ntsMD806 wrote: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:
Energy Intensity: 5
Sound Production: 4
Repeat Listenability: 4
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
Chasing Cars: 5
Died in Your Arms Tonight: 4
The Underdog: 3
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.
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.
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.
Have we gotten to the point now where a college/high school group needs to do research on how many times a song has been sung and recorded by other groups before deciding whether or not they want to do it too?
Sometimes, when a review references songs that were 'done better elsewhere' (to paraphrase), it's missing that example of 'done better elsewhere' that a reader who isn't as deep into the scene as many people who frequent this board are could use to help understand the review (not to mention the group that uses these reviews to work towards improvement)
ntsMD806 wrote:P.P.S. When you decide to camp outside Bill Hare's window, take me with you.
steelerdaddy wrote:In this review (http://rarb.org/reviews/1094.html#), for example, while the second reviewer sites song choice as a detriment to the actual review, he also gives a comparison example for a couple of songs and a source where he thought it was executed more effectively and a place where we can find that version.
steelerdaddy wrote:For as in tune with the "cutting edge" of a cappella as the readers of this forum, the professionals, and even some of the higher quality collegiate/high school groups are out there...in truth, I feel that a majority of people out there that like a cappella/sing a cappella probably don't know much about the scene beyond the Dalton Academy Warblers, "The Sing-Off", and Straight No Chaser. And those people...the ones that want to sing as well as they can but are singing because they enjoy it more than to reinvent the a cappella wheel...are going to sing the songs that they like to sing with the arrangements that they have available to them
michaelmarcus wrote:Personally, I'm a bit more optimistic than that. If you watched "The Sing-Off" this year, you saw groups (for the most part) that had well-defined identities and did songs in their own unique styles. ("You Make My Dreams Come True" by Groove for Thought, "Mercy" by Jerry Lawson and Talk of the Town and "Loveshack" by the Backbeats come immediately to mind.) This is a big part of the reason why I love that "The Sing-Off" is so popular. My hope is that groups at all levels will watch this sort of thing and be inspired. The novelty of what we do, of simply singing a popular song with just voices, has long since worn off. It is time for groups at all levels to go beyond transcriptions and start covering songs, really covering them the way a "real" recording artist would. This, I think, gets at the core of what Rob has been saying over at CASA.org and in this thread.
steelerdaddy wrote: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. ;)
rdietz55 wrote:At the same time, if your goal is not to be the best group on record, then consider whether you would actually benefit from RARB reviewing your work (or at least don't be hurt when your review isn't glowing).
jmille22 wrote:rdietz55 wrote:At the same time, if your goal is not to be the best group on record, then consider whether you would actually benefit from RARB reviewing your work (or at least don't be hurt when your review isn't glowing).
I so disagree with this. RARB is pretty much the only reliable learning tool most groups have at their disposal when it comes to learning right from wrong. Not everybody has the benefit of affording top-level producers to mentor them through the process—dare I say that most definitely don't—and the peer review and critiquing RARB provides is nigh indispensable for groups who are just trying to get their footing. This is, after all, a largely collegiate and almost wholly amateur operation. Pro groups don't need RARB except for the sound bites and maybe some high-level commentary, but the college kids desperately need the guidance it offers. I don't see RARB's function as just pushing the envelope forward for the groups who endeavor to be the best; it's also about jump-starting the "mere mortals" of collegiate a cappella so they can learn how to do it right.
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