The creative and frenzied exchange of musical ideas is what we love about the Pitch Perfect movies (apart from the hilarious scripting), and the soundtrack for Pitch Perfect 2 gives us all our favourite musical moments in one place. It is the distinct acapella style of composition, including song choices and transitions, that keeps things musically interesting, and we’re provided with a lot of variety over 18 tracks.
If you’ve seen the movie, you’ll get a memory jog to all your favourite scenes; the Universal Fanfare is even included as the first track. The great thing about having quite a few short tracks is that we get to listen to such a diverse range of sounds, and that’s what makes listening to acapella in the Pitch Perfect vein to exciting. Things kick off with the Barden Bellas’ Kennedy Centre Performance, a two minute mashup featuring Pitbull’s Timber, Miley’s Wrecking Ball, and even a brief operatic segment of America The Beautiful. The Treblemakers hit some gospel elements in Lollipop, and Das Sound Machine are as formidable a presence on the soundtrack as they appear in the film with their pumping version of Muse’s Uprising as well as other appearances.
There are a few longer tracks on the album, a couple of which stand up separate to the film. Ester Dean’s and Jessie J’s respective performances of Crazy Youngsters and Flashlight are radio staple material not taken from the film itself, but rather produced in association with it. Rebel Wilson brings Fat Amy’s character to the fore in her duet with Adam Devine in We Belong to the Night and the four minute Riff Off is certainly a highlight. It combines the different categories from the film scene (including ‘I dated John Mayer’ – LOL) into one hectic mashup ending in Das Sound Machine’s take on Insane in the Membrane.
The Barden Bellas’ performance for the World Championships Finale is the climax of the soundtrack though, just like the film. After forty seconds of body percussion, the Bellas hit us hard with their pretty enthralling arrangement of Beyonce’s Girls which they mash up with David Guetta’s Where Them Girls At. Then their step up in key during Flashlight takes them to the next level.
I generally am fond of film soundtracks. I love thinking about why certain songs are chosen for a particular scene, or if the music is made for the film it’s interesting to think about the composer’s process in conjuring up a feeling. The soundtrack to Pitch Perfect 2 isn’t really something I can think of in this way because the music is so inextricably linked to the film. For example, the version of Cups, while a beautiful reference to the first film, is limited to the 45 seconds of film time it is allocated. The soundtrack for Pitch Perfect 2 is still an entertaining listen with a diverse array of songs, but I think it loses some of its value in the absence of its associated picture.