Fox’s Glee has just launched into season 3 and barring the progressive stupidity in storyline, the show’s still fresh in terms of the music. I bring to you ten covers that you should most definitely give a listen to. MOST DEFINITELY.
Before I launch into my list of Top Ten Glee Covers, a word to all the skeptics & those blissfully ignorant.
Glee is a TV show revolving around the lives of the creatively stifled students at McKinley High School, Ohio. There are those that are vehement about their dreams of super stardom & then there are others with the eternal high school pickle – winning the popularity contest or expressing themselves by doing what they love. It is littered with clichés and yes the drama does go overboard every now and then.
However, musically Glee is revolutionary. If piracy were the worst thing to happen to the music industry, Glee is the best! The show rehashes hits from the past every now & then, while still covering top 40 hits. Really, in this time & age, Glee is one of the better ways to extend your database of ‘music that was’ while still staying in touch with what’s hot. Courtesy Glee, theatrical music finally gets a somewhat induction into mainstream.
Lets face it; musicals are shrouded with misunderstanding – too elitist, too gay, too classical when in fact they are one of the most liberating and fun forms of creative expression. And though it may not be everyone’s cup of tea, there’s no denying that musical numbers are F-U-N. To watch & perform!
Rose’s Turn (from Gypsy), Le Jazz Hot (from Victor/Victoria) and recently tracks from West Side Story, Hairspray and Funny Girl were if anything insightful to the average top 40 junkie/genre specific obsessor (read rockaholics/metalheads – shut up, we know you get a sneak of TV shows with pretty girls in dangerously short skirts).
As tempted as I am, to ramble on about how, thanks to Glee, I’ve realized the unique sense of gratification a vocalist gets from performing a musical number .. (it’s technique, rendition, with a dollop of drama!)
I SHALL JUST GET TO MY LIST ALREADY!
Open Your Heart/Borderline – Lea Michele & Cory Monteith
This track featured in the epic Madonna Tribute episode & it’s one of the best mash ups that has made it on the show. A wholesomely cheesy affair complete with running hand-in-hand through corridors, speeding past library aisles et al, it earns points for the innovation musically – an interesting mix and furthermore, a duet!
Dream On – Neil Patrick Harris + Matthew Morrison
These two do complete justice to this mammoth song. As if we need more reason to adore NPH, they mooch musical zest off each other and successfully transport you to a rhapsody that lets face it, only rock ballads like Dream On can do.
Another moment in recent times where I’ve cursed Neil Patrick Harris’s pink flag loyalties. Lets not forget Matthew Morrison though.
He brings his own swagger to the table; the curls, them eyes and the stance! Swoon with a capital S!
Run The World – Heather Morris
SO much better than Beyoncé’s version simply because the vocals are more layered. True Heather Morris is no diva but going by the structure of a song like Run The World, that vocal amplification is needed to decipher the tune of the track; something the original does not allow with constant loopy sounds in the background and Beyoncé’s thin (yet powerful) pipes. The brass band effect makes it even more anthemic, previously used in Glee’s cover of Madonna’s 4 minutes – another win win.
Blame It On The Alcohol – Amber Riley & Kevin McHale
The R&B flows smooth in this cover where tactful Autotune replaces merciless Autotune. For the record, the original didn’t get half as popular until this version sprang up. And after giving this version a whirl – Jamie Foxx & T Pain ain’t got nothin’ on ‘em Glee kids.
Friday – Mark Salling, Kevin McHale & Chord Overstreet
Agreed. This was unanimously declared most annoying song of all time. But Glee still went & gave the song a shot. Redemption, if I may. It just goes to show that there are some tunes where the boy band formula alone can work. And SUE ME but I think it’s really catchy!
Don’t You Want Me – Lea Michele & Darren Criss
This is a great example of how modern day technology can enhance oldies. The 80s were a time when musicians were just grappling with effects & synths. Twenty years of experimentation later, we have the same track with the tech expertise of the 21st century. See Autotune is just the unpopular rebel child. Progress in music technology has pro’s too! Since we have hauled at the 80s, I just have to make a mention here of Heart’s Alone – another classic covered awesomely by Glee!
Toxic – New Directions
The relevance this song holds to what’s going on in the episode is brilliant. It’s about pent-up sexuality and that is pretty much how this track simmers out. There’s some major foreplay with the come-hither vocals & wicked baseline and it erupts into a rock-hard climax (pun unintended). Incidentally, Glee covers in the basketball court have a reputation for being racy. Push It (Salt ‘n’ Pepa), from episode 2, is another feather in this cap of spice.
Give Up The Funk – New Directions
First off, PRAISE for featuring proper funk on the show. It’s visually one of the best too. Each look is colourful and full on FUNKEDELIC! Funk as a genre is really hard to pull off on stage (as the episode reiterates MANY times) because of its general laidback twang. So much for that however! Especially love the ‘tear the roof off the sucker’ & the exuberant ending.
Another One Bites The Dust – Vocal Adrenaline
Right from the strapping studs to the ass whoppin’ dance routine, it will have your jaw suspended in a most astonished manner. It has some creative harmonies and it’s just very well-rounded – even the most die hard Queen fan cannot dislike this peppy rendition.
Teenage Dream – The Warblers
There couldn’t have been a better introduction to the guys at Dalton. Darren Criss over Katy Perry’s ghostly sopranos ANYDAY. It’s beautiful with some nice acapella bits (of course, it not being live kind of disputes the tag). Again, boy band effect for the win. Once I heard this, I forgot Perry’s cover. Oops.
Overrated (but for good reason):
And then there are some tracks that didn’t make it to the list cuz too much has already been said about them. Of course, all of them will have Lea Michele. That said, I do NOT think she is over-rated; the woman can revitalize dead puppies with that kind of singing. Aaaaactually, a Lea Michele focus is due. I’m on it.