Ben Folds - Ben Folds Presents: University a Cappella!

℗ 2009 Sony Music Entertainment

Ben Folds Presents: University a Cappella! Tracklist:


To be honest, this has been my first exposure to Ben Folds. After hearing his very intelligent comments on the singoff, I would think that he could do a bit better. I really like brick and effington, but so many others are sometimes painfully out of tune. As an a cappella singer myself, I can tell when a whole album is worth buying. Just pick your favorites and go

Heath Aaron #5

This album is great. Listen to the lyrics. Ben Folds is a brilliant songwriter. Ben Folds can sing, and I will always like his original versions just as much, but the University A Cappella groups nail every song. They're incredible. Coming from a singer/songwriter/musician, this album is excellent.


I love this album alot. I sometimes listen to it non stop. I love effington, you dont know me, the luckiest, landed, army, and not the same. Great album!!! BUY BUY BUY


I was so disappointed that Virginia Tech's Juxtaposition wasn't on this singing their version of Effington. They do an absolutely amazing job and dare I say sounds better than the original (never mind Ben Fold's a cappella version). Anyway I love Ben Folds and I love a cappella, it's exciting to see it coming the forefront in music and that ben is helping to further that!


I love how the transition to a capella gives the songs new life. Magic is especially moving because with swells and vowel changes that can't be done with a piano. And for those who criticize the way the album was done, I personally find it amazing how well each ensemble performs with few takes and only area mics. Its not really fair to call edited singers a capella. Look at most pop singers today. They don't even try to hide how much they lipsync or auto-tune themselves. Listening to this album and how clear and beautiful it is, and knowing how it was recorded is a testament to the skill of those involved.


So far this is one of my favorite Ben Folds albums. It is definitely a different type of music for him, but allows the listener to see his flexibility as a musician. Many of the choirs used gave me a great outlook on what some of the songs truly mean to Ben Folds. Definitely a must for Ben Folds' fans!


this cd is an embarrassment to college groups who are much better in reality. this cd is simply not impressive. the quality of a cappella cds today is too high to come out with crap like this. it was a nice idea and, as an a cappella singer, i am happy that a cappella got exposure through a fantastic musician such as ben folds. however, it could have been done much better. for all people who say "no, we're happy it's raw and blah blah blah," you're simply not thinking about these groups. for people who don't know much about a cappella, these recordings are subpar. if a regular musician were to come out with a cd that was this bad, everyone would hate it. a cappella is a legitimate genre of music and it shouldn't be snubbed like this. i still admire ben folds but i can't listen to this cd. it hurts my ears too much.


I'm a die-hard Ben Folds fan. I know his music really well and was extremely apprehensive about this album. I mean, the glory of Ben Folds is partially the man himself, right? And I'm not even a fan of a cappella! But. Landed (which is a song so important to me I rarely listen to it) caught me so off guard that I cried. This album is absolutely incredible. Evaporated isn't great, ok, but everything else is. Ben Folds did this, even if he didn't sing it. For any true Ben Folds fan, this is an important addition to your collection; I swear. Enjoy it!


So having seen the show "sing off" I now know why maybe Ben did the album. Sony will give someone a record deal and he just happens to be one of the judges with Sony as his record label. I STILL LOVE BEN and all of his music! Keep it real Ben, and make more jokes on the sing off.

You, Me, and the Alien

This Album is so so Good. The dynamics are killer, harmonies and out of the world, and the beat boxing will blow your mind! Now I know why Ben Folds is one of the judge's for the show The Sing Off! on n.b.c! :)


This is seriously one of the best things I've heard in a while. At first I was skeptical since Ben Folds is known for his great piano skills but I'm completely impressed.


...that they could sing, erroneous as that is. This is the equivalent of nails on the chalkboard, added with cats getting their tails stepped on. Excruciatingly bad, by choir kids who think they are hip but who fall way, way short of the mark. Avoid at all costs.


Ok, so if you're looking for another Ben Folds album, with his unique twists on songs that are all his own, you may want to re-think this one. I'm not saying this album isn't amazing, because it surely is. The songs are masterfully done, and can really cause the hairs on the back of your neck to stand up when some of the amazing harmonies come through your speakers; but it's not 'true to form'. A lot of the reviews will pick each song apart, because it's not "as good as Ben did it". Which, in a sense, is true. When you're the first to perform/record a song you do get a great deal of license. But these groups put their own spin on it, and they make the songs their own. When you consider there is virtually NO editing, not to mention no background instrumentals, just pure vocal power this is an amazing release. The other thing to keep in mind is, these are not professional groups with huge labels backing them. These are college groups who often get very little support even from the academia they spurn from. I have personally loved both Ben Folds and the UNC Loreleis for some time. I think if you keep an open mind, and just hear the work these kids put into it, this album will quickly become a favorite. It sure became one of mine!

Stormin' Mormon

It's really cool to hear all the parts in Ben's songs distinctly and just hear how well they're put together. Ben Folds compiled all these songs by different colleges and even sang with some of them. It's a great album with some songs that aren't in any of his other albums.


Every song is unique, and it's always great to listen to. I'm constantly listening to this album, it's been in my cd player since I got it a few months ago. Being a singer who loves a cappella, it's great to listen to incredible songs put into intense vocal harmony lines. Each singer and group is different and has a uniquely beautiful voice. I love this album! And so will any musician or person who loves to listen to music that still sounds new after every listen. Enjoy :)


Quirky, “angst-y” lyrics layered atop rockin' piano are what make Ben Folds' music so special for me, and while I didn't always feel the traditional Ben vibe I feel when I listen to his other albums, this one truly surprised me. The harmonies and emotion in The University of Chicago's Voices In Your Head's version of “Magic” gave me chills and brought me to tears. It's simply beautiful. Other songs on the album, while not overly sophisticated, are pure and show that the unaccompanied human voice has as much power to stay with you as an over-mixed pop song. If you're not an a cappella fan or one of Ben's cult followers, you may not fully appreciate the album, but give it a listen anyway! It's good to try new things every once in a while. Overall, this is a surprising, but impressing Ben Folds project and I recommend that you give it a listen.

Mini caesar

Look, the album is alright, but I'd rather see some new work. The songs are great originally so making this rendition does not really improve them. I'd recomend this cd to hardcore Ben folds fans but beyond that not much else.


What a brilliant idea - this cd is great for every Ben Folds fan, and perfect for every collegiate choir member out there. A quick heads up - Ben only sings on a couple tracks, the rest he leaves to the choirs. Don't let that keep you from listening though, it works so well! You will not be disappointed!


Ben Folds is awesome. I've listened to their music for years, and I have loved A Capella, so to me, this is genius. Does every song translate, maybe not. But if you are a Ben Folds fan, it's fun to listen. I *heart*


Just get it. You know you want to. You're wondering "Would I like it, or...hmm. I don't know." It's not the songs as they were meant to be, and that's the point. It's a different way to listen and sing along with some classic Folds tunes. So, stop worrying. You'll like it :>

Matthew Ames

This is a whole new spin on Ben Folds, but cool! If you're hungry for some old Ben--also combined with University--try Lamar Holley's Confessions of a College Student. It sounds like something Ben could've done.


When Ben Folds Five came out with there 'Whatever & Ever Amen' CD, I was floored. I proceeded to worship Ben's music because of the emotion he slammed out on his piano and keyboards. I got his Ben Folds Five, Ben Folds, and Fear of Pop albums. When I got this album, I was disappointed. It's a lot of people who are saying Ben's words and filling in for him but the audience (us, the buyers) aren't feeling the original "angst"-style emotion. The keyboards and pianos are the soul of Ben's music and with the a cappella choir taking that away, it has a "cheesy" feel to it. Don't get me wrong. I have the Best of Collegiate Acappella albums from 1999-2008 including Wasting our Parent's Money. I can tell you that I only listen to five songs from all of them due to the fact that they have the original if not better emotion that I felt from the original artist. GET this album to add to your collection. DON'T get this album if you want to rock out.


If Way to Normal was proof that Folds can get away with whatever he wants, University A Cappella is proof and a reminder of his musical genius. Not the Same and Magic are so good they seem as though they were created for this. Evaporated is a let down, but otherwise this is a clinic in creativity.


Love the album! What an awesome tribute to Ben's musical genius. I only wish Ben would have sung on more of the tracks, but there's a great group of talented individuals who absolutely do his songs no injustice.


I love Ben Folds' piano-driven rock, so I was skeptical of this a cappella concept album. However, I really like it. The arrangements vocally capture the harmonies and progressions of the instrumented originals, which given Folds' repertoire is no small feat. One would think that a university choir album would be stuffy and exact, but somehow they managed to keep the quirky coolness of Ben Folds' style, which I suspect was part of the intent of this album anyway, knowing Folds. I particularly like what they did on "Not the Same" and "Still Fighting It." And, as far as I'm concerned, "The Luckiest" is a perfect modern wedding song not just because it's a "love song" but because it expresses a common theme in a very unique way. The a cappella version here confirms that sentiment.


What a great album! I was very impressed by all of the artists that contributed. My favorites are "Army" by the Midnight Ramblers and "You Don't Know Me" by Someone Else's Money. Awesome job to both Ben and the a capella groups!


Overall I think this is an outstanding project. I would love to hear a lot of the backing vocal compositions with Ben singing lead (similar to Boxing - track 6). I really am not a fan of the soulful renditions (i.e. The Spartones' Not the Same).. I just don't like to hear a pop/rock song sung in that style. The track that totally blows me away is Magic (Track 8) By Voices in Your Head. So well done it's scary. I wish the whole album could be as good as that track, and then it would be a 5-star album.


Some of them are more in tune and inventive than others, but overall very enjoyable if you're a fan of Ben Folds and a cappella music.

hopelessly southern



"Evaporated", by the high school group, brought me to tears. Truly beautiful.

national band ever

Speaking as a student from South, the HIGH school where the newtones ("Evaporated") are from, I am seriously impressed with this album. Great job to all who contributed.


Thoroughly enjoyed this album. Despite the occasional flat note (or as in the case of Still Fighting It), notes, it's a fun listen. These institutions should be proud of their efforts.


"Still Fighting It" as sung by the Washington University In St. Louis Mosaic Whispers is a MUST DOWNLOAD... the lead singer has an amazing voice that gives you goosebumps! Kudos to Mr. Folds for paying tribute to this incredibly amazing and moving genre of music.


If you do nothing else by reviewing this album, BUY the song "Magic," track 8. A beuatiful and moving arrangement and performance. You will not regret it. Well done, Ben.


Collegiate a cappella sits at an interesting intersection with this album. Fans new to the genre who've been listening to podcasts like Joey C's Acappella U and collections from BOCA (Best of Collegiate A Cappella) have been treated to an a cappella sound that, while amazing to listen to, represents a digitohuman sound that in many cases could never be repeated live. Autotuning, doubling bass parts, super-complex filters and post-mixing really explore what a cappella can be, but sometimes leans away from what collegiate a cappella is - human beings making music based on a shared understanding of starting pitch, tempo and the energy of the crowd they're singing for. This album is done much more in the spirit of live performances ... what you hear is what got sung (largely). Posers who claim the ability to sing with perfect pitch will quibble with some of what they hear here. People who love listening to music and singing either publicly in a group or privately in their car will find a lot to love here. Whenever an established artist "wanders" into a non-traditional form to re-examine his work, there's always a chance that it comes off as self-indulgent musical diddling. Folds avoids this pitfall handily, turning out an album that explores the relationship between Folds' own voice and the thick, chewy piano work and chord progressions that keep his music eternally interesting and floating well above frat-boy sing-alongs. The Sacramento State Jazz Singers' cover of "Selfless, Cold & Composed", for example, finds complexity in that Folds chestnut that force the listener to re-evaluate the song completely. All of this is to say that the 16 tracks captured here give the listener a glimpse beyond the mixing-board perfection that studio production so often strips the life out of music. A welcome addition to both my Ben Folds and my collegiate a cappella collections.


A capella at its finest. You get the best of both worlds, Ben Folds and college a capella. It's magic to your ears if you like them both. Every track is different but so captavating.

Dan Collins and a Piano

Ben never ceases to amaze me. He does what he wants and does it well. I loved the idea when I heard of it, and I'm a little disappointed that I didn't jump on board the arranging crew... hell, if he does it again I won't waste a minute. I guess I'm just really proud to say that I'm a dedicated and inspired fan. Thank you, Ben. -Dan


Great Concept, Great Singers, Okay Track Selection. ---Every track on here is a masterful representation of that song, but in my opinion there are some tracks that could have been replaced by better fits for an acappella representation. It doesn't ruin anything, but leaves me wanting more.

Nick in Sac

Despite the complaints to the contrary, I'm happy they made the decision to produce this album the way they did - live, with limited takes. Splitting it out into individual mastered tracks that have been tuned and messed with in post production doesn't capture the spirit of these groups. Why produce an album in the studio that doesn't represent what these fine groups are capable of in real life? The field mics and subtle mixing really gives the listener the impression they're listening to a live group singing as one - not a patchwork of tracks thrown together after the fact. Some songs work better than others in this format, but I don't feel there's a dud in the group.


I was sceptical but I am pleasantly surprised!


I'm a big Ben fan, and these totally took his classic and new songs and gave them a new, choral spin. "Magic" sounds like a Renissance era hymn, "Brick" has a hip-hop spin to it, it's just amazing. I love it, Ben's blown me away, yet again. Way to go, dude.


I’m surprised frankly. (Now for the long version.) My two least favorites are evaporated and luckiest (I’m sorry there both just meant to be played on Piano,) but the rest are well worth the price, so buy the whole thing. I would strongly suggest 1.Selfless Cold and Composed. 2 Magic 3.Still Fighting it 4. Effington 5. Brick In that order. I didn’t like a cappella much until now. Come to think of it, this is a Best of Album that is actually worth buying if you already own most of Ben’s Cds.


Not alot of words to describe this wonderful concept ben folds came up with! Such a rare way to express again oneself, but through other people. Amazing what people have in them! (ben folds, and all of the participants!) Great job!


This CD is great. All the groups chosen to sing on this album do great justice to his music. I especially liked the rendition of 'Magic' by The University of Chicago group, "voices in your head." Wow, that's all I can say. This is a must buy for a cappella & ben fold's fans!

Ben Folds Fanatic

The A Cappella groups sound AMAZING! The songs sound so beautiful. Ben Folds is a pretty awesome guy. Not many artists would even consider doing something like this. Way to go! Very enjoyable album.


I guess some people didn't understand Ben's intent. Ben knew full well that they weren't hitting every note perfectly, and it wasn't being recorded in a pristine environment. If you don't like A Cappella or if you don't like the arangements, then that's great, but leave some of this nearly pious stuff at the door. Maybe a few quotes from Ben will help... (from CNN) "I mean these guys, they'd just do a live take and they just don't know that the pros don't do it that way. I mean, professional singers are a nightmare. You've gotta tune every syllable, they have to do it 10,000 times. These guys just did it." "When you start messing with it and putting everyone on separate tracks you've lost the event and you've gained some sense of maybe perfection, but when it comes to the human voice, even-tempered piano tuning sounds incorrect to me. I think that people have a natural tuning mechanism." Peace!


I've always been a fan of a cappella groups (think Andy Bernard - Here Comes Treble), so when Folds announced he was putting together an album of a cappella versions of his songs, I was ecstatic. Take a listen to "Time" and "Magic" and you'll be hooked.


I love a cappella and I love Ben Folds so this album is awesome. I don't think there's many artists out there whose songs are musical enough to make into a cappella songs. Ben Folds' tracks are perfect for this!


You just need to listen to one song to know that this album is amazing!!!!! Ben Folds ROCKS!!


I love ben folds and I think his project was amazing. Whereas all of these groups arrangements are spectacular, many of the singers have a tendancy to go flat. If you do not have a trained ear it will be very difficult to detect but, as an a capella singer, even a quarter-step flat can be tragic if the whole group doesn't follow. Regardless, the majority of the CD is awesome and very worth the buy!

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