What a year 2012 was! This little blog collected some 860,000 views in 2012, pushing it past 2,000,000 mark since its inception in May 2008. Readers from 184 countries dropped by for music ideas and advice – that’s more than 90% of the countries in the world. Crikey, I’ve only visited 18 of them – I’d better get going.
Props to Dana, BAR, Wilma Perez, Brenda T and Steve at Stevespinlist for being the most active commenters of 2012 – thanks to each of you for your many contributions.
I’d also like to send a huge shout out to the sites that sent the most traffic over: Spinning Mixes, The Sufferfest, Facebook, Pinterest and Chrispins. Everyone knows Facebook and Pinterest, but if you haven’t checked out Spinning Mixes, The Sufferfest and Chrispins, you’re missing out.
J.R. Atwood’s Spinning Mixes was the inspiration for this blog and even though he’s not actively updating it anymore, it’s still got some fine alt-rock rides that stand the test of time. Singapore cyclist David McQuillan’s Sufferfest is the place to go if you want to add video and coaching to your training rides. His videos have garnered rave reviews from CyclingNews.com, VeloNews, Triathlete, and Cycling Weekly, AND he offers a money-back guarantee. Chrispins is the WordPress blog of a New York cycling instructor and contributor over ICI/Pro. Chris is an incredibly prolific blogger (I am in awe!) and offers tons of great music suggestions through Spotify – it’d take you days to check out all of them. (You can find her ‘Best of 2012′ playlist here.)
Speaking of ‘Best of Lists,” each new year brings a slew of ‘best of’ lists and this year is no exception. Rolling Stone magazine offered their eclectic take on the best 50 songs of 2012 here; Billboard magazine weighed in with their top 20 here, and The Huffington Post here. Shape Magazine’s 50 best workout songs of 2012 are here , and Toronto radio station Z103.5′s top 103 songs of 2012 are here – the latter two are definitely the lists that are most sympatico with my own musical tastes. (By the way, what’s up with all of the ‘best of’ lists that require hugely annoying clicks – and waits – to view each song on the list? Do the folks at these sites think I’ll be more likely to click on the ads if they do this? Just gimme the list.)
This blog isn’t immune to the ‘best of’ bug either. Each year since 2008, I’ve called out what I think are the top 25 cycling tunes of the year. So, without further ado, here is my take on the 25 very best indoor cycling songs of 2012:
1. 50 Ways to Say Goodbye – Train. I liked Drops of Jupiter, but you can’t cycle to it. This tune, though, became my favourite of the year for it’s heart-pumping, quad-pushing chorus. How can you not dig deep and find just a little more energy when you hear this one? Love, love, love it.
2. Call Me Maybe – Carly Rae Jepsen. Unquestionably the song of summer 2012. I use the original as a warm up or for jumps; the Manhattan Clique Remix is perfect for climbing and it’s peppy pop perfection distracts from the fact that it’s one hell of a six minute hill.
3. Somebody I Used to Know (Tiesto Remix) – Gotye. Inexplicably absent from the ‘best of’ lists I looked at (but nominated for two Grammys!) this breakout hit has more than 366,000,000 views on Youtube and reached #1 in the USA, UK, Australia, Canada along with 22 other countries, and was a top 10 hit in 30 more. I love it as a climb, in or out of the saddle.
4. Some Nights – Fun. Perfect cool down energy. For a version that will support a climb, check out DJ Space’C's workout remix, but it’s the original version that makes me stop and listen. (This one is Chrispin’s #1 song of 2012.)
5. Don’t Wake Me Up – Chris Brown. Pure sprint interval bliss.
6. Die Young – Ke$ha. Climbing, jumping, whatever you do to this song, you’ll be humming it on the way out of the gym.
7. Gangnam Style – PSY. It collected 1.1 BILLION Youtube views and you can cycle to it. What more can I say?
8. Babel – Mumford & Sons – A glorious seated climb, this song debuted at #1 in the UK and on the US Billboard Chart. Celtic music is enormously popular in Nova Scotia.
9. Breakn’ a Sweat (Zedd Remix) – Skillrex and The Doors. I use this one as a warmup or a combo surge/climb. Bonus points for the title.
10. Rumor Has It – Bump n Grind. Some readers are going to want to pelt me with eggs for skipping over Adele for an unknown cover band, but dammit, Adele is hard to cycle to and this extended cover is true to the original and rocks. (Surely that IS Adele on vocals?) Plus, Adele’s CD 21 doesn’t qualify for the Top 25 list because it wasn’t released in 2012.
11. Pound the Alarm – Nicki Minaj. Had to buy this one twice, ’cause the explicit version is, well, explicit. Works for jumps or climbing.
12. I Cry – Flo Rida. No doubt about it, Flo Rida records catchy tunes and has a real knack for sampling. Rolling hills, anyone?
13. Mighty Love (Instrumental) – Eric Prydz. A perfect climb/surge combo song.
14. Locked Out of Heaven – Bruno Mars. It’s The Police! No, Bruno Mars! Two juicy sprints in this one.
15. Amnesia (Radio Edit) – Ian Carey and Rosetta. This is the other male/female accusatory duet of the year (the other one being Gotye’s Somebody That I Used to Know.) Amnesia reminds me a little of Timbaland’s The Way I Are, but I like Amnesia better. You can use it as a straight climb or throw in some sprints.
16. Hall of Fame (feat. will.i.am) – The Script. If I could only cool down to two songs this year, I’d be happy with Some Nights and Hall of Fame.
17. Never Close Our Eyes – Adam Lambert. I think my favourite part of this song is the build right before the chorus. I always coach the riders to slow and wait…wait….wait and then explode into the sprint.
18. Don’t Stop the Party – Pitbull. Who has more fun than Pitbull? Jumps!
19. Blow Me (One Last Kiss) – P!nk. My favourite part of this sprinting tune is that I coach the sprints as 30/30/60 but secretly, they are 33/33/1:07 so I extract an extra 13 seconds of work from my riders. I generally confess and get some wry laughs when the song ends.
20. Good Time – Owl City and Carly Rae Jepsen. Perfect warmup energy.
21. The Veldt – Deadmau5. Whether you go with the radio edit at 2:50 or the “8 minute edit” that clocks in at 8:39 or an even longer edit at 11:32, this song is perfect for warming up, zoning out with a long tempo drill, or even a combo climb/surge. Feel like throwing in a few jumps? Those work, too. One of the most flexible songs of the year, I’m still thinking of things to do with it.
22. Sweet Nothing (feat. Florence Welch) - Calvin Harris. One of my go-to zone out songs for the year, it’s so easy to close your eyes with this one and just ride.
23. Body Work (feat. Tegan and Sarah) – Morgan Page. A great climbing or tempo tune from this Grammy-nominated American DJ. Bonus points that the lyrics talk about “my pulse working overtime…” I heard a fast remix on a local radio station and I’ve been scouring iTunes to find it – so far to no avail. Anyone know it?
24. Home – Phillip Phillips. I’ve used this song for cool downs but I think it would work just as well for a tempo run.
25. Kiss You Inside Out – Hedley. These Canadian alt-rockers have mastered the urgent power ballad. I use this versatile tune for climbing, jumps, warming up, single-leg training….
A few more songs that came close, but didn’t quite make the cut… Don’t You Worry Child by Swedish House Mafia, The House that Heaven Built by the Japandroids, Turn It Up by Kardinal Offishall, Carry On by Fun, Red and We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together by Taylor Swift, Whistle by Flo Rida, Part of Me by Katy Perry, Let Me Love You by Ne-Yo, Karma by Kristina Maria, The World is Ours by Eleven Past One, the recent remake of the classic Cyndi Lauper tune True Colors by Artists Against.
There are a few other great songs that didn’t qualify because they were released in December 2011 but didn’t hit my radar until 2012: Wild Ones by Flo Rida, Titanium by David Guetta, and Everybody Talks by Neon Trees.
So, what do you think? Did I get it right? Any unworthy choices? Any egregious omissions?
I was reading the free local Metro News today and came across journalist Jessica Napier’s description of indoor cycling classes: She says they’re “kind of like burning calories in a night club except you’re pedalling instead of grinding and that water you’re chugging down doesn’t have any vodka in it.” I never thought of cycling classes this way, but I will admit that when I do get to a nightclub (which is about once a year these days) I become an excited geek because I know all the songs. So maybe the parallel with clubbing isn’t off-base after all.