Pitchier, Perfecter: 
a cappella tracks that don't suck. Image 1.

Rhett Jones

Author

Though being an a capella group might be less socially prestigious than being in a marching band, it's suddenly hip, for better or worse. Right now, Pitch Perfect 2 is racking up big bucks at the box-office and beating back Mad Max: Fury Road for the top spot. The soundtrack for the film hit number 1 on Billboard's hot 100 this week, so it seemed like a good time to pull out some a capella performances that don't suck.

So, next time someone says they hate a capella just point 'em this way. Listen to full playlist here:

Or check out the individual tracks below. ↓

 
 

Pitchier, Perfecter: 
a cappella tracks that don't suck. Image 2.

Queen and David Bowie,
Under Pressure

It seems wrong to start with what is arguably the best raw vocal performance you can find, but it also seems wrong not to. So here you go.

 
 

Pitchier, Perfecter: 
a cappella tracks that don't suck. Image 3.

Jackson 5,
I'll Be There

Pretty much, any a capella Michael Jackson you can find is good. This one wins out because of the harmonies, but it's also worth checking out this short clip of Jackson on Oprah. He pulls out an impeccable vocal performance and shows off some pretty solid beatboxing skills.

 
 

Pitchier, Perfecter: 
a cappella tracks that don't suck. Image 4.

Scott Walker,
30th Century Man

For the haunting category.

 
 

Pitchier, Perfecter: 
a cappella tracks that don't suck. Image 5.

The Beach Boys,
God Only Knows

While Brian Wilson may have been the only real genius in the Beach Boys, they all had voices of gold and that becomes even more clear when you take out the everything-and-the-kitchen-sink production style of "Pet Sounds." God Only Knows is incredible, but all of the tracks from the album are available a capella if you have another preference.

 

 
 

Pitchier, Perfecter: 
a cappella tracks that don't suck. Image 6.

Bjork,
Hidden Place

We could have, sort of, cheated here and posted anything from "Medulla" since that's an entire album of songs constructed from vocals but where would the fun be in that. Instead, we present a track from "Vespertine" without the music boxes and micro beats. Feast your ears on raw vocal tics that no one else can do as well.

 
 

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a cappella tracks that don't suck. Image 7.

Marvin Gaye,
How Sweet It Is

It's Marvin Gaye.

 
 

Pitchier, Perfecter: 
a cappella tracks that don't suck. Image 8.

Crystal Castles, Untrust Us covered by Capital Childrens Choir

There are no instruments in this choral rendition of Crystal Castles, but percussion does come from the choir pounding their chest. Does that count as a capella? If not, it should and this goes in the list because it's great.

 
 

Pitchier, Perfecter: 
a cappella tracks that don't suck. Image 9.

Neko Case, Nearly Midnight Honolulu

A capella vocals turn out to be very appropriate for storytelling. Case sings a simple song about seeing a child's mother scream, "Why don't you ever shut the fuck up? Get away from me!" Understated and perfect.

 
 

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a cappella tracks that don't suck. Image 10.

The Ronettes,
Baby I Love You

Alright, this is definitely cheating a little bit. The vocals are just isolated and you can hear the music a little bit at one point but what are you gonna do. It's the price you pay to only hear the vocal parts of Be My Baby.

 
 

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a cappella tracks that don't suck. Image 11.

Rebekah Del Rio, Llorando
from Mulholland Drive

In a film with many unforgettable scenes, the Club Silencio sequence of Mulholland Drive stands out above the rest. Our main characters enter an empty nightclub and are serenaded by a mysterious woman singing Roy Orbison's Crying in Spanish. You don't know why they are there, why this place exists or why it's all so moving.