The album starts off with "We Need A Little Christmas" and features the underdogs of the show – Tina, Kurt and Mercedes. Really, this is a straight interpretation of the song equipped with the signature Glee harmonizing and Kurt's high alto vocals. It's a decent track but pretty forgettable since it doesn't stray far from the original we're all familiar with. Then comes perhaps the best track on the entire album, "Deck the Rooftop" which is an upbeat mashup of "Deck the Halls" and "Up on the Rooftop". This is Glee at its best – taking two familiar songs and combining them to make something fresh and new. The beat behind the song isn't very holiday or what you'd expect but rather sounds a lot like the beat from Beyonce's "Single Ladies" (though it may not be). Amongst all the covers that adhere to the original versions, this particular song was a much welcomed departure from the well-beaten path. "Merry Christmas Darling" is a Lea Michele/Rachel track and is just okay. There's no real surprise with the track and what you'd expect from a typical Lea Michele performance.
"Baby, It's Cold Outside" may be the head-turning track as it's a duet between Chris Colfer (Kurt) and Darren Criss (Blaine). I actually applaud the producers of Glee of featuring a duet between these two and pretty much making the track a bit gay without making a big deal about it. Their two voices go well together and the performance of this well-known track is good. "The Most Wonderful Day of the Year" features Artie, Rachel, Kurt, Sam, Tina & Brittany all singing this song about the toys from the island of misfit toys. Again, another straight interpretation of the original track which makes it feel a bit too dated and old for such a young group of people. Things get back on track with "Last Christmas", that has a more modern-beat and production and fits the young cast well. "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen" is another of the album's better tracks as it features the women of Glee (Mercedes, Rachel, Santana and Tina) and most of the song is performed a capella but once the music kicks in, the beat is more R&B and fresh than what you'd expect.
Matthew Morrison (Will Schuester) takes on "O Christmas Tree" and does well with it. He tries to insert a little of that awkward Will Schuester soul-singing into it and shows off his vocals a bit. "Jingle Bells" is the guy's number and is a bit of a big band/swing/jive interpretation of the song. I'm not sure why every time Puck is involved in a song it suddenly has to be swing and a styled like a Rat Pack song. "You're A Mean One Mr. Grinch" is probably the track that annoys me because I'm sure it plays well within the actual Glee Christmas episode coming, "Sue The Grinch". But the song itself, with Matthew Morrison/Will narrating the classic tale is just annoying and not something I can sit through. Things get back on track with Amber Riley's (Mercedes) gospel-take on "Angels We Have Heard On High". I liked this track because the gospel style hasn't been used much on Glee and Mercedes is given a track to be in the spotlight without having Rachel (Lea Michele) to contend with. This to me is some of the best vocals on the album to the point that you forget this is Glee you're listening to. As with most episodes of Glee, Rachel gets the last word (or song) and takes on "O Holy Night." Her vocals on this track are probably the best of Rachel on this particular album and is everything fans of the show would expect or want from a Lea Michele performance.
Overall, Glee's Christmas album is okay. My complaint is that too many of the songs are just too safe and too close to the original versions we're all used to. I'd have liked to have heard a bit more originality come into play as with the "Deck the Rooftop" mashup. I know, it's Christmas music but some of the arrangements of the songs feel too old and dated for this group of young singers. I'd think they'd insert a bit more personality, modernity and originality into the music to make it more of their own but it feels like we're just getting some Christmas songs for the sake of selling an album and making a profit. Probably my least favorite music release from Glee so far.
Listen to These: "Deck the Rooftop", "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen", "O Holy Night"
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