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University of Rochester

Bang Bang - Single (2015)


Review By Catherine Lewis

October 16, 2015

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Catherine Lewis

All-male covers of female-fronted pop songs are fairly prevalent now, but that doesn't stop the University of Rochester YellowJackets from tackling Bang Bang, the sex anthem originally performed by Jessie J, Ariana Grande, and Nicki Minaj.

As a performance, the song works: the YellowJackets both keep true to the music of the original and add a slight jazzy flair. The bassline that starts the piece is attention-grabbing and way sexier than any of the lyrics of this song. The recording is shiny — the pitch, tone, and blend are completely on-point, and the group's sound as a whole is completely flawless. This could be the dictionary example of an easy-to-listen-to pop a cappella cover.

But beyond the booty-shaking rhythm, the choice of this song is a little baffling. The YellowJackets miss the mark with their interpretation: this is a song about female sexual dominance, and the YellowJackets haven't done anything to shift the song's perspective. Lines like "kitten so good, it's dripping on wood" sound pretty ridiculous coming from a male narrator, and "funny, haha!" just doesn't cut it any more when so many all-male groups are singing formerly female songs. To make this song truly convincing, I needed the YellowJackets to do something more than stick a couple of guys in front of the microphone and add an intriguing bassline intro to this song; I wanted them to make me believe that this song came from their point of view.

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