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RARB REVIEW

School: University of Rochester
Group: Yellowjackets
Album: Yellow No. 5

Total time: 54:40, 16 songs
Recorded 1995

Ordering Information


Track Listing

  1. Crocodile Rock (6.4)
  2. Interstate Love Song (6.6)
  3. Is that the Way You Look? (5.0)
  4. Longer (6.2)
  5. Kiss (4.2)
  6. Never Die Young (5.4)
  7. When I Come Around (4.8)
  8. (I Love You) For Sentimental Reasons (6.8)
  9. Hurts So Good (5.4)
  10. Goodbye Yellow Brick Road (5.6)
  11. Crazy (7.0)
  12. He Ain't Heavy (6.2)
  13. I Will Survive (4.2)
  14. The Genesee (4.6)
  15. Tell Me Why (6.6)
  16. Up the Ladder to the Roof (6.4)

Reviews

Overall

Brookes McKenzie

The two biggest problems this album has are song sequencing and energy. It would seem like such a better album if they had spread out the traditional arrangements throughout the album, because first one gets an overdose of contemporary/classic rock songs, and then one gets an equal overdose of traditional songs. So many of the songs are decent to good arrangements and singing, but they could be excellent if they sounded like they were more into it. This is especially true for the soloists — most of them sound like they're afraid their voices will break if they use them too hard. Their basses aren't particularly strong, but many of the arrangements disguise this fact well. It is very well recorded and mixed, although sometimes the percussion seems overdubbed or faked in some way that I can't quite pinpoint. They have a nice blend and mellow, jazzy/classical side that could be put to better use by choosing better songs with which to showcase it. Their rock stuff is decent, but I'd like to see them branch out a little and try to challenge themselves — maybe then they'd be more excited. Overall fairly middle-of-the-road — no huge stinkers, but nothing fabulous, either.
Rating: 5 (4.6)

Joe Oliva

More is not necessarily better. This album is simply too long. The quality of this album would have increased greatly, if the weaker songs, particularly those that end in a different key, were dropped. The lead vocals are mostly tuneful, but are too pedantic for pop music. The bass and low baritone vocals do not have enough presence. I had to adjust my equalizer to get any presence out of the bass vocals at all. For the most part, the background vocals are well done and mixed well. Vocal percussion is good, but sibilants were produced which could have been toned down via a digital "de-esser" or "ducker". The arrangements are well done, but the arranger needs to experiment with changing the background in the latter half of songs. For example, I do not recall hearing one pronounced key modulation on the ENTIRE album. On a more positive note though, I think the group shows promise and I look forward to listening to next year's product.
Rating: 5 (5.2)

Matt Cohen

I'd say "ho-hum", but that would be an over statement. Most of this album is average, and a good chunk of it is sub-average. In the case of the insulting and mocking falsettos on "I Will Survive", it's even terrible. I expected much better from this group having already heard one of their early albums, "From the Hive", which featured a bunch of really great cuts. The only real signs of something special happening here happen to be in the middle of a bad track. There is, for example, a nicely arranged Stone Temple Pilots song, but the soloist is mismatched with the material. Likewise, the disappointing "Crazy" features a surprising jazzy/choral arrangement that comes in at the end and brings some excitement to the song. But, on the whole, this album is a lot of nice blends but without much spirit or reason for being.
Rating: 4 (5.1)

Steve Bogart

This is a really good college group that I wish would branch out a little in its song choice: 2 Elton Johns + 2 James Taylors + a Dan Fogelberg betray a particular musical slant on the part of the director/primary arranger. That would be fine if that were their forte, but the best tracks aren't the 'adult contemporary' ones (with the exception of Goodbye Yellow Brick Road). That aside, the arrangements here are good, the soloists are mostly very good, the blend is great, and the energy is usually just right. I wouldn't say there's any groundbreaking or breathtaking work here, but it's definitely a solid college-level album.
Rating: 7 (6.4)

Alison Berube Sullivan

What can I say — The Yellowjackets are just plain good. And they have the benefit of having a very talented arranger in the group in Nate Holt. There are really no holes here. Musically they are very good. They have smooth blend, good dynamics, and some great percussion. Some soloists are better than others, as in any group, but the rest of the group always compensates appropriately to deliver a consistent level of quality. There is a nice mix of songs here with a variety of styles, and overall I have to say that this is a good solid album to include in a collection of college a cappella.
Rating: 8 (7.3)


Individual Tracks

  1. Crocodile Rock (6.4)
    Brookes McKenzie

    The best rendition I've ever heard of this song (granted, that's not saying much), including the soloist, who treads the fine line between over-enunciation and verisimilitude well. No one, however, seems to be able to imitate that easy off-the-cuff feeling that makes Elton John not sound _as_ cheesy as he could sound. As if in recompense, they _don't_ try to imitate the horrid tone of the original's "la, la la la la la" section which has always put my teeth on edge. The arrangement is slightly square, but considering the song, not bad.
    Rating: 5

    Joe Oliva

    Good lead vocal, although at times too pedantic or choppy. The bass and low baritone vocals do not have enough presence. The harmony vocal is tuneful, but is too throaty and does not quite mix with the breathier lead vocal. The vocal percussion suits the song, instead of sticking out like on other tracks. The background singers are singing on consonants or closed vowels.
    Rating: 7

    Matt Cohen

    This is a reasonably fun version of Elton John's up-tempo 1950s-esq rocker. There's only one real problem, but it's a big one for me. When you first read the name of this rack, what was the first thing you thought? I'll tell you what it was: Naaaaaaaaaaa! Na na na na-na! It's what makes the song. It's the part you can't get out of your head. It's the tunes reason for being. You would expect an A CAPPELLA group to throw some heavy harmony onto the recurring Na-na section. Nope. One voice. Falsetto. Oy. On the upside, they do, for a reprise of the first verse, turn the solo into a duet, which helps lift this cut up to where it should belong.
    Rating: 6

    Steve Bogart

    This gets the album off to an OK start. The group has enough energy throughout the song, and though it's not that interesting of a song, the arrangement's got enough business in the background to reward repeat listening. Not much of an ending, though — not even a cadence, just ending on the 5 chord on beat 4. The soloist does a good job; no obvious missteps.
    Rating: 7

    Alison Berube Sullivan

    This first track is just brimming with energy. It's got good percussion, good blend, and very tight control of a complex and fast-moving arrangement.
    Rating: 7

  2. Interstate Love Song (6.6)
    Brookes McKenzie

    A pretty good arrangement of this exceedingly overplayed song, which almost manages to achieve a semblance of mellow rocking without sounding ridiculous. Particularly good is the percussion, which, even though arguably a little too beat-box-y, pushes the song along. Nice crunchy chords in the beginning. Soloist however is too slight and too bright-toned for the background. They should sing out even more on the "ay-ay-ay" part, to contrast it with the smoother background during the verses. Excellent choice of syllables.
    Rating: 7

    Joe Oliva

    Okay lead vocal, although the melody does not seem to pose much of a challenge to him. The bass vocals do not have any presence. Nice vocal percussion.
    Rating: 6

    Matt Cohen

    If you think a Stone Temple Pilots song would sound silly a cappella. . . well, you're absolutely right. At least in the case of this song you are. It starts well. It captures a certain grunge sound without ever sounding like it's bending over backwards to do so. A nice blend of rock and harmony. But then the lead vocalist comes in. His voice is fine, but not for the material. James Taylor, yes, Stone Temple Pilots, no.
    Rating: 5

    Steve Bogart

    Not being a fan of Stone Temple Pilots, I still found a lot to like about this. After a quirky intro on "waoh" or some such syllable, it eases into a nice groove that cycles through the various figures of the song smoothly. The chords are nearly all in tune (though on the loud recurring figure (ay-ay-ay-etc.) the top notes are often out of tune), and I appreciated the dynamic contrasts in the song. The soloist didn't sound especially 'into' it emotionally, but other than that did a fine job. The percussion was realistic and cool.
    Rating: 7

    Alison Berube Sullivan

    A decent cover of the Stone Temple Pilots, and nicely arranged. I actually liked this version better than the original. And the vocal percussion is great.
    Rating: 8

  3. Is that the Way You Look? (5.0)
    Brookes McKenzie

    If the soloist wasn't so nervously trembly and talky, he could be good — he sounds a lot like JT at times. Tempo is way too slow, and arrangement doesn't change in the bridge or the other parts where it should. The arrangement is really just more or less a direct transcription of the backing vocals of the original, anyway, so I don't give it too much credit. But they sing it competently enough, and if it was just a little livelier it could be a lot more fun.
    Rating: 5

    Joe Oliva

    Lead vocal tends to be out of sync and at times, out of tune with the background vocals, but other than that he does fine. My guess is that this piece is meant to be comical when performed live. Unfortunately, I don't believe it has nearly the same effect when recorded. The ending just stops, and this makes for a weak finish to a song that needs a catchy ending.
    Rating: 5

    Matt Cohen

    Speaking of James Taylor. . . This cut starts off with a good premise: You're at a party, walking around, overhearing parts of other peoples conversations. You move in on a man talking to his friends, saying that he's going to make a move on someone. He walks up to you! All other noises stop. There is only him. "Excuse me miss..." Then he launches into "Is That the Way You Look." So what's wrong with this track? Well, they don't exactly LAUNCH into the song — waddle through it is more accurate. It cries out for higher energy, a faster tempo, and more impassioned singing. Also, some of the background conversations are meant to be funny. They aren't. They are just random, unfunny references to Lance Ito ("Yeah, he's got such a cool beard!").
    Rating: 4

    Steve Bogart

    (...not quite sure what the point of all the pre-song jabbering in this was...) This is sung well enough, with cool jazzy backgrounds and a clear-singing soloist, but the song does nothing for me. Maybe if the words were more interesting...
    Rating: 5

    Alison Berube Sullivan

    This is a cute song with a doo-wop feel, but it is a little thin. The group blend is there, but the basses could definitely stand out more. This could be the result of the singing or the mixing.
    Rating: 6

  4. Longer (6.2)
    Brookes McKenzie

    I'm not sure I ever wanted to come into such close proximity to this song to learn who wrote it, but this is not a bad version of it. Soloist too legato and classical, not to mention mixed a little too far back - you can barely hear him at times. The blend in the background is nice, but the "bum"'s irritate, it's the Bandersnatcher style of arranging ballads (although to give the Yellowjackets credit, they pull it off better), overall a really mellow rendition of a rather soporific song to begin with.
    Rating: 5

    Joe Oliva

    Sweet lead vocal fronting a beautiful song. Unfortunately, the harmony and lead vocals don't blend particularly well and consequently, the harmony vocal could have been mixed a little lower to compensate. The tune tends to drag after the second verse. Perhaps the arpeggio background could have been changed in that latter half of the song to make a more interesting arrangement.
    Rating: 7

    Matt Cohen

    A Dan Fogelberg love song. The performance is never emotionally grabbing, but it's a faithful translation. The only major problem is a harmony section sung by falsetto voices.
    Rating: 6

    Steve Bogart

    Lush arrangement, well sung. The soloist has the right range for it, which is nice to hear for once (most "Longer"s are painful to sit through). The closing 'ba-da-ba' figures are not completely in tune, but I have yet to hear any group do those perfectly. Overall a fine rendition of what I consider to be a pretty bland song.
    Rating: 6

    Alison Berube Sullivan

    I like the song choice. It is a pretty ballad with some very nice chords. The solo is light yet emotional — very nicely sung. And the background is soft and steady. The only problem is that the high harmony sounds a little strained.
    Rating: 7

  5. Kiss (4.2)
    Brookes McKenzie

    Too slow, doesn't rock enough (tough to pull off, obviously), soloist sounds at times like a baby on helium, trio limp, arrangement sort of wimpy and boring, particularly during the bridge, percussion good if mechanical, overall just not very inspired.
    Rating: 3

    Joe Oliva

    What better than a bass singing in his falsetto and dancing around the stage like Prince? I understand that this is probably a big winner during live shows, however, the lead stops really sounding like Prince after his first line. At times he re-captures Prince's style but he's more unlike Prince than like him. Also, lead vocal tuning and rhythm could be better. The arrangement is lacking, sometimes singing parts that don't really mesh with the style of this song ("nin nin nin nin").
    Rating: 3

    Matt Cohen

    If the artist currently known as Tom Jones has taught us anything, it has been that you don't need to impersonate Prince to cover his songs. (He bullied his way through Kiss as a brassy baritone and it still sounded cool.) It sounds great that high when Prince sings it, but it sounds silly here. It isn't a performance of Kiss — it's an impersonation. And not a very good one. I'm getting sick of hearing every group with a half descent falsetto doing lousy Prince and Michael Jackson impressions. Please — if you must sing one of their songs, MAKE IT YOUR OWN!
    Rating: 3

    Steve Bogart

    They play this for laughs as far as I can tell, and it works for me. My favorite thing about the track is the creative rendition of the backgrounds, especially the "ninga-ninga-ninga" lines right before the word "kiss". The soloist does a really good imitation of t.A.f.k.a.P.'s voice, and the harmonies on the verses are well executed. A fine track.
    Rating: 7

    Alison Berube Sullivan

    Certainly not the best track, but the arrangement works for this song. I liked the trio. An impressive solo by a baritone, as well as a decent and entertaining Prince impression.
    Rating: 5

  6. Never Die Young (5.4)
    Brookes McKenzie

    One gets sick of James Taylor songs covered by male groups here at RARB, although at least the Yellowjackets have the decency to choose lesser-known ones. Soloist again sounds sort of like a younger brother of Taylor - he bears a slight resemblance, but doesn't have much character of his own. Percussion sounds overdubbed and too loud at times, arrangement mildly interesting — I like the little horns or something during the verse, but then it gets repetitive and by the end I'm bored.
    Rating: 4

    Joe Oliva

    Nice tuning and tone placement by lead vocalist, unfortunately there is a very distracting "sssst" vocal percussion part that should have been mixed down or put through a "de-esser" (a processing device which tames sibilants produced during recording). There is a faint feedback (a very high A flat) occurring first in the second bar of the piece and then recurring at times throughout the song.
    Rating: 4

    Matt Cohen

    It's kind of hard to kill a James Taylor song, and they don't. It doesn't soar, but it doesn't crash and burn. It's. . . nice.
    Rating: 6

    Steve Bogart

    The soloist is going for a straight James Taylor imitation and succeeds pretty well. Not an interesting song for me, and the background doesn't seem as solid on their parts as they do on other tracks. Still, if you like the original you should like this one.
    Rating: 6

    Alison Berube Sullivan

    The second James Taylor cover on the album, this one is arranged better than the first. It is fuller and more interesting. I enjoyed the varied percussion and nice blend. The soloist has a nice voice but tends to sound disinterested.
    Rating: 7

  7. When I Come Around (4.8)
    Brookes McKenzie

    Really, there's just no need to cover even one Green Day song, especially on the syllables "jin-jin-jah", which get old after about one repetition and sound dumb to begin with. Soloist too tenor-y sounding, guitar solo irritating but (thankfully) brief.
    Rating: 3

    Joe Oliva

    Sharp! Sharp! Sharp! The tuning is absolutely terrible on this song. The lead singer starts sharp and the group follows suit. The overall tuning drifts sharp big time!
    Rating: 2

    Matt Cohen

    Okay, so sue me! I like this cut. If you listen to Dookie loud, you probably won't like this song, but if you've just heard them on the radio/MTV/VH1 and thought "Green Day's not so bad," then you'll like what the Yellowjackets serve up here. They weed out the angst and leave you with a piece of pure, catchy pop music.
    Rating: 7

    Steve Bogart

    There are timing problems between parts in the first 4 measures, but then they settle into the groove fine. The background's on the syllables "jm jm jah", which would be unusual enough to keep it interesting if there just weren't so many repetitions of it. The soloist has to work a little to hit the highest notes. Good percussion.
    Rating: 5

    Alison Berube Sullivan

    What is most notable about this song is the fantastic percussive effort. It really sounds like a lot of work! The soloist really gets into it as well, and it works. Good energy and a good beat, but an abrupt ending.
    Rating: 7

  8. (I Love You) For Sentimental Reasons (6.8)
    Brookes McKenzie

    Decently realized, including soloist, although he could have been mixed just a bit further back — he sort of jumps out at you as it is. Blend is nice and delicate in the background, and they slide from chord to chord in a pleasantly swoony way. The ensemble bit when the soloist retreats shows that the Yellowjackets could do more songs like this if they chose. One of the most even performances on the album.
    Rating: 7

    Joe Oliva

    Nice "open 5th" chord leading to a 9th chord to intro the song. A little slow and draggy, but the baritone lead vocalist does a nice job. Background is mostly in tune.
    Rating: 7

    Matt Cohen

    It's sluggish even for a slow ballad, but maybe it just seems that way because I'm used to the Persuasions' brief version of this that they use as the intro to "Looking for an Echo". The lead vocalist has a strong yet sentimental voice that is well suited to this sort of ballad.
    Rating: 5

    Steve Bogart

    Sappy standard, done standardly. Nice opening chord, nice soloist. Very pleasant interpretation of an oldie. Rich background. A little too slow to hold my interest for long, though.
    Rating: 6

    Alison Berube Sullivan

    I love this track. Gorgeous solo, gorgeous harmony and blend. It is tender and lilting. It is nice to hear an old standard thrown into the mix. I can easily picture this group singing this under a street lamp 40 years ago.
    Rating: 9

  9. Hurts So Good (5.4)
    Brookes McKenzie

    Starts out well, with good if programmatic percussion, but the soloist ruins it — too high and too clean-sounding for this song. Arrangement is also rather predictable, which becomes tedious. Descant isn't bad, albeit a bit scanty.
    Rating: 3

    Joe Oliva

    The lead vocalist's voice is more pleasant to listen to than the original, however, tuning is off at times. Harmony doesn't blend with the lead very well. Vocal percussion creates sibilants which could have been toned down.
    Rating: 6

    Matt Cohen

    It doesn't rock the house, but it is spirited. A good song choice all told. Is that a wood block, or some really funky vocal percussion technique?
    Rating: 7

    Steve Bogart

    Faithful rendition of the Mellencamp song. The soloist's got a lot of energy and nails the notes. The background syllables aren't the most effective; "do do do do" gets awfully old after a very short while in this particular chorus. Okay percussion, okay claps.
    Rating: 6

    Alison Berube Sullivan

    My first impression of this song was that it sounds like the key is too high. Other than that, it is not bad. A standard rendition enhanced by good, solid percussion.
    Rating: 5

  10. Goodbye Yellow Brick Road (5.6)
    Brookes McKenzie

    Again, no need for two Elton John songs on the same album. Otherwise, fairly decent rendition — simple but effective arrangement, sung well, soloist a little weak on the verses but good on chorus, he seems a little too far back in the mix, although that might be an attempt to camouflage the aforementioned weaknesses.
    Rating: 5

    Joe Oliva

    This piece drags! It should have taken it at a faster tempo. Background vocals are thick and mixed fairly well. Rhythms are off. Tuning is horrendous. The whole overall tuning is all over the map!
    Rating: 2

    Matt Cohen

    In the opening lines, the lead vocalist swooshes around the melody, sliding from note to note. Not recommended listening for anyone with motion sickness. If that doesn't bug you, and it might not, then there are enough harmonies to make this track worth listening to.
    Rating: 5

    Steve Bogart

    The soloist on this knows exactly what he's doing and mimics Elton John quite well with just the right lazy style. The background on this track is the most intricate and harmonically interesting of any song on the album. Excellent arrangement, excellent blend and dynamics.
    Rating: 8

    Alison Berube Sullivan

    The soloist does a good job of sounding like Elton John without sounding like that is what he is trying to do. I was impressed that they actually got all of the words — I don't think I've ever actually heard them all. And great dynamics in this one!
    Rating: 8

  11. Crazy (7.0)
    Brookes McKenzie

    Again the percussion might be good, but it needs to feel the rhythm of the song more, pause or something, it's far too mechanical. Arrangement is quite good especially in the end with the trio, soloist starts out all right but could just be so much stronger, especially on the high notes, where his pitch is shaky, and he shows about as much emotion as if he was singing a phone book. This could be a much better rendition of the song, if it weren't for him. Ending too abrupt.
    Rating: 6

    Joe Oliva

    Nice lead vocal. Also, a good mix and reverb. The vocal percussion compliments the song nicely. Lead vocalist should be aware of closed vowels like 'eee' in the song title and not stress them.
    Rating: 7

    Matt Cohen

    Fact: Seal should sound really cool a cappella when sung by a large 10 to 14 member group. (The original demo of Kiss From a Rose was recorded a cappella with Seal singing all of the instruments.) But still, I have yet to hear a good version of either Crazy or Prayer for the Dying. This track fails to catch the Seal magic. But I have to give it a six for the last minute and a half alone. They try something original and rather brave: they go into an almost in sync, jazzy choral arrangement on the lines "In a world full of people only some want to fly. . ." Good stuff. They could have done the whole song like that and had a real gem.
    Rating: 6

    Steve Bogart

    Seal's song survives pretty well with this a cappella treatment. The background's syllables sound really cool (harmonies on wa-wa-wa can sound excellent, and these do). The soloist only falters in one or two spots. The percussion is appropriate, and there's an exceptional nasal 'wah' in the middle section that doesn't sound quite human (and I mean that in a good way). This was quite good.
    Rating: 7

    Alison Berube Sullivan

    I love the choice of song. The beginning is fabulous. A must-hear. A difficult and innovative arrangement, and very well done. In addition, percussion and basses are impressive.
    Rating: 9

  12. He Ain't Heavy (6.2)
    Brookes McKenzie

    Their blend and overall classical sound is nice, but it could be amazing if they had better basses — every time they get anywhere near low, it sounds really good. Soloist a bit too plaintive, and the swells too harsh, but otherwise I can't really fault this performance, though the song's not really to my taste.
    Rating: 7

    Joe Oliva

    The rhythm is so bad on this track that I have to assume that it is 'free time' on purpose. Lead singer over-annunciates his hard consonants and is occasionally untuneful. Background is mixed well. Tempo is too slow, dragging the song.
    Rating: 4

    Matt Cohen

    . . . He's my brother. This track features a strong soloist and some impressive blend. (The soloist often retreats into the ensemble.) Unfortunately, the song itself isn't worthy of their careful performance. The melody doesn't really flow — each chord sounds fine given the preceding chord, but it never builds to anything. Very flat. (The song, not the performance.)
    Rating: 5

    Steve Bogart

    This one has a really nice choral feel and a soloist who gives the appropriate weight to the lyrics. Nice dynamics.
    Rating: 7

    Alison Berube Sullivan

    Beautiful harmonizing, tight entrances and cutoffs, and well-directed dynamics. This one is simple and straightforward, with nothing fancy involved, but it is sung with feeling by the whole group, and shines in its simplicity.
    Rating: 8

  13. I Will Survive (4.2)
    Brookes McKenzie

    Really strange song order, to sandwich this song in between two _very_ traditional songs. I have to give them a lot of credit for doing the song in the original key. Also the dance-beat machine feeling of the percussion is appropriate here. Generic arrangement, which gets old as the song goes on. Solos could be good if they worked that attitude a little bit instead of limply trembling in their falsettos — if they had any _energy_. Ending is mildly lame. Still the best version I've ever heard of the song, but that's because it's usually an embarrassment to an otherwise sensible group.
    Rating: 5

    Joe Oliva

    Like "Kiss", this comical piece is probably a show-stopper during a live performance, however, the lead is untuneful and rhythmically even worse. The background vocals are relatively tuneful and the vocal percussion blends well.
    Rating: 4

    Matt Cohen

    This woman walks into the doctor's office. She says, "Doc, I have a problem with this medication you put me on. It has some unpleasant side effects — Ever since I started taking the medication I've been growing hair on my chest." The doctor asks, "How far down does it go?" "To my balls," she says, "which is another thing I want to talk to you about!"

    I tell you that joke so that when you read the following you won't think I'm just saying what I do because I have no sense of humor and don't appreciate sophomoric humor. Far from it. I love a low joke. To hell with being PC. Nevertheless, this track is downright disgraceful. The Yellowjackets pass the solo on this Gloria Gainer disco ditty around, letting different members of the group do hideous and ill conceived falsetto impersonation of women. It's totally mocking and not funny in the least. I didn't think it was possible for someone to have such an immature sense of humor and still get into college.

    Pennsylvania Six 5000 has been known to be dirty. I never had a problem with that. Heck, I like 'em. This Yellowjackets' song, on the other hand, is just plain demeaning.
    Rating: 1

    Steve Bogart

    Ugh. The different array of soloists they throw at this song hurts more than it helps. Keeping, say, the first soloist for the whole song would have made it a lot better. Then there's the spoken break in the middle that really doesn't add anything. Not a track I want to hear again.
    Rating: 4

    Alison Berube Sullivan

    This is definitely a contrast in style to the previous track. This is a fun song, with the solo line being traded off among several members of the group. It is silly, but the background and percussion are there to hold it together, so the silliness is OK and the song is funny and entertaining.
    Rating: 7

  14. The Genesee (4.6)
    Brookes McKenzie

    Soloist completely unremarkable, ensemble parts decently sung but have no emotion at all. Due to this it's hard to muster up any excitement for the song.
    Rating: 3

    Joe Oliva

    This tune is apparently a school song of some sort. Called a "traditional arrangement" in the liner notes, I have to assume that the 'free time' feel and over-annunciating every vowel and consonant was intentional. It was probably my least favorite track on the CD, but keeping those factors in mind, it was adequately sung and produced.
    Rating: 5

    Matt Cohen

    It's an alma mater. Nuff said.
    Rating: 1

    Steve Bogart

    Their alma mater, near as I can tell. Nothing distinctive about it, really — just a solid rendition of a school song with a pretty solo voice. Pleasant.
    Rating: 6

    Alison Berube Sullivan

    The traditional alma mater piece. I like to hear this kind of song from various schools. Nice choral blend here, and a smooth solo.
    Rating: 8

  15. Tell Me Why (6.6)
    Brookes McKenzie

    Very traditional men's group rendition, executed pretty well but lacks energy in a big way, probably because it's sung at about half the speed of the original. Soloist also uneven, and descant fine but nothing to write home about.
    Rating: 3

    Joe Oliva

    Nice repertoire selection, nicely arranged, and the background is well sung. The lead vocal could have been tuned better. My favorite song on the album!
    Rating: 8

    Matt Cohen

    This is the first track that gives a glimpse of the potential of what this group could be, or at least an idea of what they used to be. It's a Beatles cover, back from their happy 50's mode. It's vaguely similar to "Sha Boom" off of the Yellowjackets' prior album "From the Hive" (if you've ever had the pleasure of hearing it). Bright. Retro. Fun.
    Rating: 7

    Steve Bogart

    I have a feeling the Beatles version had more going on rhythmically in the background than this version. It's a fine song, it just feels like there should have been more going on; maybe percussion? Still, the solos and harmonies are solid and it's got a good doowop feel.
    Rating: 7

    Alison Berube Sullivan

    This is really a swingin' tune. More fun than the Beatles' original, I think. I was snapping my fingers along with it. Good solo, good energy — well done.
    Rating: 8

  16. Up the Ladder to the Roof (6.4)
    Brookes McKenzie

    Another oft-covered song, done averagely, soloist is okay, although again kind of slight-sounding, especially on the high notes, background also isn't very substantial — they have a lot more power than this. Snapping sounds like it's twice as fast as the background and solo. Overall an unfortunately soggy end to a pretty decent album.
    Rating: 3

    Joe Oliva

    The background vocals on this track sound like the singers were out taking a break when it was recorded. The background is way too low in volume relative to the lead vocal. There is also an obvious track pop at the 39 second mark which the engineer should have noticed and removed.
    Rating: 6

    Matt Cohen

    This is the best cut on the album. I've always liked this tune — it's kinda like "Up on the Roof" on uppers. Where "Up on the Roof" invites you, this song grabs you by the arm and drags you to the roof and makes you dance until the building superintendent comes up to complain. This is a solid performance. Better than the Nylons, but not as good as some other college groups I've heard. But you probably haven't. So listen and enjoy.
    Rating: 7

    Steve Bogart

    Good rendition, with a great soloist. The big chords come out really well. Occasional teensy tuning problems in the background, but great energy. A fine closer.
    Rating: 8

    Alison Berube Sullivan

    Another groovy, high-energy track, and a great song with which to end the album, because it leaves you humming after the music ends. Musically it is right on, and tight all over.
    Rating: 8

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