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Naturally Sharp

Virginia Polytechnic Institute

Wake Me Up - Single (2014)

4.0

Review By Robert Dietz

February 24, 2014

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I have to applaud Naturally Sharp for striking into new territory with its cover of Avicii’s Wake Me Up. This song is sure to be obligatory by the end of the year, yet this darker, halftime interpretation will likely still stand out. Such is the reward for the risk taken — kudos to the group for going there!

A few things hold this track back from greatness, and I think they mostly revolve around its length. Clocking in at almost five minutes, this presentation demands a flawless dramatic arc in order to stay engaging. The group does a lot of things right — a quiet intro, a choral section, and good dynamic variation between many major sections — but ultimately I lose interest in the tune. 

The first verse feels overly rhythmic to me, and as a result the return to the second verse at 2:40 feels tacked on. It just doesn’t build enough on what’s come before, because in truth there’s not much room left to grow. The quotes of Clarity and Forever Young don’t do anything for me either; on the contrary, they feel gimmicky and take me out of the moment. The ending does bring it home with a nice soaring solo, but by then my interest has waned from the preceding minute and a half. 

There's a lot to like about Wake Me Up! Still, A+ for effort and vision, B+ for execution.

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