The Best of British 2013 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 OR competitive debut since our last countdown commenced (Dec 2012 – Nov 2013)
b) A song that was featured on an album released since our last countdown commenced (Dec 2012 – Nov 2013)
c) No tracks considered for last year’s countdown are eligible this year.
For example, although The Other Guys‘ Christmas was released in 2012, last year’s countdown started before the release of the album, so all the tracks on the album were eligible. On the flip side, although The Oxford Alternotives wowed with their rendition of Regina Spektor’s Samson at this year’s VF-UK, because it was released in album form in 2012, it was considered last year and therefore was ineligible this year.
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 continues:
9. The Oxford Belles – This Is Titanium
Award: ‘Outstanding Musicality’ – Voice Festival UK 2013, Oxford Regional
Rolling in at number 9 is the first of two tracks on our countdown that have garnered considerable acclaim and success as a professionally filmed YouTube video: The Oxford Belles’ rendition of David Guetta and Sia’s Titanium, mixed in with As Long As You Love Me and This Is Love – stylised as “As Long As This Is Titanium”. While the group didn’t make it through to the Final of the Voice Festival or, indeed, to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, we at the blog were impressed at the group’s inventiveness to broaden their horizons in a brand new way – and with a top quality arrangement to boot.
Just like the previous number in our countdown, the song’s origins came about by chance, according to the MD of the group, Alicia Gayle: “It was a bit of a random epiphany moment at a bus stop, to tell the truth! I conceived the idea and then it came to fruition mainly thanks to the creativity of the group as a whole.” The song debuted at the groups’ Michaelmas concert to high acclaim and soon became a staple in the Belles 12/13 repertoire, featuring in their Regional Voice Festival set and contributing somewhat to their reception of the ‘Outstanding Musicality’ award.
As for the decision to turn the track into a video, expanding the group’s horizons was very near the top of the list of motivations. “This song was chosen over others in our repertoire because we felt it would have the most impact.” Indeed, Gayle hinted that the video had already procured them some game-changing opportunities, as well as helping them to sell their subsequent EP. “We’ve been able to film a potential promo for Skype – more details on that will be revealed shortly!”
With over 2,000 views on YouTube, Gayle concludes by sharing her views on why she thinks the song made such an impact, both inside and outside the a cappella sphere: “It’s quite mainstream in content, fun to watch in a performance, and as an arrangement, it’s quite different from other songs that we sing.”