Voices Only 2005 CASA review

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Voices Only 2005 CASA review

Postby streetnix04 » Sun Feb 05, 2006 9:35 pm

I know this is the RARB forum, but I just wanted to let people know that the first album review for the Voices Only 2005 compilation is up at CASA.org.

Here's the link:
http://www.casa.org/index.php?option=co ... Itemid=119

For those of you who've purchased or heard the album, what do you think about it?
-Corey Slutsky
Voices Only Founder
Former Collegiate and Professional A cappella Performer '97-'05
www.voicesonlyacappella.com
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Postby elpresidente » Wed Feb 08, 2006 9:11 am

I've listened to Voices Only, and I have to say I disagree with the generally positive review, primarily due to the arrangements
I think this compilation showcases the lack of interesting arrangements in collegiate a cappella. I detest hearing different parts moving in the same rhythm on block chords throughout an entire song, and I feel that that occurs with frequency on these two discs. Arrangements should showcase creativity; parts should move and come out individually at points, etc. I'm not talking only about this album, but in general; many well-reviewed albums have arrangements that quite frankly show no creativity and don't interest me a bit, and I think Voices Only showcases this problem.
Does anyone agree with my general displeasure with collegiate a cappella arrangements?
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Postby jthelegend » Wed Feb 08, 2006 9:17 am

I'm pretty sure this is gonna be a hot-button topic and I'll end up putting my 2 cents in alot (since I LOVE putting my foot in my mouth), but just to let it be known now, though "elpresidente" sounds like as much of a jerk as me :-),
we are NOT the same person. now, let the debate begin...
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Postby FriarEunuch » Wed Feb 08, 2006 9:43 am

elpresidente wrote:Does anyone agree with my general displeasure with collegiate a cappella arrangements?


yes. wholeheartedly, though there are a few decent ones on the cd I think. further, the sticking point you mentioned - pounding rhythms on block chords - isn't NECESSARILY a sign of a weak arrangement. Sometimes the song calls for it. Consider this: maybe it's a mediocre song :) But that's a subject for a different thread... (Just replace "arrangements" with "song choices" in the quote above.)

That said, it IS a sign of a weak arrangement 90% of the time. Just arguing for the sake of it. What I hate is when it's obvious the arranger just plugged notes in until it sounded good, then added marginally appropriate syllables with no concern for the elegance or creativity of the LINE.

hearts,

Rex
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Postby mattootb » Wed Feb 08, 2006 10:02 am

I'm finding an increasing trend in my group is a desire to arrange songs people like, rather than a desire to arrange songs that will have these interesting parts that you mention. As we're primarily rock kids, this WILL lead to "chord chord chord" arrangements, as, by and large, that's the music we listen to.

So, I guess what I'm saying FriarEunuch is an arrangement of a mediocre song is a mediocre arrangement unless you make it interesting and able to work really well a cappella!
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Postby elpresidente » Thu Feb 16, 2006 9:38 am

MattOOTB wrote:I'm finding an increasing trend in my group is a desire to arrange songs people like, rather than a desire to arrange songs that will have these interesting parts that you mention. As we're primarily rock kids, this WILL lead to "chord chord chord" arrangements, as, by and large, that's the music we listen to.

So, I guess what I'm saying FriarEunuch is an arrangement of a mediocre song is a mediocre arrangement unless you make it interesting and able to work really well a cappella!


From a musician's point of view, there seems to be little reward in singing a crappy arrangement of a good song; I could just listen to the real song and it'd be better. I understand if it's a group whose primary purpose is to perform on-campus for an audience of primarily friends, but if you're submitting your album for review, hoping to make a name nationally, and hoping to impress people who are musical, I just don't see any attraction in singing a simple, boring arrangement.
I wholeheartedly believe that you can arrange any song in a creative way; some take more creativity than others, but that creativity is what makes a cappella interesting, to me at least. Anyone else agree?
The President of A Cappella.
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Postby dherriges » Thu Feb 16, 2006 10:27 am

Absolutely.

We're kinda known as the group with the predominantly pop repertoire, and yeah, our on-campus audiences love it when we sing Stacy's Mom, but I personally find it more rewarding in performance to do a song that people haven't heard before and that really grabs their attention. I think when you take away the novelty factor of hearing songs you know really well sung a cappella, people start paying more attention to and maybe even actually appreciating the music. Most people's musical attention span is pretty short, so if we sing a more obscure song and somebody asks me after the show what it was / who the original artist is, that makes my day. It means something about it was interesting beyond the cheesy novelty factor that most people who don't do a cappella associate with the genre.

I also think that while you can get away with an imitative arrangement of a more obscure song, if you're doing something that's a well-known classic, for the love of god, do something original with it! I have an old Amazin' Blue rendition of Time After Time by Cyndi Lauper, which I love because it's distinctly their own, instead of rehashing any of the gazillion covers by professional artists that are already out there.
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Postby brianhaverkate » Mon Apr 09, 2007 12:43 pm

I understand what elpresidente was saying regarding non-creativity in arrangements these days. It's harder to arrange in such a way that takes the audience on a ride that may be a bit different than the one they remember hearing on the radio. But...when this type of arranging is achieved? Awesome.

When I was in the MSU Accafellas we did an arrangement of Superfreak that used a huge chorale-sounding opening that completely threw the audience off-guard. When we finally got to the end of the bit and they realized what song it was....a cappella heaven baby! Those are the moments we as performers and audience members crave, and it's creative arranging that usually achieves it.

It's easy to get in a rut and arrange everything like the recent recording you heard of whatstheirname group from said college. Kind of like writer's block, I imagine.
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