Pentatonix continues to amaze and impress, as they recently released their latest video, a cover of Imagine Dragons’ “Radioactive”, in a collaboration with another YouTube artist, Lindsey Stirling. There are already over 3 million hits at Lindsey’s channel and about over 400k at Pentatonix’s channel since its release last March 12 (less than a week ago). This is the first Pentatonix performance with instruments–at their current concert tour, this is already an immediate highlight with Kevin Olusola’s famous cello-beatboxing, but adding Lindsey Stirling’s violin for the studio version makes this even extra special. This is the best “produced” video Pentatonix has ever released, and the edgy, post-apocalyptic attire they sported is a suitably striking image for them.
The thing about studio recordings is that the cleaned up sounds may lead some parties to accuse that some tweaking is done on the vocals (something that happened with their incredible version of Gotye’s “Somebody That I Used To Know” as there were some negative wags accusing the vocals were autotuned). I wonder the same thing about the echo effects on the percussion on some parts of this number, if that is an actual drum or still coming from the mouth of Kevin Olusola–if it was coming from Kevin, I don’t mind the echo effects at all at all, but it makes his beatboxing/percussion abilities even more incredible…
Anyway, the video by the original artist is worth checking out–I have a feeling the original video concept was something very intense and violent (gladiators a la the TV series Spartacus perhaps), but objections by either the band or the record company or some other party (plus considerations especially in light of recent killings like that in Aurora, Colorado and in Newport, Connecticut) may have turned the concept into something a bit lighter by using puppets. Have to say, it also made it more refreshing as violence and gore is a bit too cliche these days. Great guest appearance by Lou Diamond Phillips as a campily comic villain, by the way.
Speaking of the Incredible Mr. Olusola, the release of their “Radioactive”video also gives me a reason to also share their guest appearance in the Chinese version of The Sing-Off in September last year. Some are aware of his Chinese speaking abilities, but little did we know how incredible his Chinese actually is until he bantered with the host–who was incredulous that not only he speaks with a convincing Beijing accent, he studied in two of China’s most prestigious universities and can quote a profound saying from Confucius. It makes me wonder how high his IQ is, actually, as he probably is at Mensa levels.
Attached is a translated transcript of the banter between the host and Kevin:
In between the dialogue, Mitch also spoke a Chinese phrase which vexed the host, as the phrase is better addressed to a girl: “You are more beautiful than the flowers in the morning.”
The video above also featured a portion of the sing-off round between the bottom two groups in danger of elimination, and they had to perform the late Teresa Teng’s classic hit “Tian Mi Mi”(literally, “Sweet Honey Honey”). The judges and the majority of Pentatonix members preferred the first group, who gave a modern, almost boy-band-ish pop take on that song. I think the reason why Kevin and Scott chose the second group was because they probably felt the second group was a bit more faithful to the original, or probably they associate the pitchy tone by the lead female vocalist with how traditional Chinese pop would sound like. But then, I listened to Teresa Teng’s original version, and she never sounded like a warbly auntie like the way the female lead of the second group sounded–Teresa’s tone was clarion clear and her pretty pitch never wavered.
Whatever the case, Pentatonix then also performed their version of the song–and arguably outdid the two groups who had to sing for their lives with it. I’ll close this essay by posting that performance below: