In case you've been living under a rock for the past few months, 'Glee' is probably among the best in terms of new television shows to arrive this season. 'Glee' is your typical high school drama mixed with heavy doses of atypical popular music packed into each episode. In a way, 'Glee' is Fox's version of Disney's 'High School Music' franchise except better acted and with a far better soundtrack. This first volume of music comes from the show's first nine episodes and features a variety of music and genres, from Broadway numbers, to 80s hits and even some old school hip-hop. While none of this music is original (all of these songs are cover songs of popular hits and artists), the 'Glee' versions and arrangements of the songs are fun and almost just as good as the originals.
The Good: As stated before, don't be turned off that the 'Glee' soundtrack is full of cover songs. These are actually well performed and are not 'karaoke' or butchered like the cover songs on Fox's other hit show 'American Idol'. The best part of this soundtrack is that it offers something for all audiences. Yes, to a degree, the songs are somewhat cheesy. The show is about a high school choir - the songs are meant to be a little cheesy. Lea Michele is the lead vocalist of the cast, having a background in musical theater. Her performances are probably what you expect from a show of this nature; a bit over the top, big, Celine Dion-ish with lots of theatrics. Her version of Rihanna's "Take a Bow" is (in my opinion) better than the original with how she simply belts it out and adds a touch of emotion and sincerity/innocence to it that really sets it apart from just your typical "cover" song. Yet, another underestimated vocalist that's featured throughout the soundtrack is Amber Riley who has the sassy attitude necessary to deliver the hip-hop "Hate On Me" song and the pipes to belt out some show-stopping notes on Queen's "Somebody To Love." In all, the songs are high quality and it's fun to listen to cover versions of popular songs that aren't butchered or are a bit too big for those performing it. Guest vocalist/actress Kristin Chenoweth puts her stamp on the 'Cabaret' number "Maybe This Time" and Heart's 80s power ballad "Alone"; Matthew Morrison comes off as the awkward high school teacher trying to remain hip (and pulling it off to some degree) on hip-hop songs "Bust a Move" and "Gold Digger"; Amber Riley makes a lasting impression with the Jazmine Sullivan cover song "Bust Your Windows".
The Bad: Some of these songs are best enjoyed within the context of the show more so than as stand-alone songs. There are a few songs on this release that I felt weren't as great and could have been replaced with other songs from the show that didn't make the cut for this soundtrack. "Sweet Caroline" and "You Keep Me Hanging On" are just okay. "Defying Gravity" and "Taking Chances", while great vocal performances from Lea Michele, are just a little weak when you aren't able to see the actress fully perform the songs with her acting alongside her singing. There were some songs that made more of an impression on me as a viewer and listener of the show that I am a bit surprised didn't make the cut for the soundtrack (yet were released digitally): "Push It", "Rehab", "Mercy", "Last Name" "It's My Life/Confessions Part II", "Halo/Walking On Sunshine" were all some of the best moments from 'Glee' so far this season yet all of these songs were left off and we're left with mediocre numbers like "Defying Gravity", "Sweet Caroline", "You Keep Me Hangin' On" all make it? In part, I believe it was because some of these songs featured guest stars (or in the case of "Mercy" and "Rehab", groups) instead of the core cast. Still, it's a shame because I'd rather have the true best performances of the season (so far) on a disc and be forced to buy some of the other tracks digitally than the other way around.
In all, a good release with my main area of criticism being that some of the best musical moments of the season were left off. Still, 'Glee' and its music is worth purchasing. It's fun, upbeat music and the cast really manage to step in and put their own stamp on the music. This is one to add to your collection.
Listen To These: "Take a Bow", "Hate On Me", "No Air", "Alone"
The UPS man made me very happy yesterday (minds out of the gutter, please!): he brought me a box from Amazon.com that contained several items--but I dug to the bottom to get the Glee: The Music, Volume 1 CD that I'd been waiting for. I put it in my car this morning and listened to it on my way to volunteer and then around town doing errands and back home. Wow! This CD is positively Glee-ful! While there is a mix of up-tempo … more
Back in May of 2009, FOX made one of the biggest gambles in recent television history. The network decided to air the pilot of one of the new fall shows just before summer. The thinking was that doing so would build an audience and build the hype for the fall. However, there was a huge danger in that people would forget about the show and no matter how good it was it would die an early death. That show was GLEE and the gamble paid off tremendously because GLEE is by far the best new show on television … more
Antoine Reid is an innovative graphic designer with over five years experience in print design specializing in promotion and publication design, illustration, and creating dynamic content for the Web. … more
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