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RARB/CASA Forums • View topic - Not Too Sharp - Shifting Gears

Not Too Sharp - Shifting Gears

All things Recorded A Cappella Review Board.

Not Too Sharp - Shifting Gears

Postby ntsMD806 » Tue May 24, 2011 11:57 pm

Wow! What a range of opinions on this one. One thought it was great, one thought it was "meh" and one thought it was pretty good. Overall I think the scores ended up in good places.

One thing that I wanted to mention was the fact that one of Nick Anderson-Frey's comments was, "Five years ago this album could have been considered excellent," which means that I guess he missed the fact that it was recorded in 2008. Not quite 5 years but a considerable chunk of time that I think could have weighed in a little more had it not been overlooked. To give perspective; this group has already finished recording a new studio album which has not yet been released. We didn't even get this review in time to see what the criticisms were so we could build off them.

Also, one thing that I would have scored a little differently was Chasing Cars. I thought that the soloist was phenomenal and the arrangement really got to the core of the emotions that the song portrays.

This is how I would have scored it:
Overall: 5
Tuning/Blend: 5
Energy Intensity: 5
Innovation/Creativity: 4
Sound Production: 4
Repeat Listenability: 4
Soloists: 5

Street Corner Symphony: 4
Take Me Home Tonight: 3
Draggin The Line: 4
What Hurts The Most: 5
I Melt With You: 5
Black Water: 5
Happier: 4
Chasing Cars: 5
Died in Your Arms Tonight: 4
The Underdog: 3
Gone: 5

But then again, I'm not a reviewer. Haha :)
Also I would like to add that I am a current member of the group but I was not on this album so I listened to it and critiqued it with an unbiased ear.
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Re: Not Too Sharp - Shifting Gears

Postby nicodemus » Wed May 25, 2011 12:48 pm

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Re: Not Too Sharp - Shifting Gears

Postby ntsMD806 » Wed May 25, 2011 7:54 pm

Haha you make an excellent point. And your review was very generous anyway so I really shouldn't be complaining. I should, instead, be thanking you. You gave a lot of great constructive advice and had a lot of nice things to say. And I know RARB get's super backed up. I don't even know why I bothered commenting on it in the first place because I knew while I was writing it that you reviewed it in a way that was overall better for us.

P.S. I hope you're one of the reviewers for our next album because I love getting feedback from the same person on new things that worked or didn't work and things we did and didn't change.

P.P.S. When you decide to camp outside Bill Hare's window, take me with you.
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Re: Not Too Sharp - Shifting Gears

Postby smatthews22 » Sat May 28, 2011 1:54 pm

I'm still surprised at the high rating you'd have for Chasing Cars. I say this, I suppose, because I come from the standpoint of having actually recorded the album. I remember wanting to put so much more into that arrangement and that specific recording of it. I do love Dave's solo voice on it, but I think we could have pulled off a much more interesting arrangement that brought the listener on the roller coaster of emotions, and left the person wanting to listen again and again.

THAT to me is what merits a 5 on any review. Original twist/take, creative and supportive arrangement, great soloist, and the general feeling of "wow, I want to hear that again... and again... and hey wait this is my 8th time listening and I still heard something new!"

Maybe it's high standards, but I think it's what Nick is getting at. And truthfully, I think it's something that any group should be reaching for and judged against.

I'd be curious to know what Nick thought (or any of the reviewers), of any specific arrangements, the strengths and weaknesses. Because I arranged Draggin and Happier, I'm curious for my own improvement of my own stuff (knowing what works and what doesn't), and I was involved in all of the others when it came to overdubs, so any specific feedback would be awesome.

And going back to the original point about Chasing Cars... I can't say that I was thrilled we chose to do that song. It has been done a dozen times a cappella, if not more, and we added perhaps 20 seconds of freshness to it at the last chorus. Also the beginning 16 bars. Any song that a collegiate group decides to do that has been done before, in my opinion, NEEDS to give the listener something new, or else it's not worth recording. If it doesn't stand at the top of the heap, then why bother? (this is actually an open question for discussion... I'm open to reasons as to why one should bother recording if it doesn't blow all other recordings of the song out of the water)

Word. Let's keep talking.

~Sean
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Re: Not Too Sharp - Shifting Gears

Postby steelerdaddy » Tue May 31, 2011 8:50 am

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Re: Not Too Sharp - Shifting Gears

Postby colton » Tue May 31, 2011 7:55 pm

Shawn,

I agree with a lot of what you say. However, one of the specific RARB judging categories is "innovation". That automatically makes me (as a reviewer) compare the song to other versions of the same song. Granted that's probably not the ONLY aspect of innovation that could/should be considered, but it seems like that is ONE of the aspects that should be considered when scoring an album.

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Re: Not Too Sharp - Shifting Gears

Postby steelerdaddy » Tue May 31, 2011 9:35 pm

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Re: Not Too Sharp - Shifting Gears

Postby rdietz55 » Wed Jun 01, 2011 8:05 pm

RARB Interim Marketing Director

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Re: Not Too Sharp - Shifting Gears

Postby mikex » Thu Jun 02, 2011 5:01 am

Mike Jankowski Head Engineer - A Cappella Productions

http://www.acappellaproductions.net

Owner/Founder - A Cappella Hosting

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Live sound and studio engineer, bass, computer nerd.

President - The Buffalo Chips '06-'09

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Re: Not Too Sharp - Shifting Gears

Postby michaelmarcus » Thu Jun 02, 2011 6:02 am

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Re: Not Too Sharp - Shifting Gears

Postby steelerdaddy » Thu Jun 02, 2011 6:52 am

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Re: Not Too Sharp - Shifting Gears

Postby steelerdaddy » Thu Jun 02, 2011 7:05 am

One final thing...I appreciate the chance to have this discussion and make points. I'm not saying RARB needs to change anything, and I understand that word limitations can limit more in-depth discussion. I just wanted to make the point that just because a recording isn't ready for prime time doesn't mean that there aren't purposes to recording besides reaching new heights in artistic achievement. Yes, some groups don't push themselves artistically...but the idea of "Don't record it unless it brings something new" bothers me moreso than the idea of "Don't submit it to RARB unless it either brings something new or if you're OK with being called out on your mediocrity." Because critical album reviews can be, well...critical. ;)

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Re: Not Too Sharp - Shifting Gears

Postby rdietz55 » Thu Jun 02, 2011 9:22 pm

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Re: Not Too Sharp - Shifting Gears

Postby jmille22 » Fri Jun 03, 2011 4:05 am

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Dept. of Mechanical Engineering
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Re: Not Too Sharp - Shifting Gears

Postby johnhe » Fri Jun 03, 2011 10:10 pm

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