Ah Crap(pella)!


Since graduating from college a few months ago, there are many things about the lifestyle that I’m already missing. There was the booze, the parties, that time John Belushi and I totally pranked our uptight dean. But there is one cruel, inhumane, despicable facet of college life that I am incredibly thankful to leave in the dust.

A cappella.

What’s so bad about a group singing without instrumental accompaniment? Here’s the official mission statement of every a cappella group: “Hey, remember that song you like? Great, because we’re about to ruin it for you.” That’s a direct quote, by the way.

Interestingly enough, most a cappella members are good singers. But together they end up making life worse for everyone, just like the new Fantastic Four movie. They do that weird swaying thing where they swing their shoulders in rhythm with the song. All the while, their feet are glued solidly to the floor, as if Satan himself pinned them there until they carried out his dark musical bidding. There’s so many singers too, and inevitably every single one of them gets a solo. You’d be surprised how quickly the two and a half hour shows don’t fly by. I’d prefer that the dozen of them decided to beat me up instead. At least that would be over in five minutes.

Granted, a cappella groups do far more than sing. Song breaks are peppered with wacky antics, adding an extra dimension to their cardboard cutout of a good time. Then, of course, they get back to more singing. Catchy pop riffs twist into weird mouth noises. Monochrome outfits hop back and forth. At the song’s emotional climax, a soloist clutches her heart, or at least roughly where her heart would be if she hadn’t sold it to the devil. The only person in the group I actually enjoy is the guy in the back going “Dumb dumb dumb dumb,” because he’s the only one brave enough to tell it like like it is.

To be clear, it’s not that I actively seek out a cappella shows so I have an excuse to stew in my own misery for an evening. More often that not, you don’t find a cappella. It finds you. Whether you’re at an awards ceremony or sitting in the dining hall, a rogue a cappella group can burst in at any time and wreck everything, like the John Rambo of unwanted performances.

You know what the Viet-Cong weren't prepared for? Rolling in the Deep.
You know what the Viet-Cong weren’t prepared for?
Rolling in the Deep.

Maybe a cappella groups themselves aren’t the worst thing in the world, but do they have to act like they’re the pinnacle of human achievement? Take away the ridiculous alumni funding and friends pressured into buying tickets, and it’s all just another extracurricular that college kids dabble in before going into consulting. At the end of the day, a cappella is artistic in the same way as painting with feces–impressive at first glance, but deep down, just a bunch of shit.


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