Pitch Perfect 2 Soundtrack Review

 

The second Pitch Perfect movie hit Australian and New Zealand cinemas on the seventh of May and didn’t disappoint fans, making $9 million in its opening weekend with an additional $64 million in the U.S. The soundtrack made its debut on iTunes on the twelfth and so far ranks second on the most popular album chart in Australia. However, what we all want to know is: What music did they include in the movie?

Here’s a quick run down:

  1. Universal Song (the song that accompanies the Universal Studios emblem)
  2. Kennedy Center Performance (Bellas mashup of Icona Pop’s ‘We Got The World’, Pitbull’s hit ‘Timber’ featuring Ke$ha, and ‘Wrecking Ball’ by Miley Cyrus)
  3. Lollipop (a Mika song performed by our favourite all male a cappella group the Treblemakers)
  4. Car Show (mashup of Muse’s ‘Uprising’ and DVBBS’ ‘Tsunami’ sung by the German a cappella group Das Sound Machine)
  5. Winter Wonderland/Here Comes Santa Claus (a surprising Christmas track by none other than Snoop Dogg and Anna Kendrick)
  6. Riff Off (excerpts of Sisqo’s ‘Thong Song’, ‘Shake Your Booty’ by KC and the Sunshine Band, T-Pain and Flo Rida’s ‘Low’, ‘Bootylicious’ by Destiny’s Child, Sir Mixalot’s ‘Baby Got Back’, ‘Live Like You Were Dying’ by Tim McGraw, Carrie Underwood’s ‘Before He Cheats’, ‘A Thousand Miles’ by Vanessa Carlton, ‘We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together’ by T-swift, Tina Turner’s 1984 hit ‘What’s Love Got To Do With It’, ‘This is How We Do It’ by Montell Jordan, Lauryn Hill’s ‘Doo Wop (That Thing)’, ‘Poison’ by Bell Biv Devoe, ‘Scenario’ by A Tribe Called Quest, and Cypress Hill’s ‘Insane in the Brain’)
  7. Jump (song by Kris Kross performed by DSM and some of the other groups involved in the Riff Off)
  8. Convention Performance (Bellas mashup of Nero’s ‘Promises and ‘Problem’ by the now infamous Natalia Kills)
  9. Back to Basics (another Bellas mashup including ‘Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy’ by the Andrews Sisters, ‘You Can’t Hurry Love’ by The Supremes, the Moulin Rouge version of ‘Lady Marmalade’, ‘Mmmbop’ by Hanson, and ‘My Lovin’ (You’re Never Gonna Get It)’ by En Vogue)
  10. Cups (When I’m Gone)
  11. We Belong (duet by Fat Amy (Rebel Wilson) and Bumper (Adam DeVine) originally sung by Pat Benatar)
  12. Any Way You Want It (originally by Journey)
  13. World Championship Finale 1 (DSM mashup of ‘My Songs Know What You Did in the Dark (Light ’em Up)’ by Fall Out Boy and ‘All I Do Is Win’ by DJ Khaleed, T-Pain, Ludacris, Rick Ross and Snoop Dogg)
  14. World Championship Finale 2 (Bellas mashup of BeyoncĂ©’s ‘Run the World (Girls)’, David Guetta’s ‘Where Them Girls At’ featuring Nicki Minaj, ‘We Belong’, ‘Timber’, and an original track called ‘Flashlight’)
  15. Crazy Youngsters (By Ester Dean who plays Cynthia Rose in the film)
  16. Pitch Perfect 2 End Credit Medley (by Mark Mothersbaugh)
  17. Flashlight (original song from the movie sung by Jessie J)
  18. All of Me (Bumper’s Audition song originally by John Legend)

Unlike the last soundtrack, this one not only includes all sung performances from the film (except Emily’s audition for the Bellas) but also sounds more like a musical soundtrack rather than a movie soundtrack. The upside to the album being produced more like a musical soundtrack is that during different stages of the record you’re reminded of funny bits in the movie. However, if you like your songs produced in the normal way without any extra spoken words or sounds unrelated to the music, then you may only end up listening to it a few times before you get completely fed up.

When it comes to individual performances in the movie, it’s no surprise that Anna Kendrick’s voice sounds quite a bit more musical theatre than in the last movie. This is probably due to her nabbing the part of Cinderella in Disney’s ‘Into The Woods’. It’s not necessarily a bad thing though, because her technique has improved tenfold and she doesn’t sound overly musical theatre all the time, especially in the Back to Basics track where she sings a big, fierce ‘woah’.

Rebel Wilson, as always, is hilarious in the movie but it isn’t just her comedic ability that we see. In her duet with Adam DeVine she reaches some extremely high notes that I’m fairly certain was unable reach in the first movie. Of course, her dramatised singing style hasn’t changed and is probably one of the highlights of the movie, you’ll know what I’m talking about if you have seen or will see the movie.

I was extremely glad to see that Ester Dean had a solo song when I looked at the album track list. Not only that but it’s a killer song. I’d liken it to a powerhouse soul vocalist (for example, Aretha Franklin) singing an Ellie Goudling song. Catchy and powerful. The catchiness being the echoey reverb after the chorus, based on what I’m guessing is a suspension chord.

The last notable individual performance has to go to Snoop Dogg. Not only was I definitely not expecting him to be in the film but I sure wasn’t expecting him to be able to carry a tune. I must admit, I haven’t exactly heard much of his music, and for someone who thought he was just a rapper I am extremely impressed by his singing ability. The only negative point I can say about the whole song is that the rapping sounded quite comical. That could just be because it is a Christmas song and it’s the last thing I expected to hear, but I enjoyed it all the same. I can definitely see this song playing at a club on Christmas Eve.

When it comes to the general feeling of the album, I have to admit I enjoyed the songs performed by DSM the most. They were impressive not just because of the brilliant arrangements but the nicely produced sound and perfect intonation. For me personally, the songs by the Bellas sounded more amateurish. It should be said, however, that the movie does emphasise how the Bellas have lost their sound which could be why their stand out song on the album is their World Championship song. It’s not all bad, their Back to Basics mashup, although far from their ‘sound’, was well-arranged and sung.

Pitch Perfect 2 Album ArtNow, the Riff Off. Just like the first, this was the highlight of the movie when it came to cunning and quick thinking. Unlike the first one, they only had to match each other’s beats rather than each other’s words. One of the teams was made up of members from the Green Bay Packers. Unless you’re American or follow American Football this will go straight over your head (like it did mine) and all you’ll think is that these actors/singers are portraying athletes who aren’t the sharpest tools in the shed. However, their version of Bootylicious is the greatest thing I have heard in my life. They have some serious pipes!

While they were filming Pitch Perfect 2 I’d heard that Pentatonix would be making a cameo, being one of the teams competing in the world championship. Part of me was disappointed that they didn’t get more air-time because they are an amazing a Capella group that have been quite successful in America; however they shared the track ‘Any Way You Want It’ with four other groups making the track sound quite multicultural. If they had not done something like this then I would have been disappointed because it’s called the world championship for a reason. It was great hearing the song in different languages as well as hearing how each culture tweaked the song. A necessary but very cool addition.

For the Bellas last performance in the movie they definitely went back to what they know. This can be seen in the beginning of the song where they do a clapping and clicking sequence, akin to Anna Kendrick’s Cups audition in the first movie. The arrangement and choice of songs is much better than their previous tracks, and unlike the first movie they include an original song by the new character Emily called ‘Flashlight’. This tune in itself is very catchy, I won’t give too much away about the performance and why it’s so memorable, but the fact that the audience sings the main ‘riff’ of the song is probably enough of a sign to show how good it is. I would have liked to see the newbie character that wrote the song take more of a leading role in the song, since it was written by that character, but she did have something of a solo.

In real life, the song ‘Flashlight’ was co-written by Sia, Sam Smith, Christian Guzman, and Jason Moore and is performed in a separate track by Jessie J. The song has a definite Demi Lovato feel to it, but still suits Jessie J’s voice. I do have a few criticisms of this track, one being how fast the verses are (it almost sounds like Jessie J is having a hard time keeping up), and the overuse of reverb and echo on the piano and drums. These factors make the track sound almost overproduced, which is why I preferred the beginning and ending of the song to the middle, because of its simpler in instrumentation and effects. I did enjoy Jessie J’s softer register in these parts of the song also, maybe it could have done with more of that as well.

The last track ‘All of Me (Bumper’s Audition)’ probably isn’t a track that really benefits from being reviewed, it isn’t supposed to sound great, it’s supposed to be funny. My advice is stay in the cinema after the credits to catch this bit because it is better seen than just heard.

All in all I’d give this soundtrack an 8/10, it’s certainly better than the first one purely on the premise that it includes all but one of the vocal instances that appear in the movie. It lost marks because of a general consensus of people I’ve talked to after seeing the movie that said they didn’t know half of the songs that were included, and some of the tracks weren’t as great as the ones in the first album. Still, it is definitely worth a listen or two.