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RARB Picks of '08

Welcome to RARB Picks of '08! Reviewers who published at least seven reviews in 2008 were asked to select one Pick of the Year and one Honorable Mention. Reviewers with fewer published reviews could choose only a Pick of the Year. (Albums chosen in both categories are listed as Picks only; the full listing is by individual reviewer.)

Picks

  1. Neri Per Caso — Angoli Diversi
  2. Various artists (AACI) — Sing IV: Good Medicine
  3. Pust — Femkant
  4. Stouxingers — ...Nothing is Real
  5. The Bobs — Get Your Monkey off My Dog
  6. Euphorics — Born to Sing
  7. Oregon State University Outspoken — O2: Sing Responsibly
  8. University of Pennsylvania The Penny Loafers — Prophets & Pawns
  9. Stanford University Talisman — The Quick Day is Done
  10. Vox 11 — Take Off
  11. Zulal — Notes to a Crane

Honorable Mentions

  1. University of Oregon On the Rocks — The Green Room
  2. Duke University Pitchforks — Disconcert
  3. Cornell University Classnotes — Hint of Lime
  4. Eclipse — Grateful Praise
  5. James Madison University The Madison Project — Late Night Drive-Thru
  6. University of Pennsylvania Off The Beat — The Empty Set
  7. Boston University Terpsichore — Pronounced

Joseph Bates

  1. Stouxingers — ...Nothing is Real
  2. Honorable Mention: Pust — Femkant

Rebecca Christie

  1. The Bobs — Get Your Monkey off My Dog
  2. Honorable Mention: Neri Per Caso — Angoli Diversi

John Colton

  1. Oregon State University Outspoken — O2: Sing Responsibly

    This remains one of my all-time favorite a cappella albums to listen to. Everything is done close to perfection for my taste: song choice, arrangements, tuning, balance, soloists, style.

  2. Honorable Mention: Eclipse — Grateful Praise

Robert Dietz

  1. Euphorics — Born to Sing
  2. Honorable Mention: University of Pennsylvania Off The Beat — The Empty Set

Andrew DiMartino

  1. Stanford University Talisman — The Quick Day is Done

    Few collegiate groups display such musical grace, passion, and professionalism. Whether or not you're a fan of spiritual/traditional folksongs, this is an album that you must pick up. It will renew your appreciation for vocal/choral music.

  2. Honorable Mention: Boston University Terpsichore — Pronounced

    What a fun album! These girls have great voices and have fun showing them off. Some others didn't share in my delight, but I still maintain that Pronounced has tremendous replay value. This one really made me happy. It's my "comfort food" pick of '08.

Brian Haverkate

  1. Various artists (AACI) — Sing IV: Good Medicine
  2. Honorable Mention: University of Oregon On the Rocks — The Green Room

Thomas King

  1. Stouxingers — ...Nothing is Real

    ...Nothing is Real except the fact that this album is real, real, real good. With some live sounds that completely dazzle and tracks that make you lose your breath.

  2. Honorable Mention: Duke University Pitchforks — Disconcert

    In all honesty I like the Logs Give Us Back Our Spyplane! a lot better; but with the inclusion of two collegiate originals and better tuning, Disconcert won out.

Elie Landau

  1. Neri Per Caso — Angoli Diversi
  2. Honorable Mention: University of Oregon On the Rocks — The Green Room

Jonathan Minkoff

  1. Zulal — Notes to a Crane
  2. Honorable Mention: Various artists (AACI) — Sing IV: Good Medicine

Kimmie Raschka Sailor

  1. Pust — Femkant
  2. Honorable Mention: James Madison University The Madison Project — Late Night Drive-Thru

Kevin Sawyer

  1. Vox 11 — Take Off

    Those curious to understand the difference between tuning and blend would do well to listen to this profoundly well-sung album from Denmark's Vox 11. The key changes alone are worth the price of admission.

  2. Honorable Mention: Duke University Pitchforks — Disconcert

    At its zenith, Dicontent reaches inimitable heights of power and versatility. The Pitchforks haven't cut a single corner in crafting a work that is wholly professional, and as engaging as anything the collegiate community has produced.

Dave Trendler

  1. University of Pennsylvania The Penny Loafers — Prophets & Pawns

    I listened to this album more than any other in 2008 because of five great solo performances. Gold Lion has the fiercest, snarliest, sneeriest female soloist I've ever heard. I love her performance, and I prefer this version to the Yeah Yeah Yeahs! The minimalist arrangement and play-it-cool male/female duet solo on Waiting for My Ruca is still fun to hear, even after the annoying radio dial intro. Samson's soloist is gorgeously light, open, and clear, but what continues to please is her incredibly accurate sense of pitch and heartfelt phrasing. She's earnest and engaging and her solo is wonderful. The jewel of the album is the solo performance of The Predatory Wasp Of The Palisades Is Out To Get Us!. His voice is beautiful and silky smooth in the song's opening lower registers, yet when I begin the song, I ache to hear the later verses. The soloist's tone is staggeringly smooth as he effortlessly glides from his chest-voiced professions of love up into his highest, radiant notes. This soloist has one of the most beautiful voices I've had the pleasure of reviewing for RARB. If I could sing "I" like this guy, that is all I would ever sing.

  2. Honorable Mention: Cornell University Classnotes — Hint of Lime

    Spirited soloists and dynamic arrangements make Hint of Lime a fun listen. My main criticism was distracting, unconvincing studio work, but time softens these flaws, especially on the album's stronger tracks. While this album doesn't get as much play time as others I reviewed in 2008, I've still got six songs in the rotation that I'm happy to hear.

Guang Ming Whitley

  1. Neri Per Caso — Angoli Diversi

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