Pentatonix – PTX Presents: Top Pop, Vol. I (Album Review)

Pentatonix – PTX Presents: Top Pop, Vol. I (Album Review)

You know them as those a cappella sensations who are great at everything they put their to-die-for harmonies to, and they return on Friday, April 13, 2018, with PTX Presents: Top Pop, Vol. I thanks to RCA Records.

At this point in time, the Grammy Award-winning, multi-platinum Pentatonix (abbreviated PTX) are a household name! The Texas group got their start in 2011 and quickly went on to win the third season of NBC’s The Sing-Off, earning themselves $200K and a nice little recording contract with Sony Music. Despite being dropped by Epic Records shortly thereafter, the group would soldier onward and become, well, musical royalty! With over 14.5 million subscribers and 3 billion views, Pentatonix’s YouTube channel is currently the 50th most-subscribed-to YouTube channel. They have toured with the likes of Kelly Clarkson, won three Grammy Awards (amongst many other accolades), had 2 holiday TV specials, and gone on to release five albums (or 2 Eps and four albums, however you wish to splice it) over the past four years, including two Christmas collections (2014’s That’s Christmas to Me and 2016’s A Pentatonix Christmas).

On their sixth studio offering, PTX Presents: Top Pop, Vol. I, Pentatonix – Tenor Mitch Grassi, Baritone Scott Hoying, Mezzo-Soprano Kirstin Maldonado, Vocal Percussionist/Cellist Kevin Olusola, and Vocal Bassist Matt Sallee – offer up an eleven-track collection of covers. With the album, the group place their talented spin on some of the most popular tracks streaming today, including hits from the likes of Bruno Mars, Ed Sheeran, Demi Lovato and Kesha, to name but a sampling. Sadly, the album marks the group’s first without founding member, Vocal Bassist/Percussionist Avi Kaplan, who departed in September 2017.

PTX Presents: Top Pop, Vol. I begins with the scrumptious bass of “Attention,” the quintet’s take on Charlie Puth’s hit, followed by a dazzling display of R&B pizazz on Bruno Mars’ “Finesse.” The group’s flawless vocal harmonies are never on better display than on their original mixes, such as “New Rules x Are You That Somebody?” where they pair Aaliyah’s classic “Are You That Somebody?” against Dua Lipa’s “New Rules.”

They inject their fine, sultry vocal wine into Camila Cabello’s “Havana,” then go on to tango with a cello on their gentle, impassioned take of the highly-lauded love song, “Perfect,” by Ed Sheeran. Similarly, Zedd and Alessia Cara’s beautifully minimalist “Stay” seems a fitting selection for the group, who are able to absolutely shine on their purely vocal rendering of the hit.

Newest group member Sallee is allowed to come front-and-center to shine with his deep, vocal bass on “Feel It Still,” a cover of Portugal. The Man’s rebellious hit. Meanwhile, though the pairing of Luis Fonsi’s “Despacito” and Ed Sheeran’s “Shape of You” alone is purely brilliant, it is the cross-language vocal bliss that Pentatonix expertly inject into their unique creation that displays why they are always a step above the rest.

For a cover of Julia Michaels’ “Issues,” Maldonado takes her turn front-and-center, moving the quintet into a beautifully stirring cover of Kesha’s “Praying” that builds to a glorious finale. Ultimately, payback is a bitch and Pentatonix dish it on their album closer, “Sorry Not Sorry,” a deliciously feisty cover of Demi Lovato’s sassy revenge hit.

It is oft hard to believe that the accompaniments here are minimal, that Pentatonix can execute all of these massive, multi-layered sounds with just their voices. Considering we live in a time where many of Pop’s greats could not carry a tune with a bucket (thank you, auto-tune), it seems almost cruel that one group alone could possess so much vocal might. That is how the cookie crumbles! Pentatonix do it all with a class and sophistication that puts them leagues above the rest, while proving that even the most played-out hit single can still have a deliciously catchy second-life. For these reasons, CrypticRock give Pentatonix’ PTX Presents: Top Pop, Vol. I 5 of 5 stars.

Tour Dates:
07/12/2018 Salt Lake City, UT USANA Amphitheatre
07/14/2018 Auburn, WA White River Amphitheatre
07/15/2018 Ridgefield, WA Sunlight Supply Amphitheater
07/17/2018 Mountain View, CA Shoreline Amphitheatre
07/19/2018 Irvine, CA FivePoint Amphitheatre
07/21/2018 Phoenix, AZ Ak-Chin Pavilion
07/22/2018 Albuquerque, NM Isleta Amphitheater
07/24/2018 Oklahoma City, OK Zoo Amphitheatre
07/25/2018 Rogers, AR Walmart AMP
07/26/2018 Dallas, TX Starplex Pavilion
07/28/2018 Austin, TX Austin360 Amphitheater
07/29/2018 The Woodlands, TX Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion Presented by Huntsman
07/31/2018 Atlanta, GA Chastain Park Amphitheatre
08/02/2018 Pelham, AL Oak Mountain Amphitheatre
08/04/2018 Charlotte, NC PNC Music Pavilion
08/05/2018 Virginia Beach, VA Veterans United Home Loans Amphitheater
08/07/2018 West Palm Beach, FL Coral Sky Amphitheatre
08/09/2018 Tampa, FL MIDFLORIDA Credit Union Amphitheatre
08/11/2018 Raleigh, NC Coastal Credit Union Music Park at Walnut Creek
08/12/2018 Bristow, VA Jiffy Lube Live
08/14/2018 Camden, NJ BB&T Pavilion
08/15/2018 Wantagh, NY Northwell Health at Jones Beach Theater
08/20/2018 Holmdel, NJ PNC Bank Arts Center
08/22/2018 Saratoga Springs, NY Saratoga Performing Arts Center
08/23/2018 Syracuse, NY Lakeview Amphitheater
08/25/2018 Scranton, PA The Pavilion at Montage Mountain
08/26/2018 Hartford, CT XFINITY Theatre
08/28/2018 Mansfield, MA Xfinity Center
08/30/2018 Bangor, ME Darling’s Waterfront Pavilion
09/01/2018 Burgettstown, PA KeyBank Pavilion
09/02/2018 Hershey, PA Hersheypark Stadium
09/05/2018 Cincinnati, OH Riverbend Music Center
09/06/2018 Toronto, ON Budweiser Stage
09/08/2018 Noblesville, IN Ruoff Home Mortgage Music Center
09/09/2018 Allegan, MI Allegan County Fair
09/11/2018 Council Bluffs, IA Harrah’s Council Bluffs Hotel and Casino
09/13/2018 Cuyahoga Falls, OH Blossom Music Center
09/15/2018 Clarkston, MI DTE Energy Music Theatre
09/16/2018 Tinley Park, IL Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre

Purchase Pentatonix – PTX Presents: Top Pop, Vol. I

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Jeannie Blue
[email protected]

Jeannie likes to joke that she is little, yellow, blue, and different. She seemingly popped out of her mother's womb with a pen in her hand and has been writing ever since. Many moons ago - in what feels like a separate lifetime - Jean was co-editor of an online music magazine that afforded her great opportunities to interview and photograph some of her favorite bands/musicians: Tommy Lee, Good Charlotte, Warrant, Bring Me The Horizon, My Chemical Romance, Sevendust, New Found Glory, Deftones, Poison, VH-1 "Band On the Run" Flickerstick, an endless list of unsigned locals, and so many others. These days, she can usually be found hiking aimlessly through the woods in her favorite Technicolor sneakers with a Nikon in hand and her rescue dog, Molly, who is a bit hare-brained.

  • Vicki Bonachea
    Posted at 02:03h, 11 April Reply

    Wonderful Article!

    • Jeannie Blue
      Posted at 05:27h, 11 April Reply

      Thank you so much for reading, Vicki! 🙂

  • Odelette Redila
    Posted at 20:08h, 11 April Reply

    What is, in your opinion, the best song on the album? I’m just curious, haha.

    • Jeannie Blue
      Posted at 02:33h, 12 April Reply

      Well, see, I’m a person that can never answer a simple question. 😀 lol So, as far as the “best” song . . . My personal favorite would be “Feel It Still,” because I just happen to love that song. As far as what I would consider the actual best song, probably “Despacito x Shape of You,” because they flawlessly blend the two tracks and two languages without ever missing a beat. I don’t often think this, but with this CD I really think every song is right on-point and worthy of being the “best,” though. Sorry to answer that simple question with so much, but yeah. I like to talk. 😀

      • Odelette Redila
        Posted at 03:56h, 12 April Reply

        Thank you so much for answering!! I’m incredibly excited to hear this album. The way you talk about it makes me even more pumped up for every track! Thanks for the great article, too.

        • Jeannie Blue
          Posted at 03:22h, 15 April Reply

          Odelette, thank you again for reading and for the sweet comments! So . . . Have you heard the album now? What do you think? 😀

  • M. Hart
    Posted at 21:12h, 03 May Reply

    My only comment on your review is that they are one group alone as mentioned in the concluding paragraph. Give a listen to Naturally 7. They’ve been around since 1999.

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