Today’s the day, Pitches.
Beca (Anna Kendrick) and the Barden Bellas are back for more with Pitch Perfect 2, launching yet another full-on a capella assault on the last 30 years of popular music.
Three years removed from its predecessor, the sequel arrives at the height of an era that can be traced to the release of the original film: The Singing Anna Kendrick era.
Audiences knew what Kendrick was vocally capable of prior to the 2012 release of Pitch Perfect. After all, her 2003 big screen debut in Camp featured a scene-stealing performance of the “Company” stand-out “Ladies Who Lunch” and boozily covered Cyndi Lauper in her Oscar-nominated performance in Up in the Air. However, since her first turn as Beca, all Kendrick seems to do is sing, and that’s not a complaint.
Kendrick’s first turn as Beca was such a hit, in fact, that her audition number “Cups” was released as a hit single. The song, which took up a grand total of 33 seconds of Pitch Perfect’s running time, was expanded to feature video length and rode the film’s success all the way up the charts, landing at Number 6 on the Billboard Hot 100.
Since then, of course, we’ve gotten a steady diet of singing Anna: A star turn as Cinderella in Disney’s Into the Woods, an amazing turn as Cathy in the incredible musical The Last Five Years and now a return to the Bellas.
But it was not merely “Cups,” or Kendrick for that matter, that made Pitch Perfect a smash. It was the film’s ability to go beyond the mash-up tactics of “Glee” to create a series of memorable numbers that spanned a couple generations’ worth of hits and give multiple characters an opportunity to vocally assert themselves.
From the unforgettable turn in Ace of Base’s “The Sign” in the film’s early stages to the epic riff-off that culminated with Blackstreet’s “No Diggity” the original built a foundation on the 90s but brought in the 21st Century with a finale that remixed Jessie J with Bruno Mars with Pitbull with… well, you get it.
So, before you see the sequel, here’s a 20-song playlist of some of the greatest hits from Pitch Perfect.