Hey aca-bros. It’s a big movie weekend. The ladies are taking over the box office whether you want them to or not. You know what I am talking about. The dirty, gritty, oversaturated drama that we have been salivating over in anticipation: the return of the Barden Bellas and “Pitch Perfect 2!”
Bros! Why are you protesting so hard? You know you loved this movie! Howard Stern liked it! Shaq is reported to have liked it! The Green Bay Packers liked it so much, they are in the sequel. You can admit you like it. And you know with its cult popularity, they are going to be able to afford the rights to awesome songs. So, let’s get aca-xcited for the sequel with this Bro’s Guide.
First, re-watch the original
Fine, you’ve watched the movie a million times already, bro. I know you have. The movie has made $113 million so don’t try to deny it. If you haven’t, here’s a brief recap:
An all-girl college a capella group is floundering after an unfortunate vomiting incident at ICCA (International Championship of Collegiate A Cappella), but a freshman who has a good sense of musical arrangements thanks to aspirations of being a DJ saves the day. Rest assured, there is DRAMA in between. You kind of can’t recap it though, because bro, it’s the aca-rangements that make the movie magical.
And the zingers. Seriously, there are so many laugh lines casually tossed out in this movie, you can’t keep track. Both movies were written by the incomparable Kay Cannon, who has written for “30 Rock” and “New Girl,” so she’s already your favorite. Aca-dmit it.
Get out your Solo cups
“Pitch Perfect” gave us two very important gifts: a renewed appreciation for “No Diggity” and that “Cups” song.
Find your own college a capella group to love
Look, bros: college a cappella groups are aca-awesome. It is known. Even the ones that don’t dance. Yeah, sure, maybe “Pitch Perfect” and “Glee” made them cool-(ish?) but there is something unabashedly joyous about a rendition of a pop song where the only instrument is voices. Google episodes of “The Sing Off.” Go to YouTube and mine your favorites from among the millions of options. You can literally find anything you want there. I had a roommate who was super into videos of college a cappella groups that sang Tori Amos songs. And boom, cue the internet:
My own personal college a cappella group (The College of New Jersey Tren-tones) didn’t do anything of note while I was there outside of trying to find the best Beyonce song arrangement, but now they do go to ICCA (which does NOT look anything as depicted on film until you get to the finals) and have a dude solely devoted to beat boxing / foley work.
See if your college has an a capella group! Or fall in love with the University of Michigan G-Men!
Get sultry with the UVA Sil’hooettes!
It’s like college football, but with way less rape and corruption! And popular songs from ten to fifty years ago! Dartmouth has a really good team! (The Dartmouth Aires were featured on “The Sing Off.”)
Be wary: as soon as you go down the rabbit hole of college a capella performances, you will not be able to stop. You will feel like a creep. You will wonder why your college is performing a mash-up of Sia’s “Breathe Me” and “Use Somebody.” But you may shed a tear because it is very dramatic.
Assemble your besties and support them
Look, in the highly competitive world of collegiate a cappella, you want the best people having your back / harmonies. Be supportive. Be a team player. Yes, the guy singing the lead on “Billie Jean” is going to get all the glory, but if he doesn’t have a strong swirling soundscape behind him, he’s just a dude singing by himself.
The Bellas find that out the hard way when Anna Kendrick (Beca) doesn’t play for the team (even though she’s the star of the movie so they should presumably sing her way.) It’s like man, LeBron James is amazing, but then he’s all about calling plays for himself, and you can only push Joakim Noah in the face so many times before you’re like, “this guy is amazing to watch and all, but he is also a dick.” Be more of a Steph Curry, bros. Make your whole team look good.
If you wanna sing out, sing out
You will want to sing. Lean into it. Find a nice version of “Halo” (Beyonce song, not video game), gather your bros, and belt it out. Don’t be ashamed, and make those harmonies your pitches.