The Best of British 2012 is our unofficial countdown of the top ten UK a cappella tracks of the past year. Over the next few weeks leading up to the Christmas period, we will be counting down, from ten to one, what we believe have been the best tracks on show this year, ranging from awesome arrangements, sensational solos, marvellous mash-ups, punny parodies and everything in between.
In order to determine which tracks were to be considered for this accolade, we decided to restrict our selections to songs that fell under ONE or BOTH of the following categories:
a) A song that made its live debut in 2012
b) A song that was featured on a 2012 album
For example, although all of the tracks featured on The Accidentals‘ EP made their debuts at the 2011 Voice Festival, because the album was released in 2012, all of the tracks on the album were considered. Also, several tracks were considered that were not released on albums, for example songs by The Oxford Belles or The Sons of Pitches from their 2012 repertoire.
We made a list of all the eligible songs from all the eligible groups, and then picked the top three tracks from each group, where possible. We then narrowed this shortlist down to 25, before picking our 10 favourite tracks. Opinions were divided, scores were combined, and in the end there was only one winner. But who will it be?
The countdown starts here:
10. The Other Guys – St Andrews Girls
Awards: ‘Outstanding Performance’ – Voice Festival 2012, St Andrews Regional
Rolling in at tenth place is the second YouTube sensation to come out of St Andrews from Scotland’s only all-male group, The Other Guys. St Andrews Girls combines tracks by Belinda Carlisle, One Direction, the Chariots of Fire theme tune and, of course, Katy Perry, all mixed up together with some fitting lyric changes that delighted the St Andrews crowd on its debut performance at this year’s St Andrews Regional Round of the Voice Festival.
As you can imagine, the song was inspired by girls from St Andrews, according to the group’s Musical Director, Matthew Pattie: “Rather than look to a specific group or arrangement for inspiration, we took ours from the girls of St Andrews: spend an afternoon in Starbucks on Market Street and you’ll get all the inspiration you’ll ever need!” The process of writing the song itself was a collaborative one, with several members of the group chipping in with lyrics, some of which didn’t quite make the final cut. “The second we came up with the idea and the title of the song, the stereotypical lyrics started flowing freely. The music came afterwards.”
However, there’s no getting around the fact that the YouTube video hasn’t quite made the same impact as last year’s effort, Royal Romance. “We never expected it to be as popular as Royal Romance,” claimed Pattie, who added, “The video was more for personal and public enjoyment and to raise some money for charity, rather than to have the same international impact as Royal Romance did. We felt we ought to capitalise on the success of the first video by giving something back. St Andrews Girls was a much more niche market than Royal Romance, so to get over 100,000 hits and to raise over £1000 for charity is more than we could have even dreamed of.”
And is the song still a favourite of the group? “Absolutely! You’d have thought that singing the song countless times in the past year would cause it to stagnate slightly, but we don’t get bored of it. We keep it fresh by playing around with it, adding new ad-libs and chords, which keeps it interesting for us and for our fans.” The group even got to perform the song to royalty a few weeks ago, singing at a university fundraiser in the presence of Prince William and Kate Middleton. “They seemed to enjoy it!” said Matthew.
St Andrews Girls is a classic track from The Other Guys, who are well known for their parodies. The song may not have had the same impact at the London VF-UK Final as it did back in Scotland, but the parodical nature of the group really shines through on this number, and that’s why it is held in such high regard. With rumours that the group are set to release a Christmas album in the coming weeks, there looks to be plenty more to come from the St Andreans.
You can watch St Andrews Girls right here.