3 Reasons To Listen To Pentatonix

3 Reasons To Listen To Pentatonix

Amazing acapella.
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With the Grammy’s in the recent past, it’s time to look back on one of the lesser-known winners who took center-stage with legend Stevie Wonder. Some of you may already know them, but for the newcomers, I’m talking about the acapella sensations Pentatonix. Although they have been growing in popularity most notably since 2014, Pentatonix is still fairly unknown to the public. So, from a long-time fan to those just discovering PTX, here are three reasons to love and listen to them:

1. Diversity

In a world where representation matters as much as talent, it is rare to find a group where diversity and talent are equally present. No matter who you are you will be able to relate to at least one member of the group. Kevin Oulsola is a Yale graduate, son of a Nigeria-born psychiatrist and Grenada-born nurse, and he is part of the first generation of his family born in America. Olusola shows the world that it is possible to be sophisticated, intelligent, laid-back, cool, and all-around black excellence. Mitch Grassi is of Italian-American descent, part of the LGBT+ community and tends toward gender-neutral representation of himself (such as sporting dress on several occasions and suits on others).

Scott Hoying is also a part of the LGBT+ community (neither he nor Grassi have officially stated their sexuality, therefore, no assumptions are made beyond LGBT+). Hoying and Grassi are also comfortable enough with themselves to explore wearing drag makeup in their show SUP3RFRUIT on YouTube. Kirstie Maldonado is Hispanic, and living proof that you can be both a living Disney Princess and Fierce Queen; she often goes from cuddly photos with her dog Olaf on Instagram to knocking us all dead on the red carpet in designer dresses. Finally, there’s Avi Kaplan, a Jewish-American who grew up in California, believes in dragons, loves "Lord of the Rings" and all things fantasy and studied classical music in college.

2. Talent

Where to begin with the talent shown in this group? Simply in vocal ranges they are astounding. Mitch Grassi, the countertenor of the group has a range of A2-B7 which is over 5 octaves wide, not to mention he is able to sing whistle notes and rap. Scott Hoying is a baritone with a range of 4 octaves, G#1-G#5. Kirstie Maldonado is a mezzo-soprano, which means she can sing either as a soprano or an alto, she sings whistle notes like Mitch and has a range of 4 octaves from E3-B♭7. Avi Kaplan is the bass or the group. His range is E♭1-C#5, and he is able to sing overtones which is the act of singing two notes at once. Kaplan also plays the guitar. Kevin Olusola is a tenor, beatboxer, rapper, cello and saxophone player. Olusola has also created what he calls “Cello-boxing” which is the act of playing the cello while simultaneously beatboxing. All of the members write their own music, freestyle often in YouTube videos and are proficient in different styles of singing.

3. Inspirational

Pentatonix won the TV show "The Sing-Off" back in 2011, when Grassi (the youngest) was a recent high school graduate. After that, they became YouTube sensations because they were dropped from the record contract that was their prize. In 2014, Pentatonix went platinum with their album "That's Christmas to Me" which also became the fourth best-selling album of the year. In 2015, they were awarded their first Grammy for their song "Daft Punk," in the category Best Arrangement, Instrumental or A Cappella, and they just won that same category again for "Dance of the Sugarplum Fairy." Along with all of this they have gone on a world tour and released a documentary and a self-titled album of mostly original songs in 2015.

Their performances include not only the collaboration with Stevie Wonder at this year’s Grammy’s, but also a solo performance at last year’s Grammy’s, a performance at the AMA’s and CMA’s. They’ve done all of this in a mere four years, and before the oldest of the group (Olusola) has turned 30. They’re a testament to what can be achieved if you only go for what you want out of life.

Their YouTube is located here, their official website is here and their music is available on Spotify. Go check them out.

Cover Image Credit: PTXOfficial Instagram

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Severus Snape Is The Worst, And Here's Why

Albus Severus, sweetie, I'm so sorry...

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I grew up being absolutely obsessed with the Harry Potter franchise. I read the books for the first time in second and third grade, then again in middle school, and for the third time in my last year of high school. Recently, I had a somewhat heated argument with a fellow fan of the books about Severus Snape. As I've reread the Harry Potter books, I've noticed that, although J.K. Rowling tried to give him a redemption arc, he only got worse because of it. Here's why I still think Severus Snape is the absolute worst.

His love for Lily Potter was actually really creepy. When I was younger and reading the books, I always found the fact that he held fast in his love for Lily to be very endearing, even noble. However, rereading it after going through a couple of relationships myself, I've come to realize that the way he pined over her was super creepy. It was understandable during his time at Hogwarts; he was bullied, and she was the only one who "understood" him. However, she showed zero interest, and if that didn't clue him into realizing that he should back off, her involvement with James Potter should have. She was married. He was pining after a married, happy woman. If he truly loved her, he would have realized how happy she was and backed off. Instead, he took it out on her orphan son and wallowed in bitterness and self-pity, which is creepy and extremely uncool. When a girl is kind to a boy during high school (or in this case, wizard school), it's not an open invitation for him to pine for her for the literal rest of his life and romanticizes the absolute @#$% out of her. It's just her being a decent person. Move on, Severus.

He verbally abused teenagers. One of the most shocking examples of this is in The Prisoner of Azkaban when Snape literally told Neville Longbottom that he would kill his beloved toad, Trevor if he got his Shrinking Potion wrong, and then punished him when he managed to make the potion correctly. Furthermore, poor Neville's boggart was literally Snape. The amount of emotional torture Neville must have been enduring from Snape to create this type of debilitating fear must have been almost unbearable, and even if Snape was simply trying to be a "tough" professor, there is no excuse for creating an atmosphere of hostility and fear like he did in his potions class for vulnerable students like Neville. In addition, he ruthlessly tormented Harry (the last living piece of Lily Potter, his supposed "true love," btw), and made fun of Hermione Granger's appearance. Sure, he might have had a terrible life. However, it's simply a mark of poor character to take it out on others, especially when the people you take it out on are your vulnerable students who have no power to stand up to you. Grow up.

He willingly joined a terrorist group and helped them perform genocide and reign over the wizarding world with terror tactics for a couple of decades. No explanation needed as to why this is terrible.

Despite the constant romanticization of his character, I will always see the core of Severus Snape, and that core is a bitter, slimy, genocidal, manipulative trash being. J.K. Rowling's attempt to redeem him only threw obsessive and controlling traits into the mix. Snape is the absolute worst, and romanticizing him only removes criticism of an insane man who just so happened to be capable of love (just like the vast majority of the rest of us). Thank you, next.

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