‘Pentatonix’ album review
By Aaron Guillen, Staff Reporter
Pentatonix’s distinct a cappella sound has gained the group over one-billion YouTube views, the highest charting Christmas album by a group since 1962 (1.1 million sold, according to Nielsen Music), appearances on Ellen, Conan, and The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, and a Grammy win for their Daft Punk medley. Finally, the highly anticipated self-titled album, Pentatonix, has been released with completely original songs and a strong fan base supporting them.
“Na Na Na” starts the album with a burst of energy. With a bright array of claps, stomps, and chants, it is reminiscent of a victory cheer played after a game. There’s no mistaking this track for any similar song since the chorus is the repetition of the song’s title.
“Can’t Sleep Love,” the first single off the album, infuses jazz, synth, R&B, and pop together. Similar to a Justin Timberlake song, the track floats on a strong tenor backed up by snaps, hums, and a vibe-saturated hook.
“Sing,” the second single off the album, sells the hype factor. Seemingly a continuation of “Na Na Na,” this track takes a new breath with stomps and a catchy rap. The strong points of this fast-paced track have the potential to propel into radio sometime soon.
“Misbehavin’” introduces the energy of a choir. It starts off with a homegrown a cappella sound, but soon blossoms into powerful chords that any listener would crave. Don’t judge a book by its cover for this one—it’s sure to pleasantly surprise.
“Ref” makes a seamless transition from the light, pop-infused songs to a darker tone that allows the bass and beatbox to shine. With a reinforced referee whistle between verses, this track captures the essence of an argument that needs to come to a solution. Backed by strong riffs, this song changes the definition of a cappella.
“First Things First” continues the vibe and mellow sounds of a stripped Disclosure song. With a twisted chorus including spoken words and “la la la”s, this track resonates mellow, familiar tones.
“Rose Gold” and “If I Ever Fall in Love,” featuring Jason Derulo, bring vulnerability to the forefront. As a love story gone bad, these songs remind us of the mistakes of the past. With both songs reaching falsetto tones, they breaks the mould of a traditional melody.
“Cracked” and “Water” express frustration and anger. These tracks show the brutal reality of longing for someone. With wails, clapping, and chanting, both songs build up to the final stretch of the album perfectly.
“Take Me Home,” “New Year’s Day,” and “Light in the Hallway” bring the album to a resounding end with stretched melodies and beats that fulfill and exceed the expectations set by an a cappella album. Any of these songs remind us of emotional times that would replay in slow motion as you dwell on these final tracks.
Overall, the first all-original album by Pentatonix sets the group up for a bright future without losing any ounce of personality and integrity from previous work.