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I am a huge fan of Glee and I loved the Madonna episode so I went straight out to buy this. This CD is a mini album of Madonna covers and is sung by the cast of the programme. The thing about this CD is that the vocals are SPOT ON. I would go as far as to say that the cast are better vocalists than Madonna! They have put their own twist on songs such as 4 Minutes and Like a Virgin. These twists make the songs more "Gleeful" and it gives them a modern feel. Ideal for introducing younger Glee fans to the music of Madonna!
The songs are full length tracks and feature different cast members. For example, 4 Minutes is sung by Mercedes and Kurt. These two singers have different vocal ranges but they combine really well to sing an EXCELLENT new version of the song, even though the song itself is still quite fresh. Like a Virgin is sung by cast members such as Emma and Santana, who don't feature that much on the Glee soundtracks. The song is layered with these new vocals and it flows really well. In fact the whole album flows really well and it sounds fresh, funky and fab!
I would recommend this mini album to all Glee fans. There's not one bad song on it and the vocals are well shared out to the cast. It's not all Rachel singing for a change! A brilliant album that will go down well at parties and at Madonna themed nights! Buy it!
Average price is £5 from popular online music retailers.
In 2010, Glee took over the world, both on television and in the music charts. The cast released 5 albums during the first season of Glee. It's quite possible that all the 'Gleek's out there who buy the CD's will have to buy a new CD holder just to put all their Glee albums on!
Possibly the best episode of the first season of Glee was the 'Madonna Episode'. The show was dedicated to Madonna entirely, with the cast performing some of her biggest hits, and obviously an album was released with the Glee versions of Madonna's songs.
In my opinion it is well worth purchasing the Power of Madonna album (heck, why not go for it and buy all the albums!).
The album features covers of:
Borderline/Open Your Heart
Like A Virgin
What It Feels Like For A Girl
Like A Prayer
The cast of Glee are exceptionally talented and it is a pleasure to listen to the voices of Lea Michele (Rachel), Amber Riley (Mercedes), Cory Monteith (Finn) and Matthew Morrison (Will) and even Jane Lynch (Sue Sylvester) sings on this album.
Don't worry, the album isn't the price of a normal CD - it is cheaper because you only get 8 songs. Even so, the covers pay a great tribute to the Queen of Pop.
I do not like 'Glee.' Nobody bursts into song as much as this lot do, plus if I hear 'Don't Stop Believing' one more time I shall pull my hair out and change my name to Nancy. The show divides people, as does the music. A lot of my friends find it compelling. I just shut myself away in a dark room whenever that high pitched girl starts to wail. My friend forced me to listen to this monstrosity in his car when he bought it. He likes 'Glee' but then he also likes films about American girls in highschool doing prom things. Yawn.
So it's a mini album of Madonna covers. I like the sleeve, though you might think it is a Cher album from the hand covered in black lace. Granted the mash-up of 'Borderline' and 'Open Your Heart' is actually quite good. The songs merge seamlessly into each other for a satisfying sugary dose of high energy happy pop. The vocals are not too shrill and the song is acceptable enough. I could just about take this offering.
'Like A Virgin' is way too annoying. Madonna's is already quite piercing and this vapid version is just too much for my delicate ears. Next! Oh it's Sue Sylvester's take on 'Vogue.' She pronounces the words better than Madonna, it's vaguely classy and chic and more fun than it should be, so I could stomach this one because there's enough humour behind it.
'4 Minutes' is next, a pointless rehash of a song that did not need rehashing. They should have picked a less obvious one like 'Dear Jessie' or 'Another Suitcase' that would have been more intriguing. Too modern and offers nothing you could not find in Madonna's version.
'Like A Prayer' was inevitable really wasn't it. Lavish, over the top and theatrical, this is what Glee fans dream of. I found it odious and positively wretched. The original is already overplayed at discos and now we've got a generation of Gleeks thinking this is where music is at. The album is well produced, generally unsatisfactory pop fodder for people with no discerning taste. Now where did I leave my Cheeky Girls album...
The Power of Madonna is a short, seven track CD of songs featured in the popular The Power of Madonna episode in Glee, one of the top US shows to be successful over here recently. As most will know this musical show features the staff and pupils of McKinley High in Ohio, as the Glee Club (or show choir) attempt to secure a place as the Regional Show Choir contest. The songs are on the CD in the order they appear on the show. I really enjoyed the episode and I am a big Madonna fan so I was keen to purchase this CD. I think I paid about £5.99 when it first came out, but it is now available on Amazon for £3.99 or £4.99 on iTunes. Individual tracks can also be downloaded.
The first track is Express Yourself, an ensemble performance featuring the girls in the cast and Jonathan Groff, a Broadway actor, who makes a special guest appearance in a number of episodes this series as Jesse. The track is close to the original, but with a more modern disco/techno beat to it, to really give it some energy. I enjoyed the performance in the show, and I think that this track transfers well to the CD, you don't miss the performance and it is very up-beat and listenable.
The next track is a mix up of Borderline and Open Your Heart. This is performed by Rachel (Lea Michelle) and Finn (Cory Monteith) who are the pupils who usually take the main leads in Glee Club performances. Initially Rachel's powerful voice drowns out Finn's, but then he comes into his own on the harmonies. The song features more of the latter track than the former, but overall is quite short. One of my favourite performances from this episode was when the school cheer-leading coach Sue Sylvester (Jane Lynch) made a spoof video of the track Vogue with other Glee Club members Mercedes (Amber Riley) and Kurt (Chris Coifer). It was a good performance and certainly as far as the recording goes, she pulls it off and sounds a bit like Madonna in places. Listen out for her and other cast members being name-checked.
This is followed by Like A Virgin sung at different points by different couples: Rachel and Jesse; Finn and Santana (Naya Rivera) and Glee club coach Will Schuester (Matthew Morrison) and school Guidance Counsellor Emma Pillsbury (Jayma Mays). The mix of the voices, which all overlap, works really well, and at times you can't tell which person is singing. Again it has been given a more modern beat to give it more energy. I also enjoyed the performance of Santana, as she doesn't usually take solo vocals in the show, and Emma also sings very little. It is always nice to hear the different characters getting a chance to sing on their own, even if it is just for a few lines.
Also on the CD is the Cherrio's (cheer-leading squad) performance of 4 Minutes with lead vocals taken by Mercedes and Kurt. The vocals are softer than on the Madonna/Justin Timberlake collaboration, and there seems to be a stronger , jazzier horn section. I think I prefer the poppier Glee version to the original. For me, in the show, one of the weakest tracks was What it Feels Like For A Girl. I was not a huge fan of the original, and I hate the spoken part, but the boys of Glee Club do a passable version, and it makes a change from all the up-beat numbers previously. The CD closes with Like A Prayer, a chance for the Glee Club to do one of their big theatrical numbers backed by a gospel choir. Rachel, Jesse, Finn, Mercedes and Kurt take alternate leads, and there are some great harmonies, the gospel choir help make it an uplifting number and it is a good song to finish the episode with.
Burning Up performed by Jesse and rival show choir Vocal Adrenaline is not featured on the CD but can be downloaded separately if you are a completist. Just because I love this CD, I realise that it is not everyone's cup of tea - Glee fans, particularly ones who like Madonna, will like it, but I think it has limited appeal outside the Gleek community.
Madonna has never been someone I have really grown up with, sure I've heard some of her later songs, but her older work has never really been in my life. That being said, I did find myself listening to the originals on YouTube before reviewing this CD, so I could actually compare and I'm afraid it might become quite controversial as I couldn't find one song where I preferred the original.
The album begins with Lea Michele and the rest of the female cast performing a brilliant cover of Madonna's Express Yourself. This track has a lot more depth to it, rather than what you get in Madonna's version. The only problem I had with this version is, they let Dianna Agron sing a verse, and it ruins the powerful vocals that everyone else performs as hers as always are below par. If this track was on the other albums, I wouldn't have been raving about it as much, but on this album it's one of the best. Some great vocals from most of the cast and a very good version of a song I probably wouldn't have looked twice at.
The next track is a Mash up of Boarder Line and Open Your Heart, I didn't like neither of these songs when they are performed by Madonna, and even Lea Michele couldn't make it good. One of the weakest songs I've heard covered by her on all three of the albums so far. A really disappointing cover.
There is no doubting that the most talked about track after Don't Stop Belevin' at this moment in time is Jane Lynch's version of Madonna's classic 'Vogue'. I was very shocked to see Jane Lynch get her own solo, I have seen her for years in comedies and Criminal Minds, and had no idea that she was a singer as well. Her vocals are not on the same level as the rest of the cast, but for this song, they worked so well. To really appreciate this song however, I do think it should be seen on YouTube or on television. I am not a fan of Madonna, and really think this song is so much better than the version I saw on YouTube. It's really well done, and the fact that she makes it relevant in the rap to the actual show makes it so much better.
Of course they had to cover Madonna's 'Like a Virgin', it was the only one out of three on the album that I had heard before. Again, I really prefer this brilliant version to Madonna's mainly because it worked so well within the show. Here we get 6 main vocals, all singing along to this brilliant song, it's really well done and tastefully done, if you watch the video on YouTube you'll understand.
The next track 'Four Minutes' is the only one I really knew was a Madonna song, due to the fact it's quite a recent track and Justin Timberlake lent his vocals. I really think this is one of the best covers on the album, Amber Riley and Chris Colfer give an amazing vocal, it's really upbeat and they stay close to the original, but Amber Riley's vocals sound a lot better than Madonna's. It was quite nice to hear a different vocal from Colfer, we usually hear him singing in his high register, but here it does actually sound like a male and female duet.
'What I Feel Like For a Girl' is a track where I have no idea why they chose to put it in the show. For me it felt very forced and just not enjoyable to watch in the show. The song is well sung by the lads of Glee however I am not really a fan of the original or this cover.
The final track on the album is my favourite 'Like a Prayer', I liked Madonna's original, and it's one I can say I've listened to a few times before today when 'researching' my review, however this cover is so, so much better. I have created a playlist on my IPod of the best Glee songs, and so when I have it on in my car it is always a joy to listen to. I think this is one of my favourite tracks of the last few episodes, sung by the whole cast, with the great addition of a choir. Here is a little fact for all of you Gleek's, the woman who is leading the choir and who dances with Mercedes, is actually Amber Riley's mother.
All in all, it's a disappointing album for what you pay for it. If you buy it off ITunes you get 8 tracks instead of 7, but you will still be paying £4.99 for it. There are four tracks on this album, which are definitely a highlight but the rest do seem like fillers. On the ITunes version, you get a cover of Burning Up, by the new addition to the Glee cast Jonathan Groff. It's a nice little cover, and it's a shame it wasn't on the show.
It is a must to take a look at Jane Lynch or Sue Sylvester singing Vogue on YouTube, it is absolutely brilliant, a lot of fun to watch and a highlight of the show for me.
Hope this helps.
(C) Kirsty 2010
Trust Glee to jump on the Merchandise band wagon! Not just content to jam up the charts with Season 1 DVD, music books, t-shirts and a karaoke album, the latest CD album is a take on Madonna's famous pop songs and sees the cast of Glee take on America's number one Pop Queen. Whether you appreciate Madonna's music there is no denying that over the last forty years Madonna has always been consistent in releasing songs, most of which have been controversial but in the beginning it was all dance related. For £8-99 from HMV (probably downloads and online sellers such as Amazon may be cheaper) I haven't felt hard done by with my latest purchase.
The album thus begins with a classic, "Express Yourself," even though the current Glee trailer on You Tube is the undoubtedly fantastic "Vogue," sung by P.E teacher character, Sue Sylvester. Thus, "Express Yourself," is a good starter song on this album and I like the fact that this version on the Glee CD uses a mix of the original Madonna 12" dance mixes and it will have you humming along as well as tapping your feet from the word go. It features almost the entire female Glee cast with our songstress Lea Michele at the helm singing out the song in harmonies, very much like the original without Madonna's twang in her early years. What is missing despite the mix of cultures on this cover song is the powerful vocal talents of Madonna's backing vocalists, namely the powerful and soulful Nikki Harris of the original. That however isn't a major downside and there are a few choral moment ad libs that have been added to give this dance classic a bit more gloss. Lea Michele does get higher the more this song progresses and although it is a new take on this much loved classic, the added ad libs just about work - even though it is plainly obvious that Michele's voice has been electronically supported to minimize going out of tune.
"Borderline / Open Your Heart," is slightly disappointing. It begins with some smooth piano churning out the introductory notes of the original song, but then jump abruptly to the first verse. Then Finn Hudson takes over with a quick slip into "Open Your Heart," combining a mish mash of both songs, rather than a proper professional mash up and signaling his male input. It would work if Borderline in its original style wasn't so infectious and if Lea Michele didn't have a powerful voice. Then the song changes key too soon and the whole version of this medley begins to feel too rushed well before it finishes. No surprise that at just 2 minutes and 18 seconds, it is the shortest song on the album and may appear as album filler material here rather than a proper blown out cover of both the songs. Granted it may retain the fast synth bass sound that makes the original song, "Open Your Heart," precise and tight, but when it swaps onto "Borderline" and back to the female vocal part, it just doesn't make sense.
"Vogue," should really be watched on You Tube so that you get the full idea of what this song is about and why it has been included. However without the video, the Glee Cast version is superbly accurate just as the original turned out to be. Similar dance beats, tight backing harmonies, similar bass lines - its all here and passes easily as a carbon copy of Madonna's original song. P.E teacher takes the main vocal line here even though Jane has a strong voice, it is only in the high parts that her voice becomes squeaky and without control. That however isn't the highlight of the song. If you listen carefully to the spoken "rap" at the middle bridge, you'll hear her change the lyrics abruptly to including "Will Schuester, I hate you," towards the end of the rap.
"Like A Virgin," surprisingly works really well with Glee, even though there's a male and female duet part going on from the start. The song's mix uses the original Madonna 12" mix yet again as its source and base for inspiration. This is no bad thing; the original Madonna track suffered from a slight out of time feeling due to the production of splicing parts together. Here there is none of it even though the chorus has a great choir behind it in parts of the song that you may not be expecting and it is great to hear other female singers such as Amber Riley taking the centre stage.
"Four Minutes," is a song that I'm not that clear about; my love for Madonna extends from the very first albums she brought out up to "Music," and I lost interest from there sadly, even though "Confessions on a Dance Floor," appears in my collection due to it being a past birthday gift! However in the hands of Glee, it takes on a similar R'n'B style, back to chorus only approaches, very little instrumentation and more concentration on the glossy tight vocals. Infact this song sits closely on the types of songs that have since boosted the choir's very appeal from Season 1's album such as "Bust Your Windows," and further identification in "Gold Digger." Full choir effects here from tight and precise main vocals to waves of backing vocals that sit well with the style. The only slight downsides are engineered horns like synth trumpets. That however will not discredit "Four Minutes," as it passes easily as a Madonna cover and like the rest of the songs, as a cover version sits closely to the original.
"What It Feels Like For A Girl," is one of my favourites and it is good to see that Glee have gone for a slow number and away from the similarly slow Madonna original without the acoustic guitar paving the way. Instead it is the turn of the boys who get to sing this song in its entirety and they'll let you know who you are from a softly spoken introduction to the song. Layered vocals, seamless in their return and each Glee member taking their turns to twist their own style on verses makes this cover version a greater song better. All the while it does possess a similar drum style to Madonna's original song, but it doesn't get lost amongst the dripping vocals.
"Like A Prayer," isn't a song that I've often liked, even from Madonna's own takes, live and pre-recorded on her other albums. Here Glee come back as the tour de force, ending on a strong choir based on and the soft tinged vocals of Finn Hudson's character, Corey Monteith and Jonathon Groff taking the main lead with squeeky Lea Michele. One highlight is the counter-tenor impeachable tones of Chris Colfer who takes one line in the lyrics. That and constant ad libs washing over the main chorus serves up a great dollop of Glee vocals and choir families. The addition of the choir is so similar to Madonna's original that even if it is a great song to end on, it doesn't really add anything new in this cover version.
All in all, despite a colourful inlay booklet and song details, Glee's Tribute to Madonna is a good album but at only seven tracks it seems to be a little mean not to include the iTunes-only download of one of my all time favourite Madonna tracks, "Burning Up." Madonna fans may well hate the idea of Glee adopting the power of Madonna and her songs, but if it promotes the singer even more with this very effective album, Madonna fans should cherish the thought of listening to some well loved classics done by a younger generation. There have been some awful tribute albums in the past; now, at least this album by Glee is worth looking into. Thanks for reading. ©Nar2 2010
** Tracklisting and You Tube Links **
1. Express Yourself (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fTCoTN86nFE)
2. Borderline / Open Your Heart
3. Vogue (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BH8JyPY85UU)
4. Like A Virgin (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CvcLV7ha_LI)
5. 4 Minutes (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wjB1-yXrqgk)
6. What It Feels Like For A Girl (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iCNH0IaH4og)
7. Like A Prayer (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O0XznvzWgoU)
8. BONUS TRACK Burning Up (sung by Jonathon Groff)
Disc #1 Tracklisting
1 Express Yourself
2 Borderline/Open Your Heart
4 Like A Virgin
5 4 Minutes
6 What It Feels Like For A Girl
7 Like A Praye