A cappella group performing on stage
The A Cappella Blog

How To Serenade

Absurdist A Cappella

This time we discuss how to serenade.

Setting the Stage: So you and your girl are getting pretty close and you want to take things to the next level. We’re not talking marriage or anything—just a little something to say we’re serious. What better solution could there be than rallying your all-male a cappella group to smack her in the face with fist full of song?

Song Selection: When you’re serenading someone, you need to be more careful about song selection than you need to be in a lot of other contexts. Most of those Ludacris and Beastie Boys songs from your catalog are out. In are the ballads. This is the time to show off your group’s most vulnerable, heartfelt side. Consider Howie Day’s “Collide,” or “Crash Into Me” by DMB. Perhaps Billy Joel’s “The Longest Time” for something more up-beat, not to mention more old school in its appeal (much like the gesture of the serenade itself).

Setting: Serenades are all about making a scene—making their recipient a little embarrassed at first before she recognizes how lucky she is and gets to being all flattered and stuff. Consider breaking out in song by the salad bar in your dining hall, switching up the tempo at a frat party, or standing outside her classroom window when she’s taking a big exam.

Choreography: Consider the slow build on your group’s entry for this one. To use a poker analogy, slow play your hand. Start by just singing to her, then when you hit the first chorus, have your guys slide on out from behind some bushes, or the stacks in the library. It may be shocking at first, but when your lady recognizes the level of effort that went into coordinating so many people to sing to her, the dramatic entries will only enhance the magnitude of what you’re doing.

Other Notes: Whatever happens, make sure you’re the soloist on this song. You can wink and groove all you want—if you’re not the man behind the lyrics, the effect of this one is totally lost, and you run the risk of the soloist stealing your girl.

-Despite the obvious temptation, avoid “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feeling.” You’re not Tom Cruise, and drawing comparisons to him usually isn’t going to serve you well. Besides, it’s played.

-You get serious bonus points if you can perform a song that includes the girl’s name. Think about something like Counting Crows’ “Anna Begins,” or Ray LaMontagne’s “Jolene.” Beware of the lyrics, though—Ben Folds’s “Give Judy My Notice”—about breaking up with Judy—is not necessarily your best song pick.

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