Your browser does not support our new site design, so some things might not display or function properly.
We suggest upgrading to Google Chrome, Firefox, or Internet Explorer 9+ for the optimal experience.

Everyday People

Stanford University

Extended Play (2001)

4.0

September 25, 2001

Tuning / Blend 4.0
Energy / Intensity 4.0
Innovation / Creativity 3.3
Soloists 4.7
Sound / Production 4.7
Repeat Listenability 3.7
Tracks
1 Rock With You 4.0
2 Spend My Life With You 4.0
3 Real Love 4.0
4 Yesterday 3.7
5 September 4.3
6 Never Should've Let You Go 3.7
7 I Get Lonely 4.0
8 Best of My Love 4.0
9 I Do 3.7
10 Overjoyed 4.3
11 Billie Jean/No Diggity (EP Remix) 4.3
12 improv (unlisted) 2.0

Recorded 2001
Total time: 46:09, 12 songs


Tuning / Blend 4
Energy / Intensity 5
Innovation / Creativity 4
Soloists 4
Sound / Production 4
Repeat Listenability 4
Tracks
1 Rock With You 4
2 Spend My Life With You 4
3 Real Love 4
4 Yesterday 4
5 September 4
6 Never Should've Let You Go 4
7 I Get Lonely 4
8 Best of My Love 4
9 I Do 4
10 Overjoyed 4
11 Billie Jean/No Diggity (EP Remix) 5
12 improv (unlisted) 2

Urban a cappella is well acquainted with Stanford's Everyday People. The group and the genre have a longstanding acquaintance and a comfortable aura about them — from disco to current radio, the songs are handled by a group that cares and soloists who get it.

It's a nice reliability, with lots to like. Numbers like September and Best of My Love are charming and danceable. Standout solos grace Overjoyed and Spend My Life With You, among others. Then there's the ensemble smoothness of Yesterday, better tuned and blended than many of its counterparts.

A lot of the arrangements seem to demand choral intonation, and there EP comes up merely average. But the solos are anything but, and occasionally there's room for some gospel-tinged ensemble singing which EP nails dead-on. There's a knack to it — that great gospel shout that lets you hear all the individual voice timbres even as they join forces on a melody. When done well, it's a fabulous sound, and it's a pity it only makes one or two appearances on this disc.

Billie Jean/No Diggity is the standard-bearer for this album, the leader in almost every category. Groove, blend, arrangement, creativity — all are at their best here. This number seems to be the beneficiary of extra production and extra rehearsal and the combination is stupendous. If these over-achievers ever want to make the leap from above-average to all-around stupendous, they've set themselves the example to follow.

Even without that level of perfection, there's a lot on this disc to recommend it. Young people sing music that ranges from fresh-off-the-charts to older than they are, with energy and love flowing through it all. Kick back and enjoy the show.


Tuning / Blend 4
Energy / Intensity 3
Innovation / Creativity 3
Soloists 5
Sound / Production 5
Repeat Listenability 4
Tracks
1 Rock With You 4
2 Spend My Life With You 4
3 Real Love 4
4 Yesterday 4
5 September 4
6 Never Should've Let You Go 4
7 I Get Lonely 4
8 Best of My Love 4
9 I Do 4
10 Overjoyed 4
11 Billie Jean/No Diggity (EP Remix) 4
12 improv (unlisted) 2

Everyday People has delivered an unusually consistent collection of R&B covers in their latest offering, Extended Play. While this CD rarely evokes a grimace or sigh of frustration, neither does it conjure chills or even the urge to go dancing. Extended Play simply isn't arresting. But it's solid enough to make any R&B fan at least nod to the beat. And that may be good enough for many fans.

The particular R&B material on this collection is mostly fluffy love stuff, so when the music doesn't carry the day, the lyrics are just dead weight. EP's impressive soloists are faced with an uphill battle: pouring heart and soul into trite material. Despite valiant efforts, it just doesn't come across as believable. In all fairness, some of this burden falls on the arrangers and musical directors. They too fall short of breathing vibrant musicality into these songs. (Perhaps this is a case where the songs are more fun to sing than listen to?)

That said, EP's Extended Play has some elements worthy of high praise. EP's soloists are stylistically on the money, delivering appropriate melismatic flourishes and belting out their high notes in soulful tone. The VP not only keeps steady time, but often manages to evoke the drum machine tones of the ubiquitous Roland TR-505 sounds so prevalent in R&B. Production is rock solid, and the CD is well-mixed.

An odd kudos: EP gives credit where credit is due. Sounds easy enough, but so many groups fail miserably to even reach the legal standard, much less a moral standard. EP credits original composers, original artists, their own arrangers, their own soloists, their own VP and more than this, EP thanks the people, families and organizations that helped make Extended Play and the group as a whole possible. Some groups portray an image of spinning gold from straw. EP chose instead to recognize the adage that if their artistic vision pierces farther than that of others, it is because they have had the good fortune to stand on the shoulders of giants. EP gives respect, and for that they deserve props.

Summing up: if the material were meatier, or the songs had more contrast (both in dynamics and in feel between songs), or the tempo and energy were a notch up, this well-sung, well-produced CD would rate a strong buy. As it is, this one's for the group's fans and the diehard R&B-lovers.


Tuning / Blend 4
Energy / Intensity 4
Innovation / Creativity 3
Soloists 5
Sound / Production 5
Repeat Listenability 3
Tracks
1 Rock With You 4
2 Spend My Life With You 4
3 Real Love 4
4 Yesterday 3
5 September 5
6 Never Should've Let You Go 3
7 I Get Lonely 4
8 Best of My Love 4
9 I Do 3
10 Overjoyed 5
11 Billie Jean/No Diggity (EP Remix) 4

In the world of music, a name like Everyday People invites certain comparisons: the group so called had better make us want to dance to their music. Now, Stanford University's EP does produce a consistently high-quality product: good singers, good songs, smooth studio work. But despite all that, their latest album, Extended Play (EP EP? hm...), didn't make it any easier for me to move my feet.

So what's gone wrong? Actually, not a whole lot. EP still works well with R&B, a genre often ill-rendered by other a cappellicans but handled by this group with practiced aplomb. As before, too, most of the soloists are more than fine, and some are simply great (Marcy on Overjoyed). The whole disc is smooth, well-balanced and well-mixed.

But that's about it, and therein lies the problem: EP sounds good at what they do, but they neither do anything else nor, more importantly, do their one thing with any variety. They cover R&B, soulfully, to be sure, but above all straightforwardly. Instrumentation is usually walking bass, featured soloist, and homophonous backing harmony. Amidst such simplicity a lot rides on each line, and sometimes the bass fails, both rhythmically and with regard to pitch (Yesterday). More damagingly, after even a few tracks, hearing the same sort of arrangement track and again starts to grate. Percussion, too, needs help, despite or because of the number of drummers — or are voiceless aspirated velar stops retro chic? So innovation and repeat listenability suffer.

The bottom line: EP EP is a smooth, solid, a cappella-does-R&B album. But that's as far as it goes. What we'll look for in the future from this very talented group is, paradoxically, a little less of the everyday.


How To Get Your Work Reviewed

To have your album (2 or more tracks) reviewed by RARB, please email us with your name, group name and album title. You will receive a response with information on how to register your album in our system.

To have your digital single reviewed by RARB, please fill out our online singles registration form.

×

Ordering Information

Current ordering information can be found on Everyday People's web site.

×