Oh my goodness, it’s been a long time since I posted a new playlist.  Lots of reasons: night and weekend work, teaching, then marking exams, having a very busy toddler at home.  And frankly, some uninspiring music choices.  Nothing out there was really getting me excited, until now.  I’ve been subsisting on previous playlists and the offerings on the reader playlists page – thank you so much for your contributions!  They’re awesome.

This is a mix of brand new stuff, most of which is charting on iTunes right now.  The common denominator here is that all of the tunes took a while to grow on me, except for Lady GaGa’s just-released The Edge of Glory, which is going to be a massive hit for her.  Prediction: this is the song of summer 2011, folks.

The profile for this ride is one I’ve used many times before: a climb, some sprints, followed by some jumps.  The sequence repeats three times.

Rolling in the Deep – ADELE (3:48):  When reader Chris first touted this song as one of the best of 2010 I took a listen and thought, meh – I wasn’t sure how to spin to it.  Since Chris mentioned it, it’s exploded and multiple listenings have made me an Adele convert – this 21 year old Brit is uber-talented.  It would work as a seated climb, but here, I’m using its energy for a warm up.  Kudos, Chris – you called this one.

S&M – Rihanna (4:03):  Okay, I’m aware that chasing a song as complex and delicious as Rolling in the Deep with S&M is like chasing a gourmet meal with a Big Mac, but stay with me, okay?  The thing is, the chorus is as catchy as the lyrics are insipid and look-at-me salacious.  And I’ve always been a sucker for a good beat.  We’re going to take the resistance up to 5/10 and come out of the saddle to climb for the verses.  For the choruses, we jack up the tension to 7/10 and do 4 count lifts until Rihanna says, “La la la la la come on,” when we switch to two count lifts.

Born this Way – Lady GaGa (4:20):  Wikipedia reports that GaGa wrote this song in ten minutes; critics suggest that perhaps this is because it sounds like a rip-off of Madonna’s Express Yourself.  Lady Gaga remains fiercely unapologetic about her hit.  “Don’t be a drag, just be a queen.”  We’re going to sprint here: 30/30/30 seconds.  They’re at 0:58 – 1:28, 2:08 – 2:38, and 3:18 – 3:48.  Three options for how to do ’em: as surges, as seated sprints, or as get-out-of-my-face standing sprints.  Riders’ choice.

On the Floor (Mixin Mark & Tony Svejda LA to Ibiza Radio Mix) [feat. Pitbull] – Jennifer Lopez (3:17): This was another song that took a while to grow on me, though I loved the video from the beginning.  Time for some jumps, mid-tension 6/10.  Random intervals: 8/4/2 counts.  Mix it up.  The end of this song marks the end of the first set.

More (RedOne Jimmy Joker Remix) – Usher (3:40): Take a drink, give your shoulders a roll, but leave that tension where it is.  We’ve got a hill to climb.  Come up out of the saddle and find your groove.  At 1:05, when we hit the first chorus, the song quickens and so do we.  Pick up the pace.  When the second verse starts, add tension to get to 7/10 and keep going.  Pick up the pace for the second chorus.  When it ends, add a wee bit more tension 8/10 and push to the top of the hill – it’s going to feel like a slog, always playing catch-up with the beat.

Trouble – P!nk (3:13):  P!nk can always be counted on for a good sprint.  Let the song guide you here.  When the music is slow, recover.  As the beat picks up, move into a surge.  The choruses are short, snappy, all-out seated sprints: 15/15/15/30 seconds.  They’re at 0:17 – 0:32, 0:45 – 1:00, 1:57 – 2:10,  and 2:39 – 3:09.

Tonight (I’m Lovin’ You) [feat. Ludacris & DJ Frank E]  – Enrique Iglesias (3:52):  The REAL version of this song is raunchy enough to make Rihanna’s S&M seem tame by comparison.  Let’s just say Enrique wasn’t “lovin'” in the other version.  Please excuse him, he doesn’t mean to be rude.  We’re going to finish the second set with some more jumps.  Resistance 7/10.  Start with 4 count on the verses, move to 2 count for the choruses.  Hup!

Hey Baby (Drop it to the Floor) [feat. T-Pain] – Pitbull (3:56):  Last set starts here, so we’re in for another climb.  We’re going to leave the tension where it is at 7/10 and stay seated for this one during the verses.  For the choruses, we’ll come out of the saddle and into a standing jog.  Thanks to my former student, Legalb for suggesting this tune.

Hit it Again – 3OH!3 (3:04): This Boulder, Colorado duo just can’t stay away from controversial lyrics.  Here, we have an F-bomb during the chorus, and no radio edit in sight.  But it’s so damn catchy.  The sprints are 25/25/25 seconds at  0:40 – 1:05, 1:42 –  2:07, and 2:34 – 3:00.  If you don’t dare play it, try substituting with Avril Lavigne’s What the Hell (3:40).  If you use that one, the sprints are still 25/25/25 seconds long, at 0:45 – 1:10, 1:55 – 2:20, and 2:53 – 3:30.

Blow – Ke$ha (3:40):  Thanks to one of my regular riders, Laurie, for suggesting this tune.  Last set of jumps 8/4/2 counts switching at 1:15 and 3:00.

The Edge of Glory – Lady GaGa (5:21): This is GaGa’s latest single, released just two days ago and already burning up the charts.  GaGa modestly called it “f-ing beautiful.”  That’s Clarence Clemons from Springsteen’s E Street Band on the sax.  Ego aside, I’ve got to say I agree with GaGa here.  This song kicks ass.  Time for a great big finish.  A combo drill, out-of-the-saddle climb during the verses, all-out standing sprints during the choruses 30/30/60 brutal seconds.  They’re at 1:04 – 1:34, 2:28 – 2:58, 4:02 – 5:02. Time to get all that energy out.

Forget You – Cee Lo Green (3:44):  We earned this cool down.  Take the tension back to an easy 2/10 and spin it out.  I confess, I’d never heard of Cee Lo or this song before reader Chris suggested it as one of the best spinning tunes of 2010.  Now, the song is everywhere, there’s a Glee version, and Cee Lo is a judge on the NBC talent show, The Voice.  Cee Lo isn’t new to the music scene – he’s half of the duo Gnarls Barkley and I’ve used two of his songs on this blog, Gone Daddy Gone and Run (I’m a Natural Disaster).  Chris, thanks – you did it again.

Alone Again [feat. P. Reign] – Alyssa Reid (3:57):  More cool down and goodbye music.  Reid samples Heart’s 1987 hit, Alone and P. Reign raps around it.  18 year old Reid is Canadian; Alberta born, currently living in the Greater Toronto area.  This tune hit #11 on Billboard’s Canadian Hot 100.

I had a birthday on April 17 and my better half surprised me with an iPad 2.  It’s spectacular, and I haven’t even scratched the surface yet.  So far, I’ve downloaded a few e-books, played Angry Birds, surfed the net, and read my daughter the interactive Moo Baa La La La app.  Reader Nils suggested the Djay app, which I plan to check out.  Other iPad users out there – what are your favourite iPad apps?