Pentatonix made it big by finding unique and innovative ways to turn huge pop hits into equally huge a cappella hits, and it looks like they’ll continue their streak in 2018 with a little help from a star who used to perform in a five-piece group herself.
Pentatonix just released an a cappella rendition of Camila Cabello’s “Havana,” their very first cover of 2018. In addition to dropping an audio version of the song, the group also posted a video of themselves singing Cabello’s smash hit on the official Pentatonix YouTube channel. In the video, all five members— Scott Hoying, Mitch Grassi, Kirstin Maldonado, Kevin Olusola, and Matt Sallee—don black, red, and blue outfits we desperately want to claim for ourselves and sit in what looks to be a library or study. Despite its impressive production quality, the video is fairly simple as far as Pentatonix videos go and allows each singer to showcase their vocal prowess without distracting viewers with flashy visuals (unlike their Daft Punk video from 2013).
Surprisingly, Pentatonix elected Hoying, a baritone, to imitate Cabello’s inimitable soprano during the song’s chorus. But the risk pays off, as Hoying and the rest of the group kick off their rendition in a low key and jump an octave when they come back around to the second chorus, giving the tune an extra dose of energy. Grassi and Maldonado, as per usual, deliver pitch perfect harmonies during each verse, and Olusola gets a moment to shine when he flawlessly imitates the signature “Havana” trumpets near the end of the video.
A little over a week ago, Pentatonix teased fans by dropping a “Coming 2018” video that promises new music, a new voice, new videos, and a new tour. The “new voice” refers to Sallee, who joined Pentatonix at the tail end of last year after bass vocalist Avi Kaplan left the group in order to spend more time with his family. Sallee is featured in the group’s 2017 covers of “How Great Thou Art” and “Deck the Halls,” but his participation in “Havana” definitively indicates the beginning of new era for Pentatonix.
More Pentatonix music seems to be coming soon, as an a cappella version of Dua Lipa’s “New Rules” can be heard in the background of the “Coming 2018” video. The video also gives fans a sneak peek into what some of the group’s upcoming music videos will look like—in one clip, all five members stand in front of a stark white background and in another, the members sit in what looks to be an ornate living room. If Pentatonix is covering “Havana” and, apparently, “New Rules,” we’re guessing that the majority of the group’s 2018 covers will also be Top 40 adjacent. Will they cover “Finesse” next? Or “Perfect”? Maybe “Feel It Still”? Only time will tell, but for now sit back, relax, and enjoy their newest Cabello-approved track.