Now that the Pitch Perfect franchise has reached its promised conclusion—of course, we’ve heard that from other series before and it’s frequently not been true—it’s time to take a look back through its three films and pick out the best songs from the movies. Why? Because I love the Pitch Perfect films, I love their music, and because I think you might, too. Of course, you should watch all three of them anyway, but if you’re just looking to stream the best songs, well, I’ll help you out.
I’ll list them in rough order of appearance, for the sake of ease.
“Cups,” from Pitch Perfect
“Cups” is probably the most famous song that came from the movies, if only because it made it onto the radio and close to the top of the Billboard charts. In the movie, it’s used as an audition song for Anna Kendrick’s character, Beca. Its official release was a pop version, and that’s probably the version to listen to. It’s a solid song, if you’re into that sort of thing.
“Trebles Finals,” from Pitch Perfect
The Treblemakers served as the rival group for the protagonist Barden Bellas (later just “the Bellas”) in the first film, and their finale, which consists of a mash-up of Cee Lo Green’s “Bright Lights Bigger City” and B.o.B’s “Magic,” is really solid. More importantly, in the course of the film, it’s emotionally cathartic because it gives Benji, played by Benjamin Pratt, his chance to shine after being neglected over the course of the film.
“Bellas Finals,” from Pitch Perfect
Probably my favorite song on this list, Bellas Finals is special. Its primary songs include Jessie J’s “Price Tag,” Simple Minds’ “Don’t You (Forget About Me)” from The Breakfast Club, and Pitbull’s “Give Me Everything.” Its highlight comes from that middle song, which is used as a way for its protagonist, Beca, and her love interest, Jessie (Skylar Astin) to bond earlier in the film. She surprises him with its inclusion. It’s sweet and a smart payoff, and it sounds great.
“Flashlight,” from Pitch Perfect 2
I debated whether or not to include “Flashlight,” simply because I’m not really sold on it as a song. However, for the franchise, it’s a step in a new direction and worth a mention by virtue of it being the first original song that the a cappella groups sing. It’s initially ridiculed within the movie before winding up an instrumental part not only in the finale but in one of its subplots, too. And, I guess, it’s kind of catchy.
“World Championship Finale 1,” from Pitch Perfect 2
The rival group in Pitch Perfect 2 is from Germany and called Das Sound Machine. Their finale, which includes Fall Out Boy’s “My Songs Know What You Did in the Dark (Light Em Up)” and DJ Khaled’s “All I Do Is Win” is electric. The choreography in the film makes it even better, as they make it both a visual and auditory experience. It’s great on its own and, honestly, I might’ve given them the win.
“World Championship Finale 2,” from Pitch Perfect 2
The Bellas’ finale from Pitch Perfect 2 is all over the map. It opens with a 30-second clapping performance which probably shouldn’t be in an a cappella competition, and then goes from song to song like you get bonus points for the number of songs you include. But it ends with “Flashlight” and brings all of Bellas from past years on the stage to sing it with the protagonists. And that’s pretty cool.
“Toxic,” from Pitch Perfect 3
Remember when Britney Spears was at the top of the pop charts? Those were fun times. Her stock hasn’t risen back to those heights, but the cover of “Toxic” in Pitch Perfect 3 is as high-profile as anything she’s done lately. It opens the film with an in medias res beginning and then we hear it in full later on. It’s nice to hear the Bellas cover just one song instead of doing a mash-up. Even better is the … circumstances that lead to the performance, and what we see while they’re singing it. I don’t want to spoil the movie, but it’s pretty insane.
“How a Heart Unbreaks,” from Pitch Perfect 3
The main rival group for the Bellas is a group called Evermoist—great name, by the way—and this is that group’s signature song in the film. It’s pretty good, I think. If you like that sort of thing, I suppose. And I guess what I’m saying is that I do.
“Cheap Thrills,” from Pitch Perfect 3
I just really like “Cheap Thrills,” okay? Don’t make it weird.
“Riff Offs,” from all three Pitch Perfect movies
The Riff Offs are unique competitions between several groups. There is one in each of the movies, and they’re all pretty wonderful. The basic idea is that one group will sing a song (usually within a set category), and then another group will cut in with a different song that matches its key. Or tempo. Or just the right word. The rules vary and aren’t always clear (or consistent). Luckily, the various groups and the way the songs bleed into each other make them wonderful to listen to, and exciting to watch.