So for those of you unaware, Varsity Vocals released this years Best of College A Cappella CD – BOCA 2011. You can check out on iTunes Music Store for quick download or purchase the CD on Amazon. Go to Varsity Vocals website for more information about it.
A couple of quick words about this CD. BOCA is supposed to be the best of the year’s college grade a cappella. In the past, this usually amounts to a great mix of the top-40 radio hits turned a cappella by a handful of groups who have enough money to pay for professional sounding recordings like The Bostonians who have been on the CD four consecutive years not including this year’s CD, The Beelzebubs who have been on five times, and UPenn Off The Beat with seven different BOCA appearances.
The past few years I’ve felt like this CD has been in somewhat of a downward spiral as the tracks on the CDs became more and more processed to the point where it didn’t even sound a cappella anymore. Last year’s CD, BOCA 2010, really hit a low part for me. I listened to the CD once and never went back to it. Some of the tracks were so overly processed and mixed that you couldn’t even hear the voices anymore. Unfortunately, I feel like that’s just the direction a cappella has been going. But this year was different!
BOCA 2011 is a great CD. Now, a lot of people my call me a hypocrite saying that because this CD does have production value – reverb, pitch correction, even the first song, “Sing A Song” by On The Rocks starts with a ‘classic radio voice’ filter for effect. But I would argue that this is different. I can still listen to all these tracks and hear actual voices – actual human beings singing their parts. I’ll never say that everything has to be like Noteworthy’s track “Backseat,” an absolutely gorgeous balad – devoid of percussion, filling the airwaves with tight harmonies that ring and break you up inside. But I don’t think anything should be so processed that you lose the human-ness of the song.
Anyway, congradulations to everyone who got on this year’s CD. I’m very impressed with the whole thing. This is definitely one to add to your a cappella collection – great arrangements, great vocals, great a cappella!