Short, sweet and packed with the latest pop hits, Pentatonix’s newest album “Top Pop Vol. 1” not only made me a bigger fan of the incredible art that is a cappella, but it also made me a fan of Pentatonix.
Despite my deep affinity for oncehit movie franchise “Pitch Perfect,” picking up an album created by YouTube sensation and a cappella group Pentatonix was more than a simple task. For one, the group is usually known for its covers of classic Christmas tunes that may have been popular years earlier. There was also always the hesitation of becoming invested in yet another music group with no prior knowledge of each member’s personality or motivation for singing, but Pentatonix was able to tap into my not-so-secret love: current pop.
Like most young musical stars that seem to appear out of thin air, Pentatonix is a Grammy awardwinning group that got its start on YouTube in 2007. From there, Pentatonix won the a cappella competition “The Sing-Off” in its third season. After being signed, the group released its debut EP, “PTX, Volume 1,” in 2012, and was met with overwhelming positivity.
Going back to their older music, I can definitely see where the appeal stemmed from. Casually watching the group’s success from my uninterested corner, Pentatonix became successful because of the raging success of “Pitch Perfect,” a movie I will firmly defend as a great film. Riding the high of this film, the release of Pentatonix’s first album focused on basic and overplayed songs that I maybe listened to a few times, namely: Nicki Minaj’s “Starships” and “Somebody That I Used to Know” by Goyte. There are also several original songs that do nothing for me in terms of their “wow” factors.
Despite my personal gripes, “PTX, Volume 1” was met with stellar reviews and for good reason. Put frankly, their voices sound great separately, and when placed together they make incredibly unique sounds that seemed almost impossible at my first listen. Though, the group hit a particularly stale path when it decided to start crafting Christmas albums.
Possibly the most boring of all musical genres, Christmas song covers are almost always extremely well done while also being incredibly drab. This topic was even visited and parodied in “Pitch Perfect 2” when Snoop Dogg’s producer was desperately searching for a new sound for Christmas jingles rather than the same played-out thing. Yes, those movies only became weirder as they went on. Pentatonix currently has two Christmas albums, and both of them are as lackluster as any artist that decides to cover decades-old songs.
Arriving at the group’s most recent release, “PTX Presents: Top Pop Vol. I” represents everything that the group has been building up to. Although, it may be completely possible that I enjoy it because there happens to be plenty of songs that I have come to love on the album. Starting with a massive surprise favorite “Attention” by Charlie Puth and ending with Demi Lovato’s iconic “Sorry Not Sorry,” the range of their voices hold nothing back and stuns me with every repeated listen.
Though there may be a few songs that I could live without – Ed Sheeran’s “Perfect” and the incredibly awful “Despacito” – I can finally say that I have joined the Pentatonix family.