Time to talk about June’s Artist of the Month! A little preview…with one of my favorite Pentatonix covers. And for all you French nerds out there…
I know with all the Pitch Perfect nonsense going on that A Capella has become one of the new “fads.” The idea of making music with our mouths is extremely intriguing. Yet, one of the best, most talented bands I’ve found are not as well-known as I wish they were, which makes me a little disappointed that not enough people know about them. However, I still think there are enough people who have discovered Pentatonix and are more than willing to be jumping up and down in the front row seats of their concerts that them makes it sort of special. The smaller, not main-stream bands can be good, and when we find these ridiculously good bands, whether they are cover or not, that is special in itself.
So I wanted to share the sound of Pentatonix with all of you. Their style fits my blog theme (or what I’m aiming to be my blog theme) fairly well.
Pentatonix started out in 2011, when they won the third season of the “Sing-Off,” hence another reason why a lot of people don’t know about them. We’re all so obsessed with watching the new fads and new shows that we ignore the good ones. Most viewers watch shows like “The Voice” or “X Factor,” when there are so many side-shows that are happening elsewhere.
I’m not saying that Pentatonix is alternative, because they’re not. As a matter of fact, most of their covers are of pop songs, and, damn, they’re pretty good.
Not only is it impressive that they did “Papaoutai,” an original French song by Stromae, but they create a story behind the song, and this goes with a lot of the music videos they do. I like how a cover A Capella band doesn’t have to limit themselves to just sitting in coffeehouses on stools and singing exactly what the original song sounds like. Yet, this is how most cover bands are. That’s not how you do it, though: you need to add your own voice. “Papaoutai” is about having a disconnection with the artist’s father. Consistently, he asks, “Where is my dad?” What Pentatonix did was put themselves as little toy figures on strings as they move in motions that seem as if they’re being controlled. Here comes the valuable question: how can you be controlled when you’ve got nobody watching you or telling you what to do?
Here’s a better close-up of what they do with the music video stripped down. Let’s throwback to a Beyoncé mashup/transgression, the previous Artist of the Month:
Literally, watching them perform makes me smile so big, because 1) there is so much diversity and 2) they are having SO much fun. Look how free and relaxed they are. They lose themselves in the music, instead of worrying about the next “big hit” or how the press or the audience views how they look. They’ve got a very unique look, which makes it all the more interesting.
Notice that Pentatonix constantly switches their “instruments,” taking turns as they sing lead and backup. In addition, those transitions between songs and movements are incredibly smooth and almost unnoticeable, which brings on a more professional air. They’ve also all got crazy octave ranges: listening to the men reach high notes that my female vocal chords couldn’t even dream of reaching leaves me mind-blown. Plus the low notes are…deep. Or I’m just sort of vocally untalented, which is also okay.
Usually, when I watch A Capella groups, I just see one beatbox in the group, which I found to be quite normal. Beatboxing is not easy, because you have to make sure you keep the rhythm and not get distracted, as well as making sure every noise that comes out of your mouth doesn’t sound like a disgusting, unsatisfying ball of spit. Honestly, it doesn’t even sound like they’re an A Capella group at all, and it feels as if there are real instruments out: drums, bass, guitar, etc.
That’s when you know you’re good.
But what really tops it all off is their attitude and their group cohesion. It sparks with excitement and fascination, enticing the audience to want to listen more.
Well, at least I know I want to listen to more. Unfortunately, they’re coming around here in October, but France awaits me in that time. Then, I found out that they’re actually on tour with Kelly Clarkson, meaning that not only are they creating their own tours, but that other artists (mainstream artists) are realizing how great this group is. No doubt that they will become popular in the next few years. Not mainstream, thank goodness, but popular.
And extremely likeable.