The glee in Glee
Well, Glee has been all over the place this summer with people raving about the music over and over again, and I thought it would be nice to put in my words as well. Specially since I have been losing sleep over watching episode after episode of the first season and not resting until I had finished watching it completely, and also going on ad nauseum about the songs. The plot is kind of loose, based on the chronicles of a high school Spanish teacher who takes charge of the school’s Glee Club with the sole intention of restoring its former glory, and towards the third episode I was wondering when the actual story would start. But then again, by then, I was already hooked to the admittedly amazing performances in the show, with some of the songs being recreated as surprisingly better versions of the original ones. Now this is not the place for me to lament on how I wish they would include more songs and try less to involve us in the lame storyline, so I will keep it to myself and just move on to the best part. The songs.
The first song that caught my attention was “Don’t Stop Believing”, which also made it to the Top UK 40 singles that I religiously follow. Although I hadn’t heard the original song by Journey, it made for a catchy number with all the synchronized supporting vocals. Another of my favorites has to be “Dancing With Myself”, and this is one song I love way better than the Billy Idol original. Maybe it has also to do with the way the song has been placed just right in that episode (Kevin McHale in a wheelchair singing all by himself), but it kind of stayed back with me. Amber Riley (playing Mercedes Jones) does an amazing job out of “Hate On Me”, originally by Jill Scott, and add to it the fact that the spirit of the song goes just right with the situation. Well, the Beatles may hate me for saying this, but I also prefer the spicier perkier version of “Hello Goodbye” than the classic old one. And “Imagine” almost had me choking and getting goosebumps.
I specially loved that episode where they dedicated it to Madonna, and truth be admitted that was the first time I had listened to Madonna’s songs. Maybe watching it made me realize that I had missed out on a whole cult that represented empowerment among other things, but “Like A Virgin” and “4 Minutes” made me sit up and take note. So much that I downloaded the whole of Madonna’s albums right after it. The dance routine of the cheerleaders to “Ray Of Light” is also noteworthy. As for the “Vogue” routine, well, let’s just say I found that one kind of funny. Which reminds me of Jane Lynch (who plays the tough Sue Sylvester) in another song “Physical” with Olivia Newton-John, and snigger all you want to, but I have been humming that song under my breath all the time for quite some time now. I could come up with so many more songs like this! “Don’t Rain On My Parade” sung by Lea Michele (who plays Rachael Berry), “Gold Digger” where Matthew Morrison (as Will Schuester, the teacher) raps to near perfection and “Smile” are just a few because I couldn’t help mentioning them.
And finally, the one song that has made me wonder over and over again about how anyone could come up with something so new it makes you wonder if there are traces of the old song: Poker Face. The original by Lady GaGa (who is like this queen of theatricality) is quite upbeat and for the lack of a better word, metallic and totally techno. And the Lea Michele and Indina Menzel version is anything but it. It took me quite some time to even relate the song to the Lady GaGa number, and what with the piano and the somber rhythm, it was like the song has undergone a complete makeover. Come to think of it that’s what I love about the Glee songs; I love the way the Glee cast play and toy and experiment with the songs. It’s kind of like ripping up a song open to know what it’s like inside, and then stuffing it with just the right flavors to come up with something innovative and refreshingly new without losing the old touch.
However, the one part that made me forgive Glee for putting me through lameness all the while was the last episode where the “Vocal Adrenaline”, a Glee club from a different school performs Bohemian Rhapsody. I had my doubts if they could even come close to creating magic the way Queen had done with that song, but I was pleasantly surprised that the song exceeded my expectations. And what took my breath away was how they synchronized the song to go with a parallel scene where the character Quinn Fabray was having a baby. Timing, and immaculate timing at that, was what makes the scene leave a lasting impression in your mind.
Enough of the Glee overload already. Let’s just say I am looking forward to the next season, and no, don’t get me wrong. I am not interested in knowing if the Glee club make it to the Regionals and win them or not the next time. But yes, I am waiting to hear more songs being dissected and tugged and pulled to sound just right. So here’s to innovation, here’s to bringing in the old to the new, and here’s to the music of Glee!
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