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Monday, August 15, 2022

Record Routine: Pentatonix soar on self-titled release

Touring with Kelly Clarkson would probably be the peak of many artist’s year. For the a cappella quintet Pentatonix, this was merely another step closer to the top. As if a platinum-selling Christmas album isn’t enough, Pentatonix’s new, self-titled albumhas reached no. 1 on the Billboard Top 200 charts in just 10 days after its October 16 release. As many a cappella albums go, Pentatonix includes fantastic covers of popular chart-toppers including Jason Derulo’s “If I Ever Fall In Love” and OMI’s “Cheerleader.”

What makes this album so stellar is it features several Pentatonix originals, like “Can’t Sleep Love” and “Take Me Home,” which was the featured song from their “On My Way Home” tour and documentary. The documentary was recently released on Netflix, and follows their tour on their way back home to Arlington, Texas. In case you were unaware, originals are basically uncharted territory in the a cappella world. However, as “Pitch Perfect 2” shows, originals can win you gold, which I believe Pentatonix has found with this album. Did I mention Pentatonix had a guest appearance in “Pitch Perfect 2” as Team Canada? Because they did, and they rocked it.

Whether you prefer a stunning cover or an amazing original, this album delivers soul. Every member of Pentatonix sings from the inside and it translates onto the album. The listener can tell they love what they do, and are just so happy to be doing what they love for a living. This passion is what drives the album and makes their songs so different and unique, even if they are covering someone else’s songs.

This album is not only unique, but technical. Each song has harmonies perfectly cemented together that please not only the ear, but the entire body. The amazing part is that with only five members, each person is singing a different note, weaving the intricate musical phrases together.

Members Mitch Grassi, Kirstin Maldonado and Scott Hoying generally share the lead vocal duties, while Kevin “KO” Olusola and Avi Kaplan hold down the rhythm section and supporting harmonies. I don’t know what it is, but these five together sing harmonies better than any other choir I’ve ever heard, even with just five members. Their voices blend perfectly when needed and no one stands out more than the other, unless they want them to, adding to the power and serenity of the album.

As a Pentatonix superfan that has been following them since their origin on NBC’s “The Sing-Off,” it’s amazing to hear they have retained their original and powerful sound, yet have become more polished and professional. Their passion has only grown, and I see Pentatonix completely rearranging the music world in the coming years. Pentatonix has brought a cappella music into the mainstream from original choir nerd status, especially with the release of this masterpiece. If you are looking for something that sounds unique yet completely pleasing to the senses, you need to make sure you pick up your copy of this album.

Rating: A

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