Glee - Season One Vol.1 (The Music) - Various Artists
1 CD(s) - TV - Label: Epic - Distributor: Sony Music/Arvato Services - Released: 15/02/2010 - 886975409020
7 reviews from the community
Review of "Glee - Season One Vol.1 (The Music) - Various Artists"
Glee is the hit TV show in E4/Channel 4 and is set around the pupils and teachers connected to the Glee Club, a kind of modern choir at the fictional McKinley High School in Ohio as they journey to a national school singing contest. It has become a very popular show and I see it as a cross between High School Musical and Ugly Betty in its high school singing versus the quirky, tongue in cheek, campness that I associate with the early series of the latter. This is the first CD of some of the songs from the series. Not every song in on there, I am disappointed that the 'Halo'/'Walking on Sunshine' mash up that the girls performed in one episode is not in it, although a quick look on iTunes says that it is available to buy separately, but I would have preferred it to have been on one of the two CDs from Series One. All songs are cover versions, there is no original material, and I suspect most people will have heard the original versions of a lot of the songs as there are a mix of songs from the seventies and eighties, as well as contemporary numbers.The first track on the album is Don't Stop Believin' a cover of a Journey hit. A very catchy tune, mixed into a big show-stopping number with the cast harmonies that memorably closed the first episode. This is one of my favourite tracks from the series so far, and I am pleased this is included, it can get stuck in your head for ages if you are not careful. Not all tracks are big numbers, although another one of note is Queen's Somebody To Love. Although I liked Queen I didn't particularly like this song when they did it, but I think the harmonies and theatrical production in the Glee version makes it a memorable stand-out number.
The second track is a cover of REO Speedwagon's Can't Fight This Feeling sung by Finn (Cory Monteith). This worked much better in the show than it does on the CD, as does Rachel's (Lea Michelle) version of Taking Chances, a Celine Dion track (an artist I am no particular fan of). A lot of the songs are very slickly produced , and lip-synced on the show, and as beautifully sung as they are, they can sometimes sound a bit bland when out of context. Whilst the lip-syncing and over-production may annoy some, I think it adds to the slight cheesiness of the show. It is all about fun and doesn't take itself too seriously, and is not supposed to be a realistic representation of high school life or amateur student vocals. A bit like Kids from Fame in the eighties, everyone knows what they are supposed to be singing and doing with very little effort, but that is what makes it entertaining.Some of the songs have a bit of a twist to them from the originals. I loved Jazmine Sullivan's tango-esque 'Bust Your Windows' when I first heard it last year but I equally love the funkier version sung by Mercedes (Amber Riley) on this CD. I like how they make songs written and performed by individuals into duets too. Generally though, the songs are of a similar tempo to the original just sung by different voices with different vocal harmonies and are very 'pristine', no raw, rock vocals here! Mercedes' performance of Jill Scott's Hate on Me is quite similar, although Amber Riley does really belt the numbers out and is probably one of my favourite performers.
As I mentioned above, there are some contemporary songs on here, one of the first we hear is Kanye West and Jamie Foxx's Gold Digger performed by the Glee club teacher Mr Will Schuester (Matthew Morrison) with backing support from the other Glee club members, most notably Mercedes again. Also included is Avril Lavigne's Keep Holding On performed by all the cast with Finn and Rachel taking the lead vocals.A lot of the numbers in the show are sung by the Glee Club leads Rachel and Finn, and this is represented on this CD, although the solo performances by some of the other characters are also included, as well as Mercedes and Will (Mr Schue) as previously mentioned, most notable are Quinn's (Diana Agron) version of You Keep Me Hangin' On and Puck's (Mark Salling) Sweet Caroline.
There are some unexpected interpretations as well. Artie (Kevin McHale) the wheelchair bound geek covered Billy Idol/Generations X's Dancing With Myself and Mr Schue's attempts to rap in Bust A Move. I don't think Morrison, who plays Will so well throughout the shows I have seen so far, should rap ever again!Musical Theatre numbers also feature in the show, although only two of them are included on here include Defying Gravity from Wicked performed by Rachel and Kurt (Chris Coifer) and Maybe This Time from Cabaret performed by Rachel and April (a guest performance by Kristen Chenoweth - from the West Wing and Pushing Daisies as well as Broadway). April also performs the duet of Heart's Alone with Will.
The songs on the CD come out in the order that they appear in each episode of the series. As I have said there are a number of omissions, but I take comfort from the fact that the songs of the Acafellas (an a capella a group that Will formed with some of the other male characters) are also missing, as I think they were quite a weak. I expect some CD exclusions are due to copyright or the artist (or their record company) not allowing the numbers to be reproduced onto the soundtrack, perhaps hopeful that we will buy the originals instead! Indeed I understand there was a surge in Journey's record sales after the airing of the first episode, so as much as some people may hate cover versions, it certainly seems to be helping the contributors as a whole. There seems to be a certain randomness to the song picks but I am sure the producers thought long and hard about what they wanted to use in the show, even if soundtrack inclusions were not always within their control. The randomness is part of the appeal to me. Overall for fans of the show I do recommend this CD, however if you hate the show or have never seen it, then I don't think the slick, over-produced numbers and sometimes cheesy song choices will appeal.
Product Information : Glee - Season One Vol.1 (The Music) - Various Artists
Manufacturer's product description1 CD(s) - TV - Label: Epic - Distributor: Sony Music/Arvato Services - Released: 15/02/2010 - 886975409020
Listed on Ciao since: 11/04/2010