200 Reasons To Love A Cappella

Reason #184: Throwbacks

One of the great treats of hearing a student-run a cappella group (or even a post-collegiate group run by creative minds) is the degree to which these groups might eschew conventional thinking and the guidance that the establishment—a faculty advisor, or an inveterate director—might suggest. Among other things, this can lead to a group making off-beat song selections. Sometimes, that’s brand-new indie music. Sometimes, that means throwing it back.

When it comes to the competition setting, there is a legitimate argument that groups should keep their song choices, if not current, at least relevant—to have a way of making older songs their own or to pick truly forgotten gems. But in the campus of a less formal traveling or on-campus show, when the primary consideration is entertaining the crowd, there’s often times no better fit than a throwback to a decade or two before. For a college group, this is the kind of music that denotes their formative years, when they first start buying music and first start identifying personal favorites. One example: the proliferation of late-1990s boy band covers that sprouted up in the last five-to-ten years. The music of that period isn’t objectively great, but it does have a profound connection to a particular generation of people, and thus hearing these songs reincarnated, a cappella, can create a magical moment for audiences and performers alike.

I love it!