Release Date: October 25th 2019
Reviewed by: Joshua Andre
- Deck The Halls
- Carol Of The Bells
- God Only Knows
- Dance Of The Sugar Plum Fairy
- Mary Did You Know?
- Joyful, Joyful (feat. Jazmine Sullivan)
- Do You Hear What I Hear? (feat. Whitney Houston)
- Little Drummer Boy
- God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen
- Winter Wonderland / Don’t Worry Be Happy (feat. Tori Kelly)
- White Winter Hymnal
- Grown-up Christmas List (feat Kelly Clarkson)
- You’re A Mean One Mr Grinch
- When You Believe (feat. Maren Morris)
- Here Comes Santa Claus
- How Great Thou Art (feat. Jennifer Hudson)
- That’s Christmas To Me
- Coldest Winter (Bobby Alt Drum Mix)
If you’ve been alive in the world for as long as I have, or even if you’re younger but you’re still listening to pop music nowadays; then this statement that I’m about to make is probably no secret to you- it’s more than likely common knowledge and it’s me stating the obvious. On the other hand, if you’re a hermit, a recluse, someone so dogmatic in their musical tastes (of which I was part of this category musically until not too long ago!), then what I’m about to tell you will be from left field. And this opinion of mine (and it’s only an opinion, mind you- you don’t have to agree with me by any means!) is that pop group Pentatonix is one of todays’ most inspirational bands ever! And that’s a pretty bold statement but a statement I firmly believe in.
Comprising of Scott Hoying, Mitch Grassi, Kristin Maldonado, Kevin Olusola, and Matt Sallee (and previously Avi Kaplan), these five impressive and out-of-this-world vocalists are even more remarkable given that everything they’ve sung is entirely recorded using music made from their mouths. Yep, Pentatonix is an acapella group, who rose to fame and gained popularity through their appearance on The Sing-Off a while back- and yes every song they sing they do so with no instruments. Yep, you did hear me correctly. These guys sing acapella but they also beautifully sing in harmony and try to create the sounds of ‘drums’, in order to deliver the fullest experience of acapella songs to us. Of which each song of Pentatonix’s is crazily awesome, and cannot be praised enough! Winning the competition is no mean feat, and ever since then, these guys have been wowing us with their stellar covers of both iconic classics and modern pop songs. Original songs slotted in between the covers throughout the years- and while I won’t delve into the intricacies of how the band came to be (which I will leave for Jon to write about in his Momentous Mondays post in 2020!), I will direct you to their Wikipedia page, and you can peruse at your own leisure about the band’s history! But given that it’s just under 2 weeks until Christmas, I’d figure I’d kick the ball rolling with a ‘review’ of sorts of the group’s latest Christmas album The Best Of Pentatonix Christmas – the group’s fourth holiday offering.
If you’re a fan of Christmas music, or if you’re a fan of Pentatonix, then these 19 tracks might be somewhat familiar- either from this group or from renditions by other artists. Either way, one may think that yet another Christmas album is overkill considering that these guys have already released That’s Christmas To Me (2014), A Pentatonix Christmas (2016) and Christmas Is Here! (2018)… however as these guys are probably the best band ever in my opinion when it comes to Christmas albums, then why not another album? With 4 brand new songs never before heard before, as well as fan favourites present on this release such as “Little Drummer Boy”, “Carol Of The Bells”, “Mary Did You Know”, and Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah”; there’s something for everyone in this wide collection of inspirational Christmas classics and holiday songs. And as Pentatonix duet with Maren Morris, Kelly Clarkson, Jazmine Sullivan, Whitney Houston, Jennifer Hudson and Tori Kelly (all on separate songs), what’s not to love about this album? – which I guarantee will put a smile on your face whenever you listen, even if you aren’t a Christian… Some may say it’s too early to listen to Christmas music, but I say listen to a Pentatonix Christmas song and try not to sing along! I mean, it’s after Thanksgiving, right? Then all bets are off and you can belt out holiday tunes to your heart’s content!
If you don’t know about Pentatonix, should you tackle the 3 Christmas albums first, or their 2015 self-titled debut of all original material, or their various covers all across Youtube, or their best of Christmas project? I reckon given that it’s Christmas in a couple of weeks, then perhaps their Christmas albums, inclusive of this most recent offering. Yet no matter which way you choose, you’re going to be blessed, I guarantee it! And though these guys aren’t classified as a Christian band (and we’re not sure of the faith of any of the members!), I reckon it doesn’t matter- because we know that God can use anything and anyone to point glory to Him, so too can Pentatonix even if they do not know Him yet. So without further ado, I will end my ‘review’ by letting you guys know which of Pentatonix’ songs I would listen to if I was a first time listener. It would be “Hallelujah” (present on this album!), their two duets in “Grown-Up Christmas List” and “When You Believe” (also on this album) as well as their covers of “Bohemian Rhapsody” and “Rather Be”. But in all seriousness…listen to The Best Of Pentatonix Christmas! It’ll blow your mind. And your heart, body, soul and spirit! And yeah, I know, this is not a traditional review, but I reckon any words that I or anyone else could say won’t give the band justice. A watch or re-watch of these videos and a listen (or multiple listens) to the albums I’ve embedded below (best of Christmas album and the other 3 Christmas projects), are more than enough to see that Pentatonix are a once-in-a-generation band, and they’re not done yet. It’s only just the beginning! So what are you waiting for? Let’s get into the season guys and let Pentatonix be the first to fully convince you of the magic of the holiday season! Well done Scott, Mitch, Matt, Kristin and Kevin- I can’t wait to hear what’s in store next!
4 songs to listen to: Joyful Joyful, Hallelujah, Grown-Up Christmas List, When You Believe
RIYL: Peter Hollens, Cimorelli, Megan Nicole, Human Nature, Backstreet Boys, Avalon, Jason Crabb