Pitch Perfect

Original Motion Picture Soundtrack

Universal Music Enterprises, 2012

REVIEW BY: Jeff Clutterbuck

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 01/05/2013

I’m not sure of the exact cause, but it sure seems that there has been a surge in interest for vocal groups over the past handful of years. There’s no statistic I can use to prove my point, save for some anecdotes and television programming decisions (The Sing-Off and The Voice, for instance). But in this era when anyone can produce a quality sounding record if they really want, the power of a tremendous vocalist has not diminished.

I’m not saying that a great singer is a requirement for a hit record these days; god knows that someone like Ke$ha doesn’t have much talent when it comes to pure singing, but through the aid of technology and a great hook, she has become a star. The natural reaction to such a phenomenon manifests itself in something like The Sing-Off, or The Voice. The point of those contests was/is to find the best voice, not whomever is best suited for pop stardom. Or take a program like Glee. The show manages to sell millions of copies of its soundtracks, which consist primarily of straight covers of famous songs (though not exclusively). The songs sell, but the vocals don’t hurt.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

Pitch Perfect is an entertaining film, with a professional, entertaining soundtrack to go along with it. The movie’s premise revolves around college a capella groups trying to win the national competition, and while the plot hits the beats you’d expect, the general concept was what hooked me. To my knowledge, it’s not often that large vocal groups get played “straight” in the media. A capella records are inherently cheesy. It’s a group of guys and gals making funny noises while someone takes the lead vocal. A song with the majesty of “Bohemian Rhapsody” loses all the qualities that made it a hit.

Except of course, for the singing. I’ve always loved to hear how someone tries to interpret a track without the advantage of actually using instrumentation. The human voice is capable of amazing things, and vocal groups tend to show that off. Pitch Perfect  features lead vocals from its actors, so we are not talking about professional singers. However, none of them pull off a Brosnan from Mama Mia (if you’ve seen the movie, you know exactly what I’m talking about) and that helps keep the performances grounded in pseudo-realism. These songs aren’t being performed for laughs, besides those that naturally arise from the genre itself.

The movie may treat the “mash up” as something that just came onto the scene, but that doesn’t make the ones on the soundtrack any less entertaining. In this shortened-attention span culture we live in, hearing just the best hook from a popular song is more than enough for most people to get by on. So on a track like “The Riff-Off,” the listener is treated to the best bits from a variety of songs (“Like A Virgin,” “Mickey” “I’ll Make Love To You,” “Let’s Talk About Sex,” etc.). For the audience who would want to see Pitch Perfect, this is a wise approach.

Both Pitch Perfect and its soundtrack are inconsequential when it comes to the bigger picture, but both have their moment to shine as pieces of entertainment. You can give the soundtrack a listen or two, enjoy it, and then move on. But in the end, that’s all you can ask for sometimes when its come to a soundtrack.

Rating: B-

User Rating: Not Yet Rated


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© 2013 Jeff Clutterbuck and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Universal Music Enterprises, and is used for informational purposes only.