If you haven’t listened to Tufts sQ!’s new album Bird (For Now), 1. You are seriously missing out on a whole other facet of life and 2. We’ve got it right here for you, so you have no excuse. Tufts sQ!, for those of you who don’t know, is Tufts’ freshest a cappella group and their new album, which was released November 13th is indeed the freshest. This album has been two years in the making and brings together everyone’s favorite recent covers by sQ!.
Most of us, except maybe some unlucky freshmen, have heard sQ! perform at some point in our Tufts career, and we can all agree that they are insanely talented. There are some belted notes on this album that shouldn’t be possible but somehow are. sQ! has a way of making a cappella music bumpin’. That’s the only way to describe it – bumpin’. As an album, Bird (For Now) just reminds its listeners how versatile and impressive a group sQ! is. The big advantage of a professional recording is that you can actually hear every vocal part, which is sometimes difficult during live performances. Professional recordings give a cappella fans a chance to really appreciate the small details of the arrangement.
It’s impossible to rank the songs on this 12-track album because they are all great to listen to. However, there are some standout tracks, all of which shine for different reasons. The standout arrangement has to go to the epic mashup “Hit ‘Em Up Style (Oops!) / No Scrubs / Bootylicious”. There’s so much going on and somehow, these three beloved throwbacks work perfectly together. The alternating riffs between the three leads, Elise Lee, Nick Whitney, and Ellis Srubas-Giammanco at the end of the mashup are silky smooth. “Carried Away” is another great track and will get likely get stuck in your head for the next month. As an homage to the lead, they use “Becca Cooley” as vocal background syllables and somehow make it sound great? What??? “Bottom of the River” has always been a favorite and now, you can listen to it on repeat forever. It never gets old. Honestly, listening to the whole album only takes 50 minutes, so just do it. You’ll be hooked before you know it. I would say it’s a good album to listen to while studying, but you’ll get way too distracted. I’m speaking from experience.
It’s always awesome to see Tufts students doing cool things and this is no exception. You may feel bombarded by a cappella considering the high ratio of a cappella groups to student population, but when you think about it, it’s pretty rad. Being able to mimic, to some extent, instruments and create complex covers that actually good is an awesome ability. Though even I can appreciate dope harmonies, I do have to mention some conspiracy theories surround Tufts sQ!. Some have speculated about the members’ humanness. Can humans actually sing that well? Are they actually robots designed to destroy the human race with sweet, sweet harmonies? Probably. But it’s fine. Death by listening to “You Go Down Smooth” too often doesn’t sound like too bad a way to go.
Bird (For Now) is available for streaming on Spotify and for purchase on iTunes. Support your fellow talented Tufts students and check it out.