Pitch Perfect has become somewhat of an underground hit (seemingly out of nowhere), becoming the second highest grossing musical comedy worldwide, second only to Jack Black’s School of Rock. The film follows newcomer Beca, as she joins the Barden Bellas, an all-female acapella group, determined to beat their male counterparts, the Treblemakers, at their national competition. The film is full of witty one liners, engaging characters and brilliant musical numbers. But this review isn’t about the film, it’s about the soundtrack. And what a fabulous soundtrack it is.
There’s a lot to like in this album, which is made up of acapella numbers from the movie. Since I first heard the songs I’ve had the whole soundtrack on repeat. It covers such a large range of genres, and has some very talented voices on it. Anna Kendrick (also seen in Twilight, Up in the Air and 50/50) and Adam DeVine (Workaholics) standout musically; people who I would never have pegged as singers. Brittany Snow showed her musical abilities in Hairspray, and is fantastic here as well, as is Skylar Astin, who previously appeared on Broadway in Spring Awakening.
Part of the strength of the soundtrack is in its mash up numbers. The ‘Bellas Finals’ number is a staggering mix of six songs, including Jessie J’s ‘Price Tag’, Simple Minds ‘Don’t You (Forget About Me)’ and ‘Give Me Everything’ by Pitbull. These songs are woven together so well, they create one cohesive song which is catchy and engaging. It also shows off the musical range of the female cast, and is very different to a lot of the music on the soundtrack. The ‘Trebles Finals’ piece is also very engaging, using ‘Bright Lights, Bigger City’ and ‘Magic’, with the singing talents of Ben Platt, as the very adorable Benji.
‘Riff Off’ is by far my favourite song on the soundtrack; although to call it a song doesn’t quite do it justice. The premise of the piece is simple; each opposing acapella group has to respond to one another in a given category, continuing on with the final lyric from another group. The continuity this creates between songs is unusual and fascinating, and also gives an idea of the full range of genres that this movie covers, from the first song ‘Mickey’ which is brilliant in its cheesiness, to ‘No Diggity’ lead by Anna Kendrick. The last part of ‘Riff Off’ is my favourite, as rap coming from Kendrick is unusual but yet very engaging – it’s one of the few raps that I know all the way through now, because of the movie, and how catchy the whole soundtrack is. Anna Kendrick’s rendition of ‘Cups’ is lovely in its simplicity. Her voice is strong, and she conveys a lot emotion. Similarly Christophe Beck’s score for the move, ‘Toner’ conveys the range of emotions and genres of the movie
My only critique of this soundtrack is that on occasion Rebel Wilson’s voice can become a little grating on the ears. While she is undoubtedly one of the comic stars of the movie, her singing voice is not as melodic as some of the other women in the film, which can become discordant at times, but this happens rarely, and doesn’t take away from the brilliance of the music.
I’m a big musical fan, and so had very high expectations when approaching this soundtrack and it certainly didn’t disappoint me at all. I’m eagerly awaiting the film’s sequel, to see what unusual songs they put together next time.