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.


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.


Amanda said...

I had almost an identical Best of list for 2013! I loved that T5. However, since we just launched 61 in January, mine was 57-60. So glad you are back teaching. Have a great 2014!

Anonymous said...

1st thing love your reviews. Wish there was more of them. Gotta say I disagree with your best list. I think 59 is of the all time greats. other than 56 its easily the best of the late 50s releases.

Raina Singh said...

Just goes to show how different and diverse we are! 59 went down really well in my gyms, but, other releases went down better. Interesting, isn't it! :D