Duke Out of the Blue - "Flywheel"

All things Recorded A Cappella Review Board.

Postby dekesharon » Wed May 19, 2010 7:19 pm

I think in this (and every) artistic judgement, it's important to remember that there's no accounting for taste.

Example: some people watch "Pretty Women" and get the warm fuzzies. I personally get angry at such fake, manipulative, misogynistic crap. Who's right?

I am, but that's beside the point.

Technically, this album is excellent. No question there by anyone.

But does it give you the shivvvvers? Touch deep emotions? Make you bob your head like a Roxbury fool? Subjective. And that's OK.

So long as Julia Roberts stays the hell out of it.

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Postby dave sperandio » Thu May 20, 2010 5:56 pm

brianhaverkate wrote:I agree with both of you (Matt and Dave) that Flywheel is better than most of current female a cappella. Apart from a few groups, they're equal or top-notch in my book. As noted by Seth, we have to judge each album based on the entirety of a cappella out there (pro, high school, college, etc.). That said, I hold to my scores.

This does sound good, or at least logical - even if it isn't practiced consistently by most reviewers. More specifically, you yourself haven't done this consistently, as you have essentially admitted in this very thread (see: Brown Derbies, for starters). This is where the root issue lies, for me.

brianhaverkate wrote:Personally, since at RARB my scoring scales are constantly shifting (slightly or otherwise) based on my view of the entirety of a cappella. What is a 5 today may not be tomorrow.

Again, the overall score isn't the issue here. The 3 in creativity is. It's so far off base as to be...startling (at least (obviously) from my base of a cappella experience, and I listen to quite a bit of a cappella music every year, and have for more than a decade), if not near-farcical. One gets the sense that you may realize this now, but are in an awkward spot. Understandable. I'm sorry to have to keep pushing on you; I mean you no disrespect, nor wish to portray you in a negative light.

brianhaverkate wrote:All of us here at RARB have different experiences as a participant and listener of a cappella music. I think that's what makes it great. I think I have a voice to contribute that may not be reflected in the other reviewers being a high school choral teacher, someone who helped start two different groups at two different colleges (one of which was featured on BOCA and the other making ICCA finals several times), an ICHSA and ICCA judge, and someone who's participated in two different Contemporary A Cappella League groups.

No one's questioning that you have a voice, or experience with a cappella music. I don't think I even hinted at that...? But if I did, please accept my apology.

brianhaverkate wrote:I think both of you guys are great for a cappella, but don't expect me to just give groups a pass on creativity because the recording gloss on their album sounds so great.

Brian, what makes this album supremely creative and terrific has nothing to do with the recording gloss. Anyone could have "glossed" this album to equal effect, very nearly by hitting record and burning directly to CD. The product was exemplary - and certainly well above "average" by any metric, including RARB's - from the moment it was recorded, long before any editing, mixing, or mastering.

To address Deke's point, yes, there's no accounting for taste. All that we can ask (if we can in fact ask anything, which is certainly debatable, I will readily concede) is for a reviewer to be consistent. I may not agree with holding albums to what amount to impossibly high standards (see earlier in the thread, with Cadence and Firedrill! as your stated benchmarks), but if I see you do it with every review, I can at least learn to filter. When it seems arbitrary (for lack of a more informed word - there could have been other reasons), it becomes frustrating, at best.

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Postby Ed Boyer » Fri May 21, 2010 5:36 am

I think Flywheel is a superlative album in its category. I did a bit of work on it, so, like Dave and Joseph, I'm of course a little biased.

That said, I think this whole conversation stems from a very unhealthy sense of entitlement.

No album, no matter how good/bad progressive/conservative it may be, is entitled to any score other than what a given reviewer awards it. End of story. It's like the slam dunk contest. There are rules and guidelines but they really don't matter. It's about entertaining the audience and stirring up some PR for the participants, not about quantifiable appraisal.

If Flywheel is, in fact, as game changing as some think it is, we'll know in five years when girls who are in middle school now walk into the studio and say, "Make us sound like 'Are You That Somebody?". And, at that point, nobody will care what scores it got. Even if you did jump 12.5 feet, put a sticker on the backboard, and get a 45.
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Postby dave sperandio » Fri May 21, 2010 6:00 am

Thanks for the perspective, Ed. Always helpful to get some grounding.

I'll admit I to do think OOTB is entitled to one thing, with this record.

They are entitled - as much as anyone could be in submitting their record to be reviewed, at least - to at least somewhat stable and consistent metrics. Beyond that, I don't feel they (or I) are entitled to anything.

Are they "entitled" to not have their creativity billed as "average"? That's an impossible question, except when viewing through the lens of the first point above.

Even allowing for varying tastes, I don't think I'll ever be able to come even close to seeing Brian's perspective on this. This may stem in part from having seen so many records from cradle to grave, knowing how much "gloss" typically goes into most a cappella records, and knowing how ugly many - if not most - are before said gloss is applied. It may also stem from being too close to the project, I'll concede.

That said, I don't think you'll find too much history of me complaining about scoring for albums I've worked on in the past. Certainly not to this degree.

If I'm giving an impression of entitlement beyond that of consistency, that sucks. No one likes that. I suppose I've made my point, and at this point am just venturing into the "someone is WRONG on the internet" phase, lol.

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Postby duke00 » Mon May 31, 2010 8:36 pm

tekay wrote:
RnBMrE wrote:
RnBMrE wrote:Name, with supporting arguments, any better all-female album than Flywheel. Curious to know your (Brian) thoughts, as well as others'.


Can't do all of the arguments, but in my subjective opinion i liked
    Jackson Jills "Full Swing"
    medlz "aufgetaucht"
    Loreleis' 116 Chauncey Street (though that could be because they name-dropped thv in the title)
    Sirens "Surreal" and "Nectar and Ambrosia"
    Sweet Honey in the Rock "Live at Carnegie Hall", "Still on the Journey" and "...twenty five..."

Not for nothing but I think that Take it to the Bridge completely hangs with Flywheel. And I am completely biased in that regard but still right. LOL!
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Postby RnBMrE » Sat Jun 05, 2010 4:07 pm

Ed Boyer wrote:And, at that point, nobody will care what scores it got. Even if you did jump 12.5 feet, put a sticker on the backboard, and get a 45.

Yeah, that was ridiculous.

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