Customer Reviews: PTX VOL 2
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on November 12, 2013
I've liked Pentatonix since their "Evolution of Music" video. And from all the comments on there, I figured it'd be a good idea to watch their season of The Sing-Off. That's when I fell in love with the way they build music and fill out their sound with so few voices. And you could just connect with each one of them and their specific charisma and quirks on stage.

Their "Dog Days Are Over" and "Love Lockdown" replaced the originals for me.

Now, I liked PTX Volume 1. I respected their more polished sound and it was a nice easy listen. But it felt more like a compilation, and I just wasn't especially interested in the originals of most of those songs to begin with. Their Gotye and fun. covers were especially good, and I liked their original "Show You How to Love."

Fastforward to this week, with PTX, Vol. 2 coming out and it's a whole different story.

1. "Can't Hold Us" -- I liked the Macklemore track just fine, but didn't really get the whole 'song of the summer' hype it was getting. PTX's version, I love. It feels this epic battle chant, as if 20 voices were on the track. Scott, Mitch and Kirstie put so damn much personality into their vocals and every one of them gets a moment to shine, with Avi booming the hook. 9/10

2. "Natural Disaster" -- a PTX original, but you couldn't tell without being told. It sounds familiar, but it's own thing. You can tell how much they've grown as songwriters, because this blends into the album so well. Scott's lead is heartfelt and the whole song is sweet and full of restraint. I'm not a big fan of the hook, but this is pop done well. 8/10

3. "Love Again" -- another PTX original, and again, someone would have to tell you this was an original. It's a really good dance track, very much in the vein of "Show You How To Love," but better even than that. It's getting to the point where I'm not sure how to address PTX originals, when they can stand shoulder to shoulder with their covers, like this does, because I honestly think this is better than anything on PTX, Vol. 1. 9/10

4. "Valentine" -- now, I wasn't especially a fan of the Jessie Ware original. It was an alright track. But the sweet calmness that they approach it with, and their soft harmonies. Mitch comes in so softly underneath the melody, whereas Jessie has a bit of a pushier voice and sort of tells you, instead of pleading with you. They grab you from the first note and they proved they can make headphone music as well as speaker/dance music. 9.5/10

5. "Hey Momma / Hit the Road Jack" -- half original/half cover. Coming in, this was the track I was most looking forward to. A modern remix of Ray Charles' Hit the Road Jack. Now, this is really well done. I love the transitions and how they worked in the original. It had great bounce to it and the 2nd half was the song I wanted the whole thing to be. It was just a bit too sweet and lovey dance club, when I wanted more of a bite to it? 8/10

6. "I Need Your Love" -- a cover of a Calvin Harris original. And I gotta just flat out say it. It feels like a cover and it doesn't quite stand next to the original, or feel like a special different take on it. It feels like something that maybe wouldn't have even made it onto PTX Volume 1. It's not bad, but it is the weakest track on the record to me. 7/10

7. "Run to You" -- an original. Wow. That's just about all I have to say. 10/10

If ever those PTX kids made an original song that could legitimately chart well and break through, it's this. This is one of the best songs I've heard all year, and the best original they've ever made. It's gorgeous and somber and deep and it never lets you go from the first note. One of the most beautiful songs I've heard in a good while. Again...10/10

8. "Daft Punk" -- a medley of Daft Punk songs including: Technologic, One More Time (several times), Get Lucky, Digital Love, Harder Better Faster Stronger, Television Rules the Nation & Get Lucky. They. Killed. It. 10/10

It is absolutely perfect, and that's coming from someone who always knew and decently liked Daft Punk songs, but never loved them like a lot of people. They'll make you love it. The transitions are so brilliant, and ever single of them has at least a couple standout moments. My favorite being Avi singing Television Rules the World. I'm not sure they'll ever make a more inventive and talent-stretching song than this again, because this is them at the absolute height of their powers. Again...10/10.

9. "Save the World / Don't You Worry Child" -- a mashup of Swedish House Mafia's originals. It's an album exclusive track, and it is such a beautiful way to end the album. Save the World on its own would be a good, albeit sort of 'same ol PTX' dance track for them to cover, but this mashup is seamless, and Scott's vocals on Don't You Worry Child are so heartfelt, that it just raises the whole record up. It's beautiful, catchy and it makes you wanna dance. It's a testament to all of their strengths and interests and talents all at once. 9.5/10

It goes without saying how great Avi and Kevin are, but the PTX kids really outdid themselves with this one. Their first album felt more like something they had to put out to capitalize on how YouTube famous their songs had made them, but this is just very, very good music. And if you're open to it, one of best dance albums of the year.

Standout tracks: "Run to Me" "Daft Punk" & "Save the World / Don't You Worry Child"
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on December 4, 2013
PTX, Vol. 2 far surpasses its predecessor (PTX, Vol. 1) in terms of song choice, arrangements, and sound quality.

1) The album starts off with a bang, leading with their insanely popular and catchy cover of Macklemore & Ryan Lewis's "Can't Hold Us". Driving beats, convincing raps with attitude, and a ridiculous amount of energy launches you into the next track.

2) "Natural Disaster" is an original, which flies on the strength of lead singer Scott Hoying's rifftastic solo and a clean, strong supporting background. It's a foot-stomper, almost literally, with the percussion driving the song and reflecting the unavoidable, destructive nature of the subject matter.

3) "Love Again" is, I believe, another original track, with Mitch Grassi at the helm. Mitch has one of the most beautiful voices in existence, soaring effortlessly into the higher registers with a delicacy and confidence that underlines the chorus brilliantly.

4) "Valentine" is one of my favorite tracks on the album. A cover of Jessie Ware's original, the introduction is absolutely fascinating and haunting. All three members of the trio show a remarkable amount of restraint in this delicate cover, backed by Kevin Olusola's understated vocal percussion and Avi Kaplan's steady bass. The song dances along almost flirtatiously, with the solo seguing beautifully between Mitch and Scott.

5) "Hey Momma/Hit the Road Jack" is cheeky, upbeat, and apparently a mix of an original song and a classic. The "Hey Momma" portion reminds me of their tracks from Vol. 1, particularly "The Baddest Girl" and "Show You How to Love", with the "Hit the Road Jack" parts throwing the listener into the past. Make sure your bass is up - Avi's bassline in the choruses is delightful. Kirstie Maldonado lends a bit of insouciant, sexy flair here and there, interplaying with Scott's solo perfectly.

6) "I Need Your Love" is a cover of Calvin Harris feat. Ellie Goulding's top 40 hit. I much prefer the cover to the original, but that generally happens with every PTX cover. :) I love the choruses, but my favorite part is the stunningly simple ending, with Avi taking over the solo with his beautifully cultured and sensitive voice.

7) "Run To You" is, in my opinion, the absolute highlight of the entire album. A choral ballad, all five members of the group sing, without the energy-driving beats or percussive hits of their pop hits. The song leaves you feeling emptied and full of something ephemeral. This song ripples through you and settles deep into your bones, with the bridge launching you into a yearning hope, before the denouement gently brings you back down. A masterpiece, and quite possibly the best original PTX has penned to date. If you're part of a musical group and interested in singing it, they're offering the sheet music for free on their website,

8) "Daft Punk" is their famous medley of the electronic duo's most popular hits. All of the members of the group get their moment in the spotlight in a brilliant arrangement that plays between and overlays the songs just...brilliantly. I'm running out of descriptive words. This cover is fantastic.

9) Swedish House Mafia mash-up "Don't You Worry Child/Save the World". The only reason I'm giving this album 4 stars instead of 5 - the Amazon MP3 album version of PTX, Vol. 2 does NOT actually include this 9th track! Reviews that mention this song must have the iTunes version of the track, as I believe it's an iTunes exclusive. The song is available for listening on YouTube but is NOT included in your digital copy of the album. I did not realize that there was this secret 9th album-only track for iTunes users prior to purchase, so I figured I should warn any other listeners who might be disappointed by this incredible cover's absence. Definitely give it a listen - their cover of these two EDM hits has rendered me unable to listen to the originals without expecting them to go together. Love this cover, but must resort to listening to it on YouTube for now.

Highlights: Run To You, Valentine, Daft Punk. A must get. Album rating: 5/5!
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on December 5, 2013
I just recently discovered Pentatonix, and went and watched lots of videos and ending up buying this album and the Christmas album. I can't believe the group is just five people using nothing but their voices to create all this incredible music. If you watch the videos, they switch off between the different singers to take advantage of their strengths. This makes for arrangements that are quite complex, but they pull it off with ease. But there is so much more. The quality of the harmonies are beautiful, the versatility and range are impressive, and the effects produced by their voices is just plain unbelievable. I mean, I keep wondering how they heck they do it! Have they been surgically altered or something? Just watch the music video for Daft Punk and you'll understand.
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on November 20, 2013
I'm another big follower of this group on Youtube and Facebook where they have mastered the art of self-promotion through social media. They are growing leaps and bounds in popularity despite almost zero radio play. The reason is their music is just plain ear candy - and this album is no exception. A surefire cure for a bad mood.

My favorite tracks are Natural Disaster and Hit The Road Jack, but mostly because I'm a big fan of the thumping bass, synched beats and the occasional impresssive runs of their lead vocalist.

The a capella purist is going to love Run To You with its ethereal harmonies and I appreciate the dexterity displayed in the Daft Punk medley and it ranks third in my favorite list.

I'm also another reviewer who does not care for today's popular music, but I make an exception for these insanely talented young people.
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on February 4, 2014
PSA: The physical CD does not contain the iTunes-exclusive 9th song "Save the World / Don't You Worry Child". The other reviews I've read with this warning only pertained to the Amazon mp3 album, but the CD itself doesn't have it either.

Track List on physical CD:
- Can't Hold Us
- Natural Disaster
- Love Again
- Valentine
- Hey Momma / Hit the Road Jack
- I Need Your Love
- Run to You
- Daft Punk

5 stars anyway because Pentatonix is amazingly talented and I love listening to them. I wish their CD had all their songs, however. That was incredibly disappointing.
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on November 21, 2013
Brilliant performance. Great variety of style. Very, very good album. I love a cappella singing. I recommend. If you haven't heard the group before, they are an amazing one on a part vocal ensemble with a truly great beat boxer. Very worth your time.
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on November 12, 2013
I have been waiting for this album to be released since they announced a tentative release date!! I have seen Pentatonix in concert twice in St. Louis, MO and I also own PTX Vol. I and PTXmas. This group is exceptionally talented and SO humble. They just LOVE what they do best...making great arrangements of covers and writing beautiful original songs. I can't wait to see them in concert again in Springfield, MO and St. Louis, MO in 2014!!! If you get the chance, PLEASE go see them in concert. It is an experience that should not be missed. #pentaholic
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on January 4, 2014
"RUN TO YOU." Breathtakingly beautiful. "Valentine" is stunning. The dance tunes start my two year old grand-daughter twirling and clapping, and when she extends her hand to me, we dance together. Sheer joy. And the wonder of it is they appeal to all age groups. I'm on a tight budget, but I'll buy anything these kids record.
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on November 21, 2013
If you're not familiar with Pentatonix, I'm almost certain that you will be amazed by their talent and that you will forget after a few minutes that they use nothing but their voices to create this music. Their music spans generations. My grandchildren love them and so do I. If you're new to Pentatonix, treat yourself and listen. If you're already a Pentaholic, what are you waiting for? Buy this immediately.
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on February 2, 2014
Makes me want to go to a concert but I may be the only white headed lady there! Now have Vol 1, Vol 2, Christmas Album and have followed them during the Sing-Off and since. They are college educated; examples of perseverance to upcoming youth. Dr. Wally's son is from our area but I loved them before I knew that. Vol 2 is wonderfully awesome in tonal quality. Love all 5 of them and marvel at their ability to create instrumental sound. Recommend it to anyone wanting a different music experience.
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