& These Guys
Will Be Guests of These Guys
I wish I were going...(lower lip wibble)
Reviewer's note: Octopella is the album I was excited to listen to, only because I was (and am) SUCH a huge fan of the 2002-2003 Octet. I still love this Oldtet, I have, however, gained a huge respect for the other Oldtet/current Octet as well. I have so much respect to every man who has sung in this group.
1999-2000 Members: Ryan Antonelli, Steve Chu, Phillip Dwelle, Matt Johnson, Kevin Lamb, David Martinez, Benjamin Park
Beyond the Sea - Big, bold 40's style song, reminiscent of of crooners and bass and brass.
Baby One More Time - A classic (if you're a 90's baby.) The arrangement is complex and one of the few a cappella numbers I've heard that is easily danced to.
Because - This song is almost hypnotically repetitive, and kinda trippy. The tenors blend their voices well, in another Beatles classic.
Them There Eyes - Big and Bold, I can almost see these men performing this song as a chorus line. It's mind blowing!
I Got Rhythm - Playful. The comically mis-sung vocalizations and rhythmic harmonizing of the word "doors' is a treat. Another great number.
2000-2001 Members: Aaron Azelton, Andrew Bundy, Toby Jaw, Rob Liebermann, David Martinez, Neil Orlina, David Sloan, Richard Wood, Howard Wu
Fight For California - Cal Song, always good to lift the spirit of students.
McDonald’s Girl - I didn't realize this was a real song until I did a little research. The arrangement was done by someone who was a part of the Harvard Din and Tonics. (you can search for their video, it's exactly the same arrangement.) Rick Wood, the soloist, sings most of the song in falsetto, as an adolescent boy who has a mad crush on a girl working at Micky-D's. At the end, he' goes full bass and unloads all sorts of McDonald's inspired corny puns.
Baby Got Back - Arranged by Rick Wood, this is a similar version to the one on YouTube. It doesn't have the big bravado opening, though.
Uptown Girl - This is a song I grew up with. It's very similar to the original. Very enjoyable, 80's rockabilly.
Please - It's the best break-up song I've heard. Beautiful and sentimental.
That Don’t Impress Me Much - This is a parody of Shania Twain's hit. (Hint: the backs sing "Shania" throughout the song.
2001-2002 Members: Aaron Azelton, Andrew Bundy, Jason Mabie, David Martinez, Jerome M-C, Benjamin Sae-Tang, David Sloan, Brandon Swansfeger,
Share Your Love With Me - This song ripped out my heart and then refused to cuddle with me afterwards. I love it so much. The arrangement, the soloist and the backs go perfectly together.
With Or Without You - U2's Hit song, It's alive, and spiritual and searching. Beautifully performed.
Perfidia - I enjoyed this WASP-y version of the song with it's corny jokes. They dedicate the song to their friends south of the border, "With no further adobe". Playful.
2002-2003 Members: Kenny Kamrin, Jason Mabie, Jerome M-C, Jordan Meyer, Benjamin Sae-Tang, Parkers Sims, Brandon Swansfeger, Richard Wood
Beauty’s Only Skin Deep - (arr. & solo by Jerome M-C)
A backhanded love song in bass. The delivery of the spoken part of the song is slightly changed, but after a few listens, it works.
Blackbird - (arr. by Jerome M-C, solo by Ben Sae-Tang)
Dark yet hopeful Beatle's classic. The backs are restrained and murmur soft. This song does not need to be anything but subtle. The whistled portion by Rick Wood is different than in the 2003 concert, but after a few listens, it works well.
Lumberjack Song - (arr. by Jerome M-C, solo by Kenny Kamrin.)
Monty Python style humor, to a northern Californian audience. Kamrin does well in his spoken introduction, introducing himself and why he wants to be a lumberjack. Kenny's delivery is humorous and confident. The backs are done in a strong and manly way. I love this song so much.
Not Pretty Enough - (arr by Jerome M-C, solo by Rick Wood)
Slight difference from the original, but overall, it's effective. This is one of my favorites because this is the first Octet songs I ever heard. Some of the lyrics are different, because there is not spoken intro, as in the 2003 Spring show.
Come Go With Me - (solo by Brandon Swansfeger)
Brandon is the guy everyone asks about in the YouTube video. Classic Octet, well sung. Spoken portion of the song is well delivered: "Stupid Frat Guys" makes me chuckle every time.
Let’s Stay Together - (arr by Jerome M-C, solo by Jordan Meyer)
Masterful solo by Jordan Meyer, excellent backs by the rest. A bit more relaxed than the Spring show delivery. I love to listen to this while I'm getting ready to drift off to sleep. It's very relaxing.
Liar Medley - (transcribed by Jerome M-C) Old time, man's man song.
Octet humor through and through. Some of the visual humor is lost, but not much.
Nirvana Medley (hidden track) - (arranged by Jerome M-C, solo by Jason Mabie)
This is a very intricate song. You're not going to get all of the subtleties of the song from the YouTube video, so I added a clip.
I think that the overall reaction I get from this album is how much these men love music, and how fun music can be to play with.
I also noticed, with this album, that I can hear the singers take a breath. That's a really refreshing experience when most of the music nowadays has been mastered, remixed and auto-tuned into lifelessness.
Oh my gosh, I am such a procrastinator! Why do I do that? I can't believe how annoying procrastinating is. And this review isn't the only thing I've procrastinated on. In fact, I'm using this review as a tool to procrastinate on ANOTHER project I'm working on. Yay me! Anyway, onto...
05-06 Octet: Zachary Bernstein, Patrick Cento, Josh Chang, Paul Formaker, Nasir Khan, Danny Park & Glenn Steinbaum
Loves Me Like a Rock- soloist - Nasir Khan - Light, bouncy, solid rendition of a classic.
Don't Stop Believin' - soloist - Patrick Cento: Arranged by Brian Boshes; perfectly represents 80's stadium rock, right down to the extended and slightly pitchy (for effect, I'm sure) vocalization. "their shadows searching in the ni-ee-ight!". There are also funny little comments in the backs.
Collide - soloist Danny Park: The backs are different from what I've heard before. Maybe I just don't know the music enough. This was my first experience with Collide. Beautifully sung.
Silent Night - group: Simple. The song starts with 4 soloists each singing the first four phrases of Silent Night, and then the voices come and blend to finish the song. The second part isn't the traditional song. However, it's beautifully and solemnly sung.
I'll Be - soloist - Jonathan Yee: This is a desperate (in a good way) love song.The harmonies are so wonderful. The song is a little sad, but beautiful.
Runaround Sue - soloist - Zachary Bernstein: Kind of a rocky version, with the backs playing it for laughs.
Hail To California - group: It's a school song. Nice blending. T1 and Bass kill it (in a good way).
Mr. Grinch - soloist - Glenn Steinbaum: This one is a Christmas classic, and Steinbaum and the guys do it justice. Good voice acting in this version!
'04-'05 Octet: Zachary Bernstein, Brian Boshes, Robin Kong, Jamie Pinedo, John Shumway, Glenn Steinbaum & Jonathan Yee
Lion King Medley - group: Crystal clear version of the YouTube Lion King Medley video. If you've seen the video and have thought: What did he say? Stupid audience! I wish they'd shut up! The CD Version is pristine, and the guys sound awesome! In fact, it's funnier than the YouTube video, because if you could hear what the guys said, you'd be laughing! Really. (P.S. I'm all for that audience having fun and laughing, but the cd had me questioning it.) Really, the cd is the best $16.00+shipping I've ever spent in my life.
Is She Really Going Out With Him - soloist - Brian Boshes: Again, like the video without the laughter, and some of the backing humor. A fun song.
Always Something There To Remind Me - soloist - John Shumway: Another Octet video which can be found on YouTube. I kind of miss the guys dancing in the video, but there's nothing wrong with the song.
Fight For California - group - school song. Go Bears. Solid.
I Just Wanna Make Love To You - soloist - Jamie Pinedo: Bass love! After the smooth opening with Etta James's "At Last" the voices start low and get even lower! As one YouTuber put it. "This is baby makin' music."
Walking My Baby Back Home - soloists - Robin Kong, John Shumway: O my gosh, this is such a great song! It is kind of old-timey (which I've become accustomed to, as I spent about a year listening to old time radio shows.) The best part of the song is the sort of scatting breakdown (I don't know what else to call it) which gives it some great new life. It's kind of the musical version of a palate cleanser, and it's really cool.
'03-'04 Octet: Brian Boshes, Josh Chang, Max Cowan, Rafael de Leon, Robin Kong, Jordan Meyer & Parker Sims
Put Your Head On My Shoulder - soloist - Rafael de Leon: Old school. Rafael has a beautiful voice.
Just My Imagination - soloists - Jordan Meyer, Parker Sims, Josh Chang: Great and funny parody of the Temptaions "Just My Imagination". But their imaginations tend to skew towards collegiate life.
Papa Was a Rolling Stone/Who Is He (group): This is probably my favorite song on this cd. It's cool, bad, sharp and the vocals cut me to the soul. More great T1 & Bass love.
The Scientist - soloist -Josh Chang: Another YouTube favorite. Smooth and soothing like chamomile tea. Excellent blending in the backs.
I'm Too Sexy - soloist - Max Cowan: This is one of the funniest things I've ever heard. I hit repeat on this so many times. More bass love!
My Girl - soloists - Robin Kong, Parker Sims, Rafael de Leon Another YouTube hit on this cd. The only difference is that Jason Mabie's rocky ending is replaced by Rafael de Leon's more melidic one.
Finally, I'd like to apologize for how long it took to get this review out. I was having internet connection problems.
I have to say, though, that in preperation for this review, I listened to the cd about 800 thousand times. I listened to it on the road trip to Oktoberfest, and I listened to it every night before going to bed, and anytime I had to travel anywhere, I had my mp3 player playing the music over and over again. I even turned the music WAY up because I wanted it in my BRAIN. I'll probably go deaf from listening to these songs over and over agian, but it was worth it.
Also, I'm not sure if the review did the cd justice. I did the best that I could I really loved the cd, and I'm glad I finally got it.
(It's $16.00 + $2.00 shipping in the US. Not sure about overseas.)
Hi Octet Fans. I believe there was a technical problem with the more official version of the video. Below is the complete concert, which was recorded (not by me) on a video camera from the computer. It's a pretty accurate representation of the concert and totally brings back Oldtet concert memories for me.
Clips one and two are "Brandy" - solo by Jason Mabie
Come Go With Me - solo by Parker Sims; Blue Moon - solo by Kenny Kamrin (features a cool dance break with Ben Sae-Tang)
My Girl - solos by Ben Sae-Tang, Parker Sims and Jason Mabie
Let's Stay Together - solo by Jordan Meyer
Drift Away - solo by Ben Sae-Tang. There are pauses on the computer, but Ben and the guys still sound great!
A NEW song by this Octet - "Endless Love". Solos by Parker Sims and Jason Mabie. Arranged by Jerome MC.
Not Pretty enough - solo by Rick Wood
Blackbird - solo by Ben Sae-Tang. Special whistling by Rick Wood
Shama Lama Ding Dong - solo by Jerome MC
Help Me Rhonda - solo by Parker Sims - features Octet dance break
Baby Got Back
The Lumberjack Song - solo by Kenny Kamrin
Princess Papuli with Kenny Kamrin as "the Princess". The video is pretty fuzzy, but this was one of the songs which was featured on the Octet's '03 opening video.
Well, I hope you enjoyed the concert as much as I did. Well done, Men. And thank you. If I had it all to do again, I would have had some requests of songs which I knew you did (instead of "That Don't Impress Me Much" - weak, Tiffany). With that said, I probably would have requested "Runaround Sue", "Stanfurd Jonah" and/or "Big C".
It was an hour of pure a cappella euphoria. In fact, I was on cloud 9 for a couple of hours after the show. I had a wonderful time watching the guys perform! It seemed like a Sproul performance with the guys dressed in Hawaiian shirts and leis. They had sort of a set list and then took requests through the chat. They commented on camera in answer to the chatters (though I didn't sign up for the chat until about halfway through the show, so I just watched for the longest time.) We got to see what kind of beer Rick was drinking, and Kenny's nickname (?), and one of the Octet mothers request for her son to sing a crooning song. (I love Octo-parents!) I loved the old favorites (I Like Big Butts, Not Pretty Enough, Let's Stay Together) and songs that were new to me, such as Drift Away - solo by Ben, The Lumberjack Song - Solo by Kenny, Shama Lama Ding Dong - solo by Jerome, and a special request of My Girl which was first performed by the '03-04 group with solos by Ben, Parker and Jason. Princess Papuli was particularly funny.
Hopefully there will be some sort of video posted of all or part of the show. If so, I will direct you to it. Thank you Men's Octet!
I'm not sure when or even if the Octet show will be posted, so I thought I'd post some screencaps from the show - featuring EXTREME OLDTET CLOSEUPS!
I love this video. I'm in shock that I waited so long to do this post! I'm still having issues with a massive headache from stopping my medication for the back injury I recently had, but it's time to suck it up and move on. That being said my plan today is to fall back on my backup posting strategy: YouTube quotes. They're more clever than anything I can think of.
My favorite part is the harmonizing at about 2:14. So tight, it's awesome!
I'm eating breakfast now. Chocolate Oatmeal and a good strong cup of the French Press coffee. Seriously. If there was anything that would have gotten me to eat oatmeal as a kid, this would be it. And apparently dark chocolate is GOOD for you. Who-da thunk it?
I had another Octet related dream. The guys came by to help my New Media group with our final presentation. Not my actual group, but the people I wish I had gotten to work with. Think fun costumes, giant props and more people than I've ever made a presentation in front of in my entire life. We're talking up to 1,000. (I did speak in front of 800 people once, several years ago.)
The most helpful Octet guy was Parker, who assisted in the digital design of neckties including 3 bolo ties...yeah. I don't get it either. And the best part was the thumbs up from Parker as we went onstage. Parker approves. :) Jeez.
Hey Octo-Fans, there are new Oldtet photos up in the gallery! Check 'em out. Photos courtesy of Brandon Swansfeger, whom I officially love. Thanks for sharing. :)
On a weird side note, I dreamed that I had the Octet over for coffee (I have an 8 cup french press) and nibbles, and I got off on the wrong foot with one of them (won't say who) and he didn't really like me at all. This made me try extra hard to get him to like me, which made things WORSE. Not sure what that means, subconsciously, but it's a good thing it was only a dream. :)
Have you ever had one of those days when every part of your life was crashing down around your ears, and then at just about midnight on April Fool's Eve, someone does something to make you smile? Well, I have. I'm not sure who it was, but someone sent me a YouTube link with 2 fantastic Octo-videos on it. I mean Old school videos. Like '03-04 Old School! And they made me smile. Not that everything is all great right now, but smiling in the midst of being absolutely lost and not knowing what to do next is pretty okay.
I've seen DoReMi done a few times by the Octet, on Sproul and in concert - videos of course. The guys Left to Right are "Fraulein" Robin Kong, Jordan "Liesl" Meyer, Rafa"Louisa" de Leon, Max "Frederich" Cowan, Parker "Kurt" Sims, Brian "Brigitta" Boshes and Josh "Marta" Chang. (Jason "Gretyl" Mabie left the group earlier in the semester for personal reasons, but is alive and well and still enjoys a good song.) Robin clearly steals the show as Fraulein Kong. All the guys are having fun, and the audience obviously loves it. (Looks like it was an audience request.) Also, according to the YouTube site, this was the first annual Unbuttened show. Good on you, men.
So, this is R. Kelly's Ignition Remix. I've never heard the original but this sounds good to me. I'm just enjoying the video. :D Can't stop smiling. "Bounce bounce bounce."
Again OMGOMG, thanks for the link.