Transitions on Your Playlist

200 Reasons To Love A Cappella

Reason #149: Transitions on Your Playlist

My first true love in music is not so much any individual artist or genre, nor the act singing or playing an instrument, but more so the act of making a mix tape.

Mix tapes gave way to CDs, which gave way to playlists. I can no more imagine what might come next than I could have prognosticated I would one day carry several hundred times the amount of music on a 90-minute audio cassette via a phone of similar size (not to mention that that phone would also serve as my camera, email client, and, well, phone—but I digress).

One of my favorite games to play in the practice of mix tape development has long been subverting expectations via an abrupt departure from the preceding song, in a way that fundamentally works. Sometimes it’s a matter of hopping genres from Top 40 to Broadway, or acoustic ballad to rock and roll, but maintaining a thematic thread. Sometimes it’s hopping time periods but preserving a melodic or rhythmic through line. Oftentimes, it’s much more arbitrary than all of that, but the sudden shift still feels just right.

There are few greater tools in this trade than a cappella which allows facilitates sticking with sort of the same genre, artist, or theme, while fundamentally shifting from conventional instrumentation to purely vocal music. Contemporary a cappella is largely about reinventing popular music through a new lens, whether it’s simple transcription into human vocals or true reinvention. As such, it allows for some wonderful, and wonderfully unexpected transitions on a playlist.

I love it!

I Miss You

Tuesday Tubin'

This week, we present Berklee College of Music Upper Structure performing Adele's "I Miss You."

Law School Groups

200 Reasons To Love A Cappella

Reason #148: Law School Groups

While there are certainly people who make it work, let’s be honest—between financial concerns, professional and academic aspirations, and personal obligations, few people can truly make a cappella their number one priority. And that’s not on a knock on a cappella—in reality, I think one of the most admirable qualities of the form is that its practitioners are so often amateurs who make time to pursue their personal passion, and to make music with their friends.

From that perspective, there are few endeavors in a cappella more laudable than law school a cappella groups. Law school students are notoriously busy—engaged with high stakes curriculum as an entry point to a challenging career. That these people still make time for a cappella is a testament to their commitment to their music. Moreover, I find it admirable that so many approach the form with the same brand of quirky, tongue-in-cheek good humor as undergrads, with group names like Harvard’s Scales of Justice, Yale and Northwestern’s Habeas Chorus groups, or Duke’s Public Hearing.

I love it!

I Don't Think About You

Tuesday Tubin'

This week, we present Berklee College of Music On the Vox performing Kelly Clarkson's "I Don't Think About You."

Incorporating Foreign Languages

200 Reasons To Love A Cappella

Reason #147: Incorporating Foreign Languages

A cappella is all about the sounds the human body can generate, and principally from a vocal perspective. You can have a killer solo, innovative syllables, and great perc. But you can add an entirely different dimension if you incorporate foreign languages.

The well-timed, clever usage of a foreign language can diversify the group sound and lend a song a more global feel. Used in the right song, it can tap into core of the music. Moreover, it’s a great way for a group to make clear to its listeners that the group hasn’t gone on auto-pilot, regurgitating a very literal translation of a song, but rather has taken the time to make a song its own spicing it up with splash of Spanish, tapped into another dimension of the narrative by employing a South African dialect, or stayed true to its roots by singing a verse in Hindi.

I love it!

Evolution of Hollywood

Tuesday Tubin'

This week we present Legacy A Cappella, based out of Los Angeles, performing their "Evolution of Hollywood" medley.

Next Page
Transitions on Your Playlist
I Miss You
Law School Groups
I Don't Think About You
Incorporating Foreign Languages
Evolution of Hollywood
Originals
Adele Medley
Transitions
Technicolour Beat
Raw Solos
Boy Problems
Connecting With a Song
Latch
BOSS
There’s Nothing Holdin’ Me Back
A Well-Executed Choral Arrangement
To Build a Home
Attire
Glitter in the Air
Update On A Cappella Blog Event Reviews
We Don't Talk Anymore
When a Group Defies What You’d Expect By Looking at Them
Back to Me
Using Instruments
What Now
10 Reasons Every College-Aged Male Singer Should Audition for the Hyannis Sound
Cherry Wine
Breath as a Sound Effect
Death of a Bachelor