Total time: 65:07, 15 songs
A competent yet not particularly original group, the Mixed
Company sound like
The Amalgamates — both
coed groups with strong voices and relatively good arrangements
who produce the hell out of themselves to try to sound more
like the trendy music which is all they do. But while the
'Mates get credit for at least doing some lesser known songs,
almost every single song choice on this album is utterly
predictable — either a recent Top 40 single or an 80's song
that everyone knows (and every group sings). They don't even
make the oh-so-daring move of having a woman sing a song sung
by a man, or vice versa. Many of them also extend the
philosophy that is the musical equivalent of photorealism by
doing the full length of the song without varying the
arrangement in the slightest. This works fine in regular
genres of music, but for a cappella it gets old. Fast. On
some of them they start to get inventive towards the end, but
it's too little too late to really count as putting your own
stamp on the song. If I want to listen to an exact copy of the
original, I'll listen to the original (or not, since they're
all so overplayed). If I want to hear something a little more
exciting in a cappella, I'll turn elsewhere. That said, this
is far from a bad album. I've just heard far too many like it
to be able to jump up and down anymore.
Rating: 6 (5.7)
I've only recommended two RARB albums to date. I'd like to
add this to the list. Mean Say Love, although it
has a few dud tracks, is a fairly consistent co-ed disk from a
group with a full, healthy sound. What's keeps this album from
being GREAT is that you never get the sense that the
group is having any fun. (I'm not saying every album has to be
tongue in cheek. "Flail" was deadly serious, but
its arrangements were on a level all to themselves and the
lead vocals were consistently top notch. This album can't say
that.) The seriousness kills tracks like the early 80's
classic "Tainted Love". What
you will get, in exchange for that shortcoming, is the
ambitious "Techno Medley", which
is seven minutes of almost faultless a cappella dance music.
(You heard me right — dance music.) Throw in the best versions
I've heard of the compulsory "Interstate
"Why Should I Cry For You" and
you've got a pretty good bang for your a cappella buck.
Rating: 8 (7.2)
It is rare that I truly can say that I enjoyed listening to
an entire album by a collegiate a cappella group. Am I alone
in that? Maybe. But I enjoyed listening to mean say
love. Maybe we're on the road to better times. Maybe
I'm just a lucky guy. I believe neither of these things to be
true. However, I can say in all candidness that I was truly
impressed by this album from Mixed Company. The song selection
is at the same time fun, brooding, current, retro, dance,
alternative (whatever that means), grunge. Taken as a whole it
is as high quality as I've ever heard a college group achieve.
The production value is excellent; the arrangements are
wonderful, clean, and uncluttered; the soloists are very good;
uh, wait, what else is there... Oh yeah, there's percussion
everywhere, and pretty good percussion at that. Ok. Now what
else. Nothing. The album is great. Highly highly recommend.
Rating: 9 (7.4)
This is high quality college a cappella. It's that simple.
This album from Mixed Company features complex and
well-executed arrangements, many talented and confident
performers, and excellent vocal percussion. One listen to the
wonderful group blend and even balance of parts on this album
proves that a team effort really makes the difference. From
the beautiful "Possession" to the
groovy "The Sign" to the poignant
"You Oughta Know" to favorites
from the 80's and current pop, the quality delivered by this
group is consistently good, song after song, and this is a
great album for any a cappella collection.
Rating: 9 (7.5)
Consistency is the name of the game in "Mean Say Love", the latest release from Stanford Mixed Company. Overall it's pretty okay, with decent pitch, nice percussion, and the same vocal strengths and weaknesses regardless of who is singing what. Dynamics are particularly good for a college group in the studio.
Unfortunately, they don't manage to avoid the bete noire of the studio environment — they distinctly lack energy, zip and passion throughout most of the songs. There are one or two cases where I attribute this to conscious choice (the light prettiness of "No More I Love You's") but mostly it's a fault. Other weak parts are a preponderance of Chris DeBurgh-like solos (fill in the almost passionate, almost in tune Englishman of your choice if you don't remember "The Lady in Red") and a couple of arranging gaffes. The scat theme in "The Sign" was a very, very bad idea, and "dun" is just not in vogue as much as they would have you think.
Ah, but there are some benefits, too, things that stand out in my head even after I've put the album away. Some power-packed female chords amidst the chaotic barrage of "Interstate Love Song". Some wonderful swelling chords and backing vocals lurking in most of the songs. The occasional bass presence, and the uncomplicated but very effective bass drum/hi-hat percussion. And there is "Satellite".
This cut is worth the price of admission, especially since
there's nothing here that will make you run screaming in agony,
just some less remarkable repertoire. Read my song credits and
see me rave some more. At least about this song. And hey,
before you go, you might also congratulate me for not making
any — that's right, not one — overt California jokes. There
was potential, but I honestly think this group deserves better
than that. A nice thing, that surprises me somewhat but rings
true in my head as I think it over. Like Satellite.
Rating: 6 (6.3)
Pretty good rendition of the song, soloist not
(even) as resonant as Weiland but not bad. I like the
arrangement for the most part, nice swells and female
tags on the intro to the chorus. I would say overall
the best version I've heard of the song.
There was a time when I would have been shocked by
an a cappella group covering the Stone Temple Pilots.
But "Interstate Love Song" has become something of a
standard since then. That's why I was only half paying
attention the first time I popped "Mean Say Love".
While I was still trying to decide if the cover art was
cool or way too reminiscent of something off of an old
Air Supply record (the later as it turns out), the
opening track caught my ear with some nicely distorted
vocal lines. The slick production drew me in, but it
was the full coed sound and the solid lead vocals that
make this version better than the rest.
great arrangement, decent solo. allow me to
elaborate: both men and women are given wonderful parts
in the choruses, weaving in and out of and around the
soloist. also, in the musical interlude which stone
temple pilots sprinkled throughout the song, the women
sing a beautiful little melody with fresh and
interesting harmonies. percussion is solid, pitch is
unwavering. the only thing i was waiting for was the
soloist to start kicking and screaming, but i was sorely
disappointed by his overall lack of passion. all
credit, nonetheless, to jon goldman, the freshman
arranger, the man responsible for getting his group to
wail on this tune (just wish that 1. as a soloist he
could've taken some hints from his altos and sopranos,
who were belting it out the whole time, and 2. he had
some other arrangements on the album).
This is a strong opener for the album: a good, solid
cover of this popular grunge song. Great arrangement,
nice blend and percussion.
I must commend mixed company on the dynamic range of
an otherwise iffy beginning. The tenor
Kermit-does-guitar line on the quieter bit falls
particularly flat, as if prelude to an underpowered,
edgeless solo, and the rest of the chords are one
dimensional. This makes the chords seem as if the
notes aren't connected to each other at all, there's
little innate lock in the arrangement of sound. The
same cannot at all be said for the duet or trio of
female voices that comes in at the end of the intro
and periodically throughout the song. They sound
great and almost lift the song out of obscurity.
Solo has an unpleasantly grating tone on the bottom
of his range and slightly unsure falsetto on the top (he
was obviously the only guy in the group who could hit
all those notes, even though the way he hits them isn't
particularly nice). Background is okay but blend
suffers, especially on the chorus, although all the
verses after the first are nice with little fading bits
in the background. The chorus sounds a little girly -
something about the way they pronounce "take on me".
A Ha! Not only was "Take On Me" the best damn video
ever made, but it was also a darn good pop song to boot.
This version is enjoyable enough. The lead vocalist has
the necessary range to tackle the chorus (although,
oddly, he sounds a little strained in the mid range
section). The down side is that Mixed Company's sound
isn't at its fullest. This song seems to call for some
fun, old-school a cappella "Ba di da da da" type of
stuff on the instrumental sections, but only a few of
the voices are on that part of the arrangement.
i don't really like this song. never been a huge
fan of one hit wonders a-ha. i will try, i will try, i
will try not to let that affect my review. ok, here
goes. here are some personal things i wish would have
happened, or not happened, on this song: i wish that the
women echoing the words in the chorus would have had a
second to breathe before their next note; i wish they
wouldn't've done this song; oh, sorry, i said i wouldn't
do that. ok. otherwise, the arrangement builds nicely;
vocal parts stagger their entrances, great effects in
the bridge (both processed and sung), soprano lick
enters in the third verse for a little variety, a drum
fill panned 360 degrees signals the final choruses, even
the obligatory 80's pop tune fade out. nice. but wait,
i thought i hated this song! oh yeah. still do.
From the beginning, the percussion and synth sound
are impressive. And anyone who was in high school in
the mid 1980's will love this rendition of A-ha's hit.
From the lead vocal to the instrumental riffs, this is
an enjoyable track.
Interestingly produced and (I think, if not I am
scared) purposely flat intro; I am attracted to the
minimalist idea although I don't think it came out
quite as they intended. The ba-da-da-dup-dup line is
ill conceived, particularly not when sung by what
sound like a section of stoned valley girls (they
blend well, I'll give them that). Solo has a very
pretty voice and manages the range well but the
falsettoey tone isn't quite enough to do this song
justice. Nor is it strong enough to compensate for
his flattening out a la Chris DeBurgh. Kudos to the
percussion section on the chorus, by the way, and the
synth solo in the middle has real potential before
the valley girls come in.
A nicely subtle and inventive arrangement of a song
that I dreaded the thought of — for the irritating
beginning if nothing else. But they put the trio very
softly in the background, which works well. I like this
version much better than the Annie Lennox version (which
isn't saying much). Soloist is merely okay, however -
"lingwich is leaving me"?! — she's a little too far
back in the mix for her frail approach to be as
effective as it could be. She has a pretty voice,
however, when you can hear it. Also the soprano parts
on the chorus are lovely.
Is it the fact that the solo gets off on a bad foot
with a thin, breathy entrance? Is it the fact that the
people singing back up don't seem to care? Either way,
this song neither captures the emotional intensity of
the Annie Lenox version, nor does it have the pop
sensibility of the early 80's original version.
(Remember: Medusa was all covers.) Overall, this tracks
fails to live up to the standard established by
"Interstate Love Song".
ooh, nice. basses are huge, nice and wide from start to finish. sopranos
are superb on their big lines. percussion is laid back and quality
(although the fill here, as in take on me, happens with no pause in the
original drum pattern, which is a physical impossibility for a human
drummer, and which, in my humble opinion, sounds somewhat artificial — even
groups who use loops leave space in the pattern for a fill. sorry to go
off there for a second. just a pet peeve). music director jeff deason
obviously knows his way around a contemporary a cappella group; his
arrangements are clear and concise, never too complicated, and at the same
time never boring and true to the feel of the original. the melody, sung
by melody, sits gracefully atop this pretty ditty.
This arrangement starts out very simply, and this group
makes it work without sounding thin or empty. Then, the song builds
smoothly throughout. The percussion on this one is truly top-notch.
Very pretty. Light, ethereal, and not without a
charm of its own. The sopranos are in tune, not at
all shrill and have some beautiful interior harmonies,
the percussion tasteful and the mix for the most part
nicely balanced. What is missing is the hurt, the
edge, the passion that develops the contradictory,
twisted bent of the lyrics. Unlike the energy
deficiency of the previous songs, this is really more
of an interpretational thing they may have shied away
from, choosing instead a direction they knew they
could develop more. But for one familiar with Annie
Lennox' almost sadomasochistic passion, it ultimately
comes up short.
An overdone song in a cappella to begin with, the fact that the
arrangement is dominated by an extremely nasal guitar riff doesn't help. The
main soloist is also overly brash and forward in the mix, while the other
doesn't have the same volume, so the main effect or gimmick of the song is
lost. Also the echo lines off the chorus, and the guitar solo, while a
nice try at getting the spirit of the B-52's, end up sounding mildly
idiotic. The rest of the arrangement has little to no variation and gets
The B-52s are about as subtle as a car alarm. And
this version wisely sticks to the spirit of the
original. The lead vocalist don't have the same, brassy
tone that made the original so much fun, but they make
up for it with an extra helping of aggressive. The only
problem I have is on the "instrumental" section. A
melody line is given to a lone male voice who doesn't
cut the mustard (besides, what set "Roam" apart from the
other "Cosmic Thing" tracks was that Fred Schneider kept
his big mouth shut and left it to the women).
the b-52's. at least they didn't pick love shack, or one of their tunes
where the guy gets to yell off pitch. anyway, mixed company succeeds very
well doing this b-52's cover, although i'm not sure why they wanted to in
the first place. sorry. i'll talk about their performance of the song now
instead of my personal thoughts on the song as a song. ok — they committed
the mortal sin of contemporary a cappella, punishable by a year of
listening to the entire a-ha album: they had a guy "sing" a guitar solo.
the worst mistake any a cappella group can make. sounds dumb, ruins the
illusion that this is not really a cappella but a band of voices. but lets
move on. the soloists are great. the arrangement is also great. i most
certainly was not bored with repetitive verses (although i admit to having
wanted to kill myself during the guitar solo), and the breakdown towards
the end of the tune was superb. great production, as well, in terms of
panning and reverb-ed vs. dry vocals.
Good, full sound, taking advantage of the large number of
voices in the group. The unison singing, which can be more difficult
to pull off than harmony, is well-done. The lead voices are strong
and clear, and blend well.
Ah, a return to the upbeat, energy lacking songs. Main solo needs a few
more darks in her voice and a lot more spunk. She sounds fashionable and
clueless rather than retro and wicked. That guy solo halfway through is
way strange, but sounds exactly like Fred Schneider so I think that
cancels out its inappropriateness. Why do they cut "wilderness" so short
at the end? It is clipped rather than campy. Some neat background going
on, when the middle women remember to open up.
A nice arrangement that captures the feeling behind
the song, but the solo is too tenory and separated from
the background for the whole to really work. This song
sounds like that outmoded concept, blend, would have
helped a lot — the individual parts are nice, but they
don't hang together the way they should. Beautiful
soprano line at the end of the chorus, the basses come
down too hard on their notes, though. They sing this song
with the genuine feeling it deserves, rather than for
the nostalgia value of it (unlike
"Tainted Love"), which I
give them credit for.
A good song choice. The chorus is occasionally just
barely higher than the leads range goes, but he plunges
forward bravely, so it's never painful. And other than
that, he's well matched with the material.
here's an example of what groups should be trying to do, in my ridiculously
underqualified and annoying opinion: do a song nobody does already, do a
song nobody will be doing anytime soon, but do a good song that can be all
your own, one you won't see on ten college albums next year. another
beautiful arrangement on an album filled with 'em. i seem to be drawn to
the women's parts on many songs from mean say love, and this crowded house
tune is no exception. here they mimic the guitar delay of the original in
a simple yet perfect way. john bagdanoff did 5 of the 12 arrangements on
this album, and although this song might not blow people out of the water
(the solos, both on this version and the original, are not amazing, just
good), it accomplishes it's modest goal with warmth and precision.
I like the arrangement of this song — it is full yet
unobtrusive, and is supportive of the mildly-sung solo. The
dynamics of the background are very good, and overall, the song
Ooh, another pretty falsetto male solo. I am sensing a real trend
here. This one is slow so has sufficient energy, and is actually a nicely
credible rendition of this 80's song. Nine out of 10 people can sing
along with the chorus but would have no chance in hell of identifying
song title or artist, or even consciously dredging up the words immutably
fixed in the twentysomething subconscious. (By the way, guys, I noticed
that great dynamic swell before the bridge. Good stuff, need more, the
rest of the song is a little too tasteful and understated.)
A pretty good techno imitation — mostly due to the
percussion and the thumping bass. The women's solos are
pretty good for the most part, but the male solos fall
short — the rap ones are too slow and the sung one has a
bizarre tone. I guess the question is: Why do a 7 1/2
minute techno medley in the first place? To prove that
you can? I mean, it's well done and all, and I am
mildly impressed by the fact that they more or less pull
it off, but I don't particularly want to listen to it
over and over. Or even twice, for that matter.
Most of the medleys I've heard don't hold together as a coherent
whole. But this one just plain makes sense: after all, it's how we're
used to hearing dance music. Being rhythm-deficient, I don't spend a
lot of time at clubs and only own one dance album ("Electique
Plummagram" by Poi Dog Pondering), so I might not be the best person
to judge this track. That aside, The percussion is forceful and has
enough bass to make the whole thing work. Most of the vocals are sung
with total confidence by the women. The rap sections are rock solid.
The only cog in this dance-machine is the "What is Love (Baby Don't
Hurt Me)" section. It's the one lead vocal, other than the raps, that
are done by a guy, and, although it starts off strong, it's painfully
wimpy. Other than that, this track has a big enough sound to pull off
a tricky job.
uh, cool. uh, i think. well, i think this track is no more than the sum
of its parts. it's a trip through the techno wonderhits of the first half
of the 90's. no more, no less. well, maybe a little less. arrangements
of techno tunes for a cappella must be more than just a vocal percussion
beat and a bass line, which unfortunately, is what the listener is treated
to here. the weaving of these "songs" together at the end of the
arrangement is far from ingenious, and the solos in general are not
stellar. this was probably a great time live, but on this album it's a no
I love this track. It is a great change of pace following the
gentle ballad which precedes it. The techno sound is great, from
percussion to rap. It has life and energy, and a real punch.
Great basic beat. Good sop overlays. And dun, dun dun dun dun, dun dun etc. Energyless (surprise), with weak syllables and a first solo that sounds like Amy Grant. Rap solo has a nice deep tone and seems to be speaking through an opium haze. Maybe that's their problem. "Rhythm of the Night" solo is quite good, even with slightly incongruous chick-rock accent — if you are unfamiliar with accents of Ani DiFranco,The Story etc. this will make no sense so unread it and give the girl deserved kudos.
Hey hey — background picks up some spunk for the Mr. Vain section. Solo
is decent on chorus (low chest voice overwhelms her a bit, but nice upper
parts), and the bridge into the "instrumental" is cool, with some nicely
executed tricks lurking. Overall much better, almost makes me feel like
dancing. (Pause as medley continues.) Aw man, the medley went on too
long, though. There was some cool stuff, I was getting in a good mood,
"What is Love" background is great, but the guy is laughably limp.
I've heard so many group's versions of this song, and
they all sound the same. The only differences are how much of a clone of
Sarah McLachlan the solo sounds like. This one varies only in sounding more
plaintive and not as breathy. This version also happens to be too slow.
The bass line is also mildly interesting although it sounds awfully high
for a bass line. Arrangement gets as boring as they all do. Descant is
far too quiet although her tone is nice.
This is one of the album's real winners. I like it
the Amalgamates' version and the
Off the Beat
version (as heard on
I liked both of those versions, but this one has the
most emotional conviction.
although percussion in this song is executed well, i think it's the wrong
groove. the original seems to have an almost hip hop beat, whereas mixed
company performs it with a much straighter 4 beat. but you probably don't
care about that. here's what you might care about: the arrangement is very
pretty, as usual for john bagdanoff, as usual for the group in general on
this album. produced very much like the original (complete with fade-in)
and arranged with the cd handy, the bass line is nice and tight, the male
backups are a great imitation of the guitar parts, the women provide the
pad that glues the arrangement together. a very nice bridge shows off the
background, and soloist emily korell sounds great.
Beautifully sung by both the soloist and the high descant,
this is a pretty, emotional ballad, backed up by an intricate and
Gosh, look, another slow, pretty female voice song that doesn't
attempt to touch the pain. I really like the seamless background swells
before the main chorus. The harmonies on the chorus are nicely done too,
and the song builds decently. I'm wondering, was taking it up what feels
like a step and a half a really necessary thing? Methinks it hindered any
attempt the solo might have made to get down and dirty, or play with the
breathy break flips that give Sarah McLachlan eternal dominion.
Annoying syllables for the main riff, and soloist needs
to learn how to utilize her head voice on occasion. Especially on this
song — it's sort of crazy not to. She also blasts out the entire song
with even more of a plastic quality than Ace of Base, if such a thing is
possible. Arrangement also bores me to tears by the second verse — there
are more things to do with this song, believe it or not. This is the
best Ace of Base song to do, however, and they don't entirely ruin it.
I liked it, but if you tell anyone that you heard I actually enjoyed a
cover of a song from the dreaded Ace of Base, I will have you hunted
down and killed. Anyway, I actually enjoyed this a lot more than any
of the ABBA covers that have been coming out lately.
uh, hi. oh yeah. a really good solo by lisa rubin makes this song a
success, along with, of course, another quality arrangement from john
bagdanoff (the only place where i might have disagreed was with the "wee on
doo doo wee on doo wee" syllables for the main riff sung by the women, but
hey, i'm just the reviewer). nice panning of the women's choir at the end
of the tune (you thought we didn't notice that kind of stuff? sure, sure).
this is a rare track on mean say love where the basses kinda sound like
basses. that is, they sing low here, and not in too many other spots.
This is a fun track, and yet another one with exemplary
vocal percussion. The solo is great — strong, confident, and has
fun with the song. A really groovy track.
Oh wow, this is marvelously incongruous. Rockin'
intro drum bit, great little solo reminiscent of
early Madonna, and in between? A warbly scat solo!
Yes, amidst a cute, bubble gum Ace of Base tune, the
hook is sung on "Dwee-a-doo-doo-dwee-a-duie".
(Sounds like a Scottish intoxicant there.) Oh, and
why not have the "ooh" before the solo sung by the
background — disrupts the solo line, I think. But
after that "scat" thing, anything else is peripheral.
YAOS — Yet Another Overdone Song.
Soloist quavers through the quiet part and tries to
shout over the background during the loud part. He also
sounds too much like a tenor. The percussion is mixed
way too loud. The end of this arrangement is
more interesting than the rest, with more jamming, which
is good, but they should have integrated some of that
into the rest of the song.
I listened to this before I read the liner notes,
and from the gentle opening and the soft tenor lead, I
never would have guessed that this was a Pearl Jam song.
The song doesn't really kick in right before the second
chorus, when everything picks up in both energy and
volume. Most notably, the leads vocals gains strength.
From there on in, it's a great arrangement.
ooh, basses again, nice. great song choice, too.
the soloist on this song has a very pretty voice. eddie
vedder does not have a very pretty voice. eddie vedder
sings this song better, man. jesus, john b., it seems
you've outdone yourself. this is a very very cool
arrangement. nice sailing women's lines in the choruses
once the song kicks in, way to keep the song moving with
kickin' percussion and a wild bass line very close to
the original (if not exact, i'd have to break out the
album and that's just too much to ask). i'm not sure
how the solo from evenflow works harmonically at the
end, but it was a good idea anyway. i like this one.
maybe it's just because i like loud music.
This song seems at first to be a bit bland in comparison to
others on the album, but it really picks up in the middle. The soloist
really gains some life, vastly improving the song. Nice, tight ending.
Interstate Love Song, take 2, with better original
music to work from. I do not like the Stone Temple
Pilots, but I do like this song. And it would be
fine if we could get some gruff power on the solo.
(And consistent tuning wouldn't hurt.) To continue
the comparison, the women aren't as amazingly cool
but the overall background is better with a very nice
(post-solo) ending, so I guess it evens out. Same
rating, slightly different path.
This song is hard to pull off without Natalie
Merchant's voice to hold the listener's interest,
especially when you insist on doing the full 4 1/2
minutes of it — they should have cut it by half. Solo
is perfectly unremarkable except for her unnecessary
effort to hit the higher notes. In the second half of
the song she sounds more full — I think she moved closer
to the mic or something. The arrangement is
serviceable, except for excessive nasality in trying to
conjure up guitar sounds.
The lead vocalist delivers a very imitative
performance. Like the original Natalie Merchant
version, the melody line sticks to a very small range.
This is actually a tricky thing to do (if it wasn't, Lou
Reed wouldn't be such a genius) and she does it well.
Unfortunately, the person assigned to sing the distant
harmony (Annie Lenox in the original) doesn't provide
the sharp contrast that should highlight the song.
i've still never heard the original of this song,
even though the rest of the planet has. whatever that's
worth. anyway, i love the percussion in this one.
cheek slappin' goodness. i like the soprano imitation
of the solo towards the middle. AAAAGGGGHH!!!! oh no!
aaron! how could you have let somebody put a vocal
guitar solo into your totally cooly chillin'
arrangement? oh well. at least it was short. the rest
of the arrangement is quite full, and well performed as
usual. sarah does a great natalie merchant. whee!
another good one.
This is a good cover of Natalie Merchant, right down to the
voice of the soloist. The consistent percussion keeps it rolling along.
Check it out — a bass presence, a falsetto tenor
guitar line that is expertly done and overall
togetherness. Great! What else could we ask? — oh
yeah, they picked a boring song that's really tough
to mess up. Oh well, can't have everything. At
least it sounds good.
Ridiculous overproduction, especially
on the bass drum. Also the percussion is more forward than the entire
rest of the group. Otherwise the solo sounds thin at times, and strained
on the high part (her voice actually cracks painfully at one point). Male
lead-in isn't very good. The whole thing is a tad too slow, not to
mention too long, not to mention an exercise in the kind of '80's cheese
nostalgia I hate. Arrangement works well at times, but at others is too
I would have liked to hear less percussion and more
of the harmony. After all, the big harmonies on the
crescendos are the strongest part of this track.
i happen to love bonnie tyler. i have a weakness
for women who scream. however nice of a voice the
soloist on this tune has, she didn't quite give me the
bonnie i was waiting for, that rough and rugged drugged
out cigarettes-made-my-voice-kick-ass wail. anyway.
this arrangement is replete with a thundering vocal kick
drum doused in 500 gallons of dark reverb, something
i'll never get enough of. there are some harmonic
changes that i think might've been in poor taste, like
doing a IV major to IV minor to I progression at the
"total eclipse of the heart" lines. nice male "turn
Another favorite from the 80's, this is a great
track. I really enjoyed listening to the emotion in
the voice of the soloist. The arrangement is somewhat
simple, but it really works for this song — the
soloist carries it well.
This is the Diet Rite version of Bonnie Tyler.
Think Debbie Gibson. In other news, we have our
trademark wimpy male guy — sounds like the
unfortunate about to flop bigtime on Tainted Love.
Funny, but in this song he sounds a lot like the lead
singer for XTC. Hey, maybe they should have tackled
"Earn Enough For Us". Now there would be a
winner .... but I digress... There's a great bass
percussion kick with some nice effects. "Dun" is the
wrong syllable to feature prominently. Open fourths
in background before bridge a little weird, not
really me. Oh, and then tuning falls apart during
the loud bit before the key change, almost on
purpose. I guess something had to get really
Male cello-imitating voices sound overproduced, some
bad syllables in the beginning, but all is forgiven due
to the beautiful solo, who would sound even better if he
stopped trying to imitate Dave Matthews — he has such a
gorgeous tone that to spoil it with nasal twists is a
real shame. They pull off the difficult bridge
excellently, and the descant sounds good, but she should
be mixed farther forward. The best song on the album.
It's a Dave Matthew's Band cover — that's all the
information you need to know in order to imagine what
the lead vocalist sounds like.
hello, melody. you have written a great arrangement
of a great tune, and you had the wise sense to put a
great soloist, john wright (a bass? with excellent
falsetto), at the mic to kick mighty solo flav. who
taught you these things? john bagdanoff? whatever.
very very very good track. the best track? uh, yes.
you completely scored. the group performed the
difficult rhythms with ease (or at least they made it
sound that way). nothing too complex, nothing out of
place, simple unobtrusive yet subtly additive
percussion, beautiful pop harmonies. melody
mestemacher, if ever there is a day when careers will be
had in contemporary a cappella, you'll get one.
The soloist on this song has a unique and interesting voice, and
has great range for a bass. I also liked the high harmonies in the
background, but the song seems too long.
Yes!!! This is the song for them, the Dark Horse
that justifies their existence. The falsetto male
solo is exactly right, with just the right — dare I
say it — edge! The women blend. The basses sound
good. It's a laid back song that is perfect for
their subdued energy and muted but noticeable
dynamics. And the rhythmic precision on the intro
and the hook is unreal! I don't remember the sop
stuff being so prominent in the original but what the
hell, it sounds good. Worth the price of admission
right here, reminiscent even a bit of the good old
days, before Dave Matthews sold out and traded his
fiddle for four-four time.
Bad guitar syllables, which make up 98% of the song.
Soloist sounds like he has adenoids, and he's singing in
a steel tunnel (plus effects). Cool percussion however,
I can't figure out how they are doing it. The
integration of "Baby, Baby", while inexplicable, sounds
better than the rest of the real song. The end is
I've heard this before and I've heard it better.
The lead vocalist is too wobbly and just doesn't sell
this. The main problem is that the group isn't having
any FUN with the song. They don't seem to
enjoy this song as much as everyone else who survived
the 80's does.
every group seems to want to do this song, mixed
company seems to be one of the few that actually did it,
or does it. i think it's not so terrible, however, that
fewer groups do it. it's not that great of a song.
it's kinda boring. that's why ken and dav had to put
the 50's "where did our love go?" breakdown in the
middle, to relieve the monotony. well, the soloist
didn't do a huge amount to relieve what monotony
remained, and the rest of the arrangement, while
providing that 80's quarter note after quarter note
after quarter note feel, didn't really come alive at any
point. at least not enough to prevent me from letting
this tune slip into the "uh, whatever" pile of
Though I feel that this song has been overdone by
all sorts of a cappella groups, this version is not
bad. The percussion is good, and the arrangement is
more interesting than the usual fare.
I wish they'd chosen here to have a longer pause, as
they do at some earlier points. Anything was going
to be anticlimactic after that last one there, and
this one is a throwback to the rest of the album.
Weak falsetto solo (at least he's in tune), nice
background without quite energy but hey, great
Just what the a cappella world needs, another cover
of the Bitter-And-Possibly-Psycho-Ex-Girlfriend Anthem.
This Alanis has the appropriate catch in her voice on
the verse but whines even more than the original on the
chorus. Egregious doubletracking on her anyway. The
percussion is too far forward, and it's popping the mic
throughout most of the song. Aside from one good bass
part, the arrangement is okay, except for the "ya ya
ya"s on the chorus, also falls apart slightly at the end.
I knew it was only a matter of time before groups
started singing this one. I'm still not sure if it's a
good idea to do so. My first reaction was that it's a
pretty good Alanis impersonation and that it was load
and energetic enough to convey the requisite anger. I
ran it by my ex-girlfriend (since it's THE ex-girlfriend
song). She wasn't as impressed. The staccato-vibrato
on the leads didn't work for her. What will you think?
I'm not sure. It's a love/hate relationship. Either
you buy it from the start, in which case you'll be
impressed by how brutal a cappella can be, or else
you'll instantly reject the idea of a cappella Alanis
and you won't listen twice. All I can tell you for sure
is, unless someone does a massive reinterpretation of
this song when they arrange it, you aren't likely to
hear a better version. And you are very likely to hear
other versions. . .
i bet that when mixed company first sang this
arrangement (another of john bagdanoff's) they
experienced something similar to the feeling alanis felt
when she listened to the demo version she and glen
ballard recorded. they were like, ok, here's a hit.
stanford audiences were like, uh, ok, that ruled.
anyway, there's not that much to say about this track.
well, maybe there is: jessa lewis makes a really
excellent soloist (although she's slightly deep in the
mix occasionally), the basses tightly move the song
along, the wana wana wana in the tenors is an
unobtrusive murmur, the choruses are arranged to rock
you, the bridge has the proper ethereal touches (i
seemed to notice a fader slip here, however, a slightly
careless mixing error), the percussion kicks more ass
(look, i can curse in public, how come you can't say
fuck on your album? alanis did...) than on any other
track on the disc. ok?
I must say that this soloist does an excellent
Alanis Morissette, complete with voice quality and
attitude. The arrangement is not their best, but
overall the song is good.
This is like a second-tier actress reading through a part for the first time — you can hear the potential of the lines but the full emotion isn't there. Also, there's no continuity between phrases, as if the singer is sight-reading and isn't even vaguely thinking about the next phrase. So it's just that. Each breath is. Totally separate.
In other news, the basses are painfully alone at the
beginning and are not up to the extra low solo.
Otherwise background is tending toward the excellent; it
even picks up some nice energy during the choruses (loud
ya, ya, yas were a surprisingly subtle nice touch). The
dynamic range is, of course, quite good.
Solo is not resonant enough (as if anyone
could be) and fails to emote sufficiently.
Background is nice and subtle though, with
well-controlled swells. I like the echoes. Arrangement
is good but simplifies many of the rhythmic complexities
of the song. At the end, however, it suddenly gets
interesting — I like some of the variant lines a lot.
Some of the women are too brassy for those parts,
This track may be overdone, but it is also well
done. This is the albums title track, sort of. If you
listen to the backing vocals hold long notes on the
syllables "Mean" "Say" and "Love" under the lyric "What
would it mean to say 'I love you in my fashion'?"
That's the sort of arranging that help make this track a
great coda to this CD. It is a complex and layered
arrangement, yet it retains a tranquil quality that
makes it work as a ballad. It seems very natural and
laid back, but there's really a lot of subtle stuff
going on to keep you coming back for another listen.
beautiful. i love the echoes. jeff deason's
arrangement gets so thick in parts, it sounds as if many
of the voices were doubled. i don't know. anyway, the
arrangement is truly a beautiful thing, once again
dominated by the lovely women of mixed company. the
only thing i can complain about on this tune is possibly
that jeff is no sting. no one is sting, so it's not a
valid complaint. i love how the arrangement fades over
an ending that is continuing to evolve, this is
something i appreciate as a listener. there's a reason
sting did it, and it's good of you to include this in
Mixed Company ends their album with a soft ballad,
which is smoothly and flawlessly performed. Nice
blend and group dynamics, and the familiar great
Nice percussion. I am quite enamored of some of the
subtleties in the Smithereens version missing here,
although this is overall, I must admit, as listenable
a version. Solo is barely adequate. Background
swells really make the framework of the song, but
they lose focus whenever they add words. Strangely,
tuning here is not what it is elsewhere, which is a
shame since the arrangement is interesting and not
really any more difficult than some of the others. A
surfeit of individually incidental pitch problems
keep this from a better score.