Welcome to RARB Picks of the Year, 2009 Edition!
Reviewers who published at least seven reviews in 2009 were asked to select one Pick of the Year and one Honorable Mention. Reviewers with fewer published reviews could choose only a Pick of the Year. (Albums chosen in both categories are listed as Picks only; the full listing may be found under individual reviewers.) Reviewers could submit descriptions of their picks, but were not required to.
Newly this year, reviewers were also asked to select Songs of the Year!
To quote the conclusion of my RARB review:
I sincerely feel that this album should be required listening for all new collegiate a cappella group members, to show what is possible within the genre. Let me preach to the choirs (ha ha): You can sing in tune! You don't have to always do pop song covers! You can be creative, even writing your own songs! Your songs can be about funny topics! You can be a kick-butt group without having a kick-butt soloist! Your VP can be effective without producing the heck out of your drum sounds! Even if you haven't yet learned the language of the past classical masters, this album can help in your a cappella education.
An extraordinarily ambitious album, which succeeds in its ambitions nearly flawlessly. It has the feel of a true rock album, and contains the most memorable song of the year.
This was the most memorable song of the year for me. It was so unique that I had to devote 281 words of my RARB album review to describing the one song. As I said at the time, ``I am now probably up to my tenth listen [of the song]; my current reaction is simply: "This is genius".'' That remains my opinion.
Although the album review has been delayed, and although this is not an a cappella song (piano accompaniment), the arrangement and sheer beauty make this one worthy of mention. The soprano soloist is stunning.
A near perfect collection representing the absolute best the a cappella community has to offer. The tracks are varied, but hang together well, resulting in a really enjoyable and cohesive listening experience. Sing V is an album I can listen to from start to finish and enjoy both the unique style of each track and the overall feel of the album.
Featuring incredible soloists backed by fun, inventive arrangements, On The Clock was one of the most fun and energetic releases of 2009.
Patrick Lundquist's soaring solo makes for some truly uplifting moments. The arrangement is energetic and moves at a perfect pace so that when the song reaches its climax, you can feel it in your bones.
Aaron Boykin at his best. Phenomenal solo. The backs are tight, fun, and bursting with energy.
O ne of the most complete, well-rounded, and consistently awesome a cappella albums I've ever heard. It leaves you wanting nothing — except more Maybebop. Never have I heard such a full spectrum of emotions, styles, and genres executed so masterfully and seamlessly.
A unique a cappella experience that features passionate performances, impeccable musicality, and a strange, unique approach to music through "voiceplay". Definitely the most intriguing and pleasantly different album of 2009.
This album came as a pleasant surprise. In an era where most a cappella groups are offering up nothing more than note-for-note transcriptions of current pop hits, Onoscatopoeia contributed an actual album to the a cappella community, and a solid effort at that. Great jazz singing, meshed with a contemporary sound makes The EH List my favorite album of the year.
This album is just fun to listen to. VoiceMale didn't skimp on the ear candy either, utilizing production every step of the way. Fortunately, I didn't feel like the production was being shoved down my throat, which made for a slick album you can listen to over and over.
With something for everyone, Six13 has delivered a recording that is as close to pure joy as one can imagine. The album brims with positively pumping pop music and sinfully sexy soul stirrers. Had I had my way Im Eshkachech would have been my third song of the year.
I'm Coming Home, Baby, Victor Sandman, Paul Toms, Nate Altimari, John Clark, Ed Boyer, 56:32, sky high tenors, perfect percussion, power pop, fun, charismatic, booming bass, endless string of platitudes that lets you know this is the real deal.
Short of open weeping in praise, enough has been said about this game-changing release from one of the more underrated groups in collegiate a cappella. So I won't say any more.
Hyper-ambitious and messy, but never unmemorable, this release from Norway seems to set the stage for a masterpiece. If so, history will look more kindly upon this love/hate piece of vocal kitchen sinking. If not, it's still a noble curiosity.