Pentatonix, the a cappella quintet who won the third season of NBC’s “The Sing-Off,” have a new studio album and Billboard has an exclusive advance stream a week before it hits shelves. “PTX Volume 2” includes a cappella covers of pop hits like “Can’t Hold Us” and “I Need Your Love,” as well as an assortment of Pentatonix originals.
“It’s an awesome time for a cappella right now,” beams Kevin “K.O.” Olusola, the group’s beatboxer, and occasional celloboxer, referencing the success of “Glee” and “Pitch Perfect.”
After an exhausting touring schedule in support of last year’s “PTX Volume 1” and “PTXmas,” Pentatonix headed into the studio looking to up their a cappella game. The five-piece, which also includes lead vocalists Scott Hoying, Kirstie Maldonado, Mitch Grassi and vocal bass Avi Kaplan, came together with collaboratively-written original songs like “Natural Disaster” and carefully-picked covers.
“Scott was very, very inspired to do (Macklemore and Ryan Lewis’) ‘Can’t Hold Us,'” Olusola says. “He listened to it and was like, ‘This song packs a powerful punch. It showcases what everybody in the band can do.'”
“Can’t Hold Us” came to be the album’s lead track. Another highlight is a Daft Punk medley, which includes bits of “Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger,” “Get Lucky,” “Digital Love,” and “One More Time.” “I think it’s the craziest arrangement on the album,” Olusola says.
Olusola’s goal is to bring Pentatonix to a level of popularity that puts a cappella alongside traditional pop acts. To do so, the band knows it has to keep its fans interested with goodies for its popular YouTube channel, like the recent “Evolution of Beyoncé” medley. It quickly caught the attention of not only fans, but Beyoncé’s camp, who posted it to her official Facebook page just hours after release. After the group covered Gotye and Kimbra’s “Somebody That I Used to Know,” Gotye himself e-mailed the band to compliment their video.
Check out Pentatonix’s “Evolution of Beyoncé” video:
Olusola shares the story of another superstar taking notice after the band recorded its take on Lorde’s “Royals”:
“Scott went to a concert with Maroon 5 and Kelly Clarkson… he went backstage to say hi, and Kelly Clarkson was like, ‘Wait, I know who you are. Oh my gosh, you’re the guy from the ‘Royals’ video! I watched all of your Pentatonix covers and they were absolutely amazing; I showed everybody on my team and we were all obsessed.'”
“PTX Volume 2” drops Nov. 5 via Pentatonix/Madison Gate Records; that same day, Olusola promises a video he thinks is “definitely going to freak a lot of people out.” Stay tuned!