IHAO on ... PTX vol. 3


All right so I guess I need to do a real review here.  Who are Pentatonix?  Well, they are an acapella -- WAIT, WAIT, don't go yet!  Hear me out!  They are a fantastic acapella group I talked about a little bit in my Top # Happiest Songs article.  I am an official fanboy for them.  I actually do take ownership over my fan-ness of them.  I've watched them from the beginning, own every album, watch every video, and follow them everywhere I can.  They are the only concert I've been to as an audience member that I've enjoyed, and they are just an all-time favorite band.

They recently got a big record deal for them, which is awesome, and which is why their newest album, Pentatonix Vol. 3, is being sold around the country in Wal-Marts for the ridiculously low price of $5.  I would, as a fan, plead that you all take a chance and go buy this album.  As a critic, I actually wanna talk about the album.  So let's go track by track.

Track 1 - Problem

Here is their video for it.

This song is a really nice cover of a really good pop song.  In fact, it is one of my favorite pop songs currently.  Their cover does it plenty of justice, is super fun and exciting, and a great way to start off the album.  It is a little short, but it makes an excellent opener.

Track 2 - On My Way Home

And now *BOOM* blown minds.  It always surprises people when I talk about Pentatonix with them that, yes Virginia, they do make original songs and not just original arrangements and covers.  This song was written for the group, and they crafted it musically.  It is fantastic!  It is #FANT!  This song I find myself playing as loud as I can whenever it comes on driving down the road, singing off the top of my lungs.  It has a frenetic energy and that "single" feeling.  It also doesn't skimp on length like Problem did.  I really really hope this gets radio play, because it is a great pop song.

Track 3 - La La Latch

Here is their video for IT.

The idea here is simple: take two songs that featured Sam Smith, and then mash them up into a new single.  It is emotional, and a nice subtle change of pace, though it doesn't lose that driving pop rhythm that seems to be present throughout the album.  It builds and flows wonderfully, and these are some of my favorite of their songs.  Save the World/Don't You Worry Child is similar, as is their Daft Punk combination, as well as a fantastic youtube only As Long As You Love Me/Wide Awake mix.  I do wish that the song held onto that yearning emotional aspect they build up in the beginning, but it is a great song.

Track 4 - Rather Be

Another really cool cover, one that I hadn't heard the original of.  It has an amazing chorus breakdown that absolutely melts me.  This is another rockin' pop song I blast in the car.  The half-time they use in the chorus is so incredible, and really makes me wish they had a more rocking beat throughout the whole thing, and more of their amazing layered vocals.  As is, it is another really great pop song in an album that is so far all pop songs.

Track 5 - See Through

Another song written for Pentatonix that they just made original on their own.  It is really nice and ... another good pop song.  I'm starting to see a trend that I don't actually care for, and it is weird to complain that I am getting a great song after a great song after a great song.  But as an album, there isn't much variance between the songs.  This, just like the last four, is an excellent pop song, and it is great to hear another original, but I want something to change up the pace a bit.

Track 6 - Papaoutai ft. Lindsey Sterling

This song is a really cool Belgium pop song that has the really crazy rhythm and awesome musical work.  It is in French, and is so incredibly unique.  Kevin, their beatboxer, is also a great cellist, and they bring back Lindsey Sterling for another collaboration, which works pretty great again!  While another pop song in a long playlist of pop songs, this one has a different feeling to it, with its crazy offbeat rhythmical focus and its very interesting lyrics.

Oh, and they made a ... frankly, kind of creepy music video for this one, too.

Track 7 - Standing By

To end the album, a 100% Pentatonix, song by their bassist Avi as the lead closes us out.  It is a wonderful ballad, with very touching vocals and wonderful lyrics and meaning.  It isn't a banging beat or crazy pop song, it is a soulful ballad that ends the album on a nicely somber note that really helped my whole album experience.  It isn't my favorite song, but that isn't its point.  It's point is to close out the album, maybe their concerts as well I would guess, on a touching and emotional note.

Pun not intended.

Overall impressions

I said a few disparaging things about album arranging, and personally one of the songs is forgettable.  But I have never gotten such a great musical experience for the price they are offering this album.  This is more than worth the price of purchase, and some of these songs are easily my favorites by the band, period.

I really cannot implore you reading this enough: if you can go to a wal-mart and get one of these, do it!  If you can get two, do it and give one to a friend!  Mail some to people overseas where there isn't a Wal-Mart.  GO AND BUY THIS ALBUM!  Support good music.

Grade: A+

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