comfort zoneI’ve been collecting requests from my riders and this playlist incorporates three of them, plus tackles the March Challenge to use a genre of music I’ve never used before.  For me, that was electro-swing.  Now, I confess, a month ago, I’d never heard of it.  But one of my regular riders burned me a CD and I’ve had it on heavy rotation ever since.  Unfortunately, the day I used this ride, he wasn’t in class!

Simple profile for this one: a mixed bag with lots of jumps (14 minutes) and a 10 minute fast seated flat at the end.

Rolling in Sweet Dreams (Adele vs. Eurythmics) – Daft Beatles (3:00): Julz Arney and Lisa Goldman over at Former Cycling Pingers put me on to this great mashup, which you can find here.  Time to push that tension lever until you can feel the road under your feet.  Warm-up.

The Paris Swing Box – Parov Stelar (5:23):  Hey, if you’re gonna jump into a new genre of music, jump in!  First working song of the day.  Take the first minute or so (actually 0:52 till the horns kick in) to finish warming up, then we’re going to alternate a minute of surging (seated flat, 75% max capacity) with a minute in a standing climb (add some tension for the climb, then take it off to surge.)  Two sets.  Stelar is an Austrian DJ and musician.  I got great feedback from my riders, who loved this song.  Thanks to Sandy for requesting it, and for burning a CD for me.

I Love It (feat. Charli XCX) – Icona Pop (2:35):  Swedish DJ/electro-pop duo are storming up the charts with this ditty.  Three sprint intervals 30/45/25 seconds long, all crammed into only two and a half minutes.  They’re at 0:23 – 0:53, 1:08 – 1:54, 2:10 – 2:35.  Lyrics include a couple of offensive words, but no f-bombs.

Play Hard (feat. Ne-Yo and Akon) – David Guetta (3:21):  Every once in a while, a song comes along that just seems to be perfect for cycling.  I got this request a couple of weeks ago, right after the song came out and my rider is right – it’s perfect.  Time for a standing climb with a couple of tension increases.  I also really liked the Albert Neve Remix (6:53) which is going to find its way into an all-remix ride I’m thinking about.

Scream & Shout (feat. Britney Spears) – will.i.am (4:45):  Got this request from a regular, who said it never fails to make her move.  I’d listened to it when it first came out and put it aside as a bit too slow, but after she requested it, I took a few more listens and decided it’s a jump song.  4 counts up/down with medium resistance, about 6/10.  Same offensive lyrics as I Love It (s**t and b**ch).

Go Go – Hanna Pakarinen (3:04):  A big shout out to reader Sundie in Finland for putting me on to this song by the Finnish Kelly Clarkson (she won the first Finland Idol in 2004).  It’s sprint perfection.  20/20/35 seconds at 0:40 – 1:02, 1:30 – 1:53, and 2:21 – 2:55.  Plus, Pakarinen and I share the same birthday (April 17).

Va Va Voom – Nicki Minaj (3:04):  I learned my lesson with Minaj and downloaded the clean version.  Remember that bit at the beginning about lots of jumps?  4 counts, resistance at 6/10.

Red Hands – Walk off the Earth (3:01):  A little band from Burlington, Ontario (next door to my home town), they posted a cover of Gotye’s Somebody I Used to Know on Youtube with all five of them playing the same guitar and it went viral, garnering almost 150 million views.  They have many other covers on Youtube – Adele, Maroon 5, Fun., Taylor Swift, B.o.B., Eminem, LMFAO (with a side of Harlem Shake).  They’re all low budget, living room productions, and they’re all brilliant.  WOTE dropped their first album earlier this month, and damn, it’s good.  Really good.  I am home visiting my mom this weekend and I visited their website to see if they’re playing a local club or something, because it would be awesome to see them live.  Yes it would, and I am not the first one to figure this out – they’re actually touring in Europe right now.  All of which is by way of saying, check these guys out – you’ll be hearing a lot more from them.  What? Oh yeah, we’re still riding.  Seated climb for this one.

Inner Ninja (feat. David Myles) – Classified (3:22):  Classified is a hard-working local rapper from Halifax, NS.  This is his latest (and biggest) hit.  I love it for its cheekiness and the choir in the middle.  More 4 count jumps, this time on a hill, with resistance at 8/10.

Hey Porsche – Nelly (3:29):  Critics are crapping on it, you’re not quite sure if Nelly’s crooning about a woman or a car, but it’s catchy.  I’m tapping my foot as I write this.  Leave the resistance at 8/10 for a standing climb up a muddy hill.

Karma – Kristina Maria (2:51):  Another Canadian artist, Kristina hails from Ottawa, ON.  Verses are 8 count jumps, take them easy, because for each chorus, we’re going to do 4 count jumps, double-time.  Sort of like a series of short standing runs.  Hardest work of the day here.

C’Mon – Ke$ha (3:34):  Last hill of the day, let’s take it as a fast standing climb.  Lyrics contain the words “screw around” but otherwise, it’s pretty tame.  Throw in a couple of tension increases along the way.

Bom Bom – Sam and the Womp (2:54): How can you resist a band with a name like this?  These guys mix Balkan music with electronica, so not quite electro-swing but close, and definitely not something I’ve used before.  Take the recovery you need, then we’re headed on a 10 minute fast seated flat with some sprint intervals coming up in later songs.

Catch My Breath – Kelly Clarkson (4:12):  Sprints for 30/30/60 seconds at 0:45 – 1:15, 1:48 – 2:18, 2:50 – 3:50.

If You Wanna – The Vaccines (2:54): Indie, post-punk, whatever it is, this is the song that’s been going through my head since the ride.  A fast seated flat with two sprints 12/50: 0:48 – 1:00 and 1:57 – 2:47.  Whee!

Just Give Me a Reason (feat. Nate Ruess) – P!nk (4:03):  A lovely duet with Fun.’s Nate Ruess – both have such distinctive voices.  P!nk sings about the relationship being in trouble and Ruess chimes in with “I’m sorry I don’t understand where this is coming from.  I thought that we were fine!” which makes me smile, because there are probably a lot of men out there who’ve had that same WTF moment.  Well-deserved cool down.

Carry On – Fun. (4:38):  I never get tired of Nate Ruess’s voice, so here’s some Fun. for stretching and good-bye music.