The Background Scoop
Back in the day, colleges used to have something called "Glee Clubs." Basically, a bunch of preppy college boys would get together and sing reverential versions of "Coney Island Baby," "Lida Rose," and other songs you've never heard of. They were extremely irritating, but the problem was mostly confined to elitist schools that you couldn't get into without buying a new library.
Unfortunately, over the past few years, a cappella groups exploded in popularity. Nowadays, vocal groups are a huge activity on college campuses. It's not just about singing--it's a major social event. Think of it as being like a frat but with less beer and more medleys of Abba songs. Whereas glee clubs used to sing without any instrumental accompaniment because they didn't happen to have any pianos handy, modern a cappella groups think that music sounds better without instruments!
These groups are not innocent clubs--they're cults! If you don't believe that, look at the matching outfits! Why would a college kid want to dress like that if they hadn't been brainwashed?
You can't walk five feet on a college campus without being serenaded with a perky version of "Karma Chameleon" or some other 80s tune you never wanted to hear again. Worse still, a cappella groups are starting to pop up in high schools, too! We can no longer ignore the fact that this is no mere extra-curricular activity...
The Warning Signs
How can you tell if somebody you know is a victim of the a cappella epidemic? Here are some of the tell-tale signs to watch out for:
- When listening to their car radio, instead of singing along with the lead singer, do they sing along with the drummer?
- Do they know all the words to the school alma mater?
- Instead of downloading MP3s from Kaaza like a normal student, did you catch them hanging out on eBay trying to buy more VHS tapes of old Carmen Sandiego episodes?
- Instead of humming to themselves, do they walk around singing syllables like "Kajang" "Aha Djing," "Gigibow," and other gibberish that sounds like sound effects from a Don Martin cartoon?
- Instead of discovering an illicit hash-pipe hidden at the bottom of the sock drawer, do you instead find that they've hidden a pitch-pipe?
- Does it drive them nuts when you confuse "a cappella" with "barbershop?"
If somebody you know shows the warning signs, an intervention just won't cut it--you're going to need to set up a full-blown deprogramming session.
It's not easy to rescue somebody from a cult, but if you follow these steps you may have a chance of snapping your friend or family member back to reality. Corner them in their dorm room, duck tape them to their desk chair, shine a lamp in their face, and start telling them the hard truths they don't want to hear. The following phrases and themes have been shown to be highly effective, so don't be afraid to use them often:
- The dining hall is NOT a suitable performance venue! You are NOT making the eggplant parmagian taste any better! Students did NOT expect your all-vocal version of "Broken Wings" to be included in the meal plan!
- Don't you care about animal rights? How is the lion supposed to sleep tonight if you keep singing that damn song!?!
- If Sarah McLachlan ever heard what you were doing to her songs, she'd kick the living crap out of you!
- When your group wears tuxedos you do not make yourselves look more classy. You're just making James Bond look less cool by association.
- For the last time, Limp Biscuit songs do not sound better in four-part harmony!
- "A cappella" is not Italian for "singing without intruments." It's Italian for "singing without dignity!"
- Don't be afraid. The guitar is your friend. It won't hurt you.
- "Vocal Percussion" will not help you meet women! It will only help you spit on them!
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