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The Pitch Is Back: Two “Cups”, One Girl (And A Hit To Boot?)

Nobody's Perfect, but this might come close.

Nobody’s Perfect, but this might come close.

You may not have seen it when it was in movie theaters (though it earned just over $65 million at the North American box office), but Pitch Perfect has proven to be quite the hit on DVD, where it’s been exposed to a much wider audience than in its initial release. The film revolves around rival a cappella groups, the Barden Bellas and the Treblemakers, at several competitions, but this is no Glee. It’s a lot more comical, especially thanks to actress Rebel Wilson in the role of Fat Amy. The holiday season was good to it as people exchanged their gift cards for the film, and the soundtrack has also done phenomenally, cracking the top 5 on the Billboard 200 album chart a few weeks ago and selling over 250,000 copies to date. Three songs from that album cracked the Hot 100 in January, two of them medleys of prior songs as performed by the various groups.  Now, that third song, an original composition from the one of the biggest sleeper hits of last year is actually being sent to radio as a single and could end up on your local station.

Yes, that’s right, Anna Kendrick‘s solo song, “Cups”, is being sent to mainstream radio. The stripped-down ditty goes for adds on February 26 through Republic Records and will now bear the title “Cups (When I’m Gone)”, which I guess makes it sound more complete to those program directions on the fence about it. The album version runs just under 80 seconds (77 to be exact), which makes it the second-shortest song to ever hit the Billboard Hot 100. It recently peaked at #64 thanks to strong digital sales, though it has since fallen into the 70’s. Nevertheless, it’s managed to sell over 300,000 copies since it was first released digitally, a huge total for, basically, something that sounds like an unfinished demo of a song. (Here’s the scene of the movie where it’s used.)

As you can hear, the song only features Kendrick’s vocal and the sound of claps and cups hitting the table as the entirety of the arrangement, which is a little too light to get airplay on most cases. Cue a second edit of “Cups”, a new version which essentially sounds like it took a backing track by Mumford & Sons and slapped it onto the original edit. It doesn’t sound too strange, to be honest, but a song from a movie only has so much shelf life before it gets old, especially one that’s so short. (It’s extended in its second version.) However, given the picture’s growing audience, maybe it can continue to build throughout spring and lead Kendrick to a more consistent singing career. If Jennifer Love-Hewitt, Hilary Duff and Lindsay Lohan could all make the transition from acting to singing and score multiple top-40 hits, why can’t she? So far, the only station to pick it up is on satellite radio, but look for more adds to come closer to its add date.

If that’s not enough, here’s one more achievement for you. Should the song make the top 40 on CHR radio, Kendrick would be only the fourth act to hit the chart that was born in the state of Maine, following Rick Pinette and Oak (“King Of The Hill”, 1980), Howie Day (“Collide” and “She Says”, 2004-5), and Spose (“I’m Awesome”, 2010). Given that list, it would also make her the first solo female to pull off the trick. How about that? Kendrick’s a great vocalist, so I have no doubt that she’ll be given some sort of bigger recording contract after all is said and done, especially if the single does indeed become huge. Popular radio’s been taking some real chances lately. You may just be missing it when it’s gone.

Buy the original version of “Cups” on iTunes. Buy the new radio version of “Cups” on iTunes. Let me know what you think about this surprising news in the comments or on Twitter: @AdamFSoybel.

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Filed under Charts/Trade Papers, Music News