Total time: 59:49, 17 songs
starts off well, ebbs to a near standstill halfway through, then gains
strength and momentum for the ending. this group is good at what seems to
be their chosen niche, 80's hits (the promise by when in rome, as i lay me
down by sophie b. hawkins, eternal flame by the bangles, etc.). when they
diverge from these sorts of tunes, strange things seem to happen, like
unusual interpretations of tori amos, like a traditional song performed
totally straight (which is then made fun of in the hidden track), like
boring song choices by artists spanning from the 80's to now. anyway. let
me digress for one moment:
how come none of the women in this group arrange? this seems to be common
in coed groups. the men arrange, the men percuss, the women solo over
them. i don't mean to rag on spur of the moment, but this review does give
me a chance to vent on what i think is a common problem. women: you need
to start arranging if you don't already. it's ridiculous to me that out of
16 tracks on an album, the only time a woman wrote down notes was on "you
are the new day," a traditional song which was not arranged but adapted.
sorry. i'm back. anyway, i'm definitely surprised by the quality of this
album. in general the songs do have energy and the soloists are quite
solid and the arranging is very good. however, the album certainly is not
consistent in terms of pitch nor quality of performance. one unusual thing
is that the women all sound the same to me. they're all from the bangles,
when i'd've loved to have heard a melissa etheridge or a sarah mclachlan or
a bonnie tyler (they do a bonnie tyler tune, "holding out for a hero," but
with a bangles voice) or a bonnie raitt or a joan jett or an ella
fitzgerald or a fiona apple. anyway, the men seemed much more diverse and
seemed to contribute more to the album, which is something i believe an
album should try to avoid (that is, one should feel a sense of relatively
equal contribution and personality from all members).
shit! sorry. i'm going off again. the album is good. not
fantastic, but definitely good. i enjoyed it. i recommend it. and
my dad went to brandeis.
Rating: 6 (5.5)
If you listen to this recording holding your ears, it might help you
compensate for the fact that they seem to have sung it holding their nose.
There are some decent arrangements hiding out on this album, the latest
from Brandeis' coed Spur of the Moment, but the backgrounds and women in
particular are nasal to the point of killing tuning and listenability.
Which is a shame given the talent of some of the men in the group. In
David Cohen — their music director — Spur of the Moment has lucked out
and come by the sort of male soloist most groups would kill for. His voice
is perfectly suited to those Duran Duran-esque, synth-driven 80's songs
college groups love. Unfortunately, the guys take a back seat to the
blat of the women — why anyone would encourage people to try for this
tone is beyond me, but it's so pervasive they must have asked members to
blend to it. Which is impossible — unfortunately, these types of voices
don't blend when surrounded by their kind, they just sound even more flat.
I wonder how many of the tuning problems on this album could have been
solved by opening up the female sound? I know a thin breathy sound is the
current thing in pop music, but here it is taken entirely too far and
without any breath to mute the piercing quality of a nasal straight-tone.
If you should have to listen to this album it, program it so House of
Stone and Light comes last. This is a quality track that brings out
nothing but the best from their sound — a wonderful surprise for the next
to last song on the album. It has a lovely laid-back energy and uses their
soloist to great effect. It'll leave you in a better mood.
Rating: 4 (4.9)
The strength of Spur of the Moment lies in their arrangements. Their
songs are never empty and never boring. They have some very
talented arrangers, as well as singers and percussionists. The high
quality of their music is consistent, with the same features standing
out in almost every song: great blend, great percussion, full
arrangements. They have enough voices to cover every part well,
Rating: 8 (7.1)
The album is a fairly boring experience — much of it
is "pretty," but in a bland, predictable sort of way.
Vocal percussion is used effectively, but the group seems to use it as a
crutch — some songs would just die without it (it doesn't help that the
bass lines are weak to nonexistent in spots). The arrangements sound very
similar from one to the next, very formulaic, with lots of repetitive
While none of the soloists are bad, none stand out. The altos get an odd
sound — very forced, as if they are really mezzo's trying to belt out parts
that are too low for them. The overall sound is muddy, and the engineering
job doesn't help — everything is swimming in reverb...it sounds like the
album was recorded in a big room with one mic far away from the group.
Rating: 5 (4.9)
This album perfectly illustrates the hazards of having one
person arrange most of your songs: if s/he's less than stellar, your
entire album is flawed, and even if s/he's great, most of them end up
sounding pretty much alike. It also shows the flip side of Brookes's
First Law of Coed Groups (The women are _always_ better than the men)
- if all your women sound like Susannah Hoffs and/or theater majors,
you have a slight problem. These two faults undermine this otherwise
decent album. All the women in this group have nasal, flat (tonally
speaking, not as far as pitch is concerned) sounding voices, which
does make them blend with each other, but it doesn't produce a sound
that you particularly want to listen to. As for the tenors, let's
just say that the ones you do hear make you wish they'd called in sick
for this album. However, the basses are actually a lot more present
than in most coed groups. When Spur of the Moment get a good song
choice and an arrangement that doesn't suck, they can produce a track
worth listening to, but when they're given bad syllables and overly
cheesy song selections, the result is unattractive. Unfortunately,
the latter situation prevails for the first half of the album, but
later on things pick up somewhat, with some interesting things going
Rating: 5 (5.1)
good energy, but the soloist is just inappropriate for this song. she's a
broadway girl singing roger daltrey, and although the who somehow have
invaded broadway and were indeed known for their rock concept albums, roger
daltrey WAILED. he rocked. he didn't sound like he was on broadway.
anyway, the arrangement by music director david cohen is solid (great
guitar syllable writing is one of cohen's specialties it seems), with a
little break for "can't explain," which was a welcome diversion and leaves
room for explosion into more pinball wizardry. i DISLIKE the ending, with
parallel rising major chords on the words "to him." david is a top notch
arranger as is evidenced by the rest of the album, but i have trouble
understanding that choice.
Long, questionably-tuned slow intro gets the song and the album off to a
terrible start. From there a chuggy little arrangement backs a female
soloist with a nice voice who has no business singing a Roger Daltrey
lead. Arrangement provides some unintentional camp with the periodic big
"aaah" slides. In general they don't seem to get that this isn't a 90's
pop song — it's a real rock song, supposed to have feeling and edges and
stuff. The four-measure "I Can't Explain" bit is the best part of the song
— swingy and smooth and suited to their interpretation, unlike the song
This track is a strong start to the album. It really moves. It has great
energy, a strong solo, and a good arrangement.
The intro on this one scared me, it was so choral.
Fortunately, the group finds more of a pop sound once the tune kicks in
(although the choral sound comes back in spots). The groove is decent,
mostly due to some strong mouth percussion. I liked the idea of a female
soloist, although a couple of the lyrics sound kind of silly with the
Serious lack of blend in the (choral, of
course) opening, arrangement immediately goes (and stays) severely
cluttered with bad syllables and too-aggressive delivery of slightly
lame lines. None of this is helped by the fact that the soloist is a
show tunes refugee — she's not bad (if you like pure Broadway cheese)
but she should be more forward — her voice is too slight to blast over
the background. Despite this, parts of this song show what it could
have been — the simpler chorus actually works well until they ruin it
with one of those awful rising "awww"'s, but after that there are some
interesting female lines that I like a lot. Too bad the rest of the
song doesn't live up to those parts.
very very nice. i really like the way this arrangement builds into the
song's choruses, it has lovely changes into the bridge, competent & cool
sounding percussion, a good soloist and is performed very well. the
arrangement (by m.d. david cohen) gets better as it pulls you toward the
ending, which in my opinion every really good arrangement should do.
production is also excellent on this track, although i question the choice
to fade out when there is an audible ending to the song mid-fade. the only
problem i have with the arrangement is that at times it overpowers and
complicates what the soloist is doing. perhaps this could've been remedied
by cranking the solo volume, or just some careful editing...
Quavery solo over a slow background, which is mercifully in better tune
than the held notes in Pinball Wizard. The choruses are really nasal, the
rest of the song less so. Bridge after first chorus is quite pretty, then
nasal background kicks back in. The song requires a more compelling solo
and lead and a smoother background — a tall task, and one they can't
quite make it.
This is a very good arrangement of a good song — several parts
including vocal percussion make the sound quite full. Although the
soloist sounds nervous and labored, the background is beautiful. The
song builds dramatically at the bridge, and I was caught up with it.
The soloist had a warbly sounding vibrato that I didn't
care for. The backgrounds are all sustained notes — the only thing
providing a rhythmic element is the mouth percussion. Although it's a slow
song, it could have more life and especially seems to drag on toward the
Overly abrupt studio fade-in, bad syllables (way too
many "doo"'s) and lack of blend again, it sounds like there are 18
million of them (this is not "We Are the World", people), and the
percussionists seem to be under the impression that they're doing a
techno version of the song. All of these problems pale, however,
beside the main thing that plagues this song — the soloist. She has
enough vibrato to kill a horse, her attempts at being emotion- all fall
completely flat, furthermore she actually _is_ warblingly flat on the
high part, AND she doesn't have nearly enough power to pull off the
chorus, let alone the bridge. Speaking of the bridge, it is also a
veritable orgy of bad syllables ("chang-a-chang" vying with
cooly song choice. this arrangement is often jam-packed with so much
information stacked up so thick that you might think the soloist and
general gist would be lost again, but somehow this tune succeeds. the
parts surround the soloist, support him, and they're pretty fucking cool in
and of themselves such that you don't really care about the soloist that
much anyway. there's a breakdown in the middle of the song that gradually
progresses into ants marching, a great idea, since the tempos of the two
songs are well matched. anyway, that's very well done. fuck, i just
really like the women's guitar part in the choruses. fuck, i just really
don't like the nasally syllable choices all over the song. philip berne is
a good soloist. cohen and samrat chakrabarti collaborated on an arrangement
which has cool-ass parts in spades, but with just as many annoying syllable
choices (which, i must say, can be overlooked without much difficulty).
The arranger seems to have no idea which syllables to use, so he's thrown
in just about everything at one point or another, with varying degrees of
success. The beginning has some nice ideas marred by choice of syllables
— the "bramp" guitar stuff contrasts with itself to much to enjoy the
overlay over the smooth bits, and "shoop" is out of place later on (even
if it does have the bonus effect of opening up the women). An unremarkable
solo joins with ugly alto accents and some unintentionally funny heavy
male choruses which sound more like Toad the Wet Sprocket than Dave
Matthews. Ending the choruses on an exposed alto "chig!" was probably not
the best choice. The breakdown section is strident and kills tuning —
simplifying the background seems to hurt them, not help, as they do much
better when the song is more complicated. The "Ants Marching" riff starts
to show some promise, but a calypso-ey delivery of the verse kills it.
I like the beginning of this song, and the variety of sounds and
syllables used in the background parts to achieve the desired
effects. Good percussion, too.
An attempt at a "twangy" guitar sound comes
off pretty cornball, as do some poorly chosen syllables in the backgrounds.
The bass line is almost inaudible, adding almost nothing to the
arrangement. There are also some rhythms that don't quite lock in. I
enjoyed the interlude from another song (sorry, I don't know what it is).
Annoying guitar-imitating syllables abound
on this Dave Matthews song, but the rest of the arrangement
(particularly the part right before the chorus) is decent.
Flat-sounding women (with a few Kate Pierson sound-alikes thrown in
for variety's sake) also dominate, which doesn't help. The solo does
a credible job of imitating Dave, though, and the song does chug along
well enough, aided by the beat-box-y percussion. The weird thrown-in
bits get old after the first listening.
broadway soloist singing a mellow folky natalie merchant tune. this
combination does not thrill. short, sweet arrangement by spur's wellspring
of charts, david cohen. standard but effective arpeggios bounce around the
parts while others sustain thick aahs & oohs. nice. again, not thrilling.
The background on this sounds awfully Kings Singersy, which is even more
incongruous given the thin breathy lead vocal. Overall the song seems a
difficult one to make sound good; they do nothing special with it, and it
would take an extraordinary performance indeed to make it shine. At least
This is a very pretty song. The solo is sweet and tender, and the
arrangement is just gorgeous.
The bell tones that make up most of the background for
this ballad aren't consistent from voice to voice. Volume and tone quality
just don't match, making for a lumpy track for the soloist to sing over.
Not too exciting.
Yet another Cohen arrangement, this one is mostly
arpeggios of "bum"'s — the few held parts (when they're not going
"dooo-wah", another favorite trick) are a relief but fail to make up
for the overwhelming aura of cheesiness that this song exudes. And it
doesn't seem to have needed the extra Whiz — despite my normally low
regard for her, I'm frankly shocked that Natalie Merchant could ever
have sunk to these depths. The solo just tops it off with a perfectly
nasal and top-40 delivery. It's bizarrely short, but since that's the
best thing about it, I shouldn't complain.
you'd remember this song if you heard it. it's the crash test dummies
other hit from the album that had mmm mmm mmm mmm on it. anyway, there's
parts of this song where the soloist drops from hearing completely. the
group suffers from pitch problems sporadically, and the percussion on this
track seems more amateur somehow. i question the choice of this song,
since it lacks any real passion anywhere, even in its original form on the
album. which doesn't leave much room for spur to go nuts. nuts.
Ow. I kind of like the low pop-song melody, but the background is painful.
Everything sounds about a quarter tone flat — partly its tuning and
partly the sheer nasal edge to all the vocals. Go hunt down another
version of this song that isn't as difficult to listen to.
The rich soloist does a great cover of this Crash Test Dummies
song. The complicated arrangement is well-done. The group has
good energy and good blend, and the song moves quickly without
There's an awful lot of (fairly
typical) guitar strum impersonating going on in this one ("chanka
chanka..."). Actually the entire arrangement is very repetitive. One of
the strengths of the original version is the cool sound the lead singer's
voice has...the soloist here doesn't even begin to approach that quality.
*Really* bad syllables on this one (and from
different arrangers, this time), just for an extra
treat. Good percussion, but it doesn't fit the mood,
such as it is. They sound like a cartoon of an a
cappella group on this one, with chirpy women and random
basses and tenors singing things like "zum-a". The solo
doesn't help — of course, it's hard to sound like Brad
R., aka Mr. Bass (although I'm sure they had to raise it
about an octave in the first place), but there's no need
to be quite so good-natured about it. Overall an
exercise in trying to be cute and failing.
bad pitch problems. challenging pitches were chosen at the beginning of
this arrangement, and they weren't conquered, especially by the alto(s?).
it was nice to hear what david cohen sounds like, very nice soaring tenor
stuff over another of his arrangements. again i'd question the song
choice, but that aside, pitch problems abound too much to make this tune's
success possible. a better performance, with wider dynamics and better
control over the pitches would've made this really beautiful.
Must the women always be so nasal? Solo here does a decent job of carrying
a pretty heavy background, but the duet is strident and doesn't blend at
all. These songs with low, sluggish backgrounds seem so appealing to
arrange, but they almost never work out well, but you can't blame this
group too much for falling into an old pitfall. They do the best they can
with a tough job, and the soprano obbligato is respectably open. David
Cohen has a great tone on the solo that would lend itself perfectly to the
next song — he keeps Mother's Pride from slipping any farther into
Easily my favorite track on the album, this song gives me chills. The
melody is beautiful, the lyrics are sad, the sound is almost eerie, and
the solo is exquisite. And the lovely "flute" part is also notable.
The feel is very similar to track 4, bell tones
and all. This one adds an extremely square wordless soprano solo at the
beginning. Some pitchy notes in exposed spots are particularly painful.
Where on earth did this song come from? More
"doo"'s (some of them dissonant) but at least you can hear the basses
on this one, random pinched sounds chiming in from someone, the flute
(I think that's what they mean by "flute") is just a classical music
impersonation by a soprano with a capital S. Basses stumble back into
their part, accidentally punching it a little too hard, and then
promptly go off tune. The only thing I can think to say about the
soloist is that he adds a little more cheese to the liberal amounts of
it that make this the _second_ cheesiest song on the album.
i actually thought the beginning of this song might've been a joke, the
female voice and sort of overture thing at the top was just wrong. there
are definitely some neat tricks in philip berne's arrangement, mostly
echoes everywhere in every part of the song in backup parts and echoes of
the soloist and just everywhere in general. the drums would've been great
if they'd just panned the kick and snare to the middle: the way it is,
they're way off to one side, opposite the hihat. really heavy eq on the
kick and snare is actually very effective, nice and tight performance as
well. the echo chamber breakdown thing is very effective also, and in
keeping with the echoes already established in the rest of the arrangement.
the solo is not terribly inspired, but neither is the original by when in
rome, so maybe i shouldn't complain about a lack of overflowing emotion...
You know, the breakdown chorus says everything about this song. A
respectably complex echo cascade starts out with the impossibly nasal
solo. The farther it gets from the original melody, the more open and
clear — and more pleasant — the tone of the singer coming in. Why
couldn't Spur of the Moment have drafted one of their tenors custom-built
for the song? You can hear him periodically in the background of the
chorus — it's not too high. Instead they choose a woman who's tone is so
nasal she sounds like a robot holding its nose — why? Maybe to blend with
the background — Nasal chords, and a flat synth riff make a reasonably
open bassline sounds like vocal genius under the blat. (It should be noted
this the only time the bass is really noticeable on the album.) The
warwhoop synth bits behind the second verse do provide a bit of a
Overall, this is a groovy song with a good beat.
The soloist's voice has a bit of an edge to it, but all
she needs is a little softening and smoothing and this
would be a great song.
Another awkward solo starts this one off — the
soloist is slightly off-key, lending tonal ambiguity to an arrangement that
already makes it difficult for the listener to figure out what key the
group is in. The rhythmic feel is very mechanical.
Does not start out particularly promising (ha,
ha), but soon picks up — particularly the percussion, which IMO is the
main thing that makes this song interesting. It more or less kicks -
a damn good drum loop imitation, plus a cool hi-hat/scissoring noise,
both of which would sound perfect in a techno song, but are the
teeniest bit out of place in a generic 80's one hit wonder pop song.
I'll take what I can get, though. The bass line works for me even
though it sounds like only one person's singing it. The solo is a
little plastic for my taste, but this is actually a great song choice
for them, and a halfway decent arrangement works wonders.
this group has so many female soloists that sound so alike i can't believe
it. i keep looking to the track list to see if it's the same soloist as
before, only to see it's one i haven't heard before. amazing. actually,
nina adelson is perfect for this sophie b. hawkins song. in fact, the rest
of the women in this group probably would've been perfect for this song.
it's right up all their alleys, seriously. this and the promise both
succeed remarkably well, it's like spur's thing is 80's tunes with the one
two beat and kinda cheesy lyrics, really, they do these kinds of songs
well. cohen's arrangement is nice & tight, although i'd've argued with him
about the ending when the entire group evolves into "as i lay me," i don't
know, it's just not powerful enough of a lyric to inspire me at the end of
Perky and nauseating. Take a soloist from one of
those trite contemporary christian groups and have her
hold her nose. Add the sort of goofy percussion that
accompanies songs like "talking in your sleep" by a
so-so women's group. Factor in my personal loathing of
this song and you get a generally unappealing package. Next!
This track features a soloist whose voice is childlike and sweet, and
really works well with this song. The group as a whole has nice blend
and nice dual percussion parts, but the ending of the song is harsh.
One of the better ballads on the album.
Actually, I guess it's not really supposed to be a ballad, but it comes
pretty close. The soloist has a very light voice, which I liked quite a
bit, although she has trouble getting to some of the low notes and goes a
little heavy on her vibrato.
Unfortunately, now we get back to the main style of
this album — I don't even need to look to know who
arranged it. This one also features a soloist who
sounds like she's about five years old — although she
doesn't actually, she might as well lisp, and she can't
hit the low notes. She does sound nice and clear on the
high parts (including the crucial bridge), though.
Again, the percussion almost redeems this song — a nice
heartbeat in the beginning, then a steady throb — and
it's done by the same guy as on the previous song — they
should make him the permanent air-drummer.
where did this group come from? they crack me up, honestly. this is a
song by mike and the mechanics. mike and the mechanics? amazing. and the
soloist, matt ramer, really sounds like he's from this period of time, when
lyrics were exceedingly cheesy and men sang really really high and clearly
and with no grit and when the songs were all about chicks and love and
stuff. YES! complete with fadeout! cracks me up. it just amazes me that
spur has taken these songs and really succeeded with them. cohen's guitar
arranging on this track is really cool, great syllables which really lend
themselves to the rhythm of the tune. i guess the reason i'm not rating
these higher is because none of the songs themselves really thrill me.
it's not that they're being performed poorly so much as the songs
themselves are kinda bland, like the 80's were in many ways.
Sort of funky. I approve. Solo reminds me a little of Billy Joel — he has
his part well in hand, offsets the background women well (who have an
echo-style part). And it feels like he's kind of enjoying himself, which
extends to the group. Fast parts are much better than slow and there are
no big surprises, but it's a nice listen.
This is a funky song with vocal percussion that I can only call
powerful. The background is tight, and the solo has energy and
personality to add to his nice voice.
A very dull, repetitive arrangement — the
backgrounds get one rhythm to repeat for the whole song (the clunky
background lyrics don't help). Having the reverb go in and out is an
interesting idea, but it's too overdone and becomes distracting.
These guys try hard, but are just a little too into
it to pull it off. Percussion aside, this song starts
off with a dazzlingly naked display of previously
unexplored awful syllables ("joom","jadit", and even
"mahanajana"), but they actually become tolerable when
camouflaged by the rest of the background singing words.
The solo, however, does not — percussion-boy is much
less apt ("loooking back") at lead vocals. However,
this song is distinguished by having one of the only
actually realistic studio fade-outs I have ever heard on
an a cappella album.
this tori song was interpreted EXTREMELY rhythmically. it's too mechanical
in its performance of the verses, and then it jumps into a kind of merengue
rhythm for the chorus, which i found totally inappropriate. tori amos has
a very unique writing and production style, and i feel that spur completely
missed the mark here. tori is not gospel (spur breaks into a huge choral
section toward the end), and she's not merengue, she's not dance (as the
rhythm tracks here suggest), she's just totally passionate about what she
sings (this soloist does not invoke a huge amount of passion). the "why do
we crucify ourselves" part towards the end is nasal and obnoxious. i
almost feel like somebody got a hold of david cohen's arrangement and read
it wrong or something, 'cause the parts are all there, they just don't FEEL
Solo gets brownie points for not trying to sound like Tori Amos. She does
what she can in her own style, getting a range of different timbres out of
her voice, and in general it works when judged on its own merits. I wish
I were more familiar with the original — I get the sense that the song
ought to do more than just a pop song, but the background here doesn't
help it go anywhere. Solo puts in a good strong performance, but it's not
the kind of job that takes over a song, leaving me a little unsatisfied.
The soloist on this song has a unique voice quality that is reminiscent
of Alanis Morissette, which I enjoyed very much. Nice variation in
dynamics in the background, and nice blend in the duet at the end of
I guess the lyrics are fairly silly, but I didn't really
notice on the original as much as I did here. It's one thing for the
lyrics to not make any sense to me, but the soloist sounds like they don't
make any sense to her either. The backgrounds are generally pretty good,
although the group sounds a bit whiny at times, especially the high soprano
parts toward the end.
The basses sound like it's too low for them. Thank
God Ramer's back on percussion, but unfortunately the show tune girl
is also back from track 1. She actually has a nice voice — she's
probably the best soloist on this album, but her tone is all wrong for
this song, although sounding oddly like Natalie Merchant at times.
The arrangement is a little bit sparse, but serviceable enough. The
fact that Spur of the Moment seems to have recruited the Chipmunks for
the trio at the end doesn't help. However, enough of the feel of the
song comes through for a decent version. The ending is mildly cool.
bad pitch, way way way way way too much reverb all over the place, it's
like a wash of bad pitches that're reverbed longer than you ever wanted to
hear them. honestly, i've never heard a chorus so washed out by too much
reverb like this. the arrangement has a lot of these pyramid things that
spur is fond of, and they're consistently off pitch. soloist is fine, he's
the only person you can hear clearly at least.
Light, mellow and decent — solo is a little subpar, some of the
background parts stick out, but this is a song they should be proud of.
Here's why: tuning is good, tempo is smooth, and the background has a
great blend in — the background! Mixing level are perfect so everything
can be heard. And the clear soprano accents are nice too.
I found this song a little monotonous — the verses tend to drag and
some of the background parts are somewhat wooden and don't blend
well. The choruses are better, though, with good energy and tempo.
This song has been around so
long — for a group to pull it off, it really needs some sort of new twist,
which we don't get here. Very bland and repetitive, with so much reverb
that it's difficult to pick out exactly what's going on in the backgrounds
at times. There are also some wordless solos that stick out from the rest
of the ensemble.
No subtlety and spasms
of bad arranging (notably on the bridge) make this an irritant instead
of the plausible rendering it could have been. The solo tries really
hard to make the song his own, but better men than he have been foiled
by the evil genius of Sting. The percussion likewise is a nice effort
but ends up sounding a little silly when combined with such things as
"ne-na-na-na" for syllables. Overly rushed fadeout. Altogether
more pyramid stuff arranged this time by matt ramer,works nicely, but again
is often off pitch. this is actually a nice track, a nice solo, a solid
arrangement, but the song itself is really not too exciting. madonna's
certainly done better, and these are referred to in the arrangement, but
this song is not really brought to a higher level.
Oh yeah — this is that Madonna song. It sounds
higher than I remember it, and the solo is very light
and tentative compared to Madonna's husky,
studio-enhanced tone. Good arrangement — a challenging
soprano part works well when its in tune but slips
sometimes, which is a shame because the other parts are
nice and smooth. All of the different "doos" could
stand to lighten up and give a bit more attention to
pitch. This is a good level of rhythmic texture for
them, ch-ch-change not withstanding... Toward the end
of the song, the key change itself is quite shaky, but
the parts come together very well in the higher key.
Again on this track, blend is lacking in the background. Some of the
individual background parts are too prominent and threaten to
overshadow the shaky solo.
The group just doesn't blend — there are some rhythmic
parts that sound really distant, while the more melodic parts are right in
your face. Also, the singers can't decide if they want a classical or more
"pop" sound. Pitch is also a problem in spots.
An attempt at a brooding ambient beginning is
wrecked by the introduction of overly jittery syllables. The solo is
a little bit sketchy, but not as bad as she could be. Seems a lot
faster than the original, which helps, I think. The jitters are
magically transformed into a groove in the middle of the song by the
heavy bass-y percussion, again courtesy Ramer, but the key change
positively hurts. This song has the sopranos a lot higher than usual,
but they shouldn't be. A fairly good song choice for them, though,
and an interesting stab at arranging. Nice trail-off ending.
traditional. i never understand this. why is this song on this album?
why is a traditional thing in the middle of an album filled with 80's &
90's pop stuff? what the fuck is going on here? it's fine, it's FINE, but
why why why WHY? just out of place.
This sounds like a Christmas Carol. Perfectly acceptable ensemble number
to break up a set and please old alumni. There's no real feeling,
enthusiasm or finesse, however, so it lacks the charm of professional
The only "traditional" piece, this is also the only non-pop cover song,
and is therefore a bit out of place. The group entrances and cutoffs
are good. The song has pretty harmonies and nice blend, but flat
texture and dynamics.
A chorale type number (it almost sounds like
someone took a ballad and tried to arrange it in the style of Bach or
something). There are no dynamics, and the tempo is very mechanical. With
such a predictable arrangement, I'm not sure what is supposed to provide
the interest here ("Ooh! They can sing major triads in tune! Oh happy
An obvious attempt to gain credit for
diverse material, this token traditional suffers from a lack of
subtlety — they sing the whole thing at the same boring volume. They
also sound like they could be singing the phone book, for all they're
paying attention to the (albeit cheesy) lyrics. Blend is so-so.
Altogether so much of a walk-through for them that it's hard to take
it at anything more than face value.
aah, we've returned home. tight percussion, sounds great, totally
appropriate. the only thing i'm missing here is the big "aah aah" chorus
things by the women that are from the original. there're more pitch
problems from the women, and the mix is not terribly good: seemingly random
parts stick out much louder than others in inappropriate places. but the
soloist, karen loewy, is just right, albeit without bonnie tyler's original
grit. ooh, this is especially apparent in the bridge, where bonnie wails
hard, and karen is just sweet. oh well.
My ears have become sensitized to the women, and a light and prominent
solo keeps them in the background where they belong. That nasal problem is
only intrusive when they have words on the chorus. Percussion does a good
job of keeping the song moving along and gives some nice energy, picking
up slack from the other parts. Solo is quite pretty on the oohs at the end
and does a fairly good job throughout
This is a really great arrangement. The song starts out strong and
maintains it throughout. It is fast-paced and energetic, with good
presence of the basses, and a great ending.
Very dated sounding. Yeah, I know, every
college group nowadays does a few '80's pop tunes. But that doesn't
necessarily make it a good idea. The group settles into a fairly
comfortable groove, but it just doesn't go anywhere from there.
A bit of a shock from the previous
number, this notorious coed group number actually starts out fairly
convincingly, with a not horrible arrangement and lots of energetic
(if corny) drum fills. However the solo, though she's okay in the
beginning, gets more quavery the higher she gets, although she can
almost pull off the ringing Pat Benatar-like bits. Unfortunately the
sopranos on the words also get eaten by the tape recorder when they're
trying to turn up the juice. This song comes damn close to working,
but fails by a few crucial notches.
another david cohen special, arranged and soloed. when david spends time
on an arrangement, it really works. changes throughout offer spice, and
make the song grow from verse to verse to verse to chorus. bigger and
bigger. that's good arranging. somehow the little melodies in the
instrumental part aren't performed terribly well, lacking energy and
jumping out like they needed compression or something. good percussion and
a seriously good solo by david, in addition to his sweet arrangement, make
Wow — this is like finding a beautiful stone in the
middle of a mud pit. It opens with a neat beginning and
some cool effects, and as the song develops manages to
channel the nasalness effectively. A laid back,
textured arrangement does a good job of moving the song
along, and the solo is wonderful. Music director David
Cohen has a light clear voice that is able to *sing* the
song without worrying about how high it is, and enough
depth of tone to convey some meaning. Even the
background woman who sounds exactly like Lisa Simpson
can be ignored — the soprano section has a laudably
accurate part throughout, to give the women some credit.
It all comes together for a smooth, pleasant package
without the slightly annoying quality of the original.
In my view, Spur of the Moment doesn't take the ending
far enough dynamically or emotionally — it has the
potential to really soar — but they don't blow it
either. A lovely listen.
This song features an impressive opening. With smooth background
blend and excellent vocal percussion, this is a very good cover.
A promising ethereal intro (did I
hear a little overtone singing in there? hmmm, hard to tell) leads into a
rock tune that, well, sounds pretty much the same as all the other rock
tunes on the CD. An interlude with alternating male and female soloists is
jarring (especially when the two singers overlap each other); the two
voices have such different sounds, you wonder if they were even listening
to each other during the performance.
Nice bass underpinning on
this song, and the propulsive percussion, though utterly unsuited for
the song (note to Matt Ramer: drop me a line when you graduate and
we'll do Massive Attack a cappella), actually makes it rock, despite
some weird twiddly bits. This is by far Cohen's best arrangement
because he keeps it simple, with full-throated "ahh"'s for the most
part and soaring soprano lines. He's also a good soloist, managing
all but the most difficult parts of the song. Overall a good effort -
I just wish they'd toned it down the tiniest bit.
check it out! another soloist that sounds like the other women on this
album, but we've not heard her solo yet! i don't understand it! but gail
paris does a perfect bangles thing on this, it's just right for her and the
other women in spur. really, that's not a negative, it's a great solo, and
a nice cover of this bangles tune which will forever remain a classic for
teenyboppers from the 80's. nice arrangement by cohen and friends. just
right. now you just have to like this kind of music...
Lisa Simpson sings the solo. Or maybe it's supposed to be Lisa Loeb — but
no, it's not flat, so it can't be that. And it's not as breathy as either
of those could be, just a straight arrow of tone, with none of the
softness a ballad would seem to demand. The background on the choruses is
actually pretty good, although the percussion seems a little misplaced.
Opening is awfully tooty after the smooth mood of House of Stone and
light, but it settles down to an acceptable background for a college
The background on this song is appropriately light, allowing the
soloist to carry the song. As usual, the percussion and blend are
notable, but the ending is a bit weak.
Yet another alto who doesn't sound very comfortable
on the lower notes. Some echoing background parts are
almost humorous (soloist: "E-ternal" backgrounds:
This is a perfect song for them to do, since
all their altos sound like Susannah Hoffs anyway, and they actually
get the arrangement almost right this time — nice timing in the
beginning. The bass line is a little silly, and could be lower, and
the highest soprano a little screechy for my taste. I really like the
women in the background on the second verse. They hit the bridge a
little too hard — you can hear what they're trying to do, but they
don't quite get there. The solo's cute enough for the most part, but
she really needs to learn the meaning of head voice, especially when
they try to get quiet. Weird "a-men" ending — they should have faded
Punk woman meets Ethyl Merman and Kermit monks. I think they included
this just in case you thought you could leave this CD on a pleasant
note after sticking it out through the whole thing. It's a guarantee
that'll never happen.
This is the obligatory "secret bonus track", which
in this case is an alternate version of
track 13 with the men doing sort of a
Jim Henson impersonation and a female singer just
belting her head off. Hopefully most people will be
fooled and turn off their CD player before it gets that