With the one year anniversary of Pitch Perfect coming up and the return of Glee, it’s time talk about making music with our mouths. Since the explosion of Glee (which oddly enough is about show choir and not a cappella), the style of music has received additional attention thanks to Darren Criss and the Warblers, the Annas in Pitch and NBC’s The Sing-Off, which has produced the internet sensation, Pentatnoix. While fans of collegiate a cappella know that this type of singing is nothing new, “be boop ba do dos” and “do da do das” are finally going mainstream. Here are five groups you should be (proudly) listening to.
Following their win on The Sing-Off, this group basically took over the internet. Their videos on YouTube all have over tens of millions of views – which normally happens within days of the video release. The group covers everything from Nicki Minaj (a recent a cappella favorite thanks to Pitch Perfect) to Gotye, which you can watch below. Think of the group has the hip youngsters that original characters on Glee wanted to be (and later turned out to be successful).
2. Street Corner Symphony
Hailing from Nashville, TN, Street Corner Symphony is a far cry from Rockapella (your mom’s favorite a cappella group). No, SCS take a young man with a beard’s approach to making music with their mouths. The guys take on everything from The Hobbit to VH1′s You Oughta Know artist, Lorde. While they were runner ups on The Sing-Off, their new LP of original songs shows that they have star power.
3. Mike Tompkins
Sure Tompkins is only one man, but thanks to modern technology he can make his a cappella covers sound as layered and rich as any group on this list. Plus, he’s got the good ol’ American looks to go with his sultry voice. While he’s quick to cover any hit on the radio, he excels when he takes on the R&B world of Frank Ocean, Rihanna and Adele.
4. Straight No Chaser
Straight No Chaser is a group that didn’t come out of the recent mainstreaming of a cappella but they are considered among the best. Formed at Indiana University (like most origins of an a cappella group) in 1996, the group garnered attention when their take on “12 Days Of Christmas” went viral on the internet. The group has since released five studio albums that includes covers of everything from Oasis to Soft Cell. They were even featured on Cee Lo Green’s slick cover of “You’re A Mean One, Mr. Grinch.”
5. Beelzebubs aka The Bubs
Collegiate a cappella fans have known about the Beelzebubs (or The Bubs as the cool kids have started calling them) for decades. The all-male group from Tufts University has been performing since 1962. The group’s appeal is their ability of putting together interesting vocal arrangements that other groups can’t even do. That talent was put on full display when they performed “Teenage Dream” with Darren Criss on Glee. As the Warblers, the group has sang covers of Destiny’s Child, Robin Thicke and Train. The group even appeared on The Sing-Off, coming in second place, and served as the inspiration for Barden Treblemakers in Pitch Perfect, which was based on a non-fiction novel of the same name.
BONUS: The Barden Bellas
Okay, the Bellas technically don’t exist. But if they did, they would be the most kick-ass a cappella group ever known to man. Okay, that’s a bit of an exaggeration but it’s hard to deny the appeal of Anna Camp, Anna Kendrick, Brittany Snow and Rebel Wilson leading a pack of harmonizing females singing mashups of Ace Of Base and Miley Cyrus. Besides the Bellas will be back with a holiday album and nothing screams a cappella like Christmas jams performed by six synchronized mouths.