I first heard about Glee back in I believe September 2009, a good friend of mine in America sent me an mp3 of a new version of Don't Stop Believin'. I had the original on my Itunes already, so I didn't know what to expect. She explained to me that it was sung by the characters on this new show called Glee, which was taking America by storm and I had to listen to it. I did, and absolutely loved it but when I read that it might not be coming to the UK I didn't really think much of it afterwards.
Then in January 2010, I heard the cover version of Don't Stop Believing that I had been listening to on my IPod for the last few months. Glee was coming to E4 and Channel 4, and I knew I had to watch it. When I told my mate that it was coming to the UK she sent me some links to some songs on YouTube and after spending time listening to them, I knew I was going to be hooked.
Since that time, I have spent a good amount of money and time buying the music of Glee. I got quite a lot of ITunes vouchers for Christmas as I'm apparently 'very hard to buy for' and everyone knows how much I love music, so I've been using them to feed by Glee habit.
The first album is the one I am reviewing today. At the moment, Glee are nearing the end of their first series and so far have 3 albums released and one more on the way at the end of May. It could be quite an expensive habit to keep buying the albums, so I've begun to limit myself to a few songs a time.
The first song on the album is 'Don't Stop Beeleving' which is sung mainly by Cory Monteith and Lea Michele. It has been completely overplayed now, so I'm sure most of you have heard it. This song is sung mainly by the protagonists of the show Finn and Rachel in the first episode. It's the first time we properly heard these two sing together and considering this is a great rock song, it's great how their 'stage' voices work together. The song is helped along by the harmonies of the rest of the cast of Glee. Lea Michele's voice is just stunning, you will hear this a lot from me in this review, but the power she has with her vocals is just out of this world. She commands your attention and I've never really heard an artist tell a story before just from listening to their voice, every song she sings you hear and in some cases see the emotion she is feeling. This song like the original is meant to be listened to loud and proud, it requires some great speakers, and it really lifts your spirits if you are in a bad mood.
The next track on the album is 'Can't Fight This feeling Anymore', which is sung completely by Cory Monteith. I hate to admit this but I'm not a fan of Finn, and his voice. I think it's got a lot better as the show has gone on, but in songs like this, it's cringe worthy in my opinion. One of the worst covers that Glee has produced, it just doesn't work and I think it would have worked a lot better if they had allowed one of the other males to sing it instead.
After the monstrosity of the previous song, the next song starts with the amazing vocals of Amber Riley (Mercedes). This cover is 'Gold Digger' and is mainly Matthew Morrison (Mr Shue) rapping. Okay, it's not bad, but it just doesn't seem natural at all and when I saw this on TV it did look like your dad attempting to dance and rap, so it was a cringe worthy. That being said, I weirdly prefer this version to the original, I have no idea why, but I would rather listen to this, I think the shining part of this song, is Mercedes vocals in the background, it works brilliant. A weird song, it will make you cringe to begin with, but if you listen carefully it's actually quite a talented cover. Matthew Morrison shouldn't really rap or dance for that matter however.
One of my favourite songs on this whole album is this next track, which is 'Take a Bow' which is sung completely by Lea Michele (Rachel), this track is just completely awesome. I wasn't sure who sung the original so looked it up and found it was Whineanna (Rihanna), and oh my god, has Lea Michele made this song so much better than the original. Like I said before in the review, her vocals are so emotive and powerful, this song is perfect for her, and it doesn't hold her back at any point. A gorgeous powerful, emotional version of a song I wouldn't have originally looked twice at. Brilliant.
Sung by the brilliant Amber Riley (Mercedes), who next to Rachel has one of the most powerful voices in the show, is the brilliant cover of 'Bust Your Windows'. For me this is her showing off her vocals to the max and when I first heard it I was really impressed. I wasn't really listening before this song; her vocals command people's attention like Lea's do. This song is completely full of attitude and it's a joy to listen and sing along to. I have just listened to the original and I think Amber Riley really added so much more emotion, power, anger and soul into the song. It's really how the song was meant to be sung in my opinion, its revitalised what is really quite a boring song originally.
The next track is 'Taking Chances', sung by Lea Michele. When I was looking for who did this song originally I was really shocked to find out it was Celion Dion. I don't mean no disrespect, but for me, this song felt too modern to be a Celion Dion song, and I was quite shocked that it wasn't a contemporary artists song. I have just listened to the original and again Glee have done it again, this song is a lot stronger than the original, it is sped up as well which makes the song a lot more listenable than the original. I do think this song was made for Lea Michele as it allows her to let loose and it shows her vocal range completely. It starts off very slow, but as the song progresses you get a nice uptempo song. One to listen to, very strong and works brilliantly with Lea Michele's vocals.
When I heard that Kristen Chenoweth was on the show I knew that it was going to be a ride, and that all of her songs were going to be amazing. I wasn't wrong, as she shows with her amazing performance of the Heart song 'Alone'. Originally sung by Heart, her vocals are ones that not everyone is going to be able to appreciate, they have a weird tone to them but for me with this song they work brilliantly. She has one of the biggest vocal ranges in music in my opinion, and she gets to show it off brilliantly in this song. To help her along in the chorus and with a verse of his own, Matthew Morrison lends his lovely vocals. He's not one of the strongest vocalists on the show, but he does have a lovely voice, which works brilliantly in songs like this. An awesome cover, but nowhere near as good as the original and other covers I've heard of it.
Kristen Chenoweth and Lea Michele lend their vocals to this big show number called 'Maybe This Time'. The one thing I have noticed with Glee and when they introduce Chenoweth to the show is that they completely change the music, you don't get the same sort of songs but it works all the same. For me, I do believe they've edited this from the original show a bit too much, I liked the idea of the 'diva off' sort of thing they were doing, and I don't think Michele gets enough time in this song. Yes Chenoweth does prove her vocals are a better match for this sort of song, but as you hear at the end, both vocalists have a magnificent range and both of them can carry a huge song like this. I would have liked more of Michele at the beginning however.
One of my favourite Queen songs is Somebody to Love and every time I listen to this song, I am faced with listening to Finn (Cory Monteith) singing in a high register the beginning of the song and every time it makes me cringe like mad. The rest of the song does make up for it however, it is one of the strongest covers as it's the whole group lending their vocals. The strongest bit for me about Glee is the magnificent harmonies the rest of the group provide, it adds a lot more depth to the songs and for me it always makes them a lot more listenable. For the first time on the album we hear Kevin McHale (Artie) who for me is the strongest male vocalist on the show, he has such a unique voice, and one I think should be used a lot more in the show. It has such a nice tone to it and it works brilliantly within this song. A brilliant upbeat and soulful version of this classic, a lot of people won't like it because it's not 'Queen', but Glee have added their own stamp and it really does work.
With the next track 'Hate On Me' we get another power house vocal from the wonderful Amber Riley, like her previous song it does have an angry tone to it and boy is it a lot better than the original. Her vocals are so much more powerful, and she demands your attention where as the original for me just didn't work brilliantly. One of the strongest vocals in the whole show, and I just love this song, the lyrics are brilliant, and again Amber Riley has taken a song that not everyone knows, made it contemporary and made it a lot more listenable.
Chris Brown is one of my biggest pet hates, he just annoys me so much, so when he released 'No Air' I wasn't impressed, I appreciated Jordin Sparks vocals but that was about this. This cover I'm afraid pales in comparison to the original in my opinion. I don't think Lea Michele's voice works as well on this song as Sparks' voice did and Cory Monteith gives a wet and wimpish vocal on this song, it has nothing to it in my opinion, and I hate to say it but I prefer Chris Browns vocals in this case. It was a good try, but for me, it didn't work as well as I would have liked.
For the first time on the album, Dianna Agron lends her vocals to this Supreme classic 'You Keep Me Hanging On'. It is definitely one to skip as her vocals are really below average in my opinion, she really doesn't have much to her voice at all and I'm shocked they've let her have a solo quite often in the show as it's gone on. It's not a painful voice, it's just not good. I think the worst bit about this song, is they have given the weakest female singer a Supremes song to sing, it was going to be a train wreck from the beginning.
Originally sung by Avril Lavigne, 'Keep Holding On' was blown out of the water by Lea Michele. Considering Lavigne in my eyes has never really been a strong singer, it was bound to happen. This song is utterly beautiful though, I've never heard it before and it really is just gorgeous. It works brilliantly as a duet between Rachel and Finn and the harmonies of the rest of the Glee cast works brilliantly. It's got a really uplifting feel to it, it's not as upbeat as some of their songs, but I do think it is one of their strongest and on this album especially it's one of my favourites. Finn's vocals are not the best as always, but it works with this song and it's the best I've heard from him since Don't Stop Belivin'.
Matthew Morrison again finds himself rapping on this 'Bust a Move' cover, but just like Gold Digger, this version is strangely better than the original, even though he is a weak rapper. I was very impressed that he can rap like this however and in the show this track works brilliantly and it brings a smile to your face. The harmonies from the rest of the cast are brilliant and work really well with Morrison's vocals. It's not the best on the album, but it's made what is really a poor song, up to date and relevant.
For the first time we get the gorgeous vocals of Mark Salling, who is the only hottie on the show. He sings a cover of the Neil Diamond song 'Sweet Caroline', whom like I'm sure most people my age have never heard of before. After looking at the original, Salling's version is a lot better and I'm shocked he doesn't get any more solos in the show. He is a lot better of a singer than Cory Monteith is and he has made this 'old' song quite modern and really beautiful to listen to. When I had it on in the car for the first time singing along to it my mum was shocked I was singing along to a Neil Diamond song.
For the first time we get a solo from the best vocalist on the show, Kevin McHale who plays Artie. He sings His voice is the most unique male voice I've heard in a long time, it's not really in any genre and with this song it works brilliantly well. His vocals are very strong, he's got this swarveness in his voice which is a joy to listen to, it's not the best song, and it doesn't get enough attention, and I really do think he should get a lot more solos as he is 10 x better than Cory Monteith.
Taken from the brilliant stage show Wicked, the album is ended with 'Defying Gravity'. This time we get ourselves a Diva off, from Kurt, the gay lad who wants to prove that his voice is able to hold his own singing a song like this which requires very high notes. Kurt is against Rachel, the protagonist in the show. I loved this song before, but I think the 'diva off' between these two works brilliantly well. Kurt is an amazing singer, he does have a soprano voice and if you've never seen the show, it'll be very hard for you to distinguish which one is the male vocalist. A gorgeous version of a great song, and a lovely end to this brilliant album.
For me after listening to the other albums from the first series, I do believe that this is the best one yet. It's a great mixture of modern songs mixed in with older songs which have been revamped by this brilliant show. If you are looking to listen to any of the songs, please take a look at Don't Stop Belevin' and then one of the following songs, Taking Chances, Take A Bow, Keep Holding On. There are only one or two bad songs on the album, I really don't know why they kept Dianna Agron's version of You Keep Me Hanging On, on this album, when they didn't put the brilliant mash up's of Halo/Walking On Sunshine and It's My Life/Confessions onto the album.
The one problem I have found is you don't get every song from each show on these albums, I would have expected that if your paying all of this money out, you get all of them. Of course they probably had to make some tough decisions to get a certain amount of songs onto the album. If you download MP3's from sites like Amazon or ITunes however, you can get yourself every song on all of the albums.
Glee will be loved by a lot of people, but then everyone else will very likely not know about it or detest it. It is a show that pulls out a reaction of you, and you quickly know what decision you are going to make. The music is amazing, they have some fantastic singers on this show, and what makes it even better, is the fact that they bring in guest stars, from Kristin Chenoweth on this album to Madonna and Olivia Newton John on other albums.
These albums are always a joy to listen to, and when you find yourself a little bit stressed or if you are doing a bit of housework, they are perfect background noise to cheer you up. You get some amazing vocals, great cover versions and just a joy filled album.
The only thing I could want more, is for Glee to come up with their own original song. I know the show is all about the covers, but I hope as the show goes on, it gets to the point where they might make their own song.
If you like the show, then I'm sure you will love the album.
Amazon: £7.49 or 89p each
ITunes: £7.99 or 99p each
Hope this helps.
(C) Kirsty 2010
Glee: The Music, Vol. 1 is, perhaps rather obviously, the first volume of music from the hit show Glee.
For those of you not acquainted with the phenomenon that is Glee, allow me to explain. Glee is an American TV comedy/drama following the lives of the McKinley High glee club and their teachers. A glee club is also known as a show choir: not a choir as we know it here, but a group of singers with lead soloists who also dance.
The cast of the show are all talented singers, and perform all the music featured in the episodes. This is usually 3-4 songs per show.
Fans of Glee are known as Gleeks, and cover all age ranges. I'm a Gleek and proud. The glee club aren't exactly the most popular kids in school, hence the rather obvious mixing of glee and geek.
The first volume of the soundtrack features 17 songs performed in the first series. There are no truly weak songs, so I'd like to take you through a few of the tracks which really stand out.
Glee Vol. 1 opens with the song that got everyone hooked, Journey's Don't Stop Believin'. It was the big number at the end of the opening episode, and properly introduced the club's leads, Finn (Cory Monteith) and Rachel (Lea Michele). For weeks after the episode was broadcast, I was hearing this blaring from headphones on the tube - and even better, I heard kids listening to the original. The vocals are excellent, but the main reason for this is that the Glee version captures the same sense of euphoria and giddiness that the original did. You listen to it and you want to turn it up, sing along and bop around!
Track 3 is Gold Digger, originally performed by Kanye West, proving, in my opinion, that the Glee repertoire can take in everything. This version features the Aretha-esque vocal talents of Mercedes (Amber Riley) and teacher Will Schuester (Matthew Morrison). Now, Morrison's vocals are blindingly obviously coming from a white non-rapper - but for some reason it really works! This is one of the standout tracks on the album, and I love it. It's got rhythm, funky lyrics and two great performers with great backing.
Maybe This Time, track 8, features Rachel and a temporary Glee clubber duetting on the famous song from Cabaret. April (Kristen Chenoweth) was the star of the club when Will was at school, and he brings her in when Rachel temporarily defects to the school musical. I'm bringing this one up because I think it may be the track I like least - but I still like it which says how much I like the album! I like the song, and I love Rachel's sections, but I don't like Chenoweth's voice very much. It's quite nasal, and in the style of musicals from the forties but not quite getting it right, and it just isn't to my taste. But then everyone is different, maybe everyone else loves it!
Somebody To Love is a cover of the very catchy Queen classic, and it's another of the end-of-episode big numbers - most episodes end with a big, catchy and well known song to leave the audience on a high and wanting more. Much like rock bands save their crowd pleasers for the encore. This is a brilliant ensemble piece - although it has featured vocals from four cast members, it's the whole glee club's repetition of the line "find me somebody to love" that sticks with you.
Next up for me is track 11, No Air. You'll notice that aside from my indecisiveness over Maybe This Time, this is the only slow ballad I've mentioned. I love ballads, there's a lot of beautiful ones in the world, but my natural habitat is in the world of loud, bouncy, fast paced music, especially rock. This cover of Jordin Sparks' song features Finn and Rachel, and they really get to show off their talents. There is an ethereal quality to this which, for me, makes it stand out from the other (also excellent) ballads on the album.
Track 12, the Supremes classic You Keep Me Hangin' On, is a departure from the usual leads to give pregnant cheerleader Quinn (Dianna Agron) a shot at the lead. Her voice is nowhere near as powerful as Lea Michele or Amber Riley, but she sings well and her voice has a sweet quality to it which is perfectly suited to this bouncy pop style. It feels slightly surprising to myself that I really like this.
Continuing on this theme for the remaining songs, of departure from the usual leads, track 14's lead is Will, singing Bust A Move not with Glee club, but with his short lived boyband, Acafellas. It's performed really well, and it's really enjoyable, but there's something slightly comical about it. Possibly the lyrics and the knowledge that this is being sung by a group made up of teachers and their pupils.
In Sweet Caroline, Puck (Mark Salling) gets the chance to shine as he decides to try to woo Rachel by taking the lead. If it was up to me he'd get the lead more often - he has a nice, strong voice, and this is a great cover of an absolute classic.
Wheelchair-bound Artie (Kevin McHale) is up next in the penultimate track, Generation X's Dancing With Myself. The Glee version is a completely different take on the song, which is perhaps best known from Billy Idol's solo release of it, but it works well. McHale's voice is unique, and really different from the rather smooth and polished male leads we've had so far. That's no bad thing however as he's excellent in this bouncy and rhythmic track, he really makes it his own.
The final track, Defying Gravity from the musical Wicked, is a slightly bittersweet one. We finally get to hear the vocals of gay Kurt (Chris Colfer) alongside Rachel, but the story of the episode is very memorable. We learn more about Kurt's family background, and then see him try so hard to hit high F# in this song, his favourite, in order to win the lead from Rachel. Both performances are excellent, but I imagine I can hear a lot more emotion in Culfer's sections - but perhaps I'm hearing that because of the story that accompanied the song.
Well, I intended to cover a selection of the songs only, but I seem to have covered well over half of them! I think that in itself is an indicator of how much I love this album, and the show - I couldn't narrow my choice down!
The songs that I haven't written about in detail are all still excellent, just not quite so stand out as these ones. One downside to be expected from a soundtrack album of this style is that not all styles will appeal to everyone. Although the ballads are excellent, I wouldn't have minded a couple less of them and more lively cast numbers like Don't Stop Believin'.
However, this is a cracking soundtrack in all way - great selection of music, fantastic performers, variety of performing styles...I love it. (Love the second one too, which features Van Halen's Jump!!!)
Glee is just brilliant, and the music is just one important part of the big picture. As soon as the first episode finished I was thinking there has to be a soundtrack for it...
Watch the show, listen to the music and embrace your inner Gleek!
I've heard the cast are doing live shows in the USA...doubt they'll bring it over here but I can hope!
Im not ashamed to admit I am a huge Glee fan, My partner bought me this album (and the 2nd volume) a decision he now regrets as I play it over and over again lol. The album includes the hit songs from the TV show in full, which is great as not all of the songs are played in full on the show.
** Track List **
Cant fight this feeling - REO cover performed by Cory Monteith (Finn Hudson) and the Glee cast. This isn't my favourite Glee song, yet its mellow and enjoyable to listen to.
Don't stop believing - The Journey cover performed by Cory Monteith (Finn Hudson), Lea Michele (Rachel Berry) and Glee Cast. This is probably Glee's most famous cover so far. Both singers sound great on this track and this is my favourite version of this song. Its fun and uplifting.
Gold Digger - Kanye West cover performed by the cast of Glee, with solos from Matthew Morrison (Will Schuester), Kevin McHale (Artie Abrams) and Amber Riley (Mercedes Jones). Really good version the song instantly reminds me of the episode and it funky and fun. The cast sound amazing on this track.
Take a bow - Rhianna cover performed by Lea Michele (Rachel Berry) and the Glee cast. This is another great cover, Lea Michele voice sound beautiful and although the music is exactly the same as the original the song has a unique sound to it. I definitely prefer it to Rhiannas version.
Bust your windows - Jazmine Sullivan cover, performed by Amber Riley (Mercedes Jones) and the cast of Glee. I was unfamiliar with the original and didnt realise it had been performed before. This is a great feel good song, especially for break ups lol. Amber Riley is truly amazing singer and she sounds great singing this song, it was almost as if it was written for her.
Taking Chances - performed by Lea Michele (Rachel Berry) and the Glee cast. Again not the best track on the album but still enjoyable.
Alone - Performed by Matthew Morrison (Will Schuester) and Kristin Chenoweth. Not an amazing track but gives the album a bit of variety and is easy to listen to.
Hate on me - Jill Scott cover performed by Amber Riley (Mercedes Jones) and the Glee cast. This is a great song filled with attitude. Again Amber does a great job with this song.
Maybe this time - Performed by Kristen Chenoweth, I cant believe I am actually going to say this but... I don't like this song, im not sure if its her voice but I find everything about the track annoying.
Somebody to love - Queen cover performed by the cast of Glee, this is a great version and definitely competes with the original. The whole cast sound amazing and it's a nice uplifting song regardless of the lyrics lol.
No air - Jordan Sparks and Chris Brown cover performed by Lea Michele (Rachel Berry), Cory Monteith (Finn Hudson) and the Glee cast. This is a really nice and pleasant duet.
You keep me hanging on - The Supremes cover performed by Dianna Agron (Quinn Fabray) and the cast of Glee. I don't find Dianna Agron's voice all that powerful and although she does a good job with this song I think the song is too big for her.
Keep holding on - Avril Lavigne cover performed by the Glee cast. I find this song bland although the cast sing well.
Bust a move - Young MC cover performed by the cast of Glee, this is a fun, yet silly cover, I think as there are a lot of ballads on this track this is a nice addition to break it up a little.
Sweet Caroline - Neil Diamond cover performed by Mark Salling (Puck) I like this cover, we rarely see the character do solos and this shows his vocal range nicely.
Dancing with myself - Billy Idol cover performed by Kevin McHale (Artie Abrams) and the cast of Glee. This is a really good song and the singer is amazing. Sort of reminds me of reggae for some reason.
Defying Gravity - Wicked cover performed by Lea Michele (Rachel Berry) and Chris Colfer (Kurt Hummel). This is a lovely version of the song and shows the amazing talent of these singers. Very enjoyable to listen to and a beautiful song.
** Price and availability **
This album is available in most retailers, especially places such as HMV and Virgin etc. It is also available on Amazon and can be purchased for approximately £8-£10.
** Overall Opinion **
If you love Glee then you will definitely love this album, im surprised that those from the Glee cast haven't been snapped up already making number 1 records, they truly are amazing singers. I find that this album really lifts my mood and I really enjoy listening to it. I like the way there is a good variety of songs that all ages can enjoy.
Definite 5/5 from me.
As an avid fan of Glee, I was shocked to find about 4 episodes from the end of the first series that I didn't know that they had made a first CD, let alone the No2 CD that I was seeing in front of me being advertised on TV.
I then made it my mission to go out the next day and purchace a copy for myself.
I went into my local HMV with my partner moaning and groaning that it was "bad enough me making him watch the program, there was no way that I was going to make him listen to it aswell!"........Little did he know it was Going straight on on the car.
I have a feeling that he does actually like it as I've been told that in his job as a Delivery Driver he is well known to be singing away to it whilst working, not that he would ever admit it!!
The set list for Glee Season 1, Volume 1 is as follows
01) Don't Stop Believin'
02) I Can't Fight This Feeling
03) Gold Digger
04) Take A Bow
05) Bust Your Windows
06) Taking Chances
08) Maybe This Time
09) Somebody To Love
10) Hate On Me
11) No Air
12) You Keep Me Hangin' On
13) Keep Holding On
14) Bust A Move
15) Sweet Caroline
16) Dancing With Myself
17) Defying Gravity
*A lot of people have jumped on the song "Don't Stop Believin' " since Glee has begun, personally I wasn't aware of the song (Journeys Version) until I heard it over the End Credits of a movie last year thats when I was hooked on it and had my sister download it to my phone and MusicStation. Performed by Lea Michele (Rachel) and Corey Monteith (Finn) it is a song that will make you stop what you are doing and just listen (I have a 7mth Old Girl and she does just that when she hears it). The vocals are amazing and the song is easily stuck in your head, once you hear it you can't stop singing it!
*My Partners personal favourite, "I Can't Fight This Feeling" (Original REO Speedwagon) that much that now he knows I'm aware of him being a secret "Gleek" has it on repeat when driving is a song that I wasn't that keen on at first until I listened to it again...and again....and again (not through my own choice!) and soon the handome tone of Cory Monteith (Finn) penetrated my mind and stuck! Now I can sing it by heart)
*"Gold-Digger" (Kanye West) isn't a song that I would skip through the CD to listen to but I have got to admit it is a head-boppin' song that you can sing alon to at the top of your voice, sung brilliantly by the amazing Amber Riley (Mercedes) and Matthew Morrison (Mr Schue), who I have got to say sounds fantastic rappin the lyrics, not a lot of prole can pull off rapping but I have got to admit he well and truly has here.
*My "I adore this song and sing along constantly" has got to be "Take A Bow" (originally Rihanna). I never actually liked this song, or took much notice when Rihanna sang it but it soon turned my head when I heard the absolutely fantastic vocals of Lea Michele (Rachel). This IS a track that i will specifically skip the CD for.
*Track No 5 "Bust Your Windows" is not a song that I like, although I was mesmerised watching it on the show with the dancing aswell. The vocals, as always, are brilliant by the wonderfully talented, powerful voice of Amber Riley (Mercedes) not a song that I have actually listened to or heard of before, originally Jazmine Sullivan.
*Another song that personally I wouldnt skip to is "Taking Chances" beautifully sung, the slow song compliments and accentuates, Lea Michele (Rachel) wonderful voice and really does her credit. I have never heard the song before and don't even remember it on Glee!! Not the avid watcher that I thought I was!!!
*I think that the angelic but strong voice of Kristen Chenoweth (April) and the warm tones of Matthe Morrison (Mr Schue) are perfectly in harmony and make a real success of "Alone" (originally Heart). I love having this song on full blast in the car and singing along at the top of my voice, it's such a powerful and amazing song.
*"Maybe This Time" (original Liza Minnelli) is a perfectly co-ordinated and again harmonious duet, this time between Lea Michele (Rachel) and Kristen Chenoweth (April). I think that this is an amazing song and although I didn't think that I would be too keen on it when I first spotted that it was on the CD, once it started playing I was hooked.
*The virtually full cast effort of "Somebody To Love" (Originally Queen) was a roaring success and all managed to sing perfectly without letting the different power assets of their voice overtake others. An absolute 100% amazement. I adore this song even more now than I ever did.
*"Hate on Me" is really a no-no for me, as much as I hate to admit it - there is actually a song that I really don't like. Saying that though, I do have to admit that Amber Riley (Mercedes) and her amazing voice have my vote everytime.
*Jordan Sparks and Chris Brown originally sung "No Air", The Glee version of the duet is presented brilliantly by Lea Michele (Rachel) and Corey Monteith (Finn). I loved this song anyway and love listening to this as it really relaxes me, especially with these gorgeous voices.
*One of my absolute favourite songs is "You Keep Me Hangin' On" for a number of reasons. Originally sung by the wonderful Supremes, I think that the brilliantly talented Dianna Agron (Quinn) really does do this song as much justice if not more than the Supremes. I was born in the late 80's and was lucky enough to be brought up around all these types of music and unlike my partner (who thinks I am stuck in some sort of 50's to 90's music Time-Warp) I ADORE it.
*Duet time again, this time Lea Michele (Rachel) and Cory Monteith (Finn) with their own version of Avril Lavignes "Keep Holdin' On". I didn't like the song when Avril sang it and I have got to admit that I haven't changed my opinion still unfortunately because it does sound fabulous now.
*I absolutely detest "Bust A Move" even though from what bit of it I have actually listened to, Matthew Morrison (Mr Schue) raps it briliantly, I just can't take to the song. I heard on the program that it was originally sung by Young MC but I have never heard or heard of them or this song before Glee.
*My absolute favourite song of all time, "Sweet Caroline" (Neil Diamond) is the only song that my Dad will ever get up on karaoke and sing (he's really good but he's got to have had a few drinks first though). I loved this song when I was younger anyway and then when I heard my Dad sing it I loved it even more, Mark Salling (Puck) made me ecstatic, his strong tone coupled with his amazing looks, what more could I ask for. The only thing that I was unhappy with was that even though on the show it wasn't the full song I thought that they could have recorded it all for the CD.
*The dreamy voice of Kevin McHale (Artie) made me fall in love with "Dancing With Myself" and I think that it suits his voice perfectly and is an amazing song for him to have his solo. Origianally sung by Generation X, Kevin knocks spots off them without a doubt.
*The final song on the CD and another personal favourite of mine is "Defying Gravity". A perfect end to a brilliant CD, a real 'Sing-Off' with two of the most powerful voices of them all Chris Colfer (Kurt) and Lea Michele (Rachel). In my opinion Chris has an unusual (in the best possible way) voice and it just fits with Lea's. A solid effort with perfect results!
This is my review for Glee Season 1 Volume 1 and I have to say that I am very proud of it for the reason that I have only now took the time to realise how much I actually like the CD and what I like in it.
I absolutely cannot wait to get Volume 2. Everyone should get them both. I fully recommend this one and hope that CD2 will not disappoint and that I will be making the same full marks review for that aswell.
When I recently bought Glee, Season 1 soundtrack album I couldn't have been more blessed. When I requested it to be played in my local pub for example, most of the crowd who dozed by their pints suddenly perked up and grew joyous smiles across their sullen faces. When it was played at work, people passing by the workroom stepped into join in with the choruses and when my kids heard it, of course they went completely bonkers! At a cost of roughly £7 and upwards Glee 1 has a glossy colourful CD booklet showing off some of the cast members and a title track listing. It is disappointing that the lyrics aren't printed but then you could always look online to fans of You Tube who have used their time to add lyrics to the songs. ** This is long review **
If you haven't seen Glee by now, then where have you been? This series takes some beating, less of "life with Mr G at Summer Heights High," the Aussie Drama-Queen Music teacher that took BBC Three by storm less than two years ago and now that Glee features on Channel 4's E4 (and 4HD) this American series features a whole long line cast of secondary school children planning out their lessons and waiting for the bell to go so they can attend a musical theatre after school club. This is where the comparisons with school series stops.
So you get to see the kind of lives the kids lead from living in constant fear due to being in a gang, teenage pregnancy, crushes on each other, dramas of the biggest egos, gender issues, sexuality; typical teenage issues against the backlash of the constant rivalry between the PE teacher Sue Sylvester and Spanish teacher Will Schuester who becomes director of an old music club he once belonged to as a pupil, once called "Glee". Whilst the storyline may not be appeal to everyone, "the thought of a young choir," and "constant wailing" is happily absent from the 1980's'esque music featured here and it may well have you travelling back to the 1980's eager for more! Youngsters who adore choirs will identify immediately with Glee because being in a choir can often be seen as a weaker character; sometimes being teased for being in a choir and ultimately the promotion of real life choirs have been abundantly enforced by television and the media reinforces their existence. Certainly the issues surrounding Glee hit this effect straight on the head where being a chorister or a singer is concerned and there's much that even I, as a singer, could identify with. The original blue print for "Glee," was to be made into a film mixing show hits and chart songs before it became a TV series. Glee Season 1 soundtrack is quite simply an album that stands above the fact that it's more than just another choir series song album concurrent with Glee's current run on TV.
The album begins with the song that opens up the very "television" programme, "Don't Stop Believin'" on a cloud of A Capella (unaccompanied) pre-recorded electro assisted voices and duetting with Michael Morrison who plays school teacher "Will" and his other job as Glee's musical club director in the series. It's a good show stopping, foot tapping moment geared up with brass horns in the backdrop, positive messages of empowerment and out of the verses and choruses, all the while with the incessant repetitive choir voices doing pre-recorded scat singing ("doo-doo-duh" etc.) For a cover version, it isn't half bad and Journey who originally wrote the song gave license to Glee for its use. The female voice belongs to Lea Michele, a young songstress who is better known for American musicals than anything else. Don't worry so much though as there's no wailing, high shrieks here of wizardry, even though she does a super rendition of "Defying Gravity," from Wicked, the Musical later in the album duetting with Chris Colfer who sings in fantastic taint free falsetto. Instead you get a good dollop of airhead vocals, boppy, light and frothy with enough power behind her voice to accomplish high notes with a certain light gloss. It isn't hard to tell that for the most part, the singers on this album are a young and mixed crowd. But it's less of the "Kids of Fame," raw deal and more of a professional base of sound that's on offer here.
The next couple of songs are real gems too from REO Speedwagon's "Cant Stop This Feeling," with glinting acoustic guitar and a sound that sits close to the original. The only effect I feel blunts this song from the original's dry acoustic vocally is that Finn Hudson (who plays Corey) has a distinctive electronic production in the microphone that has been used which sadly means non-existent reverb/echoes. It works half and half with the song even though the harmonies build up beautifully translating from guitars only to string orchestra in the background and impeachable backing vocals which aren't as obvious as the auto-tune tainted main vocals.
Every young choir who straddle popular songs needs a good back to the basics R'n'B style to fully maximise the musical possibilities of "crowd cheering," meets "singing," and for a while almost all young choirs up and down the country have sung the Sister Act/ Lauryn Hill inspired "Joyful Joyful," to death! I can see Glee's version of "Gold Digger," and Queen's "Someone To Love," quickly taking over that old mantle! For these songs, Kanye West's "Gold Digger," (Season 1 Episode 2) straddles rap with raunchy Black vocals akin to Jazz and thick, rich gospel - the difference is that it is supported by a choir and younger voices with not so much bass line pumping throughout. It works only just because the rap lyrics constantly repeat and become annoying after a while and your mind changes quickly to the voices. If you can forgive that you can just about hear the backing vocals and put up with the electro-beats because similar is given in the next song, "Take A Bow," (originally by Rhianna) sung by Rachel Berry (Season 1 Episode 2) but lacks a choir and takes on a more soulful spirit. It is welcomed because for the most part the songs on this album are choir blessed and if you don't like the idea of modern choirs straddling popular songs and less of the church based idiom you better get used to it by now or leave the aisles.
Additionally both "Someone to Love," by Queen and Avril Lavigne's hit "Keep Holding On," has the full choir at the helm with the cast singing and both these hits are well worth a listen.
"Bust Your Windows," the fifth track is very similar to the softer Jasmine Sullivan original even though Glee's version feels bouncier with most of the original strings playing against a reggae style backdrop. There's even similar backing vocals, but this cover version feels a bit more up beat replacing finger clicks with handclaps! What stands out here are the vocal talents of Amber Riley who plays devious Mercedes. Amber Riley has a fantastic voice, strong and solid and yet beautiful and soulful voice that is also later heard in Jill Scott's "Hate On Me," cover, five songs later on the tenth track done with such precision that I initially thought Riley had done it professionally - it is that close to the original Jill Scott version.
The one aspect that is striking on this album isn't just exuberance of young voices, or certain vocal musters striking like a bell. This isn't a Hannah Montana meets a choir even though there are a few Walt Disney-esque moments in the particular voices. "Taking Chances," by Michele Lea is a lovely rendition that was made popular by the much stronger and older vocal talents of love/loathe Celine Dion. The best song and one of wonderment in why it was ever lost from the charts is "Alone," by Heart. I have a secret confession to adoring the music of Heart! Glee's version sees the two teachers that are destined to be for each other singing together on karaoke machines and is by far one of my most favourite songs of all times. To the untrained ears, the cover version of "Alone," is nearly impeachable if it wasn't for the goose tingling moments that have been lost in the original where vocal cadenzas by Nancy Wilson have been replaced by inter-harmonies shared by the male/female idiom on Glee. It is also slightly faster on this album, losing the will to survive of the original.
It isn't long before the very appeal of this album and the TV concept it is inspired by comes to the forte with certain musical numbers. After the appeal of karaoke with "Alone," the fabulously camp musical number from Cabaret has Kristin Chenoweth again and the softer Michele Lea back at the helm trying a Liza Minnelli inspired take on "Maybe This Time." Kristin doesn't normally sing with a lisp and I was intrigued by the old-fashioned 1940's vinyl record/ radio mic version that this cover version has incorporated. It's not a song that won't be for everyone because both the ladies ends up shrieking with great gusto and power shared by jazzy big band accompanying the song.
Instead there are some neat arrangements here and there, padding out with some highlights and very few lows. "You Keep Me Hanging On," and "Sweet Caroline," are inspired and well known, only giving UK fans a glimpse of the original song to counter act the 1980's earlier cover version hit set by now-gardener, Kim Wilde whilst Neil Diamond's original song is unashamedly retro with very few electronic changes and a strong brass back up. Billy Idol's "Dancing With Myself," changes from its original 16 beat synth-electro- guitar backdrop goes into a fast formal swing number that only happens to be saved by a young lad whose voice is young and wavering, less of the hard rock voice Billy Idol uses himself in his original fast 16 rock style beat inspired song. Sometimes this song in particular annoys the hell out of me though and as such it is a low ebb for me on the album.
Some other songs that don't work well are "Bust A Move," starting with a great thumping incessant drum beat that should pave the way for a great driving song full of spoken rap and a unison set of female backing vocals. Despite the hand claps, clicks and fast tambourine, this song cover lacks thicker harmonies and interest to keep it going and the "oohs and aahs," from the boys in the middle bridge must be listened to if you have an underage child who adores Glee.
"No Air," the original by Jordin Sparks is a good cover version but again as it takes on a duet between boy and girl, the version does sound like something the Sugar Babes could cover. Despite some lovely stereo imaging moments from a tinkling piano and full on chorus accompaniment with an off beat drum beat this version isn't as good as the original. Depending on what your tastes are, it is a perfectly acceptable cover version but against the more popular songs on here, "No Air," feels a little left out on its own.
In all of the 17 songs on this album Glee 1 is simply an outstanding soundtrack album that should be considered by many, particularly those whose noses aren't going to be put out of joint when it comes to cover versions. Certainly without music videos to promote the songs it is a possibility that the cache and appeal of Glee would be lost. Having the bonus of the TV series (and DVDs of the series) is an optional bonus however and against the second CD album release, Glee 1 is simply stronger because of the mix of musicals, pop, folk, rock, soul and modern R'n'B styles without too much full-on choir that becomes incessant. Give it a go and get some Glee in your life! Thanks for reading! ©Nar2 2010
Track listings & You Tube Links
1. Don't Stop Believin' (www.youtube.com/watch?v=5ffuCVLECpY )
2. Can't Fight This Feeling (www.youtube.com/watch?v=WdQ_DaV9Rts )
3. Gold Digger (www.youtube.com/watch?v=7SA_SYL8lRU )
4. Take A Bow (www.youtube.com/watch?v=I2Bc6yT_OMg )
5. Bust Your Windows (www.youtube.com/watch?v=fRVLMggNzN8 )
6. Taking Chances (www.youtube.com/watch?v=N0X27ImzIJ4 )
7. Alone (www.youtube.com/watch?v=yUWf7Q5LFjI )
8. Maybe This Time (www.youtube.com/watch?v=7yOjHCD6fIY )
9. Somebody To Love (www.youtube.com/watch?v=5XeyRl0i0LQ )
10. Hate On Me (www.youtube.com/watch?v=u8Kxrc6Ecc4 )
11. No Air (www.youtube.com/watch?v=1APUBZM5a28)
12. You keep me hanging on (www.youtube.com/watch?v=hVlykfhasC4 )
13. Keep Holding On (www.youtube.com/watch?v=MV0qaJ-oZFU )
14. Bust A Move (www.youtube.com/watch?v=-S1NjNDpgHw )
15. Sweet Caroline (www.youtube.com/watch?v=dgK7pHRawfQ )
16. Dancing With Myself (www.youtube.com/watch?v=UpuPXUP13_U )
17. Defying Gravity (www.youtube.com/watch?v=6dBW4pViRTU )
More info can be found about Glee on Amazon and various sites online including E4, which is one of the best for information on this series.
Having picked this up in the U.S while over there and have loved it ever since!
The CD is full of great covers and amazing voices. Looking over the fact that the character 'Finn' cannot sing the fact the rest of the cast completely blow him out of the water. Lea Michele is a fantastic singer and handles any of the sons with ease and a complete conviction that cannot be denied.
Matthew Morrison (Mr Schu) tackles songs like 'Bust a Move' and 'Gold Digger' with a strange mix of success and cringeworthy-ness. But it is a complete guilty pleasure and corresponds with the show perfectly.
Artie's 'Dancing With Myself' is my personal favourite as I have a huge soft spot for Artie on the show and think his voice is a surprising feature and addition to the show. The fact he is one of the best dancers is weird as he is in a wheel chair the entire time!
This CD is a great sing-a-long car one that gives a happy feel good listen to fans of the show. There is nothing new or out there. There just unashamed pop from a GREAT TV show!
I first heard of "Glee" last year when it was rumoured that the Journey classic "Don't Stop Believin'" was going to be the winner's song on the "X-Factor".
Clips were circulated online from the show's pilot episode of the cast singing the song and I must admit I was interested by the premise of the show - a high school choir comprised of a disparate group of students, with some added intrigue from school staff.
The show began airing in the UK in January and almost immediately the charts showed the power of television with "Don't Stop Believin'" charting strongly and other tracks from the show turning up in the Top 40 almost every week.
The first soundtrack CD showcases the vocal talents of some of the show's biggest stars but also tackles a sound which has been much maligned in recent years - probably because of it's ubiquity in the X Factor winner's single - that of the choir.
Just back from a trip to the US, I picked up both the soundtrack CDs of Glee for my daughter, who unsurprisingly loves the show. The target audience is definitely teens but there is much on the TV show to entertain the adults too - certainly when I watch it with my daughter I find we are laughing at entirely different parts of the show.
Only volume 1 is currently available in the UK at the time of writing, with volume 2 slated for release on 15th March.
The album opens with the aforementioned "Don't Stop Believin'", which I have to say was an inspired choice for the pilot episode and as an opener for the sound the producers have in mind for the school choir.
Lead vocals are handled by Cory Montieth, who plays Finn on the show, and Lea Michele, who plays the particularly driven Rachel. Montieth is hard to hear once Michele starts singing, but I suspect this is nothing to do with production values and everything to do with the role Michele's character plays in the TV show.
The backing vocals provided by the choir make this an inspired cover and you have to hand it to Lea Michele - vocally she is as gifted as Steve Perry, the man who originated the song.
Sticking with the 80s soft rock genre is "Can't Fight This Feeling" by Cory Montieth. Montieth has quite a soft voice which is perfect for this REO Speedwagon song - I well remember the original and have always had a problem with the way the lead singer of that band sang so it's refreshing to hear the song sung without any vocal affectations.
Rnb is featured on the album with a surprisingly effective version of Kanye West's "Gold Digger" performed by Matthew Morrison, who plays teacher and Glee Club organiser Will Schuester in the show. Morrison raps this very, very well, but the choir doing the backing vocals are incredibly good and take the song up to another level. This is the kind of song Glee is about for me - a really strong ensemble piece.
Morrison also raps on "Bust a Move" very effectively and the female backing vocals are strong but nowhere near as good as on Gold Digger.
Jazmine Sullivan's "Bust Your Windows" was used to great effect in the TV show as sung by Amber Riley, a former American Idol contestant who plays the part of big voiced Mercedes. It stands up well on it's own too - Riley has a strong and soulful powerhouse of a voice and is ideally suited to this midtempo track which explains anger and revenge in a perfectly controlled way.
Riley also performs "Hate on Me" where her anger is a little less controlled on this Jill Scott track.
Lea Michele features solo on several tracks and she is particularly effective on Rhianna's "Take a Bow" - here she conveys the pain of losing in love perfectly in her voice. Even better is her version of Platinum Weird's "Taking Chances", a song popularised by Celine Dion. She could teach Dion a lesson in vocal control in this power ballad such is her vocal skill.
"Somebody to Love" is fantastic - this Queen classic is a perfect choir song and the production on it doesn't fail to deliver. There are some strong lead vocals from Montieth, Riley, Michele and from Kevin McHale who plays the wheelchair bound character Artie. This is the sort of thing that works very well both within the TV series and also as a stand alone track to listen to and is probably the highlight of the album for me.
Kristin Chenowith guest starred in an episode of Glee as April, the girl who was the star of the school's Glee Club when Will was a student at the high school himself. She was particularly memorable in the show and I was delighted to see she featured on the CD. She shares vocals with Lea Michele on "Maybe This Time" from "Cabaret" but her maturity and desperate optimism is what stands out on this powerhouse of a show tune. Michele is technically brilliant on her part but she lacks the maturity of Chenowith's voice.
Chenowith also appears on "Alone" with Morrison. This Heart power ballad is one of my all-time favourite songs and it's a joy to hear their voices blend in perfect harmony on this. There is a definite chemistry between Chenowith and Morrison vocally and one can only hope that she pitches up in the show for another duet at some point.
Michele and Monteith duet less effectively on a cover of Jordin Sparks' "No Air"- there is something a little flat about their vocals overall on this song and they fail to convey the real emotion contained within the lyrics. Better is their version of "Keep Holding On" by Avril Lavigne, but I think this works better because of the choir backing vocals which are soaring on the chorus.
There is some filler on this album and I have to say that Dianna Agron's version of the Supremes' classic "You Keep Me Hangin' On" is probably the weakest track on here. Agron, who plays chief cheerleader Quinn in the show, has a very reedy voice and it doesn't really work effectively.
Mark Salling's version of the Neil Diamond evergreen "Sweet Caroline" is sadly abridged. If you have seen where this was performed in the TV show as a tool with which his character Puck uses to woo the Jewish Rachel, then you will really appreciate the humour behind the version. The problem with "Sweet Caroline" is it's overplayed and has a habit of heading into the territory of cheese, so it is to Salling's credit that he manages to keep this credible.
Kevin McHale's version of Billy Idol's "Dancing With Myself" is interesting if only because it is so far removed from the original. Instead of doing it as a power house rock song the pace slows down to an almost ragtime sound on the piano. McHale isn't a particularly strong singer but he works very well on this.
Chris Colfer who plays Kurt in the show features in a duet with Michele, "Defying Gravity" from Wicked. Colfer is one of the show's biggest finds talent wise - he has a beautiful singing voice and is also a comic actor of prodigious talent on the show. Both voices blend together very well, although I was left wishing I could hear more of Colfer but that is not to detract from Michele's wonderful input on the song.
This is probably an album mainly for fans of the TV show, but there are some interesting musical moments contained within.
The standout tracks are undoubtedly "Don't Stop Believin'" and "Somebody To Love" as they really capture the essence of the show and work very effectively as choir songs.
The addition of tracks performed by Kristin Chenowith despite her only appearing in one episode is another highlight for me as she really is a fantastic vocalist.
The real star of this CD is, however, Lea Michele. She is not always incredible - but she comes close, always pitch perfect and hitting every note with ease. Of all the solo songs, her version of "Taking Chances" is in my opinion the best - definitely worth a listen, if not a punt.
I have to give an honourable mention to Amber Riley however - she is another great find and while she does better performances on the second album in my opinion, don't mistake that for me thinking her voice isn't particularly special - it is very, very good.
It is a joy to see and hear stars of musical theatre being able to perform less theatrical songs on this CD - so many pop and rock singers lack the technical ability to sing with the ease of Chenowith, Michele, Morrison and Riley in particular.
If you downloaded "Don't Stop Believin'" and expected this to be more of the same then I would suggest perhaps you just download "Somebody to Love" and don't buy the album however - they are the only two out and out big choir songs on this album. The rest, I fear, may disappoint - except if you really enjoy the show and love musical theatre.
"Don't Stop Believin'"
"Can't Fight This Feeling"
"Take a Bow"
"Bust Your Windows"
"Maybe This Time"
"Somebody to Love"
"Hate On Me"
"You Keep Me Hangin' On"
"Keep Holding On"
"Bust a Move"
"Dancing with Myself"
Glee is a new American comedy on E4 and Channel 4 over here which has literally taken over the world in the last year. From being a huge hit in America, it transferred over to Europe to become a huge hit here too. The show has won countless awards in the States and is even now touring the USA in concert!
The biggest thing about Glee is the music - the show is about a high school Glee club and the ups and downs of the lives of the kids in it, and also the teachers in the school. It's a bit like High School Musical meets Fame for me. The music in it is camp and big and is a mixture of new and old songs, some of which are mixed together. The programme will have you singing along in no time! So its no wonder they have decided to cash in and bring out an album with the songs from season one on it! All performed by the actors in the show, this album is definitely one of those albums you can put on in your car, wind the windows down and shamelessly sing along to!
The biggest hit out of Glee is of course Don't Stop Believing - it reached top five in the UK charts and you literally can't turn the TV or radio on without hearing this - even non Glee fans will know this version of the song!! Originally by Journey, this song is reworked into a big pop number and sung by the two leads in the show Rachel and Finn (Lea Michelle and Cory Monteith). There's some group ensembles on the album such as Somebody To Love (if you thought Queens version was camp wait til you hear this!) and a lot of cast members get their chance to shine with solo songs and duets such as No Air (Jordin Sparks and Chris Brown), You Keep Me Hanging On (The Supremes), Gold Digger (Kanye West - this is one of the stand out tracks) and Keep Holding On (Avril Lavigne).
Now I will admit, if you are not a pop music fan then this album isn't for you! The show itself is camp and cheesy and fun so of course the album is the same. Whilst there is a track on the album called Bust A Move where the teacher in the show raps, the majority of the album is happy go lucky pop music. Lea Michelle has a fantastic voice and she really carries the show along I think, and it's great to be able to enjoy those songs again on the album. Defying Gravity from Wicked is a track she puts such an amazing performance into it's like it's written for her.
One disappointing things is that not all the songs from season one are on here (or volume two so I am told) - theres a couple of mash-ups as they are called in the show which are omitted from this album, one which the girls sing which is Walking On Sunshine mixed with Beyonce's Halo, and the boys song which is Bon Jovi's Its My Life mixed with Usher's Confessions. In my opinion they were two of the best songs from the series and although you can download them separately from itunes, its a shame they aren't included on the album.
This album is volume one so no doubt there will be tons more of these albums. I would highly recommend this album - its fun to listen to you and definitely something you can sing along to. For Glee fans this is a must buy, and for non Glee fans who love a bit of pop music, why aren't you watching the show!? Watch it and then buy this album!
1. Don't Stop Believing
2. I Can't Fight This Feeling
3. Gold Digger
4. Take A Bow
5. Bust Your Windows
6. Taking Chances
8. Maybe This Time
9. Somebody To Love
10. Hate On Me
11. No Air
12. You Keep Me Hanging On
13. Keep Holding On
14. Bust A Move
15. Sweet Caroline
16. Dancing With Myself
17. Defying Gravity
This is the album from the first series of the American hit show Glee which is a comedy musical series set in a high school. The reason I watch Glee is because of the incredible singing that it contains and so the album was a must buy for me.
The songs featured both in the show and on the album are renditions of tracks by other artists. Some of the songs remain exactly how they were previously released whereas some others have been jazzed up a bit and they're all quite cheerful songs and feel-good music that's bound to get you singing along and put a smile on your face.
I don't recognise any of the cast from anything else but I think that all of them have done really well for themselves through this show as they've managed to show off their brilliant singing talents. The majority of the songs are sung by Lea Michele who plays the main character, Rachel, and has been performing on Broadway since she was only 8. She has an absolutely amazing voice and she somehow manages to sound almost exactly the same as some of the original artists in her versions of them. The rest of the cast also have amazing voices but Lea is the one to really listen to and enjoy and I think she's going to go really far after this show.
The only thing I don't like about the album is that it misses off a couple of songs that I loved from the series which were the mixed songs Halo/Walking on Sunshine and Livin' On a Prayer/Confessions where the cast merged the two songs together and I thought these were fab, so I was quite disappointed that they weren't included in the album.
Apart from that though, this is a great album with very upbeat and happy songs and it's one that I find myself listening to all the time.
Cast list with the original artist listed next to the song:
1. Don't Stop Believin' (Journey)
2. Can't Fight This Feeling (REO Speedwagon)
3. Gold Digger (Kanye West featuring Jamie Foxx)
4. Take A Bow (Rihanna)
5. Bust Your Windows (Jazmine Sullivan)
6. Taking Chances (Platinum Weird)
7. Alone (Heart)
8. Maybe This Time (Liza Minnelli)
9. Somebody To Love (Queen)
10. Hate On Me (Jill Scott)
11. No Air (Jordin Sparks and Chris Brown)
12. You Keep Me Hangin' On (The Supremes)
13. Keep Holding On (Avril Lavigne)
14. Bust A Move (Young MC)
15. Sweet Caroline (Neil Diamond)
16. Dancing With Myself (Generation X)
17. Defying Gravity (Wicked cast)
If you have yet to hear of Glee then I'm going to assume you've been living under a rock for the past 6 months. If you truly haven't heard of Glee then I really really think you should see if you can catch an episode as I'm sure you'll adore it. Glee is an American comedy/musical/drama focusing on a high school Glee club. It airs on Fox in America and E4/C4 in the UK and I really adore it. (Along with millions of other people!). After the phenomenal success of Glee, all of the songs from the first 13 episodes were released as Glee The Music: Volume 1 and Glee The Music: Volume 2 which brings me to my review of Volume 1.
01. Don't Stop Believin'
02. I Can't Fight This Feeling
03. Gold Digger
04. Take A Bow
05. Bust Your Windows
06. Taking Chances
08. Maybe This Time
09. Somebody To Love
10. Hate On Me
11. No Air
12. You Keep Me Hangin' On
13. Keep Holding On
14. Bust A Move
15. Sweet Caroline
16. Dancing With Myself
17. Defying Gravity
The album opens with what is the most popular of all of the Glee songs "Don't Stop Believin'" which was originally performed by the band Jouney. When I first heard the Glee cast perform it I fell in love with the song. Lea Michele's (who plays Rachel on the show) vocals astound me every time I start listening to this song. Cory Monteith (who plays Finn on the show) singing voice sounds different to his acting voice (if that makes sense) and although it's not what I expected, he does have a fantastic voice.
"I Can't Fight This Feeling" is up next sang solely by Cory Monteith (Finn). It was originally recorded by REO Speedwagon who I've never even heard of. I didn't like the song at first but the more I listen to it, the more I love it. Cory has a very soft voice which suits the song perfectly. "Gold Digger" gives us our first glimpse of just how fantastic Amber Riley's voice is - she opens the song perfectly - as well as it being the first song featuring Matthew Morrison (Mr Schue). Matthew is orginally a Broadway performer so to hear him rapping was in equal parts shocking and fascinating. He certainly pulls it off although he has a way to go to be Kanye West, I must say!
Track four is Rihanna's "Take A Bow", performed by Lea Michele. I absolutely adore her voice and I think she sings Take A Bow wonderfully - better than Rihanna if I dare say so as I adore Rihanna's version also. "Bust Your Windows", originally sung by Jazmine Sullivan, is another track that shows Amber Riley's (Mercedes) fantastic voice. Her voice is very soulful and the song has grown on me.
"Taking Chances" is another Lea Michele solo originally sung by Platinum Weird. It's a relatively slow song which suits Lea's voice down to the ground. I find myself singing along although until I heard it on Glee I've never heard it before so I've picked it up incredibly quickly. Up next is one of my favourite tracks on the entire album "Alone" which was originally sung by Heart. Matthew Morrison and Kristen Chenoweth (April) sing the song and I absolutely adore it. This is the one song I cannot stop listening to. I've only ever seen Kristen Chenoweth on Pushing Daisies to I had no idea just how fantastic a singer she was and she is outstanding throughout this song. The duet works very well and Kristen and Matthew's voices work very well together.
Liza Minnelli's "Maybe This Time" from Cabaret is another duet, this time featuring Kristen Chenoweth and Lea Michele. This is another song that has grown on me the more I've listened to it. The two voices of Kristen and Lea are distinctive but they still work so well together. Another favourite track of mine is "Somebody To Love" (Queen - but surely you know that?). Somebody To Love? is sang by the majority of the cast, mainly Lea Michele, Cory Monteith, Amber Riley and Kevin McHale (Artie). I defy you not to be singing along by the end of the song!
Jill Scott (whom I've never heard of) is the original singer of the next track "Hate On Me", sung by the fantastic Amber Riley. Amber sings the song incredibly well but it's not a song I listen to every time I listen to the album. "No Air" is up next sung by Lea Michele and Cory Monteith. I adore the original version featuring Jordin Sparks and Chris Brown. Lea does a fantastic job of covering Jordin's part but, as much as I love his voice, Cory's doesn't really compare to Chris Brown. His voice is too soft compared to Chris Brown's. I still enjoy the song though and Lea and Cory know how to perform a duet.
"You Keep Me Hangin' On" introduces us to another member of the Glee cast in the shape of Dianna Agron (Quinn). Her rendition of The Supreme's classic is incredibly enjoyable although her voice doesn't seem to be as strong as Lea Michele's. Avril Lavinge's "Keep Holding On" is another duet from Lea Michele and Cory Monteith. I love this song and think Cory and Lea perform it incredibly well. It's another of my favourites from what is a fantastic album so far.
One of my least favourite songs of the album is "Bust A Move". Another chance for Matthew Morrison to show off his rapping ability. I've not heard Young MC's version and although Matthew's is OK, I generally skip the track whenever it's on. Another song I really enjoy is Mark Salling's (Puck) version of Neil Diamond's classic "Sweet Caroline". It's the only track of the album which features Mark Salling and even then it's not even the full song. It's a shame he only features as lead on one song as he's a fantastic singer. I think Mark would have been perfect for the Chris Brown role of No Air.
"Dancing With Myself" which was performed by Generation X originally is Kevin McHale's breakthrough song on the album. He's featured on other songs on the album but Dancing With Myself is all his. He has a very distinctive voice and it's easy to pick out when he sings in any of the other tracks. It's the last track on the album that is my favourite of the entire album. It's a duet between Lea Michele and Chris Colfer (Kurt) of "Defying Gravity", originally performed by Idina Menzel, Kristen Chenoweth and the cast of Wicked. The duet works perfectly between the two voices although as the song reaches it's conclusion Lea blows Chris out of the water, especially when it comes to the high notes.
Glee: The Music Volume 1 is a fantastic listen and is undoubtedly a must-buy for Glee fans. I actually can't stop listening to the album and I adore most of the songs. As you can tell from my review I think the cast are hugely talented and I adore Lea Michele's voice. Volume 1 is a must buy for all Glee fans!
Glee is the new 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 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 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 Sailing) 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.
I'm a huge fan of the show 'Glee', and after a couple of episodes of loving
their versions of ever-popular songs - I went out and bought the soundtrack, and it is awesome!! This cd contains the songs from the first
half of the first series - I think its up to episode 9 out of 22 episodes.
It contains all the of the major songs that the Glee cast have already
performed - including their version of Journeys 'Don't Stop Believing' -
and it's a great dance around the living room track list for all die hard
I bought this in America as it was only released yesterday over here. I've
noticed that you can get it off CDWOW.com for £7.99 or £8.95 from Play. Its also available on download.
Zavvi also have a great deal on at the minute where you can buy this disc - plus tshirt saying 'GLEEK' for £12.95, or a cd plus a tshirt saying 'Don't Stop Believing' for £11.95.
The tracks it includes are: -
1. Don't Stop Believing.
2. Cant fight this feeling.
3. Gold digger.
4. Take a bow.
5. Bust your windows.
6. Taking chances.
8. Maybe this time.
9. Somebody to love.
10. Hate on me.
11. No air.
12. You keep me hanging on.
13. Keep holding on.
14. Bust a move.
15. Sweet caroline.
16. Dancing with myself.
17. Defying gravity.
Please note- these are all the Glee cast versions and NOT the originals.
My only criticism of this disc is that I bought it a while ago - so none of
the songs they sing in each episode are a surprise to me.... So maybe wait a couple of weeks until episode 9 is screened and then buy it. I'm definitely going to wait till the end of the series to buy part 2 - I don't want to ruin the next episodes. But I love this CD!!!!
Disc #1 Tracklisting
1 I Got A Woman
2 FOUND A CHILD
3 Don't Stop Believin'
4 Can't Fight This Feeling (Glee Cast Version)
5 Gold Digger (Glee Cast Version)
6 Take A Bow (Glee Cast Version)
7 Bust Your Windows (Glee Cast Version)
8 Taking Chances (Glee Cast Version)
9 Alone (Glee Cast Version feat. Kristin Chenoweth)
10 Maybe This Time (Glee Cast Version feat. Kristin Chenoweth)
11 Somebody To Love (Glee Cast Version)
12 Hate On Me (Glee Cast Version)
13 No Air (Glee Cast Version)
14 You Keep Me Hangin' On (Glee Cast Version)
15 Keep Holding On (Glee Cast Version)
16 Bust A Move (Glee Cast Version)
17 Sweet Caroline (Glee Cast Version)
18 Dancing With Myself (Glee Cast Version)
19 Defying Gravity (Glee Cast Version)