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This album was reviewed by five members of
RARB. In this compilation, their comments are
always listed in a consistent order. Thus, for each song (and in the
"overall" section), all comments numbered "1" are from the same
reviewer, as are those numbered "2", etc.
I have a dilemma here, because I want to commend this group, but I think
their album is maybe not the best reflection of what they are capable of.
Let me be more specific: this is clearly a talented group of musicians.
There are very few pitch problems on this album, the leads are generally
strong, and their blend is very pleasant. BUT (!) they do not play up their
strengths enough. 'Time After Time' falters when it tries to push the
tempo, it excels when it settles into mellow, blendy grooves. So I think
this is a good group (maybe one of the better collegiate female groups),
but I think their song choice really hurts them at times.
Rating: 6 (5.1)
Vocal Point is a strong female group in general. They've got
some really good voices, including their "basses". Strong low
voices really make the difference in an all-female group. Their
strong features are their background blend and good use of dynamics.
In my opinion, their best songs are their ballads. Some groups
tend to put you to sleep with slow songs, but Vocal Point's pretty
ballads consistently avoid this. They have a great variety of
songs here, including some songs from the 70s and 80s that are not
standard college a cappella fare. Their only pitfall is that some of
their arrangements are too monotonous. Some of the good songs could
be great with more interesting arrangements, but they have a good,
full sound overall.
Rating: 6 (6.7)
This is a pretty good album for the most part. It has some really nice
moments, and nothing is too bad, but I think it really could've been
helped if the group had thought more about the appropriate moods
of the songs. The first half or so of the CD leads you to think they're
a typical women's group with no chest voice and good classical
technique. Misapplied brightness later on lets you know they can do
it — I am mystified why they don't try to fit this in where it would be
more appropriate. Chain of Fools and Fallen are two very different
but stellar tracks where everything comes together, but for the most
part the album can never get everything to come together. There are
some bizarre interpretations, but overall a good mix of songs that
sing for themselves and don't need fancy studio effects or schtick.
The second altos don't have very much depth but when allowed to
stay in their range provide a lovely mellow bass to the songs that in
my view is better than the really low blat of some women's groups.
I'd also much prefer a group to be overly full than overly bright and
whiny; with an occasional exception Vocal Point is definitely on this
side of the fence. Their voices are pretty good for the most part, and
Stefanie Cohen puts in really solid work throughout the album so I'll
break tradition and mention her by name.
Rating: 7 (7.0)
I can't get excited over this album. There are a couple of
tracks which are great, but not enough to carry the entire album to
greatness. The main problem here is that they are a "typical" women's
group; good at harmonies, but lacking in any depth or power, weak
vocal percussion, etc... I have to agree here; every song that needed
drive to it didn't have it, and there was no one song that got me
pumped up over the music, although there were songs that really had my
heart melting. They need to work on their faster, harder, more
driving repertoire (if they wish to continue to do these kinds of
numbers well) if the overall albums are to improve.
Rating: 6 (7.0)
This is a generally good album, with some very good songs. This group
definitely has a specific type of sound — very smooth and blendy.
This both helps and hurts this album. As expected, the ballads benefit from
this sound. Unfortunately, this blend is coupled with a lack of tightness
in entrances and exits, a lack of drive on faster tunes, and a lack of punch
or energy on many tunes. The problems are more troublesome as the album
goes on, early songs are generally better than later. The overuse of reverb
would sometimes exacerbate tightness problems. Some songs on this album
sound very much like the
soloist was recorded separately and dubbed over the group. While this is often
a good technique, in the end it should not sound as if the recording was done
in this way. Often, the soloists didn't seem to be connected with the group.
Sometimes the soloist would sound much more energetic than the group. Sometime
pitch or timing was slightly off. This album is a solid effort, however. Many
of the songs work well and the soloists are strong for a college group.
Rating: 7 (6.2)
This is a very solid track musically, but stylistically it has no
clue.They have a nice group sound, but they can't make up their mind
whether to lay back and sing classically or rock out. Frankly, I think they
side too much with the former on this tune, but the indecision gives a
jumpy quality that wrecks the groove.
A nice arrangement, good energy and good use of dynamics.
This is a solid rendition, but why does every women's group
do this song? It was never one of my favorites, so I don't
understand its popularity.
Chest voice, ladies, chest voice. The opening displays some good
voices, but there's a definite lack of edge that really weakens the
sound because everybody sings head voice. The background is pretty
good. There are some lovely instrumental obbligatos, that float on
top of the background. The penultimate, or "a cappella" chorus does
not have the same seemless blend of the other choruses; they add
volume but not punch and the blend falls apart. Nice dynamics
The delivery is too "cute" for the kind of song they're trying
to sing, which is generally dark and moody. The background doesn't
flow into one another as it should, and some very major parts of the
background are missing that makes it seem very empty.
First let me say that this tune is done far too often and no group (especially
women's groups, who are its more frequent recorders) should ever record it
again unless they have something new to add to it. (I didn't hold this fact
against this group, but it had to be said.) This is a good
version. There is too much dynamic variation during some parts, sometimes
singers seem too "shouty". The initial "everybody's looking for something" is,
for example, much too loud. The sopranos should be mixed a little lower.
Arrangement simplifies the tune a bit, but this is good. The woman doing the
instrumental solo after the chorus was good, and at a good volume, not
screechy as it is on some versions.
I have a mixed reaction to this song too. On the
positive side, Stefanie Cohen gives a virtuoso
performance on the solo. She emanates vocal control and
cool and takes hold of the listener. On the other hand,
I can't stand when female groups try to sing like male
groups- that's what this song does, particularly at the
beginning, where the altos are forced to sing lower than
they should. I liked this track, I just wish the
arrangement was better suited to the group singing it.
This is a pretty ballad with a great solo — sounds much like the
original, and it works. The interesting arrangement and addition of
vocal percussion keep it from getting boring.
Lovely solo; she sings meaningfully but doesn't overdo it. The
obbligato is tasteful and blends well with the soloist without
interfering with the light melody. The echo "flute" sound is a very
pretty counterpoint. The seconds altos fog out at the bottom
notes; they could benefit from a more concentrated, less fuzzy tone.
The bridge into the chorus loses accuracy consistently, but the song is
pretty well done. Best on the album in my view, for what it's worth.
VERY pretty background work on this one.....a nice relaxed
pace and a flowing wave of sound. The soloist is featured well in
Very good soloist. Percussion is understated, but works very well. Energy is
well maintained in this tune. The supporting voices on "falling for you"
blend quite well.
Again, the same issue: this group is clearly talented musically, but
their singers apparently do not come from a rock or blues background, but
rather are more classically trained. This is not a great arrangement, and
it really falls apart when the background drops for the 'power solo'.
No major problems here, but this arrangement could definitely be
more interesting — it needs more movement in the background. Also,
the solo is not bad, but unremarkable.
The soloist sounds like a watered down version of Cher;
too husky and no oomph whatsoever. She has a good
voice; I bet she'd sound really good doing jazz, but is
just not right for Bonnie Raitt. There's a certain
abrasiveness required to do bluesy stuff like this, and
an ability to bend notes that Vocal Point just doesn't
have. Nice dynamics, but the background is for the most
part blurry and none of the notes come through too
clearly. Their efforts to slide as a group fail
miserably. The slide guitar is at her best shadowing
the soloist near the end.
Bonnie Raitt is quickly reaching over-covered status among
collegiate a cappella as artists go. (see Sting and Billy Joel for
other examples.) Because of this, and because I don't like Bonnie Raitt
to begin with, I don't really like this song. However, there are some
very musical things happening in the background, and the lead does a
credible job with it, so it got a higher rating than I thought I
would give a Bonnie Raitt chart.
Good energy, especially in intro. Volume changes are handled well, and they
effectively simulate the energy of a band kicking in. The "wah-wah" blues
guitar is a little over the top at times; it might have been more better to not
try to actually imitate the sound of the guitar, rather recreate the musical
part it plays. Solo is good, but a little too straight (the "growl" doesn't
The first satisfying arrangement on the album, Lawrence Loh's
arrangement stays mellow, and that style seems to best suit Vocal Point.
Linda Park delivers a empathetic solo. Vocal Point seems to excel in
blending and harmonizing, and this track gives them a vehicle to do that.
Great song choice. I love this song, and I have never heard an
a cappella version of it before. The solo is rich and soulful,
and the blend in the final verse is very good. I just like it.
I like the solo intro style but think the song should
have been brought up a step to sit more comfortably in the soloist's
range. She could stand to brighten her sound and moderate the
vibrato, but I'd rather her err on the husky side. The duet on the
verses is very tasteful and effective, less so on the chorus. The
background is all right, except for the bridge which is not in tune
and breaks the mood. I like the four-part last verse a lot, though
the resulting chorus starts out a little strangely.
Easily the best song of the album; the arrangement is very
tasteful, and doesn't fall into the traps that other guitar-based
arrangements fall into. In general, anything that involves block
harmonics seems to be this groups strong point. And the soloist
sounds beautiful......great job.
Soloist has a great, slightly breathy, low tone. Backup
singers on chorus work very well.
The liner notes say that this is an arrangement Vocal Point
'devinylized' from Yale Whim 'n' Rhythm, and I have to ask: WHY?!? This is
a fine performance, but the arrangement does nothing for me, right down to
the "DOON-d-DOOM!" percussion.
This song is becoming another overdone a cappella standard, but I
like what they do with it. The soloist does a good job of deviating
from the original while still making it work. The percussion is
also good, giving the song a full sound.
This is not in tune. It opens very poorly and sounding very out of
sync; the rest of the song background is passable. Although the soloist
has a good voice, she's flat too often to fully appreciate some of the
nifty liberties she takes with Allison Moyet's featureless solo line. The
percussion is very "hooey" for lack of a better word, but I do applaud
their attempt to get down and add energy. They are really trying to
get it going on, and hey, maybe it worked better live.
I've heard this done better. The background isn't utilized as
well as it could be. The soloist is good, but not good enough to
distract me from the substandard tuning and slow movement of the
song....this could have been better.
The soloist is fine, the arrangement is a true-to-the-original very simple
arrangement. Nothing particularly interesting about this tune.
I'm sure this is funny live, but it really isn't very interesting on
the album, despite an unconventional arrangement by Lawrence Loh. Let me be
clear: there is nothing WRONG with this track per se, it's just sort of
Great song choice, but a boring arrangement. This song is a lot
of fun, but could be much better if the arrangement were not
so monotonous and repetitive.
The percussion should have been more or less pitched at the
beginning because it accidently obstructs the key. The arrangement is
simple, but I think fairly successful, but the soloist unsuccessful. She
for once in chest voice and overdoes it in an attempt to find some
edge. I like the breakdown toward the end, although the "spoken
stuff" is quite cheesy. Not the best song to tackle, maybe, but good
Disappointing; this is a natural song for an all-female group,
but it had no energy! The chorus is far too reserved, and the groove
is never really established. The soloist, on the good side, has the
best Belinda Carlisle impersonation I've heard in a while.
A good song choice, but arrangement is very simple, making the tune less
enjoyable to listen to. The soloist is good but not great. Good energy.
If you're going to have the group snap, work to make sure that everyone's
really together. Being even a little bit off (as they often are) is quite
There isn't a lot to say about this song. The performance is adequate,
the words are pretty funny, Ellen Schein's solo has a nice 1950s diva style
("The Leader of the Pack" style). I thought this tune was cute.
A cute and amusing change of pace. Nice to see some humor.
This soloist has the right idea with her light chest voice. Addresses
the silly tone of the song very successfully. A few pitch problems
exist, but they're not too intrusive for the most part.
If the group had taken this song totally seriously — no
giggling in the background and the like — this would have been much
funnier, IMHO. The punchline is good, though, and it was a cute idea,
so it wasn't a total loss.
A song with cute lyrics about amoeba love. The song seemed a little too
repetitive, even though it was reasonably short. This sounds like a 1950s
They perform the Indigo Girls rendition of the Dead classic pretty well
actually. Another arrangement by Lawrence Loh that I think is well-suited
to their talents. The instrumental imitation of "Ba-Doot-Doo" could easily
disappear and the song would actually gain, but other than that, I think
this is a very strong track.
This is the way this song should be done. The arrangement is nice and
full, with lots of movement in the background, and the solo is good
and strong. Nice blend and variation in dynamics — good choral
Soloist sounds good, but doesn't sound quite comfortable
in the low range, although the tone is quite pleasant if soft. Nice
blend, and arr for the most part. Very nice soprano line for the last
verse. I like the improv final chorus.
This song doesn't suit this particular group well.
Both the Dead and the Indigo Girls have done this, but this doesn't
really evoke memories of either. On it's own merits, it's well done,
and the harmonies are very tight, but it pales to the original....and
The duo lead was good, the backgrounds quite good as well. The overlapping
group/duo trading at the end worked very well. The arrangement is strong;
I especially liked the second part of the bridge where the duo swells into the
whole group singing in unison.
Vocal Point shows that they are capable of pulling off effective vocal
jazz. Francine Ciccarelli is very good on the brief lead, and the chords
ring like they should. A good interpretation of the Roger Emerson
Um, blech for song choice. This is a song that you either love or
hate. To me, it always sounds drippy and sappy, no matter who does
it. That said, the arrangement is ok, but the soloist has some tuning
D'you remember Lisa, Baby's older sister in Dirty Dancing? This
soloist is in tune, but the similarity is uncanny. Nice arr, and I do
like the jazz chords behind away above the chimney tops. The last verse
is a little sforzando-happy. Of broadwayesque songs to do, this one is ok
but not the most thrilling.
The perfect song for this group; it really showcases the
strong block harmonies that they're good at.
The soloist could have been cleaner on her diction, although her pitch was
good. The group had a very good blend on this tune. The arrangement was
interesting, it moved the voicings around a lot within the group.
I would guess that this is a holdover from earlier years. So OK, they
don't sound like the Andrews Sisters, but you know what, I never liked the
Andrews Sisters anyway. I kind of wish this tune wasn't on the album, but
it is performed pretty well.
Not bad, but really needs more energy. And one line in particular
sticks out every time I hear this song: "...if the bass and guitar
_isn't_ with him." Are these the original lyrics? (Grammar may be a
minor point, but it sounds awkward at best to me.)
I've been in a group that sang this, so I can't knock it too much. They
have a nice arrangement, with a great bass line that makes the song,
the rest of it is pretty good. Not the most stunning song in the world,
but fun and goes over well with alumnae. Thank God they didn't try
sing it like Bette Midler.
More good harmony, and they sound like they're having fun. I
just wish they didn't do this song, as it is VERY typecasting for a
women's group to do this.
A group rendition (rather then the more common trio lead or solo lead version).
This tune is another one that women's groups do WAY too often. This is a basic
arrangement, with block chords and an alto/bass line. No surprises here.
This song settles into a slow groove, and Rebecca Pomerantz's lead is
impressive and powerful. It makes you want to snap your fingers on 2 and 4,
and that's high praise for an a cappella cover of a classic R & B song.
Groovy, with good effects. The only problem I had with it is that
the soloist seems to try a little too hard with accent/inflection
Now this one has some pizazz. Plays off the Commitments
version, not Aretha, so has that somewhat closed sound like she's
trying to sing without opening her mouth very much, but for the most
part it's well done. I like Aretha's version better, but they do what
they do very well. Fantastic last chord. Why couldn't Sweet Dreams
have grooved like this?
Weak cover of an Aretha classic....these women have the tools
and the potential but never seem to be able to go for the kill. Song
is a little slow, and the burn isn't hot enough to make the song
smolder like it should.
The sopranos have this light "bah-bah-bah" line, which sounds slightly choral.
It hurts the soulful sound that the soloist is attempting. The arrangement
unfortunately relies on this line for its drive, and consequently the tune
doesn't have much power, despite an energetic soloist. There is no kick
after the bridge, with its "doo...doo" section. The person doing the little
electric guitar bits has a good sound, and it is restrained.
Oh, please. What has this world come to, I ask you, when we celebrate
the music of Captain & Teneile? I mean, doesn't this song belong on some
K-Tel collection? Oh yeah, Vocal Point does a decent cover of it. Good
cheesy solo by Amie Carson.
Another great song choice. It is fun to hear this one again. The
arrangement is good, the solo is good, and the basses are good.
Pretty solid all around.
Sounds like Carole King. Doot doot doot. The doo-woppy
background lyrics and stuff work pretty well, actually, the stuff that
should be vocals, but the "instrument" parts are lackluster like the
This suits their style very well; nice and harmonic, with a
bop to it, but not very hard hitting, which is a weakness of theirs.
Lots of fun to listen to, and the soloist is great.
The group needs to be far punchier on the "doo-doo"s. When they are quiet
they fade into the silence; it would sound much better with a crisp, and
still quiet, backup. Even the "stop" echo in the chorus sounds too smooth.
The timing should be tighter. It sounds like the group is just saying a
harmonized "stop" rather than singing it. The soloist is solid.
This version suffers from comparison more than anything else. It doesn't
have the freshness of the Boyz-II-Men version. They try to replace the
groove B-II-M had with a 2 and 4 "CHIK", and it doesn't make it. Merica
Paris does a nice job with the lead, but this version is a little too
pretty — it doesn't have the grit of the original.
I admit I was skeptical before I heard this one. It would be pretty
difficult, especially for a women's group, to duplicate the original.
But I was pleasantly surprised. Vocal Point does a version suitable
to them, and their sweet sound works with this pretty arrangement.
Why? Why do groups with no soul sing this song? Vocal Point is by no
means the first or the worst group to do this, but the solo is very
straight, overly earnest and has some classical vibrato. At least she
does her own thing instead of trying to do the funky "after the rain"
bit, I think the strongest part of the song. C'mon guys, just say no.
A credible version, given that it's a women's group singing a
mens group's song. The harmonics at points seem a little shaky, but
the soloist is VERY good, and the background is lush and strong,
giving her the lift she needs.
Soloist is a little flat in parts. Backup smooth. The hi hat sound sounds like
it was recorded at the bottom of a well. Arrangement is fine. The soloist
nicely builds energy through the song, but I wish it had kicked up higher
earlier in the song.
Really the first track where their harmonies are a little bit sour. I
think it's just that the soloists and the backing harmonizers have
radically different voices, and the strange blend makes it sound off-key.
In any event, this version doesn't really go anywhere.
Good song choice — another one you don't hear very often. It is
well done, and the basses are notable, but the background arrangement,
again, tends to get a bit monotonous.
Soloist here is overly bright, but does okay. Her obbligato has the
right tone, I think, but is much darker than the lead. The bridge
soloist isn't very good. Especially given the light tone of the primary
soloist, the whole song needs to lighten up, get some crispness and
some reggae syncopation. Quick cutoffs and phrase shaping would help a lot.
BOR-ING! Boring background, boring lead. No life, no drive,
no nothing, just a very mezzo-blah song.
Again, backgrounds need to be more forceful, punchier, and tighter. The blend
between the soloist and the supporting soloist starts out nice but they have
some unfortunate moments where they are just a little off from each other
pitch-wise, which I found nerve racking. Energy is fairly good in solo,
but group sounds bored.
The worst background on 'Time After Time', their cover of En Vogue
doesn't work because they turn it into a rock song. The rhythm and bass
lines, so integral in the original, are either altered or buried, and their
is nothing here to make it the funky hip-hop song that it is. They try to
make the backing trio sound R & B by singing it staccato, but that ain't
gonna do it. It's too bad, because Linda Park delivers a stylin' solo.
The funky style of this song is difficult to pull off, and this is
a good effort. The echo effect at the beginning is nice. At times,
though, the background tends to overpower the soloists, and although
there is lots going on in the background, it sounds a little
disjointed. It ends well, though — the 'breakdown' is great.
Nice beginning. This is a valiant effort in general; the background is
quite unforgiving and they do a good job. The low solos are well
done for the most part, and the higher solos are okay but could use
some punch for the most part. The "not this time"s are great. The
spoken stuff is really good for this group, but sometimes you just
have to say Uh-huh white girl. Let's all enunciate together: You Go
On With Your Bad Self. The "now it's time for a breakdown" could
have been much more inspired. Still, really tough song so I say good
To their credit, they try REALLY HARD. The arrangement is
there, the background is giving it their all, and the soloist is
trying to wail... but it never comes quite together. The soul of the
piece is lacking, and the songs NEEDS a power and a kick that this
group can't seem to provide.
A hip-hop tune. The most driving tune on the album, but not driving enough.
They get good dynamic variation, but some vocal percussion beside the hissy
drum sound would have helped significantly. Soloist is again good but not
unbelievable. The backup "no you're never gonna get it" sound mechanical
(which may be the intent) and tinny (which I presume is not the intent).
The group chord "a cappella" part is the most successful part of the song.
The title track is outstanding. Of the four soloists, Stephanie Cohen
shines most prominently. Their sense of vocal color really comes out on
this song, and the sustained backing chords show off the blend. A very nice
and pleasing finish.
Another song which I didn't think I would like, since I wasn't crazy
about the original, but in my opinion, this version is better than
the original. The arrangement is more interesting, the group blend is
good, and the soloist really makes it her own rather than imitating
I really like the first soloist; she has the right idea for the song in
mood and tempo. I like the background behind her too. The second
solo doesn't have any idea; too bright, but schmalzy; the background
follows her lead. Chorus is nice enough. The third verse is hesitant
and vibratoey; I think they'd have done better to stick closer to the
original. The "how long" and other overlays at the end have too
many effects that separate them to hide their effectiveness,
otherwise I like the end stuff.
Beautiful song done justice by all four soloists...it's very
apparent that this song has some real meaning for everyone in the
group, and it shines through in the music. Solid finish for the album
Great blend in the background. I don't like shifting soloists on this tune.
It is very soloist driven, and the feel of the tune changes dramatically
with the solo shift, unnervingly so. Also, the second soloist is getting
bluesy and varying the melody too much and too early. When the group has
an instrumental riff between verses, they should step up the volume. The alto
that is singing little lines around the melody during the chorus is very quiet.
I might mix her higher.