There’s a book review at slate.com on Pitch Perfect, (2007, Mitch Rapkin) which is a close look at the collegiate sub-culture of a cappella groups. Linda gave me this book for father’s day and I read most of it on vacation this summer. The slate reviewer comes at it with an insider’s viewpoint; she was formerly an undergradate a cappella singer while at Yale. She offers more perspective than the book does, admitting she was reluctant to share her nerdy past with her current boyfriend:
The crimes of a cappella, after all, are legion and well-documented. The dumb outfits. The fact that on many college campuses, it’s always being shoved in your face. (Your roommate might have been a Level-20 Wizard in Dungeons & Dragons, but he wasn’t constantly sprawled in your entryway, forcing you to watch him roll his 12-sided die.) The bands most frequently covered on the circuit are uniformly schlocky: Coldplay, Maroon 5, Billy Joel, Journey. Perhaps most damning of all is the fact that a cappella is so painfully earnest, so distressingly eager to please. read more.
7/19 update: just saw this compilation of the Funniest A Capella on the Web (sic), and its mostly college groups. Check out the mormon (BYU) white boy choreo to Thriller!