Total time: 66:23, 21 songs
This group has really got it together. They have lots of things going for them in terms of achieving a full and balanced sound, including the fact that they are co-ed, and have a large membership. The vocal talent is clear from the first track. They have a solid command of the use of powerful musical elements such as dynamics, and the songs on this album have good energy throughout, leading me to believe that they must put on a great live show.
Each soloist infuses his/her song with lots of personal style. The women's voices are especially strong, but the male vocalists are not as aggressive as the women, and therefore tend to get overshadowed at times. There are some weak links on this album, but the good songs make it worth buying, in my opinion. When they are on, they are really there, no question, and it is nothing but a pleasure to listen to. The cd also has the extra feature of cd-plus video, but as I was unable to view it, I am unable to review it.
A slightly above average coed group, the Stanford Everyday People seem
to pride themselves on having a lot of soul. While some of it is evident
on this album, for the most part it seems to consist of their song choice,
which is all R&B and urban contemporary, which in my mind gets equally
boring as when a group does nothing but alternative Top 40 and selected
80's favorites. They do three Aretha Franklin songs, only one of which
really kicks. Enough said. They do the exact same percussion on every song
that could possibly use it, which gets old fast, especially since it all
sounds muffled and overly bass-heavy. A lot of the soloists have vaguely
androgynous voices, which they could have capitalized on more. For the most
part, though, their female soloists in particular are a cut above the norm.
For all their vaunted soul, this group has a really choral sound a lot of the
time. They could also blend better, especially between the men and the women.
The album is way too long, and sequencing, while good in the beginning, soon
begins to suffer. A lot of the songs would have garnered greater attention had
they not been buried between songs of a similar time period or genre. The
songs that work are the ones where they sound like they're enjoying
Rating: 6 (4.9)
A quick look at the packaging will tell you that a lot of thought and
hard work went into this album. Unfortunately, that work doesn't show
so clearly in the music itself, although you can see (or rather,
hear) that their heart is in the right place. They generally aim for
arrangements that put the vocal percussion back in the background and
focus their efforts into creating large harmonies in the backing
vocals (something other groups entirely forget to do). This is all
undermined by too many blunders to ignore. They make a lot of
attempts to mix in snippets of other songs into an arrangement. While
I respect the attempts to mix melodies, most of the time they end up
creating a musical mud puddle. (The one notable exception to this is
"How I Wish it Would Rain," which teaches an old Lou Reed riffs some
Part of the reason this album always seems to be only hinting at
what the group can really do is the engineering problems. The sound
levels are low and the tones are muted. When you turn up the volume
to compensate, the levels peak (creating some rather unpleasant
sounds). What makes this album noteworthy, in the end, is that it's
the first enhanced CD (music and multimedia on the same disc) that
I've seen from a college group. While the multimedia section is far
from a masterwork, they get points for being brave enough to try it.
Rating: 6 (5.7)
Why is this album called Wail? Because I wailed every time I heard
it. I wailed for a more interesting album. I wailed for a more
energetic album. I think it was more painful than others because it
was close, but not quite. There is nothing wrong with the album
musically. You have to look to find minor tempo and pitch problems.
It just did not keep my interest.
It is becoming rather popular to perform Motown and pop R&B a cappella
these days, especially with groups I have heard from the West Coast
lately. I don't really know why though. Especially when the
performances don't have anywhere near the soul, the energy, or the
groove that the original tune has.
Another disturbing trend to me is for college groups to put as many
songs on an album as they possibly can, despite the quality of a
number of their selections. Was 20 songs really necessary? I had to
wonder if this group ever looked back at their repertoire and noticed
how similar most of the songs were. Mostly slow to mid-tempo songs.
Very few songs got the blood pumping or stirred the soul. Only
'Future Love Paradise' _really_ grabbed me and showcased what a group
of this size (18!) can do. Lose the fat.
The more I heard this album, the less I wanted to hear this album. It
ended up boring me in the end. It was like driving 30mph on a
straight road in the middle of Iowa: no excitement.
The multimedia portion of this album did not work on _any_ of the PC's
I tried it on. I had to kill the tasks on each one of the 3 machines
that tried reading the disk because it hung the machine. So that was
a bust too.
Rating: 6 (5.3)
everyday people has a disproportionate number of outstanding soloists.
if every struggling a cappella group in the country could steal one of
the soloists from ep, well, uh, they'd be like, much better. however,
there are too many tracks on this album: the only thing i would've
done differently if i had produced it would be to spend more time on
fewer tunes. too many clunkers. i know this group's capabilities too
well, and i know that given an 8 song set they'll blow you out of your
seat with their sheer groove potential and solo superpowers. but ask
any group to come up with 20 amazing tracks for their album and it's
just not gonna happen. so "wail" suffers from inconsistency in this
regard. here's something that outweighs the weaker tracks for me:
this group has style, when you watch them, when you hear them, you
know it's them and not any of the other 1 billion collegiate groups in
this country. this cannot be overstated, nor can it be imitated.
somebody somewhere along the line gave this group a direction, and
they went in that direction with few if any distractions. i don't
want to sound all parental 'cause i realize i'm nothing but a pitiful
fucking child but if i had any advice for any group anywhere it would
be find something you like and do that thing really well, 'cause
otherwise you'll just be like everyone else. everyday people found
what they love, and they love what they do, and so do i.
Rating: 8 (6.7)
With a steady, solid beat, this is a great opener. The group is
really in the groove. Good vocal percussion, and a smooth key change
in the middle.
Percussion, while good, is too heavily mixed. The women on the
main riff are too choral. Soloist has a nice voice — a little too much
vibrato especially up top, and the heaviness with which she comes down
on the low notes sounds out of place (even though it's a nice change
from Mariah). The main gimmick of this song is the way that Mariah blends
into the background while she's singing in the same range, and this
version does the opposite. Basses sound a little bit lame.
Not the most engaging song to start an album with,
but not a bad cut at all. On the plus side, this Mariah
Carey cover is built around the harmony on the back-up
vocals, which is nice to hear for a change (when so many
groups forget to throw in any harmony at all). The
downside to this is that the harmony never engulfs you.
The overall sound of the group is too small (which I
suspect is a fault with the recording, not the singing).
Fortunately, the tasteful vocal percussion and the
easygoing spirit keep this song on track.
Have to admit I am not a big Mariah Carey fan, but this is a promising
start for the album. This song has a good, solid sound, with pretty good
harmonies. It has a steady groove, and the soloist is interesting.
this is great. until the bridge, when there are slight pitch problems.
but seriously, i like the soloist (osi imeokparia) better than i like
mariah (who, i must confess, i don't really like). this is a very simple
arrangement of a simple song, and it shows off an excellent singer. one
thing i might have asked for was a little more originality from the
arrangement (which seems to be a very straightforward imitation of the
original vocals from carey's version), but otherwise, a very nice opener to
this album, tight & unobtrusive vocal percussion, great.
This one is not bad, but the arrangement has gaps where almost nobody
is singing. These holes make the song sound empty and disjointed.
But when they are all singing, this group has a strong, full sound.
Basses sound too straight and rest of the background
is slightly out of rhythm. The chorus is nice, though. The whole thing starts
to sound too slow in the middle, as if they either ran out of energy or
started too slow to begin with. Bridge is far too naked (only one backing
voice for the pivotal "hoo-hoo" part) and soloist is off-rhythm.
Again, there's a lot of choral harmony here. The arrangement is
basically a lead vocal, most of the group in harmony behind her, and a
small simple bass line with a little snapping thrown in. Nothing
against simple arrangements, but this particular performance doesn't
have enough rock or soul.
A pretty simple arrangement. Except when everybody sang 'chain, chain,
chain', it had an empty sound. It left me wanting something more from
the song, but then it is hard to emulate Aretha Franklin.
uh, another great soloist, jane lee. again, however, i could've stood more
originality and variety in the arrangement, as it is very straight, and
doesn't really build as the song progresses. for some reason these songs
seem to be succeeding on the merits of the soloists, and the fact that the
backups just sound natural and unforced. all this needed was a little
spark from the arrangement to make me fall in love...
This song starts out quiet and a bit sedated, but the energy picks up.
The soloist really gets into it. The "muted trumpet" is good, but
the constant "doo-doo" in the background detracts a little from the
Soloist has a cool, androgynous voice, but he's
not completely there throughout the song. The background lacks oomph,
and it's a little too slow. Just when you think it's gone on too long, it
starts getting better, though, with a spot-on trumpet imitation, and the
background gets into it a little more. This could have been a really neat,
interesting song, but it doesn't quite make it in its current incarnation.
This starts out small and simple, but with the promise of a grand,
bluesy crescendo to come. When that crescendo comes, it is
unfortunately muddled. The ambitious arrangement doesn't hold
together; none of the vocal lines seem to quite fit. Each bit is just
a little bit off, but when you put it all together it sounds musically
A relatively slow blues tune by Louis Jordan. What an odd tune sung this
way. It did not sit well with me. Didn't like it.
i've seen everyday people live. you need to see everyday people live to
get this song, i think, not that this recording is bad, just that you have
to see adrian khactu sing this louis jordan tune to believe it. he's a
fantastic soloist, a fantastic performer, and his arrangement is
interesting and progressive and a great complement to his wailing. if this
song had stayed a little deeper in the pocket rhythmically, it would've
been perfect (ooh, except that trumpet, which i confess to not loving).
it's just great to hear somebody sing who's really just letting out their
personality into a microphone. fuckin' rock me.
I must start out by saying that I like this version of this song much
better than the original. The soloist is great, singing with strength
and feeling. On top of that, good percussion and nice background
Soloist sounds like she's flat, but I can't tell if
that's just because they've lowered the song to accommodate her. She's an
alto with a nice low range, and her voice is fine (albeit slightly
adenoidal-sounding), but she shouldn't be singing this song — Michael Jackson
is not exactly known for his bass solos. Arrangement is rather boring, even
irritating in that they leave out the highest and most prominent part on the
chorus. The key change adds energy, but the soloist still drags where she
should be the one driving the song ahead. Yet another group ignores the
irony of having a woman sing "I'm looking at a man in the mirror."
First off, this track can't come close to touching the Tuft's
Amalgamates version. That aside, this is a turning point for Wail.
Soloist Denise Shepherd has strong alto pipes from the very start.
Although things get a bit shaky part way through the arrangement, the
group finally clicks on the big finish — the harmony finally strikes a
chord (no pun intended) and truly perks up your ears.
An interesting choice of an alto for soloist... but it worked. Don't
know why I noticed, but the style she sang with chopped off the ends of
words, like "I been a victim uh, a selfish kind of luh...". Oh well. The
number of voices made for good choruses at the end, but overall the song
seemed to lack some kind of energy... some kind of drive.
ooh, denise. denise shepherd arranged and sang this track, and i loved
nearly every second of her... the harmony at the end of the chorus were
kinda weird, & there were some rhythmic inaccuracies in the solo &
backgrounds of the chorus, although others would certainly take issue with
me on this point. but denise is a great thick low alto, and when she and
the rest of the group start jamming towards the end of the track, she wails
and they wail and basically the title of this album is appropriate. i dug
the arrangement (although i could've stood less "doo"), nice mellow
percussion, nice reference to other jackson songs. you can mess michael
jackson up, you can cheesify him, you can ruin his songs a cappella, but
everyday people brings something new to this song and takes nothing away
from the original.
This is a great arrangement — full and well balanced. Soloist,
percussion, and the bassline are notable. When the soloist sings, I
believe her. Yeah, this one works. Period.
Soloist is good on this one. The same
percussion as in the last 4 songs. Mildly boring arrangement seems
appropriately simple here, and also we're being distracted by the soloist.
The chorus is nice and full, and I like the nice clear way the sopranos
go "baby" at the end of it. The only part that sounds weak is the ending,
when the lead overpowers the mike a little, and the background ends in
an odd way that makes it sound like the song's not finished. Good for
the most part, though.
A great showcase for the women. This song may seem
to be stuck in a groove musically, but it's a good
groove, a groovy groove. And it's got just enough
clever little tricks up it's sleeve to keep it sounding
I don't like this style of music much, but they captured the feel. The
backgrounds were not very compelling (especially the men).
this is great. great backup vocals, again true to the original, fantastic
solo by crystal mccreary, groovalicious. it just grooves, & that's what
r&b is all about. great solo over a simple groovin' arrangement by
geraldine "g" chung. love the last note, too.
The sound of this track is faithful to Seal's music. There is
intricate movement in the background parts, which always adds interest
to a song. Once again, the percussion is excellent.
This song does not start out well, blared out
by an unsubtle soloist with a choral background, and doesn't get much better.
Messy where it tries to rock, muddled where it's trying to be complicated,
only the second verse where the background thins out temporarily can you
even understand the soloist (who actually does better on the fast verses than
on the chorus). This song in general has a tendency to get out of control
fast, because there's so much going on, and it's really hard to make it
intelligible to the listener, but I've heard it done better than this.
There's lots of brief quotes from other Seal songs in this cover.
It's a bit crowded, but it's still clever and effective. At it's
worst, this track has too much going on — all the vocal percussion
slurs together into a large mega drum drone. The flip side is that
this is the first track on the CD that starts to get past some
recording problems — the group has a less muted sound than they had
previously. This is largely because of some slick use of shadow
vocals — the lead vocalist is occasionally joined by other singers
whispering the lyrics.
Best song on the album and the only song I ever really care to hear
again. Good arrangement with a great drive. It was exciting to hear. Do
more of this! Please!
seal. not a great solo, backups fall flat relatively often on this track.
the arrangement is extremely thick, which is not necessarily a bad thing,
but it's a little much a little early until the break that comes about
midway, which i really like. i like the references to other seal tunes
during the last chorus, it works well and pulls the listener into the
ending as opposed to boring them away. it seems to me there was way too
much reverb used all over this track, it kind of muddied the parts up.
basses do a good job in general on this tune.
Everyday People takes it down a notch with this mellow track,
especially since it follows the intensity of the previous song. No
major problems here, but the song is repetitive.
Something of a choral nightmare. An stiff and
unattractive soloist, who sounds like he's asleep at the wheel on the verses
and on some other planet during the chorus, and THEN he gets into falsetto.
The background is thin and unconvincing on the verses and suddenly composed
entirely of piercing sopranos and unintentional dissonance on the chorus. I
have yet to hear this song performed even adequately, let alone as well as
The leads are sung by a solid tenor, but he doesn't quite wail enough
for my tastes. The arrangement is tasteful and engaging. It holds
off on using any percussion until the very end when it throws in some
fresh syncopated rhythms.
Hey, more R&B/Motown! This was insipid.
Sounded like some guy went to a karaoke bar, sang this,
and recorded it for drunken posterity. About as far
from Smokey Robinson as you can get.
mmm, i don't know. i guess i'd have to say i didn't particularly enjoy
this one. not in love with the solo, not in love with the arrangement
which was kinda jumpy & stilted, i just think that ep is capable of doing a
lot more with this song. halfway through the bridge there's a huge
increase in overall volume, like the track wasn't compressed as a whole as
much as it should have been. a relatively weak link...
Again, this is a very repetitive arrangement. The harmonies are
parallel for the most part, and some of the chords dissonant. The
bridge and key change are a little rough. I like the use of multiple
A shriekfest for the women, who can't quite
stay in tune, this song starts out rather chorally, although the first soloist
is good, the second is adequate. Parts of it are tolerable, but the key change
is somewhat agonizing, and the higher they get the worse it is. Either one
person is really off, or they all have trouble staying on their notes. In the
end they sound as if they're in three separate keys.
Step aside boys — It's time for the women to sing! And when they sing
it never sounds like half a group. If anything, it's a little better
held together than a lot of the stuff I've heard from female groups of
late. The whole song is accompanied by steady stream of snaps.
(How long has it been since you've heard plain old snapping on a
college disc?! Too long, I'd guess.)
This song was a chance for the women in the group to show off, and they
made the most of it. This was a good song. Solid harmonies and a
groovin' background helped make this one of the best on the album.
all women, which was kinda cool i must say. i couldn't tell whether the
strange pitches at the beginning of this tune were bad pitch or just
strange pitches sung well, but definitely after this the pitches are a
little weaker than on other tracks. there're also some odd rhythmic areas
in the breakdown. nice solo work, though, and a nice arrangement in
general by g. not one of my faves, though.
This soulful gospel track is a change of pace. It is nice to listen
to, but at times the lyrics are hard to understand.
Mr. Androgyne from track 3 is back, but he doesn't
sound as good on this song, because he alternates between blending into the
background and powering it out without much feeling. He still has a beautiful
voice, but it's somewhat lost on this song. The background doesn't really
help, by blaring unexpectedly half the time. Ends suddenly.
They don't embarrass themselves, but they don't convince you that they
should be doing vocal jazz on a regular basis, either.
This soloist managed to get some soul — which is good, because overall
the men are duds. Not a really good song, but not a bad song either.
There was just not enough to keep me interested. Another slow song...
adrian saves the day again. i was worried we'd descended into bad pitch and
mediocre collegiate a cappella land there for a second, but it was not to
be. there's definitely some rhythm problems in the background here,
however slight, but adrian did a nice pseudo-jazz arrangement of this
standard and soloed the living shit out of it. short, sweet, great.
The solo is light and breathy, and somehow she makes it work for this
song. The scat section is well done. Effective use of dynamics, and
a decent arrangement of a difficult song.
This song starts out alright, although it
sounds a little too much like the last one, and it shares with that song a
severe tendency to get loud and unattractive, this time in the choruses. The
solo is okay, a little bit blah, but the scat is quite nice. Ending is way
Or, on second thought, maybe they should. But only if they use the
same soloist they do here. She's convincing from the start. Nice
slow scat solo. FYI-This song comes from a musical. Interesting
A slow, jazzy piece. Or at least I thought it was supposed to be jazzy.
It did not sound focused enough to thrill me.
this is from "city of angels." seems kind of an unusual choice for ep, who
i feel are better suited for and are better at r&b stuff, be it new or old.
anyway, this show tune left me kinda wondering why they chose it. not
that it's bad or anything, just that it seems a. outta place and b.
average. nice solo, nice arrangement, ok scat by denise, i just am sitting
here waiting for the next groover, waiting for the city of angels
soundtrack to end...
This song is really groovy. Great soloist. And since the whole group
is into the song, I got into it. The energy is high and the harmony
This song works because they keep the energy going,
and the arrangement has a nice feel — the women on the main riff manage to
not get annoying, and the solo keeps our attention by being right on.
Halfway through the song she seems to change position in regards to the
microphone, but this is overcome. The background is a little too buried
in the mix on the verses. The snapping part is cute and well done. Again,
though, the ending spoils it by being chopped off. A good song nevertheless
- they make a lot of the right choices here.
A nice blend of soul with a simple, pre-percussive arrangement. More snaps!
A fun bouncy tune with a good soloist. It got my head bobbin' to the
rhythm. Loved that ending!
ahh, yes. here it is. soulful, powerful solo by osi again. baby got
balls. nice, movin' arrangement by ethan rikleen builds throughout. how
good is this? very good. this is what this group does well. start to
finish, this song doesn't let you down. a groover. that's what i was
This is a pretty standard Manhattan Transfer song. It has its moments
but overall is very repetitive. This version has some good elements,
however. They keep the song light and the percussive beginning is
Soloist fits here (unlike in track 4), and while the
background occasionally gets a little heavy, for the most part it sounds
good. The soprano figure that dominates the verses works for me. I like
this song, but they shouldn't have put it after "Baby I Love You" as it's
similar in feel, but not as good as the previous effort.
It's got a slow drive to it, but it still seams a little under tempo.
A bigger, deeper sound than I would ever expect from the Manhattan
Transfer. There's a nice swelling effect towards the end of the
A moderately interesting Manhattan Transfer tune. However, I think that
the size of the group was a detriment to this song. It just was not
crisp. Mid-tempo jazz. Eh.
godDAMN, denise can sing. so low, so thick, she's great. i don't love the
percussion on this track, and there are some rhythm problems. the
arrangement did not thrill me after the first minute or so, and i didn't
love the sans-solo ending (maybe this song succeeds on any level because of
I love this song. This is a good arrangement and a nice combination
of voices singing together. The percussion is, as usual, solid and
essential to the great overall sound. Well done.
It seems a little bit silly to do a cover of
a cover, especially since they only do half of the song, without the
dance-y and guitar bits that make the Fugees version interesting. Soloist
sounds like she's trying to parody Lauren Hill, and in the process going
flat. Not really worth the effort, it seems to me.
I like the idea of doing this sparsely, but this sounds a little
anemic. Instead of being haunting, the overall tone is depresses.
The beat fails to groove.
BORING. It was gutsy of them to try it with a laid back
house-beat-thing... and not much else. Did not work for me at all. Not a
very interesting song. Enough with the mellow stuff already! Thank
goodness it was short.
bad pitch on the bass is noticeable immediately in this fugees cover (that's
kinda funny, covering a cover band), and his pitch is just plain bad
throughout. competent percussion, great solo by g, and a small, quality
backup choir of 4 or 5. this is extremely short, which i wasn't expecting,
and the tune might have benefited by exploding into a full-on version by
the whole group. as it stands it makes a nice intro.
This is a soft and gentle song, sung easily and without pressure. The
background is a little loose in places. Nice personal style from the
Choral background, starting out sort of twiddly and
disconnected, with another woman who sounds like a man on the lead. Blend
suffers on this song. Parts of it are nice, though, but no better than it
would be if Boyz II Men were really _a cappella_. You could argue that the
solo is marginally more interesting, but she sounds a lot like Aaliyah, so
it's sort of a toss-up.
Slow and unassuming, but it has all the gentle groove that was missing
from track 13. The sample from Motownphilly, however, is a little too
slow and lifeless.
Hmmm. Slow, mellow R&B pop again. Boys II Men slow, mellow R&B pop
nonetheless. Start with a lackluster background, throw in a slow
rendition of their famous 'In The Still Of The Night' intro, and you
have a song meant for the fast forward button. At least the soloist had
a nice voice.
i like boyz II men better on this. andy cann does a good job on the solo,
but the arrangement leaves something to be desired in its excessive use of
homophony, and i found the overt reference to the big boyz II men hit
"motownphilly" (the "dm dm dm da da" hook) contrived and unnecessary.
there are several rhythmic problems and even some harmonies that are just
wrong, and overall this is one r&b tune where ep just didn't quite cut it.
Once again, I am impressed with the percussion. This is not the
strongest track on the album, and probably the longest, but not bad.
After a slow start, the group really comes alive at the bridge.
Solo sounds like he's in a different key than the
background, and he also has a very weird quality on the chorus, sounding
like a cross between Benjamin Britten and Erasure. Then the bridge happens,
which is really unfortunate — the solo is off, out of his range _and_
warbling, and the background goes choral with a vengeance. For the rest
of the time the arrangement is fine, although it gets a little wacky towards
the end — obviously they were bored the rest of the song. The heartbeat-like
percussion they use 9/10ths of the time sounds good here. Goes on too long.
The lead vocalist has a thin voice. This isn't so bad in and of
itself, but he also sounds strained and nervous. He's a bit better
when the song crescendos on the bridge, but it still sounds like he's
pushing himself. The soloist also arranged this cut and he's
considerably more successful at that task. The tail end of the
arrangement is sprinkled with nice little blue notes. A good song
choice for this group, but the execution doesn't cut it. Is it just
me, or does the sound level really jump up a notch on the bridge?
A slow R&B song. An empty, soulless song. Blech. Boring soloist. Boring
arrangement. Pissy sophomoric ending. Anemic clap track as well. Take
two Geritol and call me next semester.
nice groove, bud (andrew beers) does an admirable job on both solo and
arrangement, with one exception: there's a strange chord at the beginning
of every verse; i think it's supposed to be a minor V going to a major V,
but it sounds like both at the same time. kinda weird. looking back on
the last couple of songs, i guess this is what you'd call a lull in the
album. none of these recent tunes have really thrilled as i know ep is
capable of thrilling.
Good song choice, especially for this soloist. Group entrances could
be tighter, but nice crescendo on choruses, and smooth blend.
Solo is good — she does
interesting things with the melody, and has an attractive voice — but
sounds a little unsure of herself. I can't stand parts of this arrangement,
basses are going "doo" and random people are coming in and not blending,
but some of the soprano parts on the chorus are nice and subtle. But
three Aretha songs on the same album is a little much.
Normally I would advise anyone against covering an Aretha Franklin
song, not because I worship her with a Murphy Brown-esque loyalty (which
I don't), but because as a vocalist she leaves her stamp on a song.
It's hard to top the audience's memory of Aretha. Keeping that in
mind — I like the lead vocalist on this cover. She's got strong pipes
and is worth giving a listen to.
These People sure like Aretha Franklin. But even Aretha would not like
this rendition of her classic. The normally tight women's harmonies were
_gone_. I was actually wincing when they sang in the choruses. What
happened? A simple arrangement of another slow song.
mmm. aah. crystal mccreary sounds mellow and soothing and beautiful and
natural and ethan rikleen's arrangement is a perfectly simple support for
her. aahs and oohs and great pitch and choral and soulful and just great.
This is a funky arrangement and performance of a good song. The lead
vocal is strong and clear, and the soloist really takes ownership of
This song seems a little overdone — the
soloist leans so hard on her low notes that she sounds like she's about
to fall over, and the background is just waiting for the "Joy and Pain"
bit, which they do so enthusiastically that it sounds a little bit
silly. Also having most of them do percussion on that part is a bad
idea — it makes them sound amateurish. Perhaps it could have been mixed
better. The background does have twice as much energy after that, though,
so maybe it was worth it.
Ever since I first heard the Tuft's Beelzebubs segue from "Space
Oddity" into "Major Tom" I've loved hearing quotes from other songs in
an arrangement. But not here. They cut into this classic tune with a
rocking section from "Joy and Pain." Although the group is actually
at their best during this intrusion, it still shouldn't be in the
middle of this song where, as a rule, simplicity is king. It's a
musical non-sequitur of the highest order. Until that point they
where trying to put their own stamp on the song with some vocals that
swooped and swooned through the arrangement. Is it effective? Who
can tell with the damn interlude breaking up the track and totally
taking the listener out of the song! Anyway, I'd be interested to
hear "Joy and Pain" in it's entirety.
A slow to mid-tempo song that was slow to find the energy needed to keep
things going. But with a little energetic piece of 'Joy & Pain/Sunshine
& Rain' it got a reprieve. But it finished too quickly, and with an
uninspiring ending. They tried, but did not quite make it.
i was being lulled into another pretty, soothing, mellow tune, successfully
rendered by g on the solo and adrian doin' harmonies. all of a sudden
there was an attack of "joy, pain, sunshine, & rain" i don't know what the
hell song that is but it was a total riot. injected this track with the
energy it needed to continue, and the percussion that began in this
breakdown continued on through the rest of the tune. very cool.
Unfortunately, this track suffers because of the track it follows. In
comparison, it comes out sounding weaker than it should. The
arrangement is thin but they make the most of it.
You would never guess that this song was
originally done by the Temptations — it sounds so white-bread. This
is not entirely the fault of the soloist (who is obviously an escapee
from a musical), as the background also contributes by singing as if
they're in straightjackets. Generally not a compelling song.
Here's is a fine example of what you can do if you just go back to the
basics. This carefully layered arrangement never seems too busy, nor
does it ever seem to be missing anything. The group makes nice use of
quotes from other songs: when they use the famous backing vocal line
from "Walk on the Wild Side" it isn't jarring or out of place at
all — they perform it in the same style and spirit as the rest of the
song and, once it seems natural, they start weaving it into the mix.
The women had their own song, so the
men boys deserve one too. Right?
Wrong. Yucky and slow with spotty pitch. I was bored
again. They should have chosen a different song. The
guys sounded like none of them wanted to sing any part
other than baritone. No spark. No energy. No life.
not a great solo, i think that's the first time i'm saying that on this
album full of immensely talented soloists. also, there are many pitch
problems within the first minute of this tune and towards the very end. on
the other hand, this arrangement is great. exactly at the breaking point,
where either boredom can set in or talented and innovative arranging can
take off, adrian rocks you with flowing and moving and bouncing and
grooving backup parts. overlapping references to other temptations tunes
and other tunes in general, the arrangement is what makes this song
Good song choice, but the soloist sounds disinterested. Energy and
emotion are better on the choruses than the verses. The song as a
whole is a little disjointed with all the samples, but the samples
themselves are very good.
An interesting song choice, it also starts out
well with a sort of 'false soloist' effect, but the dynamics are too
abrupt and the soloists blast whenever they get a chance. Nice subtle
high soprano line in the chorus. I don't like the shouty bridge part
where they all sing in near-unison, but after that it gets sort of
interesting with lots of different parts. The parts of this song I like,
I like a lot, but the others take it down a notch or two.
This track also relies on a the same sort of back to
basics arrangement that worked so well on the last song,
but it doesn't come off. Whereas they sounded low key
and sincere on "How I Wish it Would Rain", here they
just sound kind of tired. The quote from "Let the Sun
Shine In" doesn't fit in at all (and it's rather
lifeless to boot).
A slow to mid-tempo R&B tune again. Is it over yet? An ill-advised
medley with a _minor_ version of that 60's hippie anthem 'Let The Sun
Shine In'. Why did they do that? It made no sense to my ears. They
sounded like a bored choir in their choir robes. Where was the energy?
what makes this? the little solo offshoots all over the place. little
improvisatory licks and shouts and stuff like that, which adrian likes to
stick all over the place in his arrangements. this song has an overt
reference to "let the sunshine in" from "hair," which kinda caught me by
surprise, and then another to something i recognized but can't place. the
second i thought fit much more naturally than the "hair" reference, and was
performed much better as well. the main "ooh child" solos were very
appropriate, and overall i pretty much grooved to this track, especially
after the second reference kicked in towards the ending.
I really enjoyed this song. The arrangement is full and interesting.
Great choice of soloist for this song. Outstanding percussion.
Soloist has a nice breathy sound (though a little
nasal in parts where she tries to imitate Des'ree), but she rushes
the entire song, so that it ends up running away from them when it
should be laid back. She also is uncomfortable on the high parts,
such as the bridge. The ending is nice though — I like the way the
arrangement takes off, even though the woman who sings the high solo echo
should have sung that part of the solo too. Again, the very end is way
too abrupt, especially since it's the last song on the album — they should
have faded out or something.
The group is back into standard contemporary material here. On the
plus-side, they never go to far with the vocal percussion. In
general, there's no glitches in the performance. On the other hand,
the low levels that have been plaguing the whole album keep this track
from taking off.
It's that interesting dance song from Des'ree that everybody seemed to
like in the recent past. It sounded pretty good and had a good beat. At
least they ended the album on an upswing.
nice solo by davonna wadlington, nice arrangement (bud) with little
flourishes here and there keeps the listener interested throughout. toward
the end all kinds of parts get added for the insanity effect i'm so fond
of; the only thing i'd've asked of the arrangement which doesn't seem to be
present are bridges of some sort between the sections of the song, like
some kind of vocal bridge between verse and chorus or chorus and bridge or
something... but in general, kickin' percussion, great solo, sweet
arrangement, good tune.
I got to hand it to them for their pioneering effort on this, despite
the fact that a lot of the material is poorly designed. After a
promising slide show intro, the main menu comes off as shockingly ugly.
It's a bold psychedelic mix of textures that don't mix. A good menu
should add coherence to a multimedia design and unite the different
sections. This menu only illustrates the lack of focus that plagues
this program. There's a movie thrown in (under the menu heading
"video") that doesn't have a clearly defined purpose. It's a lot of
different material edited together: Concert footage, rehearsals,
hanging out, road trips, etc. The sound quality ranges from good to
inaudible and there's nothing holding it together conceptually. Maybe
just showing one song live, or else putting a narration over the
montage, would have given the video a real reason for being. There's
a few other sections: a slide show, a list of past albums, and a cute
match-the-faces puzzle that's tricky enough to be interesting
(although it never gives the user feedback that tells them that
they've finished!). The most interesting as well as the best designed
part is the "People" section. It's a good group photo tinted purple.
When you roll the mouse over someone's head, their name appears.
Click on their head and you can get a new photo and a bio of that
member. The other nice part about the program is that you can play
audio tracks from the CD while it's in your computer. However,
they could have made better use of this section: When you play a song
the screen graphics only tells you information that you could get in
the regular liner notes. Why not have a lyric sheet or a little blurb
by the soloist about why they do the song? And if you're going to put
a picture of a stereo with a remote control, the user ought to be able
to use the remote control to change tracks. Yes, it's flawed, but I
was still impressed that they pulled it off at all.