Mendicants Review

Discuss our reviews or just talk about any old album.

Postby cmasone » Thu Oct 14, 2004 7:23 am

yahtzeealum wrote: The scoring system on RARB more than gives you adequete information regarding if an album is good or not.


No it doesn't.

Code Red was rated a 5 by every reviewer, and got consistently high marks in all subcategories, and on all tracks. However, one reviewer made comments about the artistic vision of the album that made it clear I wouldn't like it. So I didn't get it, and when a friend bought it and played it for me, I discovered I was right. I didn't like it, and I thank that reviewer for her comments. The album *did* sound better than the vast majority of what is out there, but the sound they were going for is not a sound I like, and I'm glad her review told me that.

-Chris

PS I feel like I always trash this album on this board, and I really don't mean to. I've sung with the bubs several times in the past several years, and they have never failed to impress me. It's just that many people here have heard this album, so it's a pretty good as a common reference.
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Postby billhare » Thu Oct 14, 2004 7:58 am

Right - since A Cappella is not a genre, that means there are many other reasons to buy or not to buy no matter how "good" the numbers say it is. It can be the finest example anywhere of Turkish Teeth Singing ever recorded, rating all 5s, but that doesn't keep listener "A" from loving it and listener "B" from hating it. If the review text can give me more info as to whether I'd enjoy hearing Turkish Teeth Singing or not, I can make a better decision.

Also, as far as numbers go, sometimes you'll see reviews where two people rate an album as a 5, and one rates it as a 3. If that one reviewer had been, by luck of the draw, someone different, the overall score might be 5.0 rather than 4.3 - a big difference in impact!

If one album were randomly assigned to be reviewed by Josh, Tom, and Mark, the scoring would be vastly different than if randomly assigned to Elie, Eric, and Jonathan for review. This again, is luck of the draw whether you are assigned to a reviewer who shares your vision or not, and finding reviewers who share your tastes is the first step to using these reviews correctly - Chris was able to read though much praise of this album and figure out that he actually wouldn't like it - smart guy!

And Chris - I've never felt like you've ever "trashed" the album - even when I was mixing it I kept making the comment "wouldn't the listener be better off just doing a mix CD using the original artists' versions?", so I always heard where you were coming from.

But it was a fun experiment, well pulled off, and now that we've done it I hope we can do something different next time!

-B

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

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Postby jsdiamant » Thu Oct 14, 2004 11:19 am

Bill, could you post an mp3 example of Turkish teeth singing for the unenlightened? ;-)

Joshua S. Diamant RARB '02-'05

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Postby billhare » Thu Oct 14, 2004 2:31 pm

jdiamant wrote:Bill, could you post an mp3 example of Turkish teeth singing for the unenlightened? ;-)


No, I didn't buy the album because the reviewer said it didn't have enough bite. Also I hear the reverb decay is bad, most of the album is filling anyway, except the GUMmi Bear song (sung in Turkish of course) which is the only shining enamel of the album.


Ouch, that's even hard for ME to read...

-B

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Postby supersixonemedia » Thu Oct 14, 2004 2:46 pm

billhare wrote:
jdiamant wrote:Bill, could you post an mp3 example of Turkish teeth singing for the unenlightened? ;-)


No, I didn't buy the album because the reviewer said it didn't have enough bite. Also I hear the reverb decay is bad, most of the album is filling anyway, except the GUMmi Bear song (sung in Turkish of course) which is the only shining enamel of the album.


Ouch, that's even hard for ME to read...

-B


was it an amalgam of different genres?
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Over-Tact

Postby davetrendler » Thu Oct 14, 2004 7:45 pm

Prepare for a semi-sensical, somewhat unsober rambling --

Have you ever noticed at Harmony Sweeps or after a live a cappella show that fellow singers in the audience always say, "You sounded great!" when, in fact, the singers might have, in Bill Hare's words, "sucked ass!".

I think that maybe part of the constant "RARB is too mean" comments reflect a culture of Over-Tact in a cappella. It's like a cappella groups are too "nicey nice" to say anything critical... EVER! We've all gotta' "get along" all harmonious-like! How sweet! BARF! Tact is one thing, but whatever happened to awesome '80s musical rivalries like Poison vs. Guns and Roses or Metallica vs. Pantera!!? We're all adults here, kids; why can't we rumble in the aca streets (w/out calling each other bitches or telling each other to "go to hell", of course)??? RARB is like the only place on earth where a cappella peeps can criticize each other!

More soberly --

Yahtzeealum -- "I don't think reviews should be entertaining or try to be smart and funny.....or punny." What would happen to our readership if we didn't try to liven up "here's-what's-happening-in-the-recording" reviews? As Rebecca Christie has said in the past while taking me to task - objective reviews are not only boring, but barely possible to write. Everyone's got bias, everyone's got opinions - hopefully, our readership returns to RARB.org for opinions based on years of listening/reviewing experience as well as reviews that are interesting to read.

Also, "I feel like some reviewers don't have the knowledge regarding the music, so they try to overcompensate with rude and unthoughtful remarks which somehow are perceived as whitty banter." A few weeks ago, I forced myself to read all current and past reviewers' bios. I was humbled.

Finally (growing ever more sober) - I would LOVE to see chronic complainers on this forum apply to be reviewers (not that you're chronic, yahtzee). Put your opinions where your mouths are... or something...

Let's rumble!

Dave T.
Chatterbox
RARB Reviewer
The Humbuckers
SMC Men

p.s. in the spirit of rumbling - Olsen is a bitch!
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Re: Over-Tact

Postby Neil » Thu Oct 14, 2004 8:49 pm

dtrendler wrote:Have you ever noticed at Harmony Sweeps or after a live a cappella show that fellow singers in the audience always say, "You sounded great!" when, in fact, the singers might have, in Bill Hare's words, "sucked ass!".


Eh, I think I'd much prefer to leave things the way they are - having RARB here as a place to post criticism of the music, and having concerts, festivals, and conferences be places of happy, happy, joy, joy. I, for one, love the feeling of coming off stage and hearing immediate words of praise from the people I'm 'competing against,' even though I know in my heart of hearts that oftentimes they're completely muscle-memory for the people saying them. Then when the criticism comes from judges later, or critics on RARB, then I'm prepared for it, and even expect it.

But hell, if you wanna rumble, let's go. ;) Maybe we could recreate a few scenes from West Side Story. Now THAT would be f'n funny.... the Bubs as the Jets, the Accidentals as the Sharks...
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Re: Over-Tact

Postby billhare » Thu Oct 14, 2004 9:23 pm

dtrendler wrote:the singers might have, in Bill Hare's words, "sucked ass!"


Actually, those aren't my words - I was using Adam's words there. ;-)

Not a usual part of my vocabulary as those who know me will attest! :-)

-B

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

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Re: Over-Tact

Postby bstevens » Fri Oct 15, 2004 9:46 am

In all seriousness before the games begin, LISTEN TO DAVE and apply to be a RARB reviewer. You have a cappella experience and maybe musical training. You have ears and opinions behind them. Diversity of opinion makes growth possible. Diversity is what saves 'a cappella' from the same fossilization that has afflicted e.g. classical music (oh boy ... ). Apply to RARB and let the a cappella world know what you think.

Now:

dtrendler wrote:p.s. in the spirit of rumbling - Olsen is a bitch!


Dave, Dave ... you're supposed to rumble with rival gangs, man! Not with people from your own (former) gang!

But in the spirit of letting you know that you, personally, suck ass, here goes: the top five reasons Dave is a hiney:

6. He thinks RARB is a "place". Dave, Dave ... if you don't know how to drive, just say so! Do you know your right from your left? Oh, Dave. [shakes head, sheds a single tear to the wailing strains of a single guitar]

5. he wants to rumble without calling each other "bitch" ... but the first thing he does is call Olsen a bitch! Dave, that's like bringing an INSTRUMENT on stage!!

4. I got food poisoning one night at a dinner with Dave and HE DIDN'T and he SHOULD DIE. I lost eight pounds in two days and he says "we enjoyed our leftovers the next day". ARG!!!

3. His last name has an extra letter.

2. He forgot Ratt.

and ...

1. Oh, heck. I can't pretend; the truth has to come out. "You sounded great, Dave!"

Benjamin Stevens

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Two important points

Postby dekesharon » Sun Oct 17, 2004 5:30 am

1) "Just Like That" was, without a doubt, one of the best a cappella albums of the early 90's, and pioneering in its quality and creativity. Beautiful singing and arranging that stands up today.

2) Talk trash about me in a review and I will most certainly show it to my mom, who will posthaste kick some ass.

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

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Postby Nick Lyons » Tue Oct 19, 2004 9:28 pm

With use of the word "posthaste," Deke yet again reaffirms that, with a simple momma reference, he can make himself anyone's daddy.

Haha... handled beautifully, Deke.

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Postby brianhaverkate » Wed Oct 20, 2004 4:01 am

Once upon a time I wanted to be a RARB Reviewer... I even applied and wrote a scathing review of a certain male a cappella group from Indiana that would have felt right at home on RARB. I wasn't selected. In hindsight I regret ever writing that review (even though it wasn't even published). I don't regret applying, just the way I applied. I tried to be like the current reviewers. It's not my style. I don't believe my non-conforming reviews would be able to stand along side the current RARB reviewers. They'd be truthful, encouraging, analytical, helpful, and professional. Or, how did someone put it... "boring and almost unbearable to read".

Dave asked what would happen if "we didn't try to liven up the reviews". Hmmm.... you just may get more groups to submit their albums. Maybe some more professional groups. I can't remember the last legitimate professional group to be reviewed by RARB. The HouseJacks Live album and Cadence are as recent as I can remember. As unbelievable as it may sound, some of us enjoy hearing about the music in an encouraging, yet still informative, way. It's not a matter of getting along. It's a matter of principal. Sorry to bombard you with middle school stories, but it fits...... My students are learning the old saying, "Treat others as you'd like to be treated." I don't like being treated rudely or with sarcasm (at least not on a professional level...sarcasm certainly has it's place).
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Postby tekay » Wed Oct 20, 2004 7:08 am

yahtzeealum wrote:I don't believe my non-conforming reviews would be able to stand along side the current RARB reviewers. They'd be truthful, encouraging, analytical, helpful, and professional.


My first inclination, Brian, is to tell you to just stop reading. You are damaging yourself more by continuing to read the drivel that is on this site. Your psyche can only take so much, I assure you.

Secondly, as one of at least two "professional" journalists on the review board, I take light offense at your total denigration of the ethics, professionalism and integrity of those of us who are taking the time to write these reviews. I don't think a single one of us takes what we're doing here lightly. But that's your right to believe what you want.


yahtzeealum wrote: Maybe some more professional groups. I can't remember the last legitimate professional group to be reviewed by RARB. The HouseJacks Live album and Cadence are as recent as I can remember.


And again, I'm sure the other groups like 4th Avenue, Ball in the House, The Flying Pickets, The Magnets, baSix, The Princeton Singers, Sweet Honey in the Rock, Idea of North, Sixth Wave, The Bobs (just to name a few) can't wait until the day that they get their "professional-status" badge that you bestow on them. What color is the ribbon?

Have a great day, everyone!

[color=#8040BF]http://www.rarb.org/people/thomas-king.html http://www.deltacappella.com CASA Dir. of Ambassador Program SoJam Producer & Concert Mgr Sing Producer CAL jd All Things A Cappella FOTS #1 ICCA Producer Emeritus "the

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Postby bstevens » Wed Oct 20, 2004 7:21 am

Mr. Haverkate is a welcome contributor to the Forum, and I value his and others' opinions. But this part of his post does a disservice that is beneath him (he knows all of what I'm about to write; and I imagine he agrees, or he would not be teaching music as he is).

I'm not writing to defend RARB or its reviewers; RARB's decade of service, I believe, speaks for itself, as does its commitment to positive change. Instead I want to write on behalf of all a cappella groups regardless of status.

I don't need to parade a list of all the "professional" groups who have submitted albums for review (interested readers may peruse the published reviews and the Upcoming page). And it's not the term "professional" that I take issue with. There is of course a difference between "professional" and other sorts of groups including semi-professional, collegiate, high school, and community. But the difference is de facto rather than de iure: professional groups earn a living by singing; (most) other groups do not.

The term I take issue with is "legitimate". I _do_ want to parade a list of all the "legitimate" groups who have submitted their albums over the last ten years. It's a long list, including hundreds of groups who have produced labors of love and profit both. I don't think I need to point out that the list includes every group we've ever reviewed. RARB doesn't, and shouldn't, discriminate on the basis of status. Neither should the rest of the a cappella community, if "a cappella" means anything and if "community" means what it should. Terms like "legitimate" make the goal of community harder, by making a cappella, wrongly, a thing de iure.

All of us at RARB recognize that a crucial part of a cappella is expression and, especially, self-expression. Even though the quality of the music may vary; even though our reaction as listeners may vary tremendously, from pleasure to pain; the expressive power of the voice, and of voices together, should be embraced, in groups of whatever level or, especially, professional status. In RARB's eyes, and ears, all a cappella is legitimate.

One last thing: I truly believe that part of RARB's purpose is, and should be, _constructive_ criticism of the sort that Mr. Haverkate hopes for: "encouraging, yet still informative". RARB is working hard to pursue that goal, and I thank Mr. Haverkate and all our Forum contributors for keeping the discussion going and for keeping us honest.

Benjamin Stevens

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Educational Officer for Festivals and Events

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Postby amysingsla » Wed Oct 20, 2004 9:17 am

yahtzeealum wrote:

Maybe some more professional groups. I can't remember the last legitimate professional group to be reviewed by RARB. The HouseJacks Live album and Cadence are as recent as I can remember.

tekay wrote:
And again, I'm sure the other groups like 4th Avenue, Ball in the House, The Flying Pickets, The Magnets, baSix, The Princeton Singers, Sweet Honey in the Rock, Idea of North, Sixth Wave, The Bobs (just to name a few) can't wait until the day that they get their "professional-status" badge that you bestow on them. What color is the ribbon?


Thanks, tekay.

We don't make our living as Sixth Wave, but we make our living as singers (doing the beautiful variety of work available to singers in Los Angeles). And all the work we do as Sixth Wave is, in fact, paid. I believe that means we are a professional group (many already know I despise the term "semi-professional"...half professional? We're professional no matter how much time we spend doing it.). We, the groups listed above, and many others who have submitted to RARB, may not be Mr. Haverkate's favorite groups, but we are indeed working at our craft and appreciate getting feedback.

See you at the EC Summit! Guess what? We're one of the headlining acts! We must not be THAT unknown! :-)
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