Over".  Previous to that... RPM 39, "Blast The Speakers".  I can't recall a hill climb that uses it, and it's going to be wicked to combine this track 3 with a power training track 7 to really challenge participants differently.

TRACK FOUR - MIXED TERRAIN - Let It Roll
It's not that I don't like Coldplay and Flo Rida, though I get the feeling that Track 4's of late have a tendency to alternate between these two artists.  Definitely every song that has been used, I like, and use.  However, I think it would be a good idea for LMI to shelve these two artists in Track 4 for a little while and see what else is out there.  I know that RPM 59's Track 4 is neither Coldplay nor Flo Rida (good), though I hope the trend continues for a little longer for the likes of RPM 60, 61, 62.

As for this track itself?  Good fun, I adore it.  Will continue to teach it for sure.  It's not a particularly long track 4, but it's still a good minute longer than Good Feeling - it sits around the median length for a mixed terrain track.

TRACK FIVE - INTERVALS - Feel The Love
I fell in love with this track (I felt the love... ahem...) in the lead up to filming.  Adam Rigby and Sarah Ostergaard both used the original in their practice runs, and in at the filming itself.  Also, since I wasn't teaching for a little while, I was attending classes and in those classes, the original was used.

So, when my kit arrived, I nearly fell over when I heard the cover.  It took me a while to get over the shock from hearing that the vocalist was now female and a bit choral sounding (as opposed to the unique soulfulness of John Newman), but I can't say I'll ever love the track as much as I did before I got my kit.

Here's what I can say now.  It's a long track, but without being particularly innovative or adding anything new.  Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites was long whilst being a completely different sound.  The song is looped over itself twice and concatenated together to be almost 7 and a half minutes in length.  The song is very minimal in lyrics, so it will get repetitive very quickly.

I will be using it sparingly so it doesn't wear on the members.  I acknowledge why a track like this had to be used, since there has been a lot of dubstep in T5 at the moment.  If there's a weak spot in this release, in my opinion, this track is it.  I won't say it's a bad track, absolutely not.  Rather, it will date quickly - which is something I've said frequently of Track 3.

TRACK SIX - SPEED WORK - Can't Stop Me Now
Once again, the movement towards more driving track 6 tunes continues.  I'm so happy with this tune - Push the Tempo and Pressure are both amazing tracks, however, when you're dealing with a bunch of members completely new to RPM, they are both overwhelming and can be a lot to take in when you're still trying to understand what the hell 3/4 pace is.  This track is challenging, upbeat, and simple all in the one hit.  And!  It has the bonus of not being a 7 minute monster, so it's not on the long side.  It *feels* long, but it isn't.

In addition to being easy to 'get' for new participants, it's a challenge for existing members.  And that song is wicked awesome.  Likey like like.  Massive thumbs up from me.

TRACK SEVEN - MOUNTAIN CLIMB - Never Give Up
Mountain Climbs have been getting awesome in the last few releases - Apollo Road, Greyhound, and now Never Give Up.  It's a mammoth track, clocking in as the longest mountain climb EVER (knocking Going Insane off its perch), but again, it doesn't feel long.  Instructors using this track in their playlist will need to be sure that they have a shorter track somewhere else in their playlist to balance out the length.

This track uses the power training which has been present in past track 7's, however, the past track 7's that have had the power training have all been very aggressive, powerful, in your face tracks.  This track musically has a different mood, which I think is fantastic.  A track doesn't need to sound aggressive and in your face to be effective.

It's a beautiful track, that packs a surprising punch.  I have to tailor my teaching to suit the music, and I like that challenge too.  Another winner.

TRACK EIGHT- RIDE HOME - Hall Of Fame
Okay I normally haven't even mentioned the ride home and the stretch tracks in my release reviews, but the tracks in RPM 58 were that good that it has prompted me to do so.  This track is so beautiful and it's a nice short length - I haven't tended to use the ride home tracks from The Script (apart from The Man Who Can't Be Moved) because of their length, but this one is perfect.

The best ride home tracks that members have responded to while I've been instructing have been 'Hey Soul Sister' (RPM 48) and 'Paradise' (RPM 55).  Other than that, they've been a little hole of Nothing Memorable.  I love seeing members singing along to this, or closing their eyes and just enjoying it.  It's a lovely lovely song.

TRACK NINE - STRETCH - Try
I reckon Sarah Ostergaard is responsible for this one, and it's a good one.  This song is so appropriate for RPM and for life in general.  Not only can you coach the stretches in this one, but you can generate some conversation, share stories, educate your participants about the program just by using the lyrics.  Beautiful song, beautiful message, and a beautiful way to end a class.

OVERALL
I'm going to make the call - this is one of the best releases that we've had for a while.  I would say that in general, releases have been getting stronger, via a certain few tracks.

For example:

  • RPM 56 & 57 - via T5-7
  • RPM 55 - via T4-T7
  • RPM 54 - via T5
  • RPM 53 - via T4
  • RPM 52 - T2, T6
  • RPM 51 - T4, T7
RPM 58 is a game changer.  Across the board, different training, different feeling.  I will say that I personally believe that this is the best release top-to-bottom since RPM 44.  The only track that I will hold back using is T5 due to its repetitive nature and length, but everything else?  I'm going to have to fight the urge to not teach it.

The response from members has been phenomenal.  Both members who are new to RPM and members who have been doing RPM for years have all responded amazingly to this release.  I don't have enough words to generate the thanks appropriate to Sarah and Glen for this release.  Your amazingness is insane in the membrane.