A Good Night - Single (2020)
Review By Kimberly Raschka Sailor
December 1, 2020
A Good Night offers Pennchants fans a solid, mainstream radio work for their a cappella music rotation.
For RARB, there's been a big pause in our listening: ten years have passed since we last reviewed the Pennchants, and current members of the group pointed out that while we were divided on the previous submission, this is a fresh group with a fresh sound. Accurate on both accounts.
A few big picture marvels are easy to appreciate on A Good Night. The groove is solid and catchy: the arranger uses interesting rhythmic patterns and the peppy in sync tenors keep it poppin’ and lively through the speakers. Soloist Tiger Zhang’s voice adds such a nice color to this piece, too; he’s got a mellowness to his delivery that’s enchanting and goes down smooth.
However, several aspects keep this piece an average submission. The percussion presentation is a bit polarizing: it’s nice to hear an organic, human-created sound, but r&b is a genre that generally requires significant processing to create the right soundscape. Also polarizing: I’m not sure why the Pennchants introduced a new song style during the last forty-five-ish seconds, abruptly shifting away from a dance/club track to a big open barbershop feel. For a nice ta-da ending to add a final flourish, of course, but it’s so radically different that it’s really a new mini-song. I’m sure it’s fun on stage, maybe with some silly choreography thrown in before taking a bow. In the recording, the “real song” already ended for the listener.
If this is a representation of the current Pennchants, the last ten years fostered a lot of growth for the group’s skill level and direction. I suggest being self-critical with future arrangements and production work to ensure the final commercial product is as impressive as the group’s vocal capabilities.