Pentatonix, the hit a cappella group, strikes again with another holiday album. Covering even more classics, and some modern Christmas tunes, they deliver another incredible listing of festive favorites.
Pentatonix didn’t stop their jolly jams at That’s Christmas to Me. They decided to keep the yule log burning with A Pentatonix Christmas, their second holiday album. Much like its predecessor, I have some solid favorites from this album so it’s also a regularly-played album for me.
Rather than just covering the songs, PTX really focused on recreating them with unique touches. This album brings a lot more personality to the table than the original. Because of this, some songs stand out as incredible and others as awkward failed attempts at uniqueness. While this album may fall flat for a few numbers, it truly shines in its stronger covers.
Here’s a run-down of each song:
- O Come, All Ye Faithful. Much like “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing,” PTX takes a religious classic and makes it an exciting song to rock out to. With a choir in the background and heavy use of beat boxing, it takes a grand and seemingly tropical tone.
- God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen. PTX decided not to alter the arrangement of this song much. They do use more background vocals to add intensity and urgency that works quite well with the original makeup of the song.
- White Christmas. What begins as the same cover you’ve heard from every artist quickly explodes into a jazz number. Complete with scatting and harmonizing, this tune transforms one of the most boring holiday songs into an exciting favorite.
- I’ll Be Home For Christmas. PTX strikes again with an interesting cover of a traditionally boring song. They give this song a modern 50’s vibe complete with doo-wops and beat boxing. Its mellow and slow, making it a very romantic version of this song.
- Up On The Housetop. I really wish I could enjoy their version of this song. I love this song normally but their pop rendition just doesn’t sound right. Their “yeah, yeah” part just stand out in such an awkward way that it drives me to change the song whenever it comes on.
- This Christmas Sing-Along. With its cutesy vibe, this song sounds as if the Muppets should be in the background pitching in. That’s the kind of cartoonish, innocent feeling that comes along with this song. I think its strength comes from its backing chorus and reggae-influenced sounds from the verses that truly does give you that joyous Christmas feeling.
- Coventry Carol. I’m always a sucker for haunting vocals. “Coventry Carol” delivers that ghostly sound that I adore from Pentatonix. When listening to this song, you feel as though you should be sitting in a cathedral taking in the holiness of Christmas.
- Hallelujah. I think we can all agree that we never considered this song to be one for Christmas. While it is my favorite song in general, when I first saw this on my album I was thrown off. I was shocked to find that I fell in love with this version almost as much as Rufus Wainwright. While it lacks the raw, unpolished emotion of his version, it makes up for in how emotionally piercing it is. You’ll feel the highs and lows of this song in your heart.
- Coldest Winter. Being one of my favorite Christmas songs, this version, much like their “Hallelujah,” ebbs and flows with emotion that you’ll feel yourself. They made sure to keep the atmospheric vibe of its fathering song, “Memories Fade” by Tears for Fears.
- Good To Be Bad. Stepping away from the slow songs, they pick up the beat with this song. They try to mimic the doo-wop vibe from “I’ll Be Home For Christmas” and it doesn’t fit quite as well. While it’s cute, it lacks the same depth or excitement as previous songs on the album.
- Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays. With an R&B vibe with a heavy beat boxing base, this song also falls flat for me. They haven’t really been heavy with the R&B in previous songs so this one doesn’t seem to flow with the album.
- Deck The Halls. Taking a modern twist on a classic, this song is somehow even more upbeat than it is normally. I love their new arrangement of this song. Rather than the same caroling song we’re used to, they really show off their talents vocally with their unique spin on the song.
- How Great Thou Art. Another song I’ve never considered to be a Christmas tune makes an appearance. While this hymn has some great emotional value for many people, I find that this version is overwhelming for me. With Jennifer Hudson featuring on the track, it’s a vocally excellent but a bit over-the-top. I think the amount of singers took away from the religiously sentimental aspects of the song. While it is technically beautiful, it just doesn’t affect me the way it should.
- Away In A Manger. While I’ve never been fond of this song, I do really enjoy the way PTX turns it into a lullaby. Their soothing vocals makes it a relaxing and calming song.
- Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow! With a very modern take on a holiday classic, they combine a lot of the sounds from the rest of the album. They use an R&B influence on the vocals and even add in some doo-wops. Alternating styles between chorus, verse, and bridge, this song delivers a lot of variety that still stays true to the jolly theme of the song.
Overall, I still gravitate more to That’s Christmas to Me than this album. I do still love this one and I do listen to it quite frequently. This album has some strong singles that I absolutely adore and couldn’t imagine going the holiday season without listening to. My favorite, surprisingly, is “Hallelujah,” the one song that isn’t really a Christmas song. I also really appreciate the lack of “Baby It’s Cold Outside.” That’s one holiday song I could go a lifetime without hearing another cover for.
What do you think of A Pentatonix Christmas? Which holiday PTX album do you enjoy most? What’s your favorite track from this album? As always, I’d love to check out any recommendations you have for me. See you soon!