Soak Up The Sun - Single (2022)
Review By Dan Fister
June 22, 2022
Just in time for summer, University of Wisconsin-Madison's Redefined takes on Sheryl Crow's classic song, Soak Up The Sun. The group aptly recreates many of the familiar motives and sonic impressions from the original track. Soloist Bryn Muraff's tone sounds like a car trip along the lakeshore with the windows down: earnest, warm, and breezy in the best way. The other singers emulate her, so the track radiates a fun group energy.
While Redefined's sunny sound drew me in, I quickly found myself a bit frustrated that there wasn't more here. The musicians sing in tune and in rhythm. They breathe collectively at the ends of phrases. They blend within their voice parts. But large sections of Soak Up The Sun don't feel musical because there's no movement. The dynamics and the vp groove stay frustratingly constant. And, as a result, the not-quite-bouncy track drags slightly, almost stubbornly steadfast as the group heeds too closely to a clicktrack.
As one of my vocal performance professors from college often reminded students, when beginning to put together a new piece, learning the notes, rhythms, and pronounciation are all step zero. Step one comes after, when you start to make music out of those building blocks, when you begin to shape the song and your interpretation of it using dynamics, lyrical stress, and articulation, as well as working on sound quality. Redefined has clearly spent time honing its blend, balance, and timbre. More moments of the vp changing up the groove a bit, some crescendos and dynamic shifts, and a bit more forward motion would signifcantly elevate the musicality of this track.