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RARB REVIEW

School: Colby College
Group: Blue Lights
Album: Laid Back & Funky (95 bpm)

Total time: 50:54, 19 songs
Recorded October, November 1996

Ordering Information


Track Listing

  1. Pretty Little Angel Eyes (5.2)
  2. The Longest Time (3.8)
  3. When I'm 64 (3.6)
  4. The Weight (4.0)
  5. Crazy Little Thing Called Love (2.6)
  6. Corner of the Sky (4.4)
  7. Climbin' Up the Mountain (5.4)
  8. Jamaica Farewell (4.0)
  9. Rosanna (2.2)
  10. Something (3.8)
  11. Snow in April (3.3)
  12. Flowers on the Wall (6.4)
  13. Southern Cross (4.0)
  14. Greatest American Hero (3.8)
  15. Hail Smiling Moon (2.8)
  16. Shell Collection (5.4)
  17. Brown Eyed Girl (4.8)
  18. And We Bid You Goodnight (5.2)
  19. Sweet Georgia Brown outtro

Reviews

Overall

Randi Sherman

The Blue Lights are a young college a cappella group with a lot of drive to do well. They are smart in their choices of songs, because their a cappella ability on the grander scale of college a cappella falls under the "needs improvement" category. They stick to a very simple structure for arrangements for most of their songs (bass line, percussion, soloist, chord) which will get better with time. The group has a lot of tuning problems which could be fixed with more attention to dynamics, instead of simply letting everyone sing their part how they feel it sounds. The group needs to learn how to blend, because right now everyone sings very independently. But, for a young group, I praise them for already having a first album done and completed, and I hope they continue these efforts. As far as whether or not to get this album, I would wait until their next one comes out.
Rating: 3 (3.3)

Ben Tritle

A four-year old group that cuts its first CD...what can I say? Needs work guys. Four years along and it seems like holding pitch is a major problem. I know the problem can't be time arranging, as half of the tracks are bought outside of the group, and one more was an improvisation. There were hints of possible greatness, but on the whole, it just seem to be ill-fated. The results didn't show the effort that was hopefully put into the CD which suggests to me the need to go back and work on the basics: crawl before you walk, walk before you run. I can't recommend this CD to anyone outside of close family and friends of the group.
Rating: 3 (4.0)

Shawn Pearce

I don't attribute this album's problems so much to poor song execution than to poor song choices. There are some things this group does VERY WELL...the glee stuff was very good, as was "Flowers"...any time they ventured into rock, though, the background had no verve, no groove, and nothing that would make me wanna shake my ass. Stiff. That's the word that comes to mind when I hear this. This group is one of the better glee clubs in America out there... good tuning, nice dynamic contrast, some very strong musicality. But it's only on certain songs...glee club standards, show tunes...that this comes through on. On that basis, I give the album a thumb up and a thumb middle...there's enough good stuff to make it a decent listen, but you will need to use your skip button.
Rating: 6 (6.4)

Rebecca Christie

I admire the Blue Lights for starting a new group and choosing to go old school. Not that I don't like the vocal percussion/modern repertoire style that dominates collegiate scene, but a little variety is nice. Especially since all-male groups are having trouble keeping up with the smooth blend that is helping the coed groups steal the genre.

The Blue Lights are basically a bunch of baritones who got together a few years ago and started singing. They have some resonant low guys who can sing in unison together and put together a nice bassline, and the rest of the group fills in on top. You're not going to hear any fancy arrangements here, but the ones that work use their simplicity to advantage. The ones that don't work — and they're there, with one superstinker — show that the Blue Lights made the right choice in leaving the harder stuff for the next album, once they establish some voices and some musical continuity.

I also want to applaud these guys for trying some original music. There's a cute number based on Shel Silverstein poems toward the end. Also, they go off on a full-group percussion jam. Whether or not it gets recorded, improv like that is fabulous for gaining facility in a cappella in so many ways — I hope they don't lose that spirit.

This album made me want to like the Blue Lights as a group, even if I didn't like the execution of a lot of their music. I think they're gonna come along.
Rating: 4 (4.8)

Gabriel Shabbtai Rutman

this is very obviously the first album from a very young group. it doesn't look like a professional album, it doesn't sound like a professional recording, it's basically VERY collegiate. almost high school, it's so college. let's start with the recording itself: it sounds like the group all stood in a room and sang through their entire repertoire with tape rolling. they then threw on the crappiest sounding gated reverb (read: wrong; gated reverb is for drums and other specific things, not to be used as a general sweetener to make bad shit sound good) they could find, set some basic levels, and laid down the whole thing to dat, sent it off the next day without mastering and had the album in their eager hands by the next week. the engineering is terrible, with pops everywhere, no compression of things that needed compression, no effects on things that needed them and too much on things that didn't. the mixing is wrong, with soloists and other voice parts just out of the mix all over the place. it's just totally amateur. that aside, the performance itself is the responsibility of the group: i can understand if they were naive when it comes to studio recording, but you gotta get your arrangements to sound halfway decent before you head into the studio. WORK ON YOUR PITCH! WORK WITH YOUR SOLOISTS! GIVE YOURSELVES A CHANCE! AAAAAGGGGH! there's too much time in the world, there's too much talent, there's too many people eager to be better for groups like the blue lights to go into the studio unprepared and record an album that's just not good at all.
Rating: 2 (2.3)


Individual Tracks

  1. Pretty Little Angel Eyes (5.2)
    Randi Sherman

    This is the first time I've ever heard an a cappella group use a kazoo during a song. Maybe it's cheating since a kazoo is really an instrument. This song is a very simple arrangement. It's a walking bass line that repeats, a soloist, and everyone else fills in the chords on the same rhythms and words: something like "oooh-ah-angel eyes" for example. The chords need some tuning. The one element that really doesn't fit at all is the techno-like beat that the percussionist is doing. It sounds like it was taken right off of a "Dance Mix USA" CD. There's not much that you can say about this song.
    Rating: 3

    Ben Tritle

    The CD starts off with his doo-wop tune that builds in a way reminiscent of "Come Go With Me". The falsetto on this just doesn't seem comfortable though. I did like the soloist, Jared Fine, though his arrangement seemed a bit staid. An OK start to the album though.
    Rating: 6

    Shawn Pearce

    Good bass section in this one...and the tuning overall is solid. This is a fun little doo-wop tune. The kazoo solo had the potential to be really funny...it ended up being cute. The soloist was solid as well, although he strained a lot in the high falsetto stuff. My main complaint was the reason I use "solid" so much in this review....the groove was solid....and stiff....like an oak tree. Some relaxation would have been good here....Overall, though, this wasn't awful.
    Rating: 6

    Rebecca Christie

    Lovely solo, with great falsetto tuning. This is a great opening track and probably the best cut on the album. Tuning is pretty good, arrangement is simple, basses manage their unison bits pretty well. Nice job, kazoo solo notwithstanding.
    Rating: 8

    Gabriel Shabbtai Rutman

    bad pitch, kinda lazy on the falsetto in the solo line. the arrangement is nice & bouncy in its simplicity, easy listening doowop stuff. not covering any new ground with this one. there's also a bunch of popping on the microphones throughout the tune. basses have problems with the low stuff.
    Rating: 3

  2. The Longest Time (3.8)
    Randi Sherman

    I've never heard this done a cappella! (insert sarcasm here) Not only is this arrangement exactly like the classic arrangement, but there are some chords (more than others) where notes are just missing. The soloist goes out of tune and cuts off the ends of his notes throughout the song. They should have done something with this and made a more creative arrangement, but this arrangement itself needed work.
    Rating: 2

    Ben Tritle

    This track, overdone as it is, was unique in that it was one of the more off-pitch tracks I've heard. Even the studio tweaking couldn't hide the rough tuning that I heard throughout the song. The solo felt like it was being sung from the lyric sheet rather than from the heart. It felt more like a high-school interpretation of the song.
    Rating: 3

    Shawn Pearce

    I have an unwritten law concerning a cappella cover songs....you either have to do it as well as the original or do enough different things from the original to make it cool in order to do the song justice. The tuning is VERY good here...except for a couple very noticeable spots... and there is more of a relaxed groove here than in "Angel Eyes". The soloist is also very pleasant to listen to....therefore, if this was the first time I ever heard the song, this would be very credible. However, the memory of Billy Joel's own version cheapens their effort here, cause it's not up to that par...especially close to the end where they let tuning suffer.
    Rating: 7

    Rebecca Christie

    This one's also pretty nice. Opening and ending bits are hesitant and under pitch, but the verses work pretty well. Tenors seem rather uncomfortable with their falsetto lines, which takes away from the piece. Indeed, they took a lot of the accents right out of the arrangements. But better not to have them than to blow 'em. I think their decision to simplify throughout was right for them.
    Rating: 6

    Gabriel Shabbtai Rutman

    i'm not sure why they opted for all the reverb on this tune. it's originally done practically a cappella, which makes me wonder why they didn't use similar effects to the billy joel version. really bad pitch throughout the backgrounds, just lazy. basses are curiously left out of the mix. solo is really wussy and off pitch all over the place, gets bored and tired, as does the rest of the group. pitch drifts almost one and a half steps by the end. help!
    Rating: 1

  3. When I'm 64 (3.6)
    Randi Sherman

    The intro is a mess, and I couldn't even figure out the notes they were supposed to be singing. The dynamics are too "schmoozy" (is that really a word?). Instead of saying all of the things that I don't like about this song, I'll give suggestions. The group really needs to move away from everyone doing the same rhythm. It gets tedious. The director should allow the important parts to come out instead of letting everyone sing as if their part were the most important. If people didn't give so much weight to notes, they wouldn't pull the song an entire step out of tune.
    Rating: 1

    Ben Tritle

    Opening pitch just seems off, possibly even worse than the previous track. There are times where the Blue Lights show flashes of harmonies, blend, and dynamics. But the continued use of echo doesn't hide the continuing breakdown in tuning.
    Rating: 4

    Shawn Pearce

    Decently tuned, some good stylistic use. It's got a very strong "glee club" feel, which if this is what you're going for, this delivers in spades. It's emphatically not like the original... it comes off more as a broadway tune here. But it works...and IMHO, it works pretty well.
    Rating: 8

    Rebecca Christie

    Tuning goes away here. Gets better once the verses kick in, but this glee-clubby arrangement doesn't work for me. Neither do the random globs of reverb that subsume the ends of many of the phrases.
    Rating: 4

    Gabriel Shabbtai Rutman

    this performance is incredibly weak, pitch is insane, all over the place. there's a really weird gated reverb on the whole thing, which gives the effect of sounding like the group's in a church and then suddenly a tiny room within one bar. bad engineering, bad mixing, bad listening. the pitch is just terrible on this track, i can't quite explain. again, the group drops more than a half step on this track. the arrangement is not exciting.
    Rating: 1

  4. The Weight (4.0)
    Randi Sherman

    The basses' "dum dum" that everyone else manages to sing sounds like a bunch of 12 year olds taking a stroll to a candy store. (Sorry about the terrible analogy, but it just sounds young and unpolished.) The soloist definitely has a unique quality to his voice, and he does put an effort into expressing the words clearly. This is a much better arrangement, but the same syllables return, and each verse is exactly the same.
    Rating: 2

    Ben Tritle

    Were it not for the fact that I had to listen to this song, I would've fast forwarded after the opening phrase; it was jumbled, clumsy even. I will say that despite an uninspired arrangement, the soloist at least put some effort into it. It did feel like someone stuck a double bar and filled the same chordal progression with four verses.
    Rating: 4

    Shawn Pearce

    The soloist NAILS the original concepts....very well done on the solo. The background suffers from a stiffness and clunkiness that is very distracting to the original song. This could have used more oomph, IMHO. And the harmonies are almost there, but not quite.
    Rating: 6

    Rebecca Christie

    Not half bad if you're in the mood for it. Opens a little tentatively again, but it's pretty and evokes a mood you can deal with, so I was able to think past the pitchiness. Solo is a good imitation of The Band and for the most part you can enjoy it in that mood. Of course, I think Aretha Franklin did what should be the definitive version of this song. But that's just me.
    Rating: 5

    Gabriel Shabbtai Rutman

    a decent arrangement, but the group again has major pitch problems. the percussion is fine, but doesn't exactly make me feel like we're really rockin'. it's not like the pitch problems are easily glossed over by being hidden in one of the inner background parts, but rather they're quite glaring in the solo and its direct harmonies, in addition to every part in the arrangement. the soloist himself has a good sound for this tune, but it's hard to pay attention with such a pitchy background. (again, dropped almost a whole step by the end.)
    Rating: 3

  5. Crazy Little Thing Called Love (2.6)
    Randi Sherman

    Much better arrangement. There are, of course, repetitive "shoop-shoo-wahs" throughout the song, but a "holy moly" sneaks its way into the arrangement. The parts don't blend, and the chords don't settle. The best part of the song is where the soloist is singing and everyone else claps. One of the soloists almost 'spoke-sang' and had no phrasing whatsoever.
    Rating: 2

    Ben Tritle

    Why was it necessary to split the solo amongst five different people, of which the quality of at least one if not more were questionable? The echo effect is back which is not a good sign. You start to feel as if you are either in a fishbowl or a karaoke studio. I thought for a moment that the arrangement started to show promise, then I read the liner notes, and noticed it wasn't arranged by anyone in the group. It needs to be reworked, reedited, remixed...just redone.
    Rating: 2

    Shawn Pearce

    Ugh. They trade off solos between five people....which is about four more people than should have been. The first guy did a good job with it, and could have very easily made the song more pleasurable....but what was with the other four guys? NONE of them had the necessary sound or feel to make the song work. The song itself was decent...nothing groundbreaking, nothing horrific...but I get the feeling this was the "lets give everyone else something to sing" solo, and that's fine for a hometown crowd...but if individually you haven't gotten to a level yet where you can make a solo work on a recording, don't record it if you want to market it past family and friends.
    Rating: 3

    Rebecca Christie

    Say you're a group recording this song. Wouldn't you make sure the opening chords were in tune before you went any further? Yeah, me too, but that didn't stop the Blue Lights. Things go pretty well with our soloists, but I couldn't get over the bass cameos. I bet it was hilarious live, because he sounds so schmaltzy on his "zoom zoom zoom"s that either he was playing it for all it was worth or else deadpanning enough to get the crowd rolling.
    Rating: 4

    Gabriel Shabbtai Rutman

    i hate it when soloists change the melody of good songs. soloists switch around on this one, some of 'em are ok, most are really not happenin' and certainly not rocking. when the basses attempt the walking bass lines that are a central feature of this song, they're all over the places. again, there's this reverb thing happening again, it's just BAD. it's stupid. it doesn't make the group sound any better. i do like the creative syllables in the backups. but these guys are no queen. maybe ween.
    Rating: 2

  6. Corner of the Sky (4.4)
    Randi Sherman

    For those of you who know this song, you can't imagine it a cappella, can you? Don't try. The arrangement was basically the piano transcription put into voice parts. People sang notes all over the place that were definitely out of their range (someone actually just forced out a high Bb- didn't matter that it was out of tune) and chords are rushed. There are still no phrases, except for when the soloist sings "Gotta find my corner of the sky" I heard a smooth crescendo with the soloist and accompaniment.
    Rating: 2

    Ben Tritle

    The first track on this album that hadn't been done to death by other groups. The soloist seems out of his depth, or should I say his height, as he strains on the early high notes. The tuning is a little better and the soloist does help to drive this song, but it just isn't a great track.
    Rating: 5

    Shawn Pearce

    Voice crack early on...why wasn't a retake made of that? From there, it sounds pleasant enough, soloist is a good broadway style soloist. (He needs to watch his scooping of notes, though.) Background is actually pretty good...but again, they almost lose it towards the end. VERY frustrating to listen to. Overall, though, one of the best songs on the album.
    Rating: 8

    Rebecca Christie

    This is one of those songs I've always liked for no particular reason. So I smiled and enjoyed it, and didn't pay too much attention to the pitch problems. Think vintage men's a cappella, where the pleasant group sound wins out over flashy tuning.
    Rating: 5

    Gabriel Shabbtai Rutman

    this is from pippin. having heard tracks one through five and noticed that this group has some trouble with the rockers, i'd've expected a little more from this, but again, the same fundamental pitch problems persist, and the soloist is not one of those powerful broadway guys i'd've thought maybe the blue lights had. oh no. god. the pitch problems are just insane. these guys need to, uh, rehearse. this is another thomas holcombe arrangement, of which there are many on this album. the guy likes his doos. i don't.
    Rating: 2

  7. Climbin' Up the Mountain (5.4)
    Randi Sherman

    This is a really great spiritual song, and because of the Blue Lights style of repetitive, simple arrangements, it works very well for them. The soloists definitely add tone and color to the song, but the same fundamental problems exist that are heard in other songs. (I won't repeat myself.)
    Rating: 5

    Ben Tritle

    The soloist at the opening makes it seem worth listening as he puts some soul into the spiritual. Then it reaches for mediocrity after that. The claps start to deteriorate in synchronization which didn't help. The usual little tuning problems creep in, but are tempered by the effort they make toward the end of the track.
    Rating: 5

    Shawn Pearce

    Glee club spiritual. Pleasant, well voiced. Not much else to say.
    Rating: 7

    Rebecca Christie

    Track opens with a beautiful solo, sans background, then drops off when the group comes in. This is glee club gospel, and generally well done except for this energy thing. The soloist has so much punch, and the ensemble is softer, the melody gets tougher to pick out and it just dribbles away. Shows a number of lovely moments from our soloist, and the basses, who have much of the melody.
    Rating: 6

    Gabriel Shabbtai Rutman

    there's that reverb again. here's another weird mix; when the group comes in after the soloist does a little thing at the beginning, their volume as a group is lower than the single soloist. why? i don't know. pitch seems to be ok on this one somehow. ooh, well, not all the time. this one has much more energy than the rest for some reason. i do, however, have a problem with a bunch of superwhite dudes singing a plantation work song. WHOA! the end is really abrupt, the reverb disappears immediately, it's just weird. aaaaaaggh.
    Rating: 4

  8. Jamaica Farewell (4.0)
    Randi Sherman

    Out of tune chords break apart the structure of this song. There's a couple of claps and snaps thrown in for percussion, and they should've given more percussion to the basses instead. It wouldn't have sounded as unpolished and "thrown together."
    Rating: 3

    Ben Tritle

    Again, the soloist starts in alone at the opening. Soon after the rest of the group joins in and the dischord starts. Even when the whole group is singing unison, it seems like they're singing off the page, rather robotic.
    Rating: 4

    Shawn Pearce

    See #7....except it's not a spiritual. Cute song...
    Rating: 7

    Rebecca Christie

    Tentatively sung, with iffy tuning to match. They keep it very short, use a very simple, glee-club arrangement with little solo work, little oomph. Basses keep the song from sinking to the bottom of the Caribbean.
    Rating: 5

    Gabriel Shabbtai Rutman

    belafonte. such a good song. such bad pitch. holcombe's arrangement combined with the blue lights lackluster performance takes all the wind out of this spunky tune's sails.
    Rating: 1

  9. Rosanna (2.2)
    Randi Sherman

    A solid percussion line gives this song a great start. The chords that are sung all in the same rhythm pull the pitch down. The soloist can't reach all of the notes. Parts still don't blend. But, when the chorus of this memorable 80s tune comes in, the group solidifies and does what they do best: sing together on the same words and rhythms.
    Rating: 2

    Ben Tritle

    It seems to start OK, but the soloist just doesn't seem to be up for it, especially when he reaches for the top notes. On top of that his voice seems a little weak for the solo. The rest of the group doesn't seem to support him at all as well, sleepwalking through the arrangement. This track just seemed to continue a cringe trend.
    Rating: 2

    Shawn Pearce

    TOO STIFF!!!!! Everything is so clipped and forced. The soloist is good on this song (a very difficult solo to sing by yourself...take it from one who's tried) and brings out a lot of the emotion behind the song. The background, unfortunately does not work, and none of the people tune the harmony to the level that it needs to be at.
    Rating: 5

    Rebecca Christie

    Where is the cutting room floor when you need it? There are times when a track shouldn't make the album for any reason, and this song is why. I wish it had some redeeming quality so I could give it a two, but the background seems trying hard to be as out of tune as the soloist, who takes the phrase to new heights, and who should under no circumstances ever try to sing a tenor or falsetto solo again.
    Rating: 1

    Gabriel Shabbtai Rutman

    bad percussion opens this one, and the requisite terrible pitch is a constant. i really dislike the soloist, not because of his tone, but because of his total inaccuracy. also, these dudes are in dire need of a compressor, although i'm sure their engineer had no clue what one was when they recorded this thing. the group is just weak on this one.
    Rating: 1

  10. Something (3.8)
    Randi Sherman

    The soloist and accompaniment actually sounds like they are in two different keys at one point. I wonder if they all recorded at the same time. Another thing not yet mentioned is that the recording quality is poor and sounds brassy, but this song has the best recorded quality to it.
    Rating: 3

    Ben Tritle

    The blend was definitely off, since I couldn't hear the progression in the basses that kept the track moving in the beginning. Between the snail's pace tempo and the lack of any dynamic change, I fought off the desire to go to sleep with heavy doses of coffee and the occasional "Jolt" cola. The bridge just made it that much worse.
    Rating: 3

    Shawn Pearce

    Two Beatles songs on the same album? *shrug* Very sedate version of the song...tuning is OK, style is OK. Solo and harmonies are in tune and are somewhat felt. Pleasant to listen to.
    Rating: 7

    Rebecca Christie

    Oh boy, a whiny Beatles song. It doesn't sound too terrible, but I'm just not gonna get excited. (That applies to the Beatles, too.)
    Rating: 4

    Gabriel Shabbtai Rutman

    i'm not sure why these guys got the majority of their arrangements from outside sources, since the stuff they do is just as good if not better. that aside, this performance has little more to offer than any of the other tracks. oh, and one thing that's kinda weird: where the beatles have a guitar solo, these guys just have a bare arrangement with no lead of any sort, no musically interesting thing that happens. this is a problem, as is the harmony that comes in after this section. terrible last chord.
    Rating: 2

  11. Snow in April (3.3)
    Randi Sherman

    This sounds like something they did on the spot. It's a percussion improv with everyone doing their own thing. Almost like a "theater" game, if anyone out there knows what that is. But it definitely displays their creativity that they have; they're just not developed enough as a group to display this on their other songs.
    Rating: none

    Ben Tritle

    A percussion improvisation that started off interesting, then just turned into a mishmash of vocal percussion and sounds that just became annoying. I'm glad they had fun in the studio, it didn't translate into listening enjoyment.
    Rating: 3

    Shawn Pearce

    [not reviewed]
    Rating: none

    Rebecca Christie

    Improv percussion jam — y'all go guys. This is a start-up, old school group, that uses vocal percussion on maybe three songs, so going for a full-group blast takes guts. They don't do anything original, the rhythms are very simple, but I appreciate their guts. Certainly they keep it tasteful and don't try to be anything other than themselves. The bass "I like to move it" riff went over well with me — it's a lot like the Five Live techno version of that song.
    Rating: 6

    Gabriel Shabbtai Rutman

    an attempt at a hip hop percussion jam which features white people making fun of black people. i found this not amusing and badly recorded. whee!
    Rating: 1

  12. Flowers on the Wall (6.4)
    Randi Sherman

    This song was done by another group. It had to be. The reason I say this is that it sounds nothing like the rest of their songs. The parts blend, the soloist (and duet) create phrases within the music, and the percussion is subtle in the background. Creative "bing bings" are heard, and even a horse whinny sneaks in. It's still not polished, but a terrific effort.
    Rating: 7

    Ben Tritle

    This was by far the most interesting track on the CD — mainly because this seemed like they actually spent a lot of time working on the problems that plagued the other tracks, namely blend and tuning. The arrangement, taken from a Statler Brothers tune, even turns it into a faux-chant type song. It's not Beelzebub material, but it sure as heck beats anything else on this album.
    Rating: 7

    Shawn Pearce

    Ballsy song choice for a college campus.....but this is actually one of their best songs! Good background, good harmonies...I actually hear the original quartet in this!!! VERY good execution.
    Rating: 9

    Rebecca Christie

    I rather like this — a li'l country number from old time group the Statler Bros. It's a funny little song, it moves along well, and does fine with the available tuning. (For those of you trying to picture the song, it's a less cliched way of getting to the same musical mood as the Everly Brothers' "Wake Up Little Susie".)
    Rating: 5

    Gabriel Shabbtai Rutman

    country music. maybe this will save them... maybe not. decent pitch on this one (relatively speaking). i do like the motet-esque breakdown. nice solo.
    Rating: 4

  13. Southern Cross (4.0)
    Randi Sherman

    The background is the same (walking bass line and everyone else singing the same patterns, just on different notes). They stay in tune much more than other songs, but that is something that shouldn't be credited. It should be expected, for the most part, in a recording. The duet sounds great, but there isn't much to do with the simple arrangement of the song.
    Rating: 5

    Ben Tritle

    Lightning apparently does strike twice, as the Blue Lights show that can put effort into more than one track with this tune. Not necessarily a tune I'd race to put on the CD player, it isn't one that I'd shut off in the middle of the track either. I would've liked to have heard this track without the echo effect put on it, as it seemed most of the fundamentals were handled pretty well. Instead, it comes off a bit choral.
    Rating: 6

    Shawn Pearce

    Pet Peeve: Groups that don't research the proper lyrics. It's pronounced pa-pa-kay-tay, not pa-pa-hey-tay. And the techno treatment is a form of bringing something different to the song that just does not work. They treat the song very irreverently, and it doesn't work here. In addition, everything is too clipped and choppy for a song that flows in this manner.
    Rating: 2

    Rebecca Christie

    A bit fast, but nothing too egregious. The percussion on the chorus seems a little misplaced, but it and the faster tempo do keep the bridge from sinking to the poor tuning. And the last verses go pretty well. This is a nice song that people want to like, and I think their rendition fits right in with that.
    Rating: 5

    Gabriel Shabbtai Rutman

    whaddya know! doo! bad pitch! silly percussion! badly recorded solo! weird gated reverb! all right already.
    Rating: 2

  14. Greatest American Hero (3.8)
    Randi Sherman

    The song was out of the soloists range, and he sounded nervous. The style of the song is characteristic of the group. Clever song to choose, but when the "believe it or not hai'm (instead of I'm)" gets thrown away with pitch, it displays that the song wasn't a good choice for their vocal abilities.
    Rating: 3

    Ben Tritle

    First off, I didn't like the arrangement, and it wasn't even done by anyone in the group. On top of that, it was quite narrowly performed, as there was no flair. I'm looking for hope, for dreams to be reached, for the Olympic Flame to be lit...instead I felt like someone doused the flame. Add to that a solo that should have been done by someone else in the group as it wasn't convincing at all. Again, it should've been taken off the album or at least reworked.
    Rating: 4

    Shawn Pearce

    This is also one of the better songs on the album. The soloist needs to use his air more in order to not sound like a soloist in eighth-grade choir, but the background is solid, and the choppy vocal style of the group works here.
    Rating: 7

    Rebecca Christie

    There's a certain cute earnestness about this one, kind of like the muppets. They were always more about feeling than musicality, and this wistful version is in the same vein.
    Rating: 4

    Gabriel Shabbtai Rutman

    terrible rhythm. just terrible. really weak soloist. really bad pitch. some chords are just incorrect. nothing bothers me more than that.
    Rating: 1

  15. Hail Smiling Moon (2.8)
    Randi Sherman

    This very choral piece is very out of tune. I don't know why they didn't use the whole group, because obviously the smaller numbers hurt them. This, being much like a madrigal, doesn't fit on their CD because all the group really does is sing chords in the same rhythm, so this song just reinforces that.
    Rating: 1

    Ben Tritle

    An attempt at classical music that should've joined the previous track in the practice room. Four members attempt a track as a classical quartet, that really shouldn't have. The tuning, the lack of note support, must've been painful to record. I know it was painful to listen to...MEDIC!!
    Rating: 1

    Shawn Pearce

    Another glee club song. Another strong, credible performance.
    Rating: 7

    Rebecca Christie

    Classic glee-club song, and these guys just aren't there. I know they like doing the old-style material, but this is a little too ambitious for their musicality. It's a pretty song, and nowhere close to being in tune.
    Rating: 3

    Gabriel Shabbtai Rutman

    some glee club thing. terrible pitch. quartet. yipparoo.
    Rating: 2

  16. Shell Collection (5.4)
    Randi Sherman

    They wrote this, and it's clever, original, and witty. It's really cute if you know lyrics from Shel Silverstein, because that's what they did. They took words from some of his poetry and set it to music. For example, "Hickle me pickle me tickle me too" becomes a sad song about what happened to the character who never returned. I think that if they polished the unsettled chords, this song would be great.
    Rating: 7

    Ben Tritle

    I have to give credit to the birth of a dream here, or at least the fact that they tried original music on their first CD. Using the poems of Shel Silverstein, the Blue Lights try to present a musical interpretation of what I remember fondly as childhood happiness. I just didn't realize my childhood was quite that long. It really could have stood to be a few minutes shorter. The transitions were abrupt and the whole feeling was rather melancholy. The track also fell prey to the trappings found in most of the other songs: pitch and weak solos.
    Rating: 3

    Shawn Pearce

    A setting of Shel Silverstein lyrics backed with original music. VERY nicely done...I could hear this done by glee clubs across America. Good solid harmonies, good flow, good tuning. All around a solid performance.
    Rating: 8

    Rebecca Christie

    Original music — cool! And this is actually sort of cute and engaging. As usual, the bass has some energy, the background has coherence problems and iffy tuning. Also, the solo put a little more rasp in it than I would have chosen. But I still think this is pretty neat. (And yes, I do like Shel Silverstein poems, whence come the lyrics.)
    Rating: 6

    Gabriel Shabbtai Rutman

    this is an original thing. they took shel siverstein's words and did a little medley for which one of the members wrote the music. unfortunately the pitch is terrible, as usual. points for originality.
    Rating: 3

  17. Brown Eyed Girl (4.8)
    Randi Sherman

    (see comments for "The Longest Time")
    Rating: none

    Ben Tritle

    Despite the fact that this is such an overdone song, I forgave them that, because it actually was accomplished with a minimum of errors. Nothing special, but don't kick this one to the curb.
    Rating: 6

    Shawn Pearce

    Too stiff. Soloist is OK, but there's virtually no swing here. Very distracting to the rest of the piece
    Rating: 5

    Rebecca Christie

    This is another one of those songs people want to like, and the Blue Lights do not disappoint. Pleasant solo, some energy and decent tuning (except for one short bit, right after a nice breakdown by the bass and percussion). I'm not sure why they felt the need to change the sha-la-la rhythm, but aside from being a bit distracting, solo handles the ending bit well.
    Rating: 5

    Gabriel Shabbtai Rutman

    of course. fine. soloist is pretty much on it. the arrangement, or the group, or both, destroy the chorus of "la la la la la la la la la ti da" stuff rhythmically by putting shit on the downbeats instead of the ups. oh well.
    Rating: 3

  18. And We Bid You Goodnight (5.2)
    Randi Sherman

    They chose to end on this song because of the title and the words, and it's like any college choosing a traditional college song. I can't believe that they snapped during the song and someone pounded on their chest right after the lyrics "lay your head down upon your savior's breast." The group did steer away from all singing in the same rhythm, so they end the album with a "light" at the end of the tunnel.
    Rating: 4

    Ben Tritle

    Ably sung, not much more than that. It just seemed to come as too little, too late. It also seemed too long as it was one verse repeated at a faster speed the second time around with a couple of minor flourishes.
    Rating: 4

    Shawn Pearce

    Solid harmony in the beginning....goes into serviceable doo wop in the middle. Cute way to end the album, although I MUCH preferred the slow harmony part in the beginning....
    Rating: 7

    Rebecca Christie

    This is a pretty ending tune. Slow, but a little upbeat, pleasant and cute. Feels like it should have glee-club words, not gospel ones, but thats okay. It's a nice ending song anyway.
    Rating: 5

    Gabriel Shabbtai Rutman

    a grateful dead tune, very nice little ending to the album.
    Rating: 6

  19. Sweet Georgia Brown outtro
    Randi Sherman

    [not reviewed]
    Rating: none

    Ben Tritle

    [not reviewed]
    Rating: none

    Shawn Pearce

    [not reviewed]
    Rating: none

    Rebecca Christie

    Competent whistling, with an in-character (for the Blue Lights) voice over. I didn't mind it, and it comes through okay on the cute-or-cloying test. Nice job, guys. You made it, and the next album will be even better.
    Rating: none

    Gabriel Shabbtai Rutman

    [not reviewed]
    Rating: none

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