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Video spotlight: Don't Stop Believin' by VoicePlay

Earlier this year, I wondered if Eli and Geoff were evil geniuses or not. Now, I can't help thinking that the group has some kind of weird magical ability. This year, I've been making an effort to plan things out better in an attempt to avoid having long stretches of time go by without any updates. It's worked out well. Some of the time. The rest of the time? Not so much.

See, I'll have my notebook full of ideas and make up a schedule that makes sense to me. Then it happens. Something great gets uploaded, more often than not by these guys, and bam. Schedule? Out the window. See, once again I was going to wait just a bit longer before writing a new VoicePlay related post. Once again, I had decided what the next VoicePlay post would be. And it wasn't this. I'll give the guys extra credit for this one: they also managed to somewhat change another upcoming post about them. This is, of course, entirely coincidental. It just happens...and keeps happening. Over and over again.

Granted, I could obviously choose to resist the impulse to change things around and stick to the aforementioned schedule, but I never do. Oh, I might be able to get another couple of posts done. Usually when I've already had said posts more or less completely planned out or had already started writing. That was actually the case with the last two about Rachel Potter and Home Free. There were a couple of other non-VoicePlay related posts I was contemplating writing next. Before the, shall I say, roguish VoicePlay decided to release this little nugget of delightfulness. I knew I had no choice but to write about it next. None, I tell you!

Because that's exactly what this video is: delightful. It's wonderful and full of beautiful harmonies. This is also quite possibly the best that I have ever heard Earl sound. I've known he was a great singer from the beginning, but my goodness. In my book, Earl singing "Don't Stop Believin'" is on par with Tony- excuse me, The Tony - singing "The Phantom of the Opera". You know, those magical moments where the voice and the song are a match made in musical heaven? Yeah. These are the kinds of moments that the heart-eyed emoji was created for, y'all.

Some of you may recall that I dubbed Earl the High Note Slayer earlier this year and let's just say he earned that title for a reason. There's one note in particular right at the end that's insane. That's what I'm talking about. That's our Slayer!

You want to know what else I love about this? Short answer: everything! Interested in the long and potentially long-winded (long-typed?) answer? Then keep reading!

Did I mention the harmonies? Because those are pretty gorgeous. First, there's the VoicePlay harmonies that we'll circle back to. But what makes this video extra special is that it was filmed while the guys were at Camp A Cappella, which is Deke Sharon's creation. If you're already an a cappella fan, you know who Deke is, but for those of you who don't? He's essentially the godfather of modern a cappella and believes that a cappella is for everyone.

So he came up with Camp A Cappella (among other things), which you can learn more about here. They always have a professional group that takes part. This year, it was VoicePlay. I don't know that the campers always get to be in a video with the group like this lucky batch of campers did. 

So we have VoicePlay with a choir of, oh, 300 people behind them. It's beautiful. In more than one way. I'll be honest and admit that this video actually gets me super emotional for reasons to be included later. If you make it to that point. Okay, that sounded ominous. I just thought that I'd leave what we'll call the "feels" section for last. Here's the video.

Sometimes I can't help but feel like whichever two guys are doing the backup harmonies can get overlooked. Well, not on my watch! Welcome to Eli and Tony appreciation time. I don't know that I've ever fully appreciated how good the two of them sound together. I mean, I obviously love the way they all sound together, but you know. Please recognize that whoever is doing those supporting harmonies (Eli and Tony, in this case) are the ones who give the song its depth. They're like the talented glue that binds it all together.

This video is a special case because of the choir.  But if you support them on Patreon at the $5 level (or above), where you get the MP3 (plus the karaoke track, because they're generous like that), it's just the guys. I'm going to guess that this'll be the version available for purchase on iTunes and whatnot. As much as I love hearing the choir with them, I also love it without because you can obviously hear them better.

The arrangement, meanwhile, is fantastic. It's Geoff and Layne. They're basically wizards when it comes to arranging music. Their rhythm? On point. Or would that be on beat? Again, I point out that it's Geoff and Layne. What else do I have to say? Great rhythm is what they do. They always know what a song needs and then they do it. It doesn't matter what the group is singing, their songs always have a great feel to them and that's thanks to them.

The best part of this is, in my opinion (and I bet many will agree), is right around the 2:37 mark when they throw in samples of other songs. The next minute or so is magical. I feel like I always get a ridiculous, dopey smile on my face when it happens.

Sidenote: if they could stop finding ways to make me look like a total goofball, that'd be phenomenal. I mean, knowing them I know that there's likely no chance of that happening, but still.

Seriously though, that minute (or so) is everything. I love bringing in other songs. I love how each guy gets highlighted (even Layne!) and how it all fits together. Guys, I daresay that I'm a little twitterpated. With all of them. For real, I feel like each guy becomes my temporary favorite when they start their part. They all sound so wonderful. Throughout the whole thing, but especially there. Heart-eyed emojis for everyone!

I love that this section is just them, too. Then, the way the chorus comes back is beautiful. As are the moments leading into it. Holy goodness. Yup. Definitely a little twitterpated over here. It's fine. No use fighting it, if you're in the same boat. Just accept that a little piece of your heart now belongs to the group as a whole. It'll be fine. Promise. You're in good company.

I mentioned that this video gets me super emotional. Why's that? Because this video is full of people who absolutely love music. You'd have to love music to want to go to something like Camp A Cappella to learn more about it. Sometimes when I watch, I focus more on the guys, but other times I'm more interested in the campers. The way that everyone is singing and dancing and flat out enjoying themselves. No one seems embarrassed or ashamed. Everyone seems to be too busy having fun to judge anyone else.

You know, I love belting out songs. When no one else is around. I'll dance around like an idiot. If there's no one around to watch. I was always that super, painfully shy kid. Social anxiety is something I struggle with. I have no problems being myself when I write - especially about these guys - but in person? That's so much harder. I've spent my life feeling like I don't quite fit in anywhere,

And yet, when I watch this, I see people who not only love music but love it the way that I do. Completely. With all their heart. That's why I started this blog in the first place. Because music has always been such an important part of my life. Because I absolutely love it and needed a way to get that love out in the open. That's also why I write about VoicePlay as much as I do. I need to tell people about them. I just do.

Meanwhile, I don't know any of the people in the video (as far as I know, anyway). Yeah, I've met VoicePlay, but only briefly and well over a year ago. But you know what? Watching this makes me feel like I've finally found my people. Because if nothing else, we have that love of music in common. Music really does bring people together. And that, my friends, is beautiful.

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Thanks for reading!

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