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RARB REVIEW

School: Duke University
Group: Pitchforks
Album: Underground

Total time: 70:04, 19 songs
Recorded 1994

Ordering Information


Track Listing

  1. You Can Call Me Al (5.0)
  2. Some Kind of Wonderful (6.6)
  3. Eye in the Sky (6.8)
  4. Don't Stand So Close to Me (4.4)
  5. Something About You (5.0)
  6. Change in My Life (7.0)
  7. Do You Remember (5.6)
  8. Born at the Right Time (6.4)
  9. The Way You Look Tonight (4.4)
  10. Just Another Day (6.2)
  11. I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles) (5.6)
  12. I'll Be There (6.0)
  13. Plush (5.4)
  14. Centerfold (2.6)
  15. All Shook Up (5.0)
  16. I'm In a Hurry (4.8)
  17. At This Moment (6.4)
  18. These are Days (5.6)
  19. The River of Dreams (5.4)

Reviews

This album was reviewed by five members of RARB. In this compilation, their comments are always listed in a consistent order. Thus, for each song (and in the "overall" section), all comments numbered "1" are from the same reviewer, as are those numbered "2", etc.

Overall

  1. This album contains a variety of song styles, which keeps every song from sounding alike and thus keeps the album from getting boring. However, with the exception of a few songs, I wasn't crazy about the song selection as a whole. Of course, this is purely a matter of personal taste. As for the Pitchforks as a group, I think they are most notable for their background singing; they have consistently good blend, which indicates that group members really listen to each other and work together, and the result is a good, solid group sound. The arrangements on this album are also worthy of note for the most part. A group is only as good as its arrangements, to a certain extent, and I think the Pitchforks have got some really good arrangements here.
    Rating: 6 (6.4)

  2. I had mixed feelings on this one. The group has a great blend, good soloists (at times really good), arrangements are consistently strong, and intonation is very solid throughout. Unfortunately, the group sounds like they desperately need a soul transfusion. Their pop/rock (and a little jazz) repertoire really needs to groove, but they tend to sound more like a classical group. Specifically, many rhythms come off sounding very stilted; accents are on the wrong beats, or the lengths of notes make the rhythms seem choppy. There is a lot of really good singing on this album; I'm sure there are many people who would think this is a great album and enjoy it quite a bit. For me, there were just too many spots where I found myself cringing at the stylistic awkwardness (and reminding myself that I wasn't listening to a recording of the King's Singers doing 80's pop tunes). I also found this album to be ballad heavy (or at least slow song heavy) and thought too many of the songs sounded the same.
    Rating: 6 (6.0)

  3. I was disappointed with this album. For a group with such a long and proud history, I expected much more solid material than this.

    My primary complaint about the album is that the singing is just plain weak. Whoever arranges for the group is entirely too enamored of the male falsetto sound, and when the backgrounds are up in the high reaches of the male voice, you don't get much of a sense that there's any weight to what they're doing. Agreed, that's an appropriate style for some songs...but not THIS many songs.

    They have a certain amount of musical skill: flat notes are rare; chords lock just about every time. But what good is basic musical facility if you squander it on such uninspired performances and arrangements?
    Rating: 5 (5.4)

  4. The first three songs on this album are really quite good, but it goes downhill from there. Their tenors are fine, but their basses are never a big presence, which detracts from most of their songs. The recording quality is perfectly fine, discreet in that it's good enough to not distract from the songs, but not so good or showy that it's noticeable. The balance between solo and background is also very good — there are no problems hearing the soloists, but they still sound like they're in the same room as the rest of the group. The main problem with them is that they have a very limited style, and they do not either a) modify their style to suit the type of song they are doing, or b) do only songs that are appropriate to their style. Overall this album is about the same as their last album, stronger in some ways but weaker in others.
    Rating: 5 (4.8)

  5. Overall, this group has three main problems. 1. Most of the vocals are too high, thin and breathy. 2. Most of the vocals are unenergetic. 3. It's wimpy and unemotional. There's very little POP! in these pop songs.

    I will say this in there favor though: Even the best of the groups out there are often so busy with complex arrangement and trying to rock and roll, they often forget how to harmonize. Often, I find myself listening to groups going, "That was great, but would it have killed them to have someone harmonize with the lead instead of sitting in on the vocal percussion section?" Well, the Pitchforks don't overdo the percussion and know how to put the harmony into a pop song. A lot of the arrangements, if sung more up tempo and more enthusiastically, could be really great stuff.

    If you do go "Underground" you'll find a few good cuts, notably a simple cover of "Change in My Life" and a damn fine version of "At This Moment" (the song from that episode of Family Ties, the one where Alex starts dating Courtney Cox) that's worth coming back to.
    Rating: 4 (4.8)


Individual Tracks

  1. You Can Call Me Al (5.0)
    1. This is a good, energetic arrangement of a fun song. The solo is right on, and the group entrances are tight. The `bass guitar' solo isn't bad, either.
      Rating: 7

    2. Decent arrangement of this song, although there is a recurring vocal percussion fill that is a clunker. Cool bass solo toward the end.
      Rating: 7

    3. Too slow, too weak, too soft. Anyone remember what the main figure is played by in the original? That's right, HORNS. Fanfare! This version sounds like the figure is meant to be played by really quiet clarinet players. I've heard a cappella versions of 'Al' that squash this one like a grape. The instrumental break lacks any energy until its last measure, and the bass break goes nowhere. Okay, they put a cow's moo after "cattle in the marketplace", but who doesn't any more? THIS was what they chose as the lead-off track?
      Rating: 3

    4. Bass line is interesting, but bad syllables on the verses ("ding ding"). Solo is warbly and rushes through the words in a weird way. For once they get loud enough at one (appropriate) point. The choral bit towards the end works because they keep the muttering bass line, and then I really like the spoken percussion. Could use constant percussion that's better than the (lame) percussion they have now.
      Rating: 5

    5. Outside of an interesting attempt to sing the slap-bass solo from the original version, there isn't anything doing here. The original Paul Simon vocals weren't just low key, they were practically spoken. Not something that lends itself to a cappella very well. They've tried to restore some melody to the lead vocals, but it doesn't work, largely due to an unenergetic lead. The original got it's spark of life from the horn section, but the "ba da ba ba" horn part in this version is ineffectual.
      Rating: 3

  2. Some Kind of Wonderful (6.6)
    1. Great solo — he has energy, soul and personality. The arrangement is impressive, starting with just basses, and gradually adding on parts to achieve a full sound on the second verse. The blend is smooth, as are transitions between tempos.
      Rating: 8

    2. Nice lead on this one, but the backgrounds are awful square. You can tell that they're trying for a bluesy shuffle kind of a feel, but they just can't get the darn thing to swing. Also, this tune would have been a great opportunity to throw in a couple jazzier chords, but it's pretty much all triads and dominant seventh chords.
      Rating: 6

    3. Probably the best track on the album. The soloist knows how to treat this kind of song and the background is almost lively enough. There's a great 9th chord right before the "Can I get a witness" break, then that big wide chord sound that I expect from a guys' group kicks in and they jam their way to the end. Far from perfect, but far from bad.
      Rating: 7

    4. Solo is excellent on this song, although he pushes it at times, he has a nice even voice with soul — I love what he does at the end. Whole song could be a little faster, I think — it starts to drag towards the end, before they stop and come back in. Arrangement is simple but effective for the most part. The swells work really well, but the beginning verse, before the rest of the group comes in, is kind of boring and repetitive. For the most part, though, I like this song a lot.
      Rating: 8

    5. The lead vocals are genuinely good and the overall arrangement is alright. If only it were sung with some intensity. And FASTER! The whole track is too slow (which undermines the lead vocalist big time.)
      Rating: 4

  3. Eye in the Sky (6.8)
    1. This song is very easy to listen to, due to the rich and soothing voice of the soloist. Nice arrangement as well. It is subtle yet effective, and faithful to the sound of the original.
      Rating: 9

    2. Sounds nice, the group blends well. One or two awkward lyrics in backgrounds.
      Rating: 7

    3. Passable emulation of the Alan Parsons Project. The soloist doesn't quite have the lowest notes solidly, but nails the high ones. The arrangement's well done and everyone seems in tune. The final choruses seem to go on too long and the ending isn't very satisfying.
      Rating: 5

    4. This is a perfect song to do a cappella, especially for these guys — like "Life in a Northern Town" on their last album, sometimes they really hit the nail on the head in terms of appropriate songs for them. Solo on this is really quite good - Daniel Saurborn has matured and come into a nice sensitive sound. He can't quite hit the low notes, and is off once in one part, but his hoarse sound is a strangely nice contrast to the smooth background. The arrangement is simple and dissonant in places, which works well. A genuinely attractive version of this song.
      Rating: 8

    5. Wow, they really reached into the vaults to find this Alan Parson's Project classic. The lead vocals are soft, breathy, and kinda odd. But in a cool, inviting way. He also manages to bring just enough energy to the chorus. The backing vocals could still be more energetic though. And the whole thing is undermined by a high and thin vocal line in the background ("Just looking at you.")
      Rating: 5

  4. Don't Stand So Close to Me (4.4)
    1. Nice vocal percussion on this track. The arrangement is full and interesting, and makes good use of the voices in the group. The only problem is that the high harmony parts sound strained at times.
      Rating: 6

    2. The group is too aggressive on the intro; they kind of pound it out. The lead is kind of weak on this one; he sounds like he's running out of breath at times (also, this song sounds like it's in a lower key than the original, which causes it to lose some of the excitement). I Liked the counterpoint leading up to the ending.
      Rating: 5

    3. Interesting intro that isn't immediately recognizable, which I count as a plus. I really prefer the original Police version to the '89 Greatest Hits version, so I'm not the best audience for this one. There are some well-done moments. Frivolous nitpick: The soloist doesn't do what Sting does when he sings "Don't stand so/Close to me" — his "me" sounds very proper, i.e. "mee" whereas Sting says "meh". Ah well, can't have everything.
      Rating: 5

    4. Arrangement is insanely choral, as well as very high — basses are strangely sporadic. Solo is really the main flaw with this song, though. He sounds really amateurish — wavery, too trained, as well as being frequently off, but the main thing is that he just doesn't have that great of a voice to begin with. Overall not very effective in capturing the feeling of the original, nor in creating a new sound.
      Rating: 3

    5. There's a nice bass-percussion line, but that's it. The lead vocalist is just wrong for this song. The arrangement on the chorus is very flat and or in a minor key, which sucks the life out of it. "Don't stand so close to me" should sound like the protestations of a desperate (not to mention conflicted) man. Here it sounds like he's just let down. ("She's standing close to me. Oh well. I'm going to go sulk and maybe she'll ignore me...")
      Rating: 3

  5. Something About You (5.0)
    1. This song didn't hold my interest very well, perhaps because I didn't like the original. Nonetheless, the arrangement is good, and the percussion is good. The solo isn't bad, but the whole thing is less than exciting.
      Rating: 5

    2. Scat solo (I guess that's what you'd call it, even though it's all doo doo doo's) is very uptight sounding, lead also sounds a little too "classical". The song starts out fairly mellow, but the backgrounds get more and more polka-like as the song goes on (lots of dum diga dum diga diga dum dums; I was half expecting them to break into the Lone Ranger theme toward the end).
      Rating: 5

    3. Good arrangement with several voice layers. The background is finally doing some interesting rhythms instead of indistinct washes of notes. The soloist is pretty good, with only a few flat notes. This one reaches the level of "standard college a cappella" quality, though it too suffers from a non-ending.
      Rating: 6

    4. Fairly imitative arrangement, although parts of it are not bad, but it has no rhythm. Sounds at times like everyone is singing the same two parts. Percussion isn't bad, but it doesn't happen as often as it should. Soloist is okay, a little nasal, and occasionally off. A good song to do, but not as well done as it could be.
      Rating: 4

    5. (Not to be mistaken with the one good Nylon's song) To quote the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, this is mostly harmless. Good harmony with the lead vocals, but a bunch of the lines are sung not by the lead, but by the back up, where they sound, you guessed it, too high and thin.
      Rating: 5

  6. Change in My Life (7.0)
    1. This is a great song. The solo is light and smooth and emotional. I like the arrangement — the full choruses really work, and the verses get me groovin'. I just love this song.
      Rating: 9

    2. Nice change of pace, very simple and straightforward tune. The group gets a big fat choral sound (the modulation is hip, too). My only complaint is a couple rushed rhythms — these guys just need to relax and lay back a little.
      Rating: 8

    3. The soloist has an appropriate style for this and the background has energy. There are a lot of parallel octaves/fifths that don't sound quite right to me, but I think most of that's from the original. The basses stick a weird hiccup in every chorus that's very distracting. Overall it's enjoyable and (best of all) it has a real ending!
      Rating: 7

    4. I'm impressed that they did a Rockapella song, but this is not more than a decent version of it, again because it's overly choral, and takes all the life out of the song. The solo has a massive vibrato, as well as a tendency to switch from a light touch to an overly heavy one. They don't sing Scott Leonard's high part out enough.
      Rating: 4

    5. This arrangement is from the version that appeared in Leap of Faith (a surprisingly good Steve Martin film.) It was performed by a large coed gospel choir. You would think that this would be just the sort of track that the Pitchforks couldn't do, but they really rise to the occasion. The sound from the backing vocals is as big and deep as it gets on this album. The lead has a unique liquidy quality to his voice (kind of like a smoother version of Roger "I was Pink Floyd" Waters) that makes him interesting to listen to throughout the track. The overall sound is smaller than the original gospel version, so, even though it's the same arrangement, it sounds more like a street corner song than a gospel number, more personal and less religious.
      Rating: 7

  7. Do You Remember (5.6)
    1. This song offers a nice contrast because it has an entirely different feel to it from the previous couple of songs. The background is well-balanced and well-blended. Nice arrangement, but the solo is too stiff.
      Rating: 6

    2. Ballad time. Nothing all that exciting.
      Rating: 6

    3. Pleasant enough. I wished the opening percussion would have kept going throughout the song; it would have added life. The soloist's quite good in spots, but this was a bland Phil Collins song to start with and there's not much they can do to change that.
      Rating: 6

    4. Basses entirely drop out where they should be going lower. Blend between contrasting parts isn't very good. Solo is decent on the quiet parts, but on the louder ones he tends to substitute hysteria for feeling. He's also not quite sure of himself on the high notes. Cheesy song, but not done entirely badly.
      Rating: 4

    5. I've never heard this track before. It's slow in an earnest way. A good song on the whole.
      Rating: 6

  8. Born at the Right Time (6.4)
    1. This tune moves — I noticed my feet tapping along. The percussion is a nice touch. In classic Paul Simon style, this song draws you in and holds you there. Good song.
      Rating: 7

    2. I kind of wonder about doing two Paul Simon songs on the same album (or two songs by any artist, for that matter), but these guys pull off both of them well. The lead occasionally sounds like he's having trouble fitting in all the lyrics in time (which is actually kind of amusing).
      Rating: 8

    3. The soloist has some life to him, but his style doesn't seem like it works here. The arrangement has some interesting quirks; at the end it becomes quite different from the original in cool ways, such as dropping the rhythmic background and throwing new chords at the tune.
      Rating: 5

    4. Arrangement is very delicate, but doesn't sound bad. Solo is sometimes on, but he has strange phrasing (sometimes rushing, sometimes lingering) and doesn't have the calmness of Paul Simon. The choral touches in the arrangement work, because they're not intrusive. Holds together a little better than "You Can Call Me Al" and I think two Paul Simon songs on the same album is redundant.
      Rating: 6

    5. There's a world of difference between this and track 1 (the other Paul Simon track on the album. The song lends itself more to a cappella. The main vocal line is more musical than You Can Call Me Al, so the lead has something he can sink his teeth into. For most of the song the background chugs along cheerfully. Towards the end (when the "Down among the reeds and rushes" line comes around a second time) the Pitchforks throw some clever twists into the arrangement. They switch to an almost in sync sound that works quite well for the song.
      Rating: 6

  9. The Way You Look Tonight (4.4)
    1. Interesting song choice and a nice change of pace. However, the background is a little muddy at times, and the tuning could certainly be tighter.
      Rating: 4

    2. Trying for jazz (at least I think that's what it's supposed to be) and mostly sounding extremely cheesy. It's sort of swing, but it seems like a half-time feel because it's so strongly accented on one and three . Super-duper cornball (the groove on this one reminds me of Tiptoe Through the Tulips, or Tea for Two, something in that ballpark). Some attempts at thicker harmonies aren't really pulled off (some chords are voiced too low and end up sounding muddy).
      Rating: 3

    3. This one fits the group's preferred gentle-chord falsetto-heavy style well. It's a sweet jazzy ballad with a good (and extremely distinctive) soloist, and it's quite pleasant. The 'instrumental' break works well, and there's a definite ending! Whew.
      Rating: 6

    4. Sort of discombobulated background, and lame soloist with no jazziness whatsoever. Again no basses at all. I'm not too fond of jazz in general, though, so this just may be me.
      Rating: 5

    5. If you like this song, you may very well be my dad! It's an OLDIES style track. As far as the performance, it was going fine until the a few voices sing a high, thin melody line to the tune of "you do something to me." It's weak and spoils the rest of the track for me. And my dad.
      Rating: 4

  10. Just Another Day (6.2)
    1. Here is a solid arrangement of a good song. And a good match of soloist with song. He sounds earnest, and carries it off well. Good use of dynamics — the crescendo in the background is very well done.
      Rating: 7

    2. Pretty, but mostly dull.
      Rating: 5

    3. Catchy. This one's got a good minor feel and good background rhythms with only occasional tuning problems. The chorus is what I really want to hear from this group: strong singing, well coordinated. The soloist is well suited to this.
      Rating: 6

    4. This is actually a good song for them to do — they pull it off fairly successfully. Mostly due to the soloist, who again brings a very sensitive yet sure touch to the song. He always sounds like he feels what he's singing. Arrangement is also appropriate, with good consistent percussion that almost makes up for the inaudible basses. I like this song a lot in their hands, although the ending is a bit abrupt.
      Rating: 7

    5. It's a John Secada cover and I LIKE it! You got a problem with that? This track is peppered with tastefully light vocal percussion throughout. The lead vocalist has a breathy voice that sounds hoarse. But, to me anyway, it gives the song an urgent, emotional edge.
      Rating: 6

  11. I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles) (5.6)
    1. As an imitation of the original it is not bad, but the soloist's accent is overdone, in my opinion. It just sounds too ingenuine. The two voices, soloist and high harmony singing with the solo, blend well. Good job keeping the tempo even.
      Rating: 6

    2. This one is kind of goofy, but hey, I liked it — not a tune I would expect to hear a cappella, which is cool. Lead vocal sounds more Scottish than Australian (didn't really bother me, though).
      Rating: 8

    3. THESE guys get the Proclaimers' accent ALMOST right, which means they're miles ahead of every other group I've heard try this song. The echoes of some lines ("when I come home") are in falsetto, which drains most of their impact away. When someone says "one more time" near the end, it's jarringly out of key; I hope/(wonder-if) that was intentional. Decent ending, though.
      Rating: 7

    4. Overly choral, takes whatever rock there was in this song out of it. _Extremely_ authentic-sounding soloist, which at first listening is slightly geeky, but in the long run I think it works, because he sings confidently and hits all the notes solidly. They don't do the "da-da-dap-ba" part loudly enough though. The only really annoying moment comes at the end when someone goes "One more time!"
      Rating: 6

    5. I like the original, but it shouldn't be done a cappella. If it is, it should definitely be done with more spirit than it is here. The leads are sung in a bargain basement Scottish accent. Before the last chorus, a narcoleptic voice says, "One more time." Clearly, it's meant to be funny. They want you to find the song irritating. The whole thing is a joke. But nothing else in the arrangement has even a hint of humor in it.
      Rating: 1

  12. I'll Be There (6.0)
    1. This is a good cover of Mariah Carey's version of this song. The solo is rich and smooth and appropriately soulful. There seem to be some pitch problems in the background, but good control of dynamic changes and intensity of feeling.
      Rating: 7

    2. Another ballad.
      Rating: 6

    3. The background in this one uses a very 'Only You'-type pattern, which I'm tired of, and it's often out of tune, which doesn't help. The soloist on the high parts is quite good. I would have liked the last chord to resolve...
      Rating: 5

    4. In order to justify singing the lead an octave lower than the original, you have to sound pretty fantastic. This guy doesn't quite make it — too classical on the low notes and substituting theatrics for emotion in many places. The arrangement is quite good in parts, but (and rightfully so) mostly a background for the solo. If it were better this song would be really good, instead of just decent. Their blend is also terrible in parts.
      Rating: 5

    5. The vocals, in sharp contrast to others, are downright assertive. Hello!
      Rating: 7

  13. Plush (5.4)
    1. Grunge-appella. If you're a fan, you'll like this. The arrangement is full and interesting, with movement and variation in feel. Nice voice on the soloist.
      Rating: 7

    2. Cool intro, nice dynamics. Really awkward mouth percussion fill. Otherwise liked it — good job of building in intensity.
      Rating: 8

    3. For such a big-deal heavy rock song, I would have wanted a more dramatic background, not this much falsetto and this many quarter notes giving it such a plodding feel. The soloist does as well as can be hoped; it's tough to try and match the original singer.
      Rating: 4

    4. The main problem with this is that it's really not their type of song at all — the choral/soft rock approach sounds foolish. This would actually be a quite good arrangement — for another song. Everything else about it is more a reflection on Stone Temple Pilots than on the Pitchforks — the song sounds exactly like ten other songs, the lyrics are ridiculous (especially when so exposed in an a cappella arrangement), and the solo does a passable job of imitating Weiland imitating Eddie Vedder.
      Rating: 6

    5. Stone Temple Pilots? What the @#*% were they thinking? It's slow and unassuming. Bad idea. Especially if you've heard the version by Off the Beat. The only thing that isn't embarrassing in this song is the brief instrumental riff that comes up between the verses. They pull this off fairly well with little more than a "Ba Da (clap) Baa" and smart use of dynamics. But that's maybe 20 seconds total of this sucker.
      Rating: 2

  14. Centerfold (2.6)
    1. This one is thin. I have problems with the soloist's enunciation, especially his word endings and his timing. This song was popular when the original came out, but seems to fall a bit short of today's attitudes.
      Rating: 3

    2. Nothing terribly wrong with this one, other than the fact that it's Angel is a Centerfold. Why do this one, especially on an album? Is there anyone on the planet who really needs to hear a few more na-na-na's to make their life complete? At least if you're going to do a song this tired, you can give it a new twist.
      Rating: 3

    3. UNCLE! Sorry, that just slipped out. This one combines everything I dislike about this group's songs: WAY too much falsetto, no indication that they mean what they're singing, insufficient energy to come anywhere near the original, and it lacks any detectable trace of soul. Aagh.
      Rating: 3

    4. Wimpy and choral. If one is going to do this song at all, you have to ham it up and be as ridiculous as the original, not do it semi- seriously as this version is. Background is nearly inaudible throughout most of song. Lead sounds like he's about five years old. For the most part, pretty lame.
      Rating: 3

    5. My stereo must be broken. It sounds like they're trying to do this song WITHOUT the whistling part. The "Na Na's", which normally sound like they're sung by a bunch drunk band at a frat party, instead sound like they're sung by some tuxedo clad a cappella group at an alumni event trying not to scare any of the old people in the audience.
      Rating: 1

  15. All Shook Up (5.0)
    1. The classic bassline is a real hook, but otherwise, the arrangement is simple and repetitive. And the hand claps could use a little help. Not a bad Elvis impersonation, though.
      Rating: 5

    2. Very stilted and uptight sounding (especially for Elvis). Kinda repetitive, too.
      Rating: 5

    3. The soloist does well in this, and he's sufficiently Elvis-like for me. I get the impression the basses would sound really good if I could hear them; they're mixed way below where they should be. Oh look, the rest of the accompaniment's in falsetto (sigh). Hey, it's got a real ending!
      Rating: 6

    4. Not bad, very cleanly done, although there's no soul to it at all, and the basses are nonexistent. The solo also isn't bad, but he's more boring than Elvis — he doesn't sing any variations on the basic melody line. Inexplicable outbreaks of clapping at the beginning of each verse, that should have either been kept up throughout the entire song or left out entirely.
      Rating: 4

    5. It's Elvis, sung to a good Elvis beat, but without an outright Elvis impersonation. It's okay.
      Rating: 5

  16. I'm In a Hurry (4.8)
    1. Nice group blend, good choral sound. But the solo is weak, and for some reason dies off at the end of every line. This song is just monotonous, which is not entirely the fault of the Pitchforks.
      Rating: 5

    2. It feels like it's a novelty number, but they sing it with such straight faces, it's hard to tell.
      Rating: 6

    3. Not knowing the original, I'm curious where this came from. It's a pleasant tune (though falsetto-laden), the arrangement's got some interesting twists in it and the chorus doesn't very get old even though they do it a great deal.
      Rating: 5

    4. This song irritates me, especially as the solo and background are way too classical. I can't figure out what genre it's supposed to be — not that that matters, but I don't really find it very compelling for any style.
      Rating: 2

    5. "I'm in a hurry and I don't know why..." Never heard it before. I was really grabbed by this, largely because of the stressed out lyrics, which really hit a nerve (no pun intended).
      Rating: 6

  17. At This Moment (6.4)
    1. This is a solid rendition of the popular ballad. The solo is strong, clear and confident. It is a pretty arrangement, and the various voice parts are well-balanced. The background is tight and precise, and the blend is good.
      Rating: 7

    2. Emotion comes through well on this tune. Impressively written arrangement.
      Rating: 8

    3. The energetic soloist with a clue from #2 is back! The background is typical for this song with no glaring problems. At the end, however, there are simply too many fermatas; it drags on a bit long.
      Rating: 6

    4. I cannot, off the top of my head, think of a single worse song to do a cappella. There's nothing much in the background, and the solo is annoying. And this version does _not_ make me feel more kindly towards the song. The solo is too loud in relation to the background, and he's overly facile and sometimes a little hysterical-sounding. The background itself is fine, albeit unremarkable.
      Rating: 3

    5. The Pitchforks let the soloist showboat at the end of this song — a wise choice on their part. He's got what it takes. This tracks strengths all stem from his technically solid singing and heartfelt delivery. This track feels like an old friend. (For those of you who don't recognize it from the title, this is the song that became an overnight hit after appearing on an sad/romantic episode of Family Ties. The one where Alex ditches the dumb bombshell for the plain, outspoken liberal (Courtney Cox) whom he secretly loves. But there's no camp on this recording-just plain good vocals from the lead.)
      Rating: 8

  18. These are Days (5.6)
    1. This song has good energy, but the background gets a little sloppy every now and then. Good voice blend between solo and high harmony lines. The percussion really picks the song up about halfway through.
      Rating: 6

    2. Disappointing arrangement of this song. It's really missing something, but I'm not sure what. Seems like the backgrounds are just repeating the same thing over and over the whole way through.
      Rating: 5

    3. Interesting accompaniment figures! This is the kind of background I like. The solo's a smidgen high for this soloist, but he does well enough that I don't mind. This, like "Something About You", is a good solid album track; not a standout, but something any group should be happy to have on their album.
      Rating: 6

    4. Background sort of confused, also not good syllables. Harmony between solo and descant is very clean, especially on the chorus, which is nice. But the solo is not that good, which is understandable as no one can be expected to imitate the richness of Natalie Merchant's voice, but he sounds particularly thin and forced. The percussion is too half-hearted, not to mention sporadic.
      Rating: 5

    5. Thiiiiiis......is.....Overdone.... But this version tops others I've heard. They get a strong and interesting harmony on the lead, even though it does seem to be slipping in spots.
      Rating: 6

  19. The River of Dreams (5.4)
    1. Good arrangement — I love the steady bass tone that starts the song out, coupled with percussion. Then the percussion drops out, which is disappointing. The soloist is good, though he really reaches for some of the high notes. The ending is abrupt, but overall, a good song.
      Rating: 8

    2. Another bland arrangement, weak ending (for the song and the album). Seems slow and lacking in energy.
      Rating: 5

    3. Fine introduction, but the song as a whole is done too straight. Again they drop the percussion once they're into the song, which I think is a mistake; it added a lot for the few measures it was there. It comes back at the end, but it's too little (not to mention far too late). There's just not enough energy there for the majority of the song, and the ending is pretty nonexistent: the song just stops. Not a great ending to an album.
      Rating: 4

    4. I think this is a good song to do a cappella, and it's not been entirely overdone yet, but unfortunately they take all semblance of rhythm and soul out of it, and replace it with a very traditional arrangement that doesn't contribute much. The soloist exaggerates the slightly operatic way Billy Joel sings the low notes to the point of ridiculousness. He can at least hit all the notes, but he doesn't sing them with much feeling. I like the percussion lead-in, but it's not mixed well, so it's not as effective as it could be.
      Rating: 4

    5. I was surprised. The original always seemed redundant and dull and redundant. But it gains a lot in the transfer. Overall it has a lively and fresh sound. They change the arrangement around for a nice finish to help keep your interest up. Unfortunately, most of Billy Joel's vocals in the verses start high at the beginning of the phrase and cascade down to the lower register. The lead vocalist here can't pull off the high stuff.
      Rating: 6

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