Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Watch This: Pentatonix and Lindsey Sterling - "Radioactive"

Superstar acapella quintet Pentatonix has always been a dynamic force on its own, but in this cover of Imagine Dragons' "Radioactive," the power of collaboration propels its sonic force into a completely different solar system. The group recruited violinist Lindsey Stirling to play with here, a smart choice considering both artists' philosophies: in recent years, Pentatonix has made acapella hip again with innovative arrangements, an abundance of personality, and a willingness to mix genres like SyFy villains mix chemicals, while Stirling has been integrating her rowdy string playing into songs that sound like they got lost on their way to the Billboard charts.

The cover is arranged in a way where the vocals and instrumentals dance around each other in subtle but powerful ways. It's an intelligent rendition of the original, never losing sight of the mounting urgency depicted in its lyrics or the pandemonium of its climax (try and see if you can catch each individual voice in the ending--easier said than done). The video is a visual treat as well; the post-acopalyptic setting is washed-out but dripping in atmosphere, while the composition--tense shots of strings stirring back and forth, shots of isolated survivors singing to themselves, Scott Hoying staring into the basement of your soul--conveys an undeniable sense of dread building within each character before everybody comes together in the explosive chorus. It's at once a world removed from our own and one strangely tethered to it nevertheless, a warning of where things might be headed come 2025 wrapped up in elegant pop hooks and soulful choral vocals. And if these folks have it their way, things might go nuclear before long.

Both Pentatonix and Lindsey Stirling are on tour, so go check 'em out. You can also subscribe to their YouTube pages here (and journalistic objectivity aside, you really should):

Lindsey Stirling

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