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Ben Folds Presents: University a Cappella! Explicit Lyrics

4.3 out of 5 stars 53 customer reviews

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Audio CD, Explicit Lyrics, April 28, 2009
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Editorial Reviews

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Product Details

  • Audio CD (April 28, 2009)
  • Parental Advisory ed. edition
  • Original Release Date: April 28, 2009
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Explicit Lyrics
  • Label: Sony Legacy
  • Run Time: 69 minutes
  • ASIN: B001Q8FRSK
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (53 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #123,220 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
I'm the director of the Sacramento State Jazz Singers and the arranger of "Selfless, Cold and Composed" on this album, and I'm very proud to have been involved in its making. Ben is one of my favorite artists, and it's such an honor to have worked with him and his team on this project, the proceeds of which are going towards "Save the Music."

One of the goals/intents of this album was to present some of Ben's previous work in a new context for his listeners, and to give some exposure to some of the hard-working and talented amateur singers who've been putting together a cappella versions of his charts and posting videos to YouTube. Ben was cool enough not to worry about copyright infringement as some artists might, but instead he admired the passion of the groups (mostly college glee club types, student-directed with student arrangements) and chose to encourage other groups to submit their performances for a contest to make it onto this album. Over 200 groups submitted (or already had vids up), and these tracks (besides the two tracks by Ben himself) are the result. Most groups rerecorded their songs the Sac State Jazz Singers, as well as the U of Chicago, ended up using the original tracks from the submission, as Ben felt the quality was high enough to hang with the album.

Sac State's track, "Selfless, Cold and Composed," sounds a bit different from the rest of the project because my arrangement goes a bit further from the original and uses some thick jazz voicings, with some scat singing, as well. The way the album is assembled, though, our track seems to fit in well, and the following track by U of Chicago, "Magic," is incredibly well-written, sung and produced. Other favorites of mine are "Not the Same," "You Don't Know Me," "Fair" and, of course, Ben's two tracks, "Effington" and "Boxing." The album has gotten a lot of media attention, and I hope it helps create new fans of a cappella and of Ben Folds!
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Format: Audio CD
It's so awesome to hear these songs re-interpreted this way! Not only is there incredible creativity in the arrangements on the album, but there's also the added impact of knowing that these songs were sung, mostly live, without instruments. You can tell that the groups were really thinking about the meanings and the emotional content of the songs -- it comes through quite clearly.

The first person to rate the album based their rating on a technical problem with hearing samples on the amazon.com website, not based on the quality of the album. Don't be fooled by people who haven't heard the album they submit a rating for!

My assessment -- the whole thing is terrific.
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Format: Audio CD
this was absolutely astounding!! I'd never really appreciated accapella, though I am an avid fan of Folds, however, upon listening to this cd I was struck by how, for lack of a better phrase, damn good it was!! I highly recommend this to all even if accapella is not your thing.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I was turned on to this CD for 2 reasons - 1. it was a project by Folds, and 2. it featured his tunes in a new light - vocal groups singing Folds tunes from colleges around the US. After checking out many auditions for this project on Youtube, I honestly expected the music to sound a bit more.... interesting. Most of the arrangements don't really push the envelope for creative arranging, and stick very close to the originals recorded by Folds. Many of the tunes follow the same format: One lone singer doing the melody, with the rest of the group laying down chords and/or some ostinato rhythms underneath the melody.

It was worth the purchase just to hear his tunes in a new way. However, I'd like to hear another disc with more groups included, such as the group Dischords from Michigan State University that did an arrangement of "Missing the War", and the Penn State Pennharmonics doing "Gone", etc...
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Format: MP3 Music
At first I thought, wow, I've not paid 12 dollars for an album in years. This album is worth that and then some. Anyone who is a Ben Folds fan must listen to this album. A recommendation is to get past the first song without judgment. Not that the first song is bad, but you may be misled. Every song on this album has a different style. The clear talent of all of the singers is prevalent from the start, and you can not go wrong with the tracks Ben sings on. I went from skeptic to lover in one go around.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I am a late comer to Ben Folds, first learning of him on "The Sing Off". Better late than never is true again. This album contains some covers of his work by large college groups and they really do justice to his smart lyrics and great melodies.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I'm a huge Ben Folds fan, so I didn't hesitate to buy this album. The tracks on this disc are hit-or-miss for me; some of them I find absolutely breathtaking; some I find boring if not annoying. My favorites, in order, are Magic (unbelievable!), Fair, Selfless, Cold, and Composed, Still Fighting... Neutral: Landed (the lead has a great voice), Not the Same, Time

It's really amazing what they can do with just voice. Most songs are complete with 'percussion', some sound effects, harmonies, bass lines, etc. Ben even contributes a great a-cappella version of 'Effington' to the mix.
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Format: Audio CD
I have always been a fan of Ben Folds, but I have been a bit concerned with the quality of his last two solo albums. Not that they're bad, but they just don't quite hold up to the material on his first solo album or his records with Ben Folds Five. So what an absolute pleasure it is to listen to this album and be reminded how great his music is. Who knew that all he needed to do was to have the songs performed acapella?

Working with a very gifted group of university acapella performers, Folds presents some of his best songs from his solo work and his days with Ben Folds Five without any instruments at all, other than human voices. It's amazing how well the songs translate to this medium. The songs are so melodic that the singers are able to easily wrap their vocies around them and elevate them to new levels. Many of the acapella versions, if not all, are better than the originals. Every song is teriffic, but nothing can top "Magic", which is guaranteed to give you goose bumps. If id doesn't, then you need to check your pulse.

There are a couple of questionable selections here such as "Effington" and "Time". They're not bad songs, but I think listeners would have been better served if they had been replaced by songs such as "Mess", "Smoke", or "Kate",to name just a few. But this is a minor quibble with what is otherwise an excellent album....easily one of the year's best. So sit back, relax, and discover the music of Ben Folds all over again.
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