Opinions on the Sing review?

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Opinions on the Sing review?

Postby Nick Lyons » Sat Jun 05, 2004 7:58 am

Just curious to get everyone's take on the review of Sing. I know a lot of people have the album and it was discussed a while back. I'm interested to hear everyone's take on how it was rated overall...
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Postby cjmike » Sat Jun 05, 2004 9:50 am

As far as the ratings, I probably would have ranked the tracks a little different, but we all know what opinions are like, and everyone's got one. I thought it was a bold move for Rebecca Christie to make comments regarding dio as an acappella citizen while reviewing his compilation. I'm not sure it was an appropriate forum. Also, Jevon Soo seemed to be under the impression that all of the tracks on that CD were produced by Dave Sperandio. I'm fairly certain that's not the case. AVP's "Kate" I believe is a Bill Hare Product. The DCVocals tracks was produced by their former music director, Ted Donat. Davinci's Notebook track was produced by Richard "Bob" Greene (I believe). It actually would be nice to get a list of who produced each track. Seems these days (in a cappella music and popular music) the producer has as much, if not more, to do with the quality of the final product than the artists, so it would be nice to see producers get credit on a compilation album. I'm actually glad that Dio didn't just load the disc with tracks that he'd produced, because it shows his aim was truly to show off the quality of A Cappella in the Southeast, not just showcase his work.

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Postby jrhailey » Sat Jun 05, 2004 1:11 pm

Some thoughts:

CJMike wrote:As far as the ratings, I probably would have ranked the tracks a little different, but we all know what opinions are like, and everyone's got one.


True. However, it would be nice to know the reasoning behind some opinions. For example, "Kate" was given a 3 by Rebecca Christie but was not mentioned once in her review. She instead chose to put her focus on a cappella politics that had nothing to do with the music. And for the record, the Sing! project was completed before Dio's rant on CASA. Get over it please. I'm tired of hearing about it. She ironically stated, "It encourages me greatly to see that Dave is now spending more time on music and less time on insults." I would have liked to see more of a focus on music from her in the review.

I think Mr. Soo did well to point out the purpose behind the disc when he noted, "To top it all off, profits from the CD support The A Cappella Fund, which provides scholarship opportunities for scholastic groups and their leaders." Very admirable project!

Finally, it was good to see Katie Howell and Elon's Twisted Measure get some credit for their rendition of "Strong Enough", especially after getting shafted in ICCA's this year.
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Postby dmhjr69 » Sun Jun 06, 2004 8:36 am

Since 'dio can't defend any of his points of view on this forum (kinda defeats the purpose of a forum, don't you think...?), I'll do my best to relay what I believe he would say...

Rebecca - Thank you for your opinions, but please review the music...

Elie - I agree, and thank you :-)

Jevan - While I appreciate your support and am happy that you enjoyed the album, I did not produce all of the tracks. ;-)

Of course, the above responses would have been much more overly verbose, but that's what made 'dio's posts fun to read... ;-)

OK, now for my personal rant. As a member of the NCSU Grains of Time, and a co-producer of the album that "Make Me Lose Control" came off of (Late Harvest), I want it to be known that the reason our track sounds different from the rest is because the Grains are a different group from the rest! Until recently, the group has not used VP, and the Grains have been around for over 35 years now... Most groups have some tuning issues, but they have the benefit of being able to put percussion over it and almost completely mask the discrepancies.

Jevan - I'm sorry, but I do not hear "overambition" on Ed's solo track - but to each his own...

"Kate" is awesome!!!

Buy the CD!

Out
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Interesting...

Postby Nick Lyons » Sun Jun 06, 2004 9:35 am

It seems as though there may have been some politics involved according to some people...

Let's look at some of the facts...

Scores from each judge from each category compare as follows...

Rebecca Elie Jevan
Overall 4 5 4
Tuning/Blend 4 5 4
Energy/Intensity 5 5 5
Innovation/Creativity 4 4 4
Sound/Production 3 5 5
Repeat Listenability 4 4 4
Soloists 4 5 4



Rebecca was the only one to give out a 3... coincidentally in Sound/Production. I'm curious to know if she knew that the album wasn't wholly produced by dio. Rebecca was also the only reviewer to give any song a rating less than 4... of which she gave 4 of them (3's). However, only 1 of those 4 3-ratings were a dio production. However, her overall ratings do agree with her song/song ratings... just not necessarily with Elie's and Jevan's. Minus Sound/Production, her review numbers are identical to Jevan's... All this being said, the politics in the review were a bit over the top... But in the grand scheme of things, she spoke what certain other people were probably thinking. Moving on, I will agree with Josh that this thing has run it's course. It's still a great review.

Commenting on what Mark said, I will agree 100% that the Grains are unlike most other a cappella groups in that they don't (up until recently) use VP. This doesn't change the fact that Lose Control was SCREAMING for it! It's like groups that decide not to curse but then someone covers an Eminem song. If it's simply prinicple in not using percussion, try to aim for songs that don't call for it. HOWEVER, with that being said, Late Harvest, the Grains most recent album, does feature a pretty tight rendition of Billy Jean... with their bass, Duane Donders, delivering a pretty awesome and convincing solo. I digress... point being, Mark, it's 1 reviewer's comments. The Grain's are about something different than some other groups... and Lose Control doesn't represent the best off your album so, consider it a "shoulder shrugger." But the comment about Ed being overambitious was... interesting... if nothing else. And, I'm sure you laughed at the notion that John's rendition of Stutter was overambitious... Everyone is entitled to their opinions... That is what makes it interesting and amusing.

I know this is long... but I HAVE to comment on the roll of the producer, since it came up in this post. 1) dio didn't produce the entire album. It wasn't a Dave Sperandio showcase CD, it was a best of southern a cappella CD. None of the pro/semi pro groups were dio's. Kate IS a Bill Hare production. db's VP was his work. All the college groups minus AVP were dio. It was refreshing that the entire album wasn't dio's work. However, in another thread, the talk of using autotune came up and with that I ask everyone, what is the producer's job in a cappella music? To make the group sing in tune? To correct incorrect rhythms? To create and manufacture dynamic contrast? I think that's where the frustration comes into the equation. I have no problem with beefing up VP, distortion, FX, etc. You're helping the arranger realize his dream... and creating something that may not otherwise be attainable by a group. But it's recognizeable as studio work. An occasional autotune is understandable. We all sing off pitch. But I feel as though the line needs to be drawn somewhere. Anyone else feel the same way?

Okay, I think I'm finished here. I'm long winded... always have been, always will be. Sing is a great album... and it goes to a great cause. And, the review does it justice.

Nick

PS Thanks to the reviewers for your ratings of Stutter. And, thanks to dio for helping make that possible.
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Postby dmhjr69 » Sun Jun 06, 2004 10:28 am

I think Nick is a wonderful person, and I think "Sing" is a wonderful CD!

Buy it!

Again, out.
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Postby billhare » Sun Jun 06, 2004 10:30 am

Wow, interesting stuff! I have a pretty unique perspective as well, being on the Board of Directors of CASA, as well as knowing 'dio personally and being a part of SoJam last November:

I can honestly say that in all of our CASA meetings, there was nothing but praise and support of what Dave was (and is) doing in North Carolina. I was able to go to SoJam in a dual role to both help out by giving recording seminars, and also see how CASA and AACI could work together in the future. Dave's "rantings" did have truth to them - CASA does not have a presence in the South like it does on the coasts, and just doing what we are doing is taking all of our resources at the moment. That he was doing something to fill the void that we couldn't fill is terrific, and we let him know that. Sometimes there was text that was misconstrued by both parties on this board since every word seemed to be scrutinized, and that's what made it look like there was some tension between the organizations. But truly, there was no bad blood from CASA, and after going to SoJam and meeting all the AACI folks I was able to see the same from that group. Text can be misinterpreted, and when I got to know Dave a bit personally I got a much greater understanding of how to read his text.

Rebecca knows firsthand how much volunteer work goes into being in one of these organizations, so if it appears to get bashed, it can hurt. Each of us in both organizations are volunteering tons of our own time and money to help this scene grow. I myself (as well as many others) have done these seminars like the CASA Summits and SoJam completely out of pocket, not even having hotel or travel expenses reimbursed. I currently spend about $2,000 a month out of pocket to produce ARI (A Cappella Radio), and I know Dave spent much more than that out of pocket to make SoJam a reality.

This stuff is usually behind the scenes, and we are not looking for people to say "oh, thank you thank you thank you for all you've done for us", but when our efforts get bashed or even ignored, it's not "political", it's personal. And I think that's why Rebecca said what she did, not that it was the right forum to say it, but I know it wasn't "politically" driven, since she is not part of CASA's "political machine" as it were. :-)

Both of these organizations are well intended, and have a lot to offer. What they both need as well is the resources to carry out their ideas and services. If you're not a member of either or both, please join if you can - there are a lot of good people stretching their own resources to the limit for something you'll hopefully benefit from!

Well, this isn't what I originally intended to type about, but I'll leave it at that.

Bill Hare Some dude who records and mixes people who can't play instruments. http://www.dyz.com

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Re: Interesting...

Postby billhare » Sun Jun 06, 2004 10:34 am

WareHauser wrote:Kate IS a Bill Hare production.


Well, thanks, but before I get too much credit for it I do want to point out that the track was fully recorded by AVP themselves on their own recording system before it ever got to me. The wonderful lead vocal performance by Josh, great arrangement, and supercool attitude/feel of the song is all their work. I just got to wax and polish it, but it already was a Ferrari!

-B

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Postby singyourheart » Sun Jun 06, 2004 11:58 am

billhare wrote:Rebecca knows firsthand how much volunteer work goes into being in one of these organizations, so if it appears to get bashed, it can hurt.


i'm sure it can, and one can appreciate her bitterness. but this doesn't excuse her lack of class in choosing to voice her sentiments in a completely inappropriate and opportunistic venue and manner. it belittles RARB as an organization and devalues what they do for the community, not to mention what it says about her personally and professionally.
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Postby Nick Lyons » Mon Jun 07, 2004 5:34 pm

singyourheart wrote:
billhare wrote:Rebecca knows firsthand how much volunteer work goes into being in one of these organizations, so if it appears to get bashed, it can hurt.


i'm sure it can, and one can appreciate her bitterness. but this doesn't excuse her lack of class in choosing to voice her sentiments in a completely inappropriate and opportunistic venue and manner. it belittles RARB as an organization and devalues what they do for the community, not to mention what it says about her personally and professionally.


It is an isolated incident. If we were all judged by the isolated incidents that occur in our lives, we'd all be terrible because none of us are perfect. Some people feel she made a mistake in bringing politics into her review. Let's call it that and leave it at that. It does not, in any way, say anything about her personally... and character debates aren't worth having over the internet... and attacking anyone's personality on this forum completely defeats the purpose of the friendship and family that we all create in sharing the art of a cappella music.

Corny, I know... but I think we should probably just kill this topic before potential things get said that will leave someone getting hurt. It's not worth it.

Nick
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Postby singyourheart » Mon Jun 07, 2004 6:34 pm

WareHauser wrote:It is an isolated incident. If we were all judged by the isolated incidents that occur in our lives, we'd all be terrible because none of us are perfect.


that's an excellent point.

WareHauser wrote:Some people feel she made a mistake in bringing politics into her review. Let's call it that and leave it at that. It does not, in any way, say anything about her personally... and character debates aren't worth having over the internet... and attacking anyone's personality on this forum completely defeats the purpose of the friendship and family that we all create in sharing the art of a cappella music.


points again well-taken. i respect what you are saying.

as to why I use the word "personally":

she chose to use her position (and vehicle) as a reviewer to make personal jabs that had nothing to do with the CD she was charged with reviewing. she abused her position, basically, for personal reasons, at the risk of devaluing RARB (whose stated purpose is to review recorded a cappella music) in doing so. to me, that's pretty selfish, and does speak a bit - at least in this instance, as you pointed out - to who she is. but again, i respect your point about personal judgements.

i looked it up, and the points she made now in her capacity as a RARB reviewer were ones she made already on this forum back in September of 2003, by the way. it's June of 2004 now, and to my knowledge not a single word has been said about it in many, many months, from either side. seems pretty personal to me.
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Postby Halogen1 » Wed Jun 09, 2004 5:20 am

It's not really an isolated incident either. Rebecca Christie didn't like Halogen's theology as portrayed in one intentionally tongue-in-cheek song (she missed the tongue-in-cheek part), so that theological disagreement was the basis of her entire review. She gave a couple of other songs a cursory nod, but focused 95% of her review on how she disagrees with our religious beliefs, and how that makes us horrible, people - she compared us to suicide bombers, for crying out loud. Anyone who met us at SoJam knows that we are NOT wack-job fanatics.

None of the other reviewers liked our CD a whole lot either - it was our first official release and it needed work - but they actually talked about the music a little bit, so it felt like they listened to more than just the opening track.

That said, having been at SoJam, there was certainly no noticeable rift between Dio and CASA or anyone else. Dio had a fire lit under him for sure, but it wasn't in any negative pursuit - he was trying to bring Southern a cappella to the fore and give it a voice in the national community. I think he did that. SING! is a fantastic CD, one that stays in my CD player more than it does in its case, and it is a compilation in the purest sense of the word; it's got a little bit of everything by just about everybody.

For the record, my favorites on the CD are Kate and Stutter. Awesome!!
Joshua Olive
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Postby elocomotive » Sun Jun 13, 2004 9:02 pm

I gotta agree with the crowd here, I think that the comments in the last paragraph of the Sing review were in poor taste. I've hung out with Rebecca a couple times and know her heart is in the right place, but the topic was borderline. I think Dio has been supportive and appreciative of CASA, just looking to serve some different needs and expand those served. Its not that I don't respect Rebecca's right to have an opinion on those in the forum, inside the community, outside the community, etc., but I just don't see where it belongs in a review of an artwork unless there was a track entitled "CASA Killa." lol.

On a related note, this type of fervor seems to kick up with amazing repetition every few months or so. And I'm just curious why the RARB editorial staff doesn't cut some of this stuff before it gets to final copy on the Web? I played writer & editor at my college newspaper, and if we thought something was borderline in taste/relevance, we cut it. The last paragraph of that review has nothing to do with giving "potential buyers and listeners some insight" about the album.

My opinions can all be summed up in the topic "10 Things I Hate About Reev(You)."
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Postby jsdiamant » Mon Jun 14, 2004 5:15 am

I'll let the editing staff speak for themselves, but I have worked extensively as a newspaper editor, and it hardly needs to be said that every editing decision is a subjective judgment call. I, for one, had no problem with anything Rebecca wrote in that review, and I wouldn't have changed it if I were an editor.

Joshua S. Diamant RARB '02-'05

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Postby brianhaverkate » Mon Jun 14, 2004 5:33 pm

I'll agree with the masses here that the comments were not given in the appropriate venue at all. Man, for someone who's seen the Southeast struggle like CRAZY lately, it is encouraging to see someone like dio take the initiative to build up a southern community. It's funny to hear someone talk about the Carolinas as being a part of the south though. I guess I just imagine them being so close (relatively, in comparison to Florida) to the a cappella hub of D.C., Boston, and NYC. Here's to hoping that the next southern event is a little closer to home. :(
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