The other day for no particular reason, a thought popped into my head: whatever happened to the Thai singing group A Cappella 7 (อะ แค็บเปล่า เซเว่น)?
Now, a cappella music has never really caught on in Thailand. Western-style Thai music, known as "string" music, far too often gives us overproduced pop stars who can't really even carry a tune very well. Sound familiar? Happens back home too, of course. But I'm regularly and genuinely amazed at how terrible the singers are on Thai singing talent shows like Academy Fantasia or The Star. And yet many go on to become big stars. Welcome to commercial pop music.
Perhaps it was simply the novelty of it, but when their debut album came out, I immediately liked A Cappella 7. Despite the name, there are only five singers in the group (shades of Ben Folds Five, which was actually a trio). They've had three studio albums, but nothing since a song on a film soundtrack in 2006, that I can find evidence of.
Though only about half of their songs are actually sung a cappella, their best work is, or has only sparse instrumentation. Humor also plays a big part in their music -- singing about cooking omelets, expensive girlfriends, and even *gasp* farting. But I think overall it works. It's a welcome change from the done-to-death themes of 99% of pop music.
Here are my personal favorites from each album:
อะ-แค็บ-เป-ล่า-เซ-เว่น / A Cappella 7 (2002)
Intention and action are very different things.
Because sometimes you get hungry.
บิ๊ก แดดดี้ / Big Daddy (2003)
รอยตีนกา "Crow's Feet"
Reminding us that there are things worse than showing signs of aging.
A deliciously sophomoric song about who did or didn't do it.
Cheesy but catchy -- all about pining for a better world.
เม้าท์ ทู เม้าท์ / mouth2mouth (2005)
เรียนไม่เก่ง "Not Good in School"
Teaching us that love doesn't require book smarts.