Monday, March 6, 2017

Music Review: The New Old Fashioned by Straight No Chaser



Stars: 3 out of 5
Pros: The second half
Cons: Most of the first half
The Bottom Line:
Some sure fire hits here
And some songs that I don’t like
Create a mixed bag




Easily Divided Into Two Halves – Unfortunately

If you’ve paid attention to my music reviews, you’ve noticed that I pretty much just listen to Christian music.  One of the few exceptions is for acappella groups, and one of my favorites is Straight No Chaser.  They can be counted on to provide great covers of songs and some funny new originals.  However, I was disappointed with The New Old Fashioned, their latest non-Christmas release.

Honestly, this disc can be divided into two halves.  They even conveniently did that on the back of the CD.  My problem lies with the majority of the songs in the first half.  “Marvin Gaye” and “Take Me to Church” are just about sex.  And these aren’t subtle songs, like some of the others they’ve covered over the years.  As a Christian, the second song especially bothers me.  Don’t get me wrong, their covers of the songs sound great.  It’s just that the lyrics of both aren’t good at all.

Then there’s “Creep.”  Despite the lyrics, I fell in love with the version of this song that Street Corner Symphony did on The Sing-Off.  Having gotten spoiled on that version, I find this one lacking.  It slows the song down and is less dramatic.  You’d think with more voices they could be more dramatic instead of less, but that’s not what happened here.

And don’t get me started on “Can’t Feel My Face.”  What the heck is this song about?  Plus the chorus is just a couple of lines repeated over and over again, something I regularly complain about.

The first half isn’t all bad.  It does feature a couple of medleys, and I enjoy both of them.  There’s a mash up of “Sittin’ on the Dock of the Bay” with “Proud Mary” and “Beggin’” with “Counting Stars.”

A third medley comes in the second half, and it is my favorite.  “On the Road Again/I Play the Road” is a ton of fun, and they sound great singing it.

Speaking of fun, their cover of “Shut Up and Dance” will make you want to do just that.  I also enjoy their take on “Red,” “Make You Feel My Love,” and “Lost.”

Which brings us to the two original, or at least semi-original tracks.  Up first is “All About that Base (No Tenors).”  This parody of Meghan Trainor’s song makes me laugh every time I hear it as Randy Stine, one of the group’s bases, cuts the other parts down to size and sounds amazing doing it.  (They really should give him more solos.)  Or maybe I just like it because I’m a base.  (And I really should listen to the original song some time.)

The disc closes with the big “Movie Medley.”  Here we get a mix of everything from Jurassic Park to Indiana Jones, James Bond, Forest Gump, and Star Wars.  The guys have made up lyrics to fit the movie and sing them to the famous theme songs.  They are delightfully funny.  The group did a video that goes with this medley, so that explains one line in the “Chariots of Fire” segment, but the rest hold up without any visuals.  (Still, you might want to watch the video on YouTube.)

I really do love the songs in the second half of this disc, but I find myself skipping past most of the first half.  It’s a shame that The New Old Fashioned doesn’t hold up to the fun of the usual Straight No Chaser release.

CD Length: 47:35
Tracks:
1. Marvin Gaye
2. (Sittin’ on) The Dock of the Bay/Proud Mary
3. Creep
4. Beggin’/Counting Stars
5. Take Me to Church
6. Can’t Feel My Face
7. Make You Feel My Love
8. All About That Bass (No Tenors)
9. On the Road Again/I Play the Road
10. Red
11. Shut Up and Dance
12. Lost
13. The Movie Medley

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