2. U Penn Off the Beat (mixed) "Soul to Squeeze" -- Doesn't the lead singer sound exactly like the lead singer of the Red Hot Chili Peppers? Amazing. This is one of my favorite arrangements of all time. It's intricate, especially in the choruses. I always love singing along with this piece. I could play this song over and over again, trying to pick apart another vocal line.
3. Tufts U Jackson Jills (female) "This Woman's Work" -- The first time I heard this song and really listened to the lyrics, I nearly cried my eyes out. "I know you have a little life in you yet.. I know you have a lot of strength left... I should crying but I just can't let it show.. should be hopin' but I can't stop thinking.. of all the things we should have said but we never said.. all the things we should have done but we never did... all the things that you needed from me.. all the things that you wanted for me.. all the things that I should've did but I didn't... oh darlin' make it go away, just make it go away love..."
4. The Brown Derbies (male) "In Your Eyes" -- Great song. Brown Derbies are known for their powerful basses. Great lyrics. Very passionate piece with a great deal of drive. "In your eyes.. the light the heat... I am complete..." I can imagine this sung by a groom for his bride at a wedding. My only comment is that the original is much slower.
8. Tufts U Beelzebubs (male) "Hey You" -- Okay. It's PINK FLOYD (yummy!). I love this song. This is my favorite a cappella group doing an amazing rendition of the original. The vocal slide in the song is outrageously difficult to do well as a group of abouta dozen guys.
14. U Michigan Amazin' Blue (mixed) "Englishman in New York" -- the vocal aerobics of the high high soprano scat is amazing. I met her. It's amazing. That's all she does for the group: sing these outrageously high notes all randomly in their pieces. Sheetal, my favorite female a cappella vocalist sings the harmony beautifully. She was the musical director when I saw them live on the U Mich campus. I was floored.
16. Brown Jabberwocks (male) "7" -- I've heard the original once or twice after I fell in love with this song. The best part of the song is the point in a cappella songs that I call "without the background". The "instrumental" parts of the piece cut out and you have maybe a handful of guys just singing their own parts and it all just works. It starts about... 3 minutes into the piece. A couple guys are scatting. It's just great and powerful. I can totally imagine it on stage, crowd *roaring* at the end.
17. Yale Whim 'N Rhythm (female) "Galileo" -- One of my favorite songs of all time but this isn't the best arrangement and rendition of the song. My favorite is done by the MIT Logarhythms (an all male group that Mike was a member of when he was an undergrad). See, with a male group, their tenors can sing really high falsetto and sing as high as women. Women just can't sing low and this song packs a powerful punch with the basses that aren't in women's groups.
1. U Penn Off the Beat (mixed) "Possession" -- Totally overdone by college a cappella groups and this is the best arrangement of the song I've heard. I love the fade in. Outrageously hard to do in a cappella well.
2. Virginia Gentlemen (male) "Insomniac" -- I learned about Billy Pilgrim (the original artist) through this song. I love it 'cause I'm an insomniac and I love the lyrics. "I hear your battering on the kitchen floor.. and I don't wanna have these dreams no more. I've found someone just to hold me tight. Hold the insomniac all night."
4. U Penn Pennsylvania Six-5000 (male) "New Age Girl" -- This group is highly risque. One of the few that actively curse heavily on stage. They have tons of sexual innuendo in their songs. I have their album "Jacket Off".
5. U Michigan Amazin' Blue (mixed) "Kyrie" -- the lead singer, Sheetal, is phenominal. One of the most beautiful female voices I've ever heard.
6. U Illinois Urbana-Champaign Xtension Chords (male) "Picture Perfect" -- lead singer is Matt Demonte. We sang together on the same part (tenor two.. I sing as low as he does) in a now-defunct mixed a cappella group called Compulsive Lyres. I am in love with his voice. Plus, he was a chemical engineer. Talk about attractive to me. My group, the Rip Chords, were the female counterpart to the Xmen.
Note: On this CD there is a problem with track 10 (production problem)... so tracks 10 - 19 are shifted +1.
11. Columbia Kingsman (male) "Maryanne" -- I love this song. Don't know much about the group, though.
12. UNC Loreleis (female) "Dreams" -- The Rip Chord's arrangement is better but we sucked at executing it. The Loreleis (winner of the first National College A cappella Championship) is a kickbutt female group and their execution is phenomenal, despite the lead. The lead singer, Catalina Joos, is a major heavy in the a cappella scene today. I hate her awful accent for the piece. The original Cranberries song didn't have such a heavy accent. Yuck. Otherwise, it's pretty cool. Even the outofplace "hey hey" that give it a "callipso"-ish feel.
14. U Maryland Treble Makers (female) "Walkin' on Broken Glass" -- great song. The lead sounds really no-nonsense and I like that.
17. Boston U Terpsichore (female) "Everywhere" -- another great song. Women groups are generally "weak", lacking the bass line but I think the female groups that I've pointed out as cool are the ones that pack a punch without that bass (and some of them have a bit of a bass line 'cause their basses sing so low.. kind of like me. My talent is in being a vocally low female).
19. Tufts U Jackson Jills (female) "I Alone" -- Great song and I love the arrangement. Can you imagine a dozen bold females on stage totally rockin' with this song? Women a cappella can be outrageously sexy. I love serenading people and this is a song that can bring a guy to his knees (like "Get Ready" sung by a female group to a guy. "Wowah, I'm bringing you a love that's true so get ready.. get ready. Gonna make sweet love to you.. get ready.. get ready 'cause here I come." Yow. That can make a guy totally squirm in his seat. And I've seen it! In concert! We had the sexiest girl in my a cappella group sing "Get Ready" and guys were all over her after the concert).
1. Tufts U Amalgamates (mixed) "Man in the Mirror" -- Is that a guy in the lead? Or a femina? The Amalgamates are one of the best mixed a cappella groups in the nation. Then again, all the groups from Tufts are pretty phenomenal from the Beelzebubs (male) to Jackson Jills (female) to sQ (other mixed group). Good arrangements and execution of the original. PS: it's a femina.
2. Stanford Mixed Company (mixed) "No More I Love Yous" -- I've got their CD from long ago somewhere. I love this song and I like the arrangement. I also like the lead singer. Lovely voice, although she doesn't sound like Annie Lennox. I love the way the song builds up slowly. Every verse gets more complex musically and the choruses just bloom and bloom and bloom.
3. Middlebury Dissipated Eight (male) "For What It's Worth" -- I love the original song and never knew what it's title is. Great song. It doesn't sound like only eight guys singing, does it? A delightfully complex piece.
4. U Michigan Amazin' Blue (mixed) "Drive" -- Did you know this song was called Drive? I didn't [duh, iko]. I love the original, especially the lyrics. "Who's gonna pay attention to your dreams? And who's gonna plug their ears when you scream? You can't go on thinkin' nothing's wrong. Oh.. who's gonna drive you home tonight?"
5. Harvard-Radcliffe Callbacks (mixed) "On Your Shore" -- I love the words of this song. It's beautifully etheral. It's so hymnal and hypnotic.
6. U Penn Off the Beat (mixed) "You Oughta Know" -- A cappella Alanis. It works, actually. I've sung "Ironic" and it's a *great* a cappella piece. This is amazing arrangement. A wonderfully complex and layered chorus. I can listen to this piece for hours and not get bored, it's got so many things going on in it.
8. U Illinois Urbana-Champaign Xtension Chords (male) "Jessie's Girl" -- I can listen to this song over and over and over again. I like to imagine myself as "Jessie's Girl": cute, flirtateous, yet totally taken. The vocal percussionist on this piece is Matt Demonte, the guy I mention about the other Xtension Chords song. He's an amazing vocal percussonist and we have traded tricks and tips of reproducing drum-like sounds with our bodies.
9. Boston U Terpsichore (female) "I Am So Ordinary" -- I cried when I first heard this song. (Gosh, don't I sound like a real weeper?) It's a sad and beautiful song of sacrifice. "And she is your holy mary, and I am so ordinary.. and she is your queen cleopatra and I'm just your morning after.. and she is your star spangled banner.. and I'm just ferajaqua (sp?)... and you can use me if you want to. I know you need me just like an old soft shoe. And I am so ordinary..." The arrangement is very good and the execution is effective.
11. U Illinois Other Guys (male) "The Reflex" -- Okay, I think this song sounds way too "processed". You can't sound like that in concert without funky microphone settings, I think. There are only eight of them, though, so it is pretty impressive. Plus, it's Duran Duran. Good original song.
12. The Pitchforks of Duke (male) "All I Want" -- One of the most overdone male a cappella modern pieces out there. Toad the Wet Sprocket just lends itself to a cappella, I suppose. This is a great arrangement. I love the vocal percussion, especially in the chorus. Very intense. The lyrics are great.
16. Conn. College CoCoBeaux (male) "Walking in Memphis" -- I used to be irritated by the original of this piece. But with this a cappella piece, the original now has grown on me. I like the lead voice for this song and the arrangement is really nice. Simple but really punches the best parts of the song and really grabs the essence of the piece.
17. Smith Smiffenpoofs (female) "Landslide" -- I'm the only one of everyone that I know that has heard thing song that likes it. The lead singer is a far far far cry from Stevie Nicks, but what makes this piece great is that phenomenal background. I love the background of this piece. I also like the original song. Wonderful lyrics.
19. Stanford's Talisman A Cappella (mixed) "Wanting Memories" -- This is probably my favorite song in all four CDs. This group won the second National College A Cappella championship. The lyrics are phenomenal. I cry everytime I hear this song. It's a song I want to sing at a funeral of someone I love. It speaks of trying to look beyond the loss, but instead look at the beauty that this person has brought to your life. Look at the things that this person has given you and know that they are always with you. You'll hear their voice long after their gone. They have molded you to the creature that you are. They are always with you.
1. U Penn Counterparts (mixed) "One of Us" -- I like this song. Arrangement is pretty good. It takes a while to get used to the Prince-style solo instead of the style of Joan Osborne who is the woman that make this song popular.. but it's still great.
2. The Brown Derbies (male) "In the House of Stone and Light" -- A great song. Totally romantic. It's the kind of song that when it comes on, you should pull the one you love close to you and kiss them.. sing the lyrics in their ear. It's the kind of song that you can play at a wedding. "I shall not cry for the blind man I leave behind when I go in the house of stone and light... holy lady, show me my soul. Tell me of that place where I must surely go."
3. U Penn Off the Beat (mixed) "Who Will Save Your Soul?" -- I was convinced that she sounds like Jewel. Mike then pointed out to me that Jewel is a *soprano* singing low and this is a clear alto singing high. She's captured some of Jewel's essence, though, and the vibrato that Jewel has in some of her words.
5. Middlebury Dissipated Eight (male) "Satellite" -- I have *never* heard the original of this but I love this arrangement. I love the words. I know I will love the original when I hear it... although it will take me a few seconds to recognize it. It's easier to recognize the a cappella piece of a popular song than the popular song of an a cappella piece. ;)
8. Boston U Terpsichore (female) "Spiderwebs" -- a great arrangement. The background is amazing. Plus, I like the original song.
9. Tufts U Beelzebubs (male) "Everybody Hurts" -- yes, them again. I cry whenever I hear this song. It makes me want to reach out to the connections between human beings and "hang on". It makes me feel like I'm not alone. Somewhere out there, someone is looking up at the sky and feeling the same way I am. There's an unspoken connection there that I love. "Everybody hurts. Take comfort in your friends. Everybody hurts. Don't throw your hand. Oh, no. Don't throw your hand. If you feel like you're alone, no, no, no, you are not alone If you're on your own in this life, the days and nights are long, when you think you've had too much of this life to hang on. Well, everybody hurts sometimes, everybody cries. And everybody hurts sometimes. And everybody hurts sometimes. So, hold on, hold on."
11. U Virginia Hullabahoos (mixed) "Hands to Heaven" -- I just like this song from when I was in junior high. Reminds me of my exboyfriend. This was "our song". Pththt.. I think the closest thing that Mike and I have to a "song" is "Cries For No One" which is a sad Beatles song about long lost love.
14. Smith College Smiffenpoofs (female) "Love is a Battlefield" -- Amazing female group. They sound so... bold and tough. I like it! Plus, I'm just a cheezeball for Pat Benatar.
15. U Michigan Amazin' Blue (mixed) "Precious Things" -- If you know Tori Amos, I think you'll be able to easily see in this piece why Amazin' Blue is an amazing mixed group. This is an amazing arrangement. Completely "bare" in the verses and the chorus just opens up with complexity. They did a good job in capturing the feeling of a piano and the intensity of the piece. I can totally image this performed on stage. Powerful piece.