Thought I'd post my notes for this album for the same reasons I mentioned in my review of AACI's .
1. Stutter - UNCG Spartones – 4/5
· Pitch problems in solo?
· Just don’t like this song much, though it’s done well.
2. This Love - USC SoCal VoCals – 4/5
· Women’s “jink jink” gets old – boring old technique
3. Street Spirit - Northeastern Downbeats – 4/5
· Always cool to do radiohead
· “din din” arpeggio is kind of an old technique
· blend pokey in choruses
· nice arr., good fifths
4. Feel Good Time - MIT Muses – 4/5 (close to a 5/5)
· Neat use of voices on bass part, like the artificiality – great.
· Great bounce/groove
· Chorus arr. Stacks high voices which rub a bit – blend issue
· Chorus could use more energy
5. Cry Me A River - UVA Hullabahoos – 4/5
· Cool artificialness
· Song gets a little boring – it’s just too repetitive
· Well arranged, executed, and mixed, I just don’t like the song much
6. Destiny/In The Waiting Line - USC Sirens
· This is just women? Awesome. Women can nail basslines and vp. Who needs guys?
7. Here We Go - Duke Pitchforks – 4/5
· This is a lame song… performed well.
· Feels a little sloppy. The timing’s okay, but it’s mixed a little fuzzily instead of super clean.
8. Silence - Cornell Class Notes – 3/5
· This song is mixed much quieter than others
· Lot of verb - sounds very distant until bass and solo enter at 1:00
· The bassline really sticks out through the whole song:
i. Bassline is choppy and unfluid
ii. can also hear a lot of the top, unoctavated original note which exacerbates the choppiness
iii. during chorus on the “ahh” syll, he sticks out a ton
· not nearly as good as the Octopodes version
9. When I Grow Up - Stanford Mixed Company – 4/5?
· Does this innocent little soloist realize what a “golden shower” is? She’s way too soft – needs to spit out these lyrics with vindictiveness and hatred, not pseudo-angst. She only starts to get the energy she needs by the bridge, and even then it’s not enough (and way too late).
· Being a Garbage fan, I can’t stand this soloist. She’s way too… not Shirley. Way too sweet.
· Vp is cool.
10. Into The Dark - Virginia Tech Juxtaposition – 4/5
· Kind of a cool song
· Solo feels stilted, mechanical
· Vp doesn’t make a lot of sense with the rhythm of the song
11. The Late Great Planet Earth - Texas Ransom Notes – 4/5? 3/5?
· Blend is really bad – can hear voices poking through everywhere
· A few pitchy moments
· Feels a little clunky rhythmically
· Like the solo voice
12. Catch Me If You Can - Oregon Divisi – 4/5 or 5/5?
· Feels classy
· Good dynamics, awesome blend
· Speedy lyrics part sounds tough! – pretty well-enunciated, though
· Some great bassline moments with falls, etc. women really can do this.
13. Nothing - Northwestern Purple Haze – 4/5? 3/5?
· Solo voice is a little nasal and has “young” tone (Paula Abdul ish)
14. Collective Soul - Colorado In The Buff – 5/5?
· I really liked this on the ITB album!
· Great arr., great singing
· Blend in extremes (highest tenor and bass) could be a little smoother
· Good blend betw solo and solo harm
· A few notes in the upper ranges of the background still feel forced
15. What It Feels Like For A Girl - Boston U. Aural Fixation – 5/5
· Wow, great vp! Nice sounds, awesome rhythms. Sounds like acid jazz kit.
i. Phenomonal vp
· Note to self: learn more about John Clark
· Just amazing.
· Soloist: awesome voice, awesome expression – sounds totally natural
i. Really awesome
· Song has real depth – John is a great arranger/mixer combo
· Sometimes you have to hear something just totally outstanding to remember what good bands sound like. Sometimes a cappella just gets tired – I get numbed by the a cappella “wall of sound” tricks and forget what ‘real’ music is shooting for.
· Is the wall of sound era over? Was the W.O.S. the final destination for large group, “voices only” singing? Are we moving into a place where heavily effected, instrumentalized tonal colors and ambient moods are more important than hearing the unaltered origin of a cappella’s instrument — the human voice?
16. Carwash - Wisconsin Redefined – 4/5
· Wow, a cappella’s really come a long way in the past 5 years. I’ve never heard of this group, and they’re quite good. Why aren’t more of these groups submitting to RARB?
· Good beat
· Some fun arranging sidelights here, often women
· Like the bridge
· Would have liked to hear a bassline with more spring in its step – more 8th note files around the quarter notes.
17. Never There - Clemson Tigeroar – 4/5
· Bass sounds awesome, but is a little overshadowed by the awfully active kick drum
· Too fast?
· Like that fast keyboard at :32 (pans, falls off)
· Trumpet guy sucks
· Nice picked violin sound at 1:00 and 2:15
· Great shouting
· Soloist not grabbing me
18. Missing - UPenn Penny Loafers – 2/5?
· Soloist could use more breath support – sounds nasal and weak at times (esp. on the word “sacrifice”)
· Kind of bland
· High voices of each gender have some pitch and tone rubbing
· Bad tuning problems in solo and background (“whoa”s nearing end)
19. For Me This Is Heaven - Harvard LowKeys – 4/5
· Soloist voice is extremely smooth
· Arpeggio is very clean
· Well sung and mixed, but not really much particularly interesting here
20. September - Northwestern Freshmen 15 – 3/5
· A little slow, maybe a little plodding or clunky?
· Solo has range, but his tone and style sound young, like a high school kid even
· “that’s the way I like it” interlude in bridge – lame
· well sung, but again not that interesting
· feels like a cheap knockoff of one of the Beelzebubs ‘70s covers
21. When I Think About Angels - UVA Sil'hooettes – 4/5
· Feels really polished
· Energy is a little mellow
· Soloist has great voice (warm, rich, sweet), but not enough excitement about the song
· Blend/balance a little off on the very last chord?
22. Ask The Lonely - Dartmouth Aires
· A little whiney
23. Lighted Up - USC Reverse Osmosis – 4/5? 5/5?
· Really pretty
· Isn’t this a Gabe Mann original?
· Love the yodelling in the second half (3:40 to end) – very David Bowie (Under Pressure)
24. Only In Dreams - Wash U. in St. Louis Mosaic Whispers
· Cool! Weezer!
· Verse is good, but I don’t like the approach in the choruses:
i. Actual chord structure is weird and unlike original
ii. Open syll feels weird
iii. Too legato
· Soloist voice and style is pretty good
· Extended bridge gets weird – blend falls apart, but man what a wailing section!
25. Hit 'Em Up Style - Elon Twisted Measure – 4/5? 5/5?
· Great solo
· Good bounce to this song
· Blend in guys a little rough
· Great female feature song – great blend in ladies
26. Earth Song - UCSB Naked Voices – 4/5
· Some pitch/blend issues throughout
· Starts kickin’ about halfway through
· Neat song
27. Beauty of Grey - St Louis Bare Naked Statues – 3/5
· Muddy – low and mid voices eq’ed too warmly
· Feels a little blocky
· Solo – nice voice, okay style
· Vp is weak – very mouthy (“tsh tsh tsh” at 2:20)
28. All Original - Stanford Fleet Street Singers – 4/5
· Original song
· Don’t like hearing the original and the octavated signal on basslines
· Blend pretty good
· Fun song, good groove
· Vp sounds sequenced or at least pretty fake
· Is there an effect on the soloist? What is that?
29. Cigarettes and Chocolate Milk - Wesleyan Spirits – 3/5
· Solo has big, thick voice
· Muffled background
· Some pitches slightly off in solo and bass (?)
· Plods a bit because of the thickened bassline and less than sprightly background parts (esp. baritone)
· Can’t tell if this song is a dirge or what – what’s it supposed to be? Ballad? This song is weird. It doesn’t fit any mold and leaves me feeling lost.
30. Clocks - Stanford Counterpoint – 4/5
· Intro arpeggio sounds pretty fake. Do I like it? The third pass through (the lowest in pitch) sounds like one of those holiday dog barking keyboard things.
· Vp really guns the song ahead.
· Female solo
· Feels a little mechanical
· Nothing about this version is really grabbing me and pulling me in. it feels pretty straight, overly true to the original.
· “neer neer” in bridge (3:20)