Sunday, June 26, 2011

Reproductions: Alma Mater/Tusk

USC SoCal VoCals: Alma Mater/Tusk


This week features a more complicated theme than last week's; therefore, this complicated song also takes a bit of background info to appreciate its full effect.

The USC (University of Southern California) SoCal VoCals is a collegiate a cappella group, a genre growing in popularity in the US. A lot of the boom can be attributed to the switch from more sedate (read: dated) songs to pop, rock, hip-hop and other current styles more in sync with the students' usual musical preferences. In addition, a competitive annual championship drives groups to come up with more creative, complex arrangements than those other schools. This song is a great example: it's a clever mashup of old- and new-style a cappella music, with a highly structured arrangement. Also showcased is the beatboxing percussion – all human-vocalized, of course, in keeping with the non-instrumental requirements of the style. Note: this song is best heard loud!

Some of you old timers will remember what makes Fleetwood Mac's Tusk a perfect choice for this group. That 1979 platinum hit prominently featured the USC Trojan Marching Band, making that song as much a part of the school's heritage as the more traditional Alma Mater.

Incidentally, USC, a private Los Angeles university, has a cross-town rivalry with UCLA (University of California, Los Angeles). Listen for an "acknowledgement" to said rivalry in the ending lyrics.

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