Favorite jaw-dropping a cappella tracks?

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Postby billhare » Fri Aug 31, 2007 1:22 pm

sahjahpah wrote:
gallasroxin wrote:Actually Bill, the GT Glee Club was goin strong about a decade before thems :D jus sayin....


well, if we're talking glee clubs, harvard's is the oldest college chorus in america, founded in 1858, about 50 years prior to the GT glee club. although i believe that when people cite the whiffs as the oldest, they mean groups that aren't choirs (i.e. a cappella groups...no school-hired conductor, student-run and -organized, etc.).


Of course. There have been groups singing at the great European Universities since the 1200s or before, I'm just talking about the groups that were formed specifically to drink and make trouble.

-B

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Postby sahjahpah » Fri Aug 31, 2007 1:26 pm

billhare wrote:Of course. There have been groups singing at the great European Universities since the 1200s or before, I'm just talking about the groups that were formed specifically to drink and make trouble.


hear, hear!
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Postby colton » Sun Jun 29, 2008 7:29 am

Great thread! First, let me thank H.F. who included this thread in his FAQ post. I started reading the forum in ~Jan 2008, so I had missed the entire thread until the FAQ steered me here.

I decided, basically because I'm psycho sometimes, to compile a list of all of the tracks that were mentioned in the thread. Just the recorded ones, not the live ones. The idea was that there are some great ideas here for expanding my own collection of a cappella CDs.

So, I compiled said list, and figured out all the albums for the songs that have been mentioned. Rather than stopping there, like a rational person would do, I went further and looked up the RARB ratings for all the mentioned songs and their respective albums. Finally I also tried to figure out which songs were on compilation albums and which songs & albums had received CARA awards.

After doing all of that, I figured some of you may be equally interested in seeing a compilation list, but not psycho enough to do it yourself, so I posted my spreadsheet here:

http://www.physics.byu.edu/faculty/colt ... tracks.htm
or (short link) http://snurl.com/2r0j8

So, if you want to see a compiled list of all the "jaw-dropping songs" that have been listed in this thread, click on the link! If people add more songs to this thread, I may continue to update the list.

If you see any errors--and I'm sure there are some--let me know.

___

Some random observations:
* The Beelzebubs had the most songs on the compiled list.
* Shedding (Beelzebubs) had more songs mentioned (5) than any other album.
* Off The Beat (Penn) had the most different albums on the list, and were a narrow second place for most songs on the list.
* There were 3 different versions of I Can't Make You Love Me mentioned, the most for any song.
* Cadence's Twenty For One album was the first time I've seen straight 5's on all tracks by all three reviewers in a RARB review.
* Creep (Clockwork's album Tesseract) is first song I've seen to get both a 5 and a 1 in a RARB review.
* I'm wondering how Exit 245's "Fix You" got on BOCA 2007 when the album (Limelight) wasn't released until 2008.

___

Here are the albums I've decided to purchase as a result of this analysis:
* Sing 1-4
* Beelzebubs: Code Red, Shedding, and Pandæmonium
* Cadence: Twenty For One
* Divisi: Undivided
* Hyannis Sound: Route 6
* Off The Beat: Bombtracks: Best of 1997-2006
* spiralmouth: spiralmouth
* Transit: Transit

I probably won't get all 13 albums at once. Suggestions as to which should take priority?

___

I did all that without considering my own jaw-dropping tracks. I'll do that in a future post.
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Postby H.F. » Sun Jun 29, 2008 7:47 am

That's an excellent list. I *would* buy them all at once :)

Three I'd add to the list:

Wibijazzn: "In The Pocket" (the best collegiate mixed CD of all time, to date)
Bubs: "Next" (perhaps tied with "Shedding" for the bext male collegiate CD of all time, to date)
Housejacks: "Drive" (my personal favorite CD of theirs)

In case it was unclear, these are my OPINIONS. Happy listening!
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Postby dekesharon » Sun Jun 29, 2008 8:07 am

colton wrote:* I'm wondering how Exit 245's "Fix You" got on BOCA 2007 when the album (Limelight) wasn't released until 2008.


That used to happen a fair amount, as groups would send us tracks before the full album's release.

But no longer - we only accept full released albums now, so we can be sure we're picking (what we think is) the best track off a CD - and only one track per CD - and then people who buy BOCA can purchase that CD.

- Deke Sharon • 800.579.9305 • http://www.dekesharon.com

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Postby seth » Sun Jun 29, 2008 9:47 am

colton wrote:* Cadence's Twenty For One album was the first time I've seen straight 5's on all tracks by all three reviewers in a RARB review.

There's been just one other: MIT Logarhythms' Soundproof.

If you do buy all those albums at once, I would not want to be the next one to send you an album for review. :)
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Postby colton » Sun Jun 29, 2008 3:35 pm

H.F. wrote:Three I'd add to the list:

Wibijazzn: "In The Pocket" (the best collegiate mixed CD of all time, to date)
Bubs: "Next" (perhaps tied with "Shedding" for the bext male collegiate CD of all time, to date)
Housejacks: "Drive" (my personal favorite CD of theirs)


Thanks, I've added them to my list.

Incidentally, that reminds me of something: in this thread a lot of people referred to Wibi as "Wibijazzn" or "Wibijazz'n". I assume that's what they used to be called, but now their website only says "Wibi". When/why did the shortening of their name occur?
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"snare snare snare go!"

Postby jthelegend » Wed Jul 02, 2008 3:17 pm

just...wow. thank you candi for sending me this.

snare snare snare snare go!
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Postby jthelegend » Wed Jul 02, 2008 3:36 pm

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Postby streetnix04 » Wed Jul 02, 2008 9:46 pm

Just so you can add to your list/spreadsheet:

- UPenn Counterparts' "Volcano" appeared on Voices Only 2006
- Colorado In The Buff's "Collective Soul" (you have it listed as "Needs-Run") appeared on Voices Only 2005

:-)
-Corey Slutsky
Voices Only Founder
Former Collegiate and Professional A cappella Performer '97-'05
www.voicesonlyacappella.com
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Postby colton » Thu Jul 03, 2008 6:04 am

NomadVP wrote:Just so you can add to your list/spreadsheet:

- UPenn Counterparts' "Volcano" appeared on Voices Only 2006
- Colorado In The Buff's "Collective Soul" (you have it listed as "Needs-Run") appeared on Voices Only 2005

:-)


Thanks! "Needs-Run" is the same as "Collective Soul"? That explains why I couldn't figure out what album "Needs-Run" was on. (I was just going from dtrendler's post on page 10 of this thread where he said "In the Buff Needs-Run".)
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Postby colton » Sat Jul 12, 2008 10:25 am

<Warning, lengthy post alert>

As evidenced from my compilation a couple of posts ago, I like this thread a lot. After thinking about the topic seriously over the past couple of weeks, and after browsing through my entire a cappella collection with this topic in mind, I’m now going to post my own list of jaw-dropping songs. Sorry about the length. And please forgive the personal reminisces. When selecting my songs, I tried to keep the original post in mind: “it's that moment where you forget you're standing/sitting/breathing/anything, and the only thing going through your mind is what you're hearing. Big eyes, open mouth.”

So these are not just songs I liked a lot, but songs that made me say, “Did I really just hear that? Wow! Let me listen to that again. And again.” I’d say that I literally listened to over half of these back-to-back-to-back on first hearing.

Originally I was going to restrict my list to 10 tracks. I found that to be impossible. Then I decided to restrict it to 10 groups. I found that almost do-able—as long as I lumped all the ones from BOCA CDs into a single entry. :-)

So here you go, listed more or less chronologically based on when I first heard the group. Albums where I heard the songs are given in parentheses.

1. The Nylons. My real introduction to contemporary a cappella came as a college freshman in 1988-1989 with the Nylons albums Happy Together and Seamless, and then a few months later, One Size Fits All and The Nylons (self-titled album). Here are the Nylons’ songs that really made me drop my jaw:
Rock & Roll Lullabye (The Nylons)
Up On The Roof (The Nylons, and also on Seamless)
Because (Because) – 20 times better than the King’s Singers cover of this song. I heard the King’s Singers version first and thought I didn’t like the song. Go figure!
Will You Still Love Me (Because) – One of the best songs ever written, the Nylon’s version stacks up well against the Roberta Flack and Carole King versions I also love.

2. The King’s Singers. I heard the King’s Singers before I heard the Nylons (my parents were fans), but I didn’t really know they did more contemporary songs until a friend told me about Good Vibrations. I got the album in ~1992, was suitably impressed, and the rest was history. I now own 16 King’s Singers albums, probably the most I own of any single group in my entire CD collections. Out of all the songs on all the albums, these ones deserve special mention:
Father to Son (Good Vibrations)
Down to the River to Pray (Six) – Six is a great album, and cheap to download since there only six tracks. Blackbird is also an amazing song from the album, but this is the one that continues to make my jaw drop.
April Come She Will (Simple Gifts) – Original song from Simon & Garfunkel Sounds of Silence album
Always A Woman (Simple Gifts) – All current a cappella arrangers should listen to this version of this Billy Joel song. Immediately. It’s amazing.

3. The California Golden Overtones. My introduction to collegiate a cappella came a couple of years into my graduate studies at UC Berkeley (physics) when I discovered The California Golden Overtones’ free weekly outdoor concerts. I was blown away, and started attending so many of their concerts (free and otherwise) that my wife started referring to them as my “girlfriends”.
Dreams (Bear All) – I just about freaked out my cousin when the original version of this song came on the radio. I hadn’t heard the original before, but I started shouting “I know this song!”, and started singing along.
House That Jack Built (live) – The only live song on my entire list, sadly their recording on Bear All doesn’t do it justice. I blame the producer. Come to think of it, most of the albums I have from the Overtones and the U.C. Men’s Octet suffer from production problems. What’s up with that? But anyway, they killed this song in several performances I saw, I believe even winning a “best soloist” award in one ICCA regional competition.

4. UC Men’s Octet. The Golden Overtones introduced me to the U.C. Men’s Octet (the Men’s Octet opened for them at a concert). Then I became a weekly attendee at the free weekly outdoor concerts of the Men’s Octet as well.
Baby One More Time (Octopella). Wow. The passion. And I’m not even a Britney Spears fan at all.
The Promise/A Little Respect (Gold) – I usually hate medleys, but does a merge count as a medley? Anyway, I loved both of these original songs--from my senior year in high school, how could I not? :-)--and was floored when the Men’s Octet combined them. In all the years I had heard the two songs separately, I had never seen this coming.

5. Rockapella. I thought I knew what Rockapella was about from Carmen Sandiego, and assumed they were just another Nylons wanna-be group. Wrong! I went to a concert in ~2004 and was blown away at how up-tempo and energetic everything was. Then I bought a few CDs, and continued to be blown away by some of the songs. In other news, why is there just one “p” in their name?
Moments of You (Don't Tell Me You Do) – More than any other song, this one says “Rockapella” to me.
Jenny Come Away (Smilin’) – This must be in the top 10 or maybe even top 5 of “songs that get stuck in my head”.
Shambala (Smilin’)

6. BOCA. After years of coveting it, I finally bought the “BOCA Mega Box”, which I think included all the BOCA albums through 2005. I expected something like the Overtones and Men’s Octet CDs that I had--the Men’s Octet was a recent two-time ICCA National Champion and hence I assumed among the best in collegiate a cappella. They probably are in live performances, but not in recorded a cappella. My jaw dropped when I heard how much better the production was on nearly all of the BOCA songs than on my CDs from the Cal groups. That was my introduction to the larger world of collegiate a cappella
Insomniac – Virginia Gentlemen (BOCA 2) – This gets my nod for the most jaw-dropping collegiate a cappella track ever. It is nearly perfect. [already mentioned in this thread]
Angel - Wheaton Gentleman Callers (BOCA 1997)
Go Rest High On That Mountain – Emory No Strings Attached (BOCA 1997)
Yellow – On The Rocks, Oregon (BOCA 2004)
Fix You – James Madison Exit 245 (BOCA 2007) [already mentioned in this thread]
Telephone Message – Brown Derbies (BOCA Humor) – about 5 seconds into this track, I said “What the…? This is the Mentos song!” I actually used it on my answering machine for about a year. Probably a copyright violation there, sorry about that!
The 12.5 Days of Christmas – Washington U Pikers (BOCA Humor) – I was in a community choir (mostly classical a cappella), and tried to get our director to have us do this for our Christmas concert. He declined. :-(

7. Acappella. On a short list for “worst name for an a cappella group”, Acappella blew me away when I discovered them in 2006 through emusic.com. I had no idea that Christian a cappella like this existed. If you are not familiar with them, picture Rockapella with a Christ-centered message...with (in my opinion) even better voices/blend/tuning than Rockapella. If you are Christian and also a fan of contemporary a cappella, you need to discover this group for yourself. Here are four songs in particular that continue to blow me away:
O Wretched Man – Acappella (All That I Need)
He’s Gonna Let You Know – Acappella (Act of God)
House of Praise – Acappella (Act of God)
Let’s Show And Tell – Acappella (Act of God)

8. Rescue. I discovered Rescue about the same time I did Acappella, and some of their songs made my jaw drop as well. Both groups are very similar in style and content; overall I prefer Acappella, but Rescue is amazing at times as well, such as in these four tracks:
Mary Did You Know (The First Christmas)
Rescue (Rescue) – self-titled track on self-titled album… it had better be good! And it is; this one must vie for my “most consecutive listens upon first hearing” award. The version on Reunion Live might be even better though.
Shine On Us (Two Thousand Years Ago)
Please Come (Before the Throne)

9. Noteworthy (BYU). When I found out that I was moving to BYU in 2007, and that Noteworthy had just won the ICCA competition, I had to get their album. I was floored, and these three songs are the primary reason why:
How Great Thou Art (On the Horizon) - The first verse is pretty boring, but when the soloist comes in to start the second verse with a slightly different melody, it’s just magic from then on.
Never Gonna Get It (On the Horizon) – For me, this song vies with Insomniac as “the perfect collegiate a cappella track”. It’s got it all—lots of energy, fabulous harmonies, a driving beat, etc. Wow.
When I Think About Angels (On the Horizon) – Another one for the “songs that most get stuck in your head” list.

10. Vocal Point (BYU). In the last year, I’ve purchased a number of Vocal Point albums as well, but it wasn’t until their last album, Nonstop, that I found myself being as impressed as I was at Noteworthy’s On the Horizon. These were my two most jaw-dropping tracks on the album.
Bigger Than My Body (Nonstop)
Superstition (Nonstop)


Honorable Mention: Eclipse and The Blenders. Sorry guys, I decided to cut the list to 10 groups! Otherwise you’d each have a couple of tracks.

Teaser: There’s one other group I’ll add to the list before too long, but I can’t comment on them yet because I was an official RARB reviewer for their album but the review hasn’t yet appeared.

If you made it this far, then thanks for reading! Comments welcome.
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Postby foxman » Wed Jul 23, 2008 4:32 pm

Incidentally, that reminds me of something: in this thread a lot of people referred to Wibi as "Wibijazzn" or "Wibijazz'n". I assume that's what they used to be called, but now their website only says "Wibi". When/why did the shortening of their name occur?[/quote]



Ya, they were Wibijazz'n' for about the first 18 years, then the year "20/20 Hearing" came out they officially changed the name to Wibi. I imagine it was a combination of not wanting to be pigeonholed as a jazz group, which they were sort of in the beginning before going mostly contemporary pop, and also really hating the name for purely aesthetic reasons. (So I was told by a recent director.)

btw, just celebrated their 20th anniversary with a big Toronto show featuring a long list of alumni. Hoping I can make their 25th! ;)

Kevin
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Postby colton » Fri Sep 12, 2008 6:32 pm

colton wrote:Teaser: There’s one other group I’ll add to the list before too long, but I can’t comment on them yet because I was an official RARB reviewer for their album but the review hasn’t yet appeared.


My RARB review has now appeared, so I can disclose that Outspoken's album O2: Sing Responsibly fell into the jaw-dropping category
http://rarb.org/reviews/847.html#

Review in short: I loved the album!

If you made it this far, then thanks for reading! Comments welcome.


Comments still welcome! ;-)
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Postby ceegers » Wed Apr 14, 2010 6:07 pm

All right, well since colton just referenced this thread, it may be appropriate to bring it back up with something more recent than mid-08...

Stanford Harmonics singing The Sound of Silence - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7TuF-54c6jQ
I particularly love that little break with just the quartet (or however many), and then she goes up to the high note, and everybody smashes back in... :)
Better than the album recording in my opinion...

C.J. Smith Hempfield HS R# founder/director 03-05 U. of Hartford Hawkapella 05-09 Currently doing many musical things that do not include a cappella groups :-( :-(

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