Last Call "Straight Up"

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Last Call "Straight Up"

Postby jthelegend » Wed Aug 10, 2005 4:33 pm

So, the review just came out for the new last call album and I was actually a bit shocked by how low the score was. Granted, there were plenty of things that I didn't like (some of the soloists and the overemphasis on technology and stuff), but I thought it was gonna get a 3.7 in the least. I was listening and thought it was worthy of maybe a 4. So, I'm asking the rarbers out there who may have heard the album what they thought about it...if I need to be more specific on things i liked and disliked I will, but I kinda wanna hear your thoughts
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Postby cmasone » Wed Aug 10, 2005 5:12 pm

I agreed with the reviews, mostly. I thought it deserved about a 3. To me, this album is _the_ example for how great production can't save mediocre arrangements, several weak soloists, some low energy backgrounds, and overoveroverdone songs.

I thought the comment that lots of men's groups that are good in performance don't make the translation to albums well was interesting. The implication was that lots of guys groups have simple arrangements that they sell on stage, so people like them.

Does this mean that groups who do both well have simple performance versions of some arrangements and more complex recording versions? If the Aires wish to have a complex arrangement, they just make the performance version complicated and go with that...is that perhaps ill advised? I've noticed over the last few years, some arrangements have been hard enough to sing that it's detracted from the in-performance silliness...
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Postby H.F. » Wed Aug 10, 2005 6:27 pm

Mixed feelings on the review...It's a heckuva lot tougher for guy groups I think just b/c of the level of competition (right now). Really don't know that I could give it a 3, having heard a *lot* of the all male stuff to come out this past year. It's a lot closer to a 4 than a 3, anyway.

One thing I do know is that Mr. Slutsky's stock is falling.
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Postby cmasone » Wed Aug 10, 2005 6:58 pm

H.F. wrote:Mixed feelings on the review...It's a heckuva lot tougher for guy groups I think just b/c of the level of competition (right now). Really don't know that I could give it a 3, having heard a *lot* of the all male stuff to come out this past year. It's a lot closer to a 4 than a 3, anyway.

One thing I do know is that Mr. Slutsky's stock is falling.

I guess I feel that, just because a lot of crap is coming out, it doesn't mean that mediocre stuff gets better.

I guess "average" is technically a moving target...but I feel like it should only go up. As the very best gets better and better, we raise the bar. A glut of garbage shouldn't lower what we consider to be good work. Though, technically, it would.
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Postby Nick Lyons » Wed Aug 10, 2005 6:58 pm

1) I HATE the statement that a song is "overdone." Am I sick of hearing The Scientist? Ummm, yes. Does that take credibility or quality away from Last Call's take on the song? Not at all. From reading the review, I almost feel that the songs get an unfair spin in the CD player because they happen to be songs that another group has already recorded.

2) I was surprised, to say the least, with Dave Sperandio having a track in that crowd of producers. Not to say that he's not their caliber of producer... I actually tend to like his stuff much more than most other producers out there... But his style is SO different. His track seems to come out of the texture a bit. It was probably the best song for him to do, right into his niche, but I would have to agree with the multiple producer comments across the board.

3) I asked a friend of mine to rate a track I'm working on as if he were a RARB reviewer and the answer he gave me was "On a weak tracklist, I'd give it a 5. On a strong tracklist, it might be a 4." It made me think about it a lot and it makes perfect sense. I think there are a couple songs on this album that would have faired better on a different tracklist, some that worked out better because of the songs that surrounded them.

4) It's a good album for aspiring producers... gives you a taste of all styles. I'm still not a fan of "perfection," and there's a lot of it on this album... especially from Tat, a fair amount from Dylan and Clarke. Does anyone else out there still like to listen to the Bub's "Next," BOCA 2001, Clef Hangers "Elevation," etc, or is anything less than MIT quality just not good enough? It's a great album... Phenomenal even... Just not really voices singing anymore... I miss the hobby and artform.

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Postby cmasone » Wed Aug 10, 2005 8:36 pm

WareHauser wrote:1) I HATE the statement that a song is "overdone." Am I sick of hearing The Scientist? Ummm, yes. Does that take credibility or quality away from Last Call's take on the song? Not at all. From reading the review, I almost feel that the songs get an unfair spin in the CD player because they happen to be songs that another group has already recorded.


How about "done better by someone else"?

That's essentially what I mean by overdone. A lot of times, with a song that's overdone, I've heard another a cappella version of the song that I liked better. Obviously, that's going to color my perception of THIS version. Not that it can't still have merit (especially if they took a radically different take on the song somehow), but if someone else already did it, and I liked that version better, what are the odds I could give that track a 5?
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Postby cmasone » Wed Aug 10, 2005 8:39 pm

WareHauser wrote:4) It's a good album for aspiring producers... gives you a taste of all styles. I'm still not a fan of "perfection," and there's a lot of it on this album... especially from Tat, a fair amount from Dylan and Clarke. Does anyone else out there still like to listen to the Bub's "Next," BOCA 2001, Clef Hangers "Elevation," etc, or is anything less than MIT quality just not good enough? It's a great album... Phenomenal even... Just not really voices singing anymore... I miss the hobby and artform.

Nick


Actually I go back further:-) I like to listen to OTB's Don't Stand So Close To Me. And the Derbies' House Of Stone And Light.

And old Take 6. THAT was singing. Oh, man...but that takes it out of the collegiate realm. But it's still delicious.
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Postby billhare » Wed Aug 10, 2005 9:57 pm

What about the 1949 Whiffenpoofs or 1966 Mendicants? You kids with your mouth drumming and rock music... *waves cane in air* yeah, you better run...

;-)

-B

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Just to add on

Postby tekay » Thu Aug 11, 2005 5:32 am

H.F. wrote:Mixed feelings on the review...It's a heckuva lot tougher for guy groups I think just b/c of the level of competition (right now). Really don't know that I could give it a 3, having heard a *lot* of the all male stuff to come out this past year. It's a lot closer to a 4 than a 3, anyway.


Well, considering we are commenting on the albums from our history of listening to a cappella music, and not just within the past year, if the album doesn't rank against that...that's where the scoring comes from.

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Postby streetnix04 » Thu Aug 11, 2005 9:09 am

H.F. wrote:One thing I do know is that Mr. Slutsky's stock is falling.


I'm sorry that you don't like my reviews and opinions (although I don't understand why I'm being singled out when, essentially, my ratings are right there with other reviewers on all my reviews... TeKay rated it worse and Manley rated it better, so how is my review different??).

It's because I went to USC isn't it... I knew it! Damn Trojans, everyone is mad at us for having a good football team. Stupid Matt Leinart. :-P

-Corey
-Corey Slutsky
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What Album

Postby tekay » Thu Aug 11, 2005 9:35 am

Are we talking about, as neither Corey nor I reviewed Last Call. Heh.

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Postby streetnix04 » Thu Aug 11, 2005 8:55 pm

Oops, sorry TeKay. I meant Trendler and Manley. My bad.
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Postby phollens » Fri Aug 12, 2005 1:08 am

Personally without hearing the entire album, I can't fairly state what I would have scored the album as a whole.... however, I would like to add that I had my hands on the Scientist way before the disc was released and it was on repeat for days.....

I enjoyed the tracks I heard....a "3" seems a bit harsh for the quality I heard, but again I heard about 4-5 Tracks.


Good work none the less ;)
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Postby Nick Lyons » Mon Aug 15, 2005 6:13 am

Everyone should probably keep in mind that a "3" isn't a bad score. A couple things we need to also remember...

4:2:Five, Duwende, Ball in the House... all these groups received "4's." Don't get me wrong, Last Call is good... and perhaps these other groups all deserved "5's" instead of "4's," but all that aside, the Last Call album, good as it may be, wasn't quite at the level of these albums... and who would expect it to be? The singers from these respective groups have all been singing together for years upon years (minus BitH which has gone through a few membership changes.).

All that said, "3" is not a bad score. It's halfway between 1 and 5, and it shows success and movement in the right direction. From what was said in the review, the main downfall was not the group, it was their choice in production. Yes, the arrangements were a bit less than stellar in some cases, as were the soloists, but that doesn't make it a bad album. Which is why it received a "3." That's not a score you give to an album you thought was not good. You give that score to an album that you're not quite blown away by...

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Postby jthelegend » Mon Aug 15, 2005 6:48 am

True, but those groups received closer to a 5 because those cds were, imho, closer to perfection than this album. However, to my "not-quite-professional-but working on it" ear, I felt that the album was more deserving of a 4 than a 3. I don't personally feel that a 3 is a bad score, but this album felt more like a 4 to me. I've heard the more 'perfected' albums...Octopodes, Logarhythms, The Octaves, and the like...THOSE sounded very close to professional quality and well-deserving of the near 5's that they received. However, I didn't think the Last Call album was so much lesser of quality than the Octopodes which got a 4.7...I didn't think the Last Call album was as good or cohesive or slickly produced, however I thought it deserved higher than it got. But I just like to complain when things don't go how I feel they should...it forces me to realize that I don't know everything and I hate that...
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