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Upper Room A Cappella

Spring Hill College

FOOLS - Single (2018)


Review By Dom Otto Asís

December 21, 2018

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Dom Otto Asís

FOOLS, by inherent design, is not conducive to long-term listening. The beauty of this song is etched in its lyrics, rather than the chord progression or its rhythms. I try to focus my attention on what's beautiful while listening, but the repetitive chord pattern is just too conspicuous to ignore.

Theresa Bertini's solo performance has professional-level character. Even with the repetitive nature of the song, she manages to vary her vocal style for each passage which gives contrast from the first stanza. I also applaud the commitment of the background singers in creating a moving environment, but the arrangement fails to launch the track towards an interesting climax. Staying in one key may have been a contributing factor to this lack of redeeming emotion that's usually present in songs in lydian mode. The chord pattern starts with two major chords followed by two minor chords and this is repeated until infinity; it is not an interesting palette to play with. But hey, the soloist gives it justice and I'm so happy she is able to deliver the lyrics of the song with real conviction, as if telling her personal life story. 

The original source material presents several variations of rhythm, and that's how the producer is able to mask a boring 4-chord pattern to make it more interesting. Upper Room A Cappella, however, took the choral route and only does harmonic variations, presenting different movements per stanza and chorus. Forgetting the real anchor of the chords — the bass down there — and singing the same chord pattern throughout the duration of the track gets tiring. 

The overall recording is clean and well-mixed, courtesy of Alex Adkins for The Vocal Company — this I have no major complaints about. However, non-repeat listenability and a lack of variation/innovation are the major factors that push FOOLS to an average score.


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