Gosh you’re flogging a dead horse covering this track aren’t you? So here we are, Pentatonix are back with the most over-used and over-covered track of all time ‘Hallelujah’. Now do I dislike the original track? No, in fact far from it, it’s probably one of the top ten tracks ever made. I also like three versions of the track, Leonard Cohen’s original, John Cale’s re-imagining and Jeff Buckley’s interpretation. So where does the Pentatonix cover lie? Probably in the lower to middle category. Here is why…
This track isn’t a sad track, nor is it a Christmas track, nor is it a depressing track, it’s just a song that describes what it’s like to make a song, that’s it! So why have we been given 93204832 interpretations of it as a bleak ballad? It could be such a fun, uplifting track, but everyone concentrates on the downer side of it. The only person with a right to claim this hauntingly-styled version is Jeff Buckley. He took the track, made it grungy and gloomy and saw the track as much more bitter sweet than it’s original version. That takes song writing ability. The problem I have with Pentatonix here, is that they aren’t even the first vocal harmony group to sing this track; it’s been sung by church choirs much more significantly for years now. So my major problem with the track, is that it’s pointless and destined to fade away into obscurity by this time next week.
Production wise the song is solid, but in parts I find it’s too good. What do I mean by that? Well if you slap too many pitch correctives, too many EQ’s, too many Gates and too many general effects onto a vocal track, it’s stops sounding like vocals; it sounds like synths. I felt that the whole track became more and more pointless as the song continued because of this. The bass singer had so many effects on him that you might as well of used sub bass and no one would of noticed. The textures were so watery and over-produced that you might as well of used many synths. The whole point of a vocal harmony group, is to recreate songs using just vocal harmonies, but here those harmonies are so ironed out that you could of just used instruments (they would of sounded more distinct anyway). The production threw away all the timbres and tones we could of identified throughout the track, basically removing all the fun of a vocal harmony sequence away.
The vocal performances are great, don’t get me wrong, Pentatonix have some of the most talented members of a vocal group I’ve heard in a long time. Coming from the new Little Mix track to this, proved my philosophy that I prior mentioned (read that review to find out what that is). But they came across so bland here. Each member had allocated slots where they gave it their all, but the source material didn’t feel valid. When a track has no substance and you don’t believe in what you are hearing, then you often find yourself bored listening to it and I had that feeling here.
All in all, the performances were great but the song choice was terrible. I feel bad slating such a talented group but you just have to be wiser with what tracks you pick to cover. Stop making temporary tracks to capitalise off of the popularity of others, and instead make tracks that will define your legacy, because you are more than capable to do it.
5/10 – Just another Hallelujah cover in my opinion.