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Monday, September 30, 2013

Marching Covered

I've been known to call out a marching-related article that I believe mailed it in, but I was quite pleased to see that a recent article in Rolling Stone didn't do that at all. In what they bill as "Ten Mind-Blowing College Marching Band Cover Songs", the foundational music magazine takes a foray into halftime, highlighting quite a few pop tunes that got field time. many of which I would've included myself, has I written such a list.

A few notables: I loved Temple's arrangement of All of the Lights since I first laid ears on it. Chris of All Subjects Everything fame said early on that he'd love to hear this particular Kanye tune coming off of HBCU horns, but having heard a few arrangements, I'm not sure anyone's done it quite like the Diamond Marching Band. Thrift Shop was the pop tune du jour during the end of this past pep band season, and who hasn't wanted to play a little Cee-Lo after a bad call from the refs? The Marching 110's rendition of Gangnam Style one one of the early viral hits, the likes of which spawned Amazing Happens Every Saturday.

On the flip side - by no means bad choices, just not my cup of tea - I'm not a big fan of the drop the beat, drop our instruments, and let the loudspeaker take over that that Michigan State did. And expecting Blurred Lines to find its way to a lot of fields this fall, I came across Jackson State's rendition early on, and to my surprise, the Sonic Boom of the South's rendition was a bit too marcato for my tastes, though it works better on the field than it does in the stands.

And then there's the University of Michigan's Beyonce medley. For a band so steeped in tradition, they're certainly changing the game with a modern take, using resources available to them in the Big House and truly embracing the Under the Lights of their big game. Their beginning, Destiny's Child's Lose My Breath, is particularly fitting: The tune starts with a drum riff borrowed from a Michigan Marching Band cadence.
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