Music Review: "Glee: The Music Volume 2"

12/07/2009 Posted by Admin

By our guest blogger, Sanela Djokovic

It’s hard to evaluate albums such as the "Glee" compilations, because they achieve what they set out to do. "Glee: The Music Volume 2" is a perfect supplement for "Glee" fans, who might want to sing along after the show is over. However, the tracks are drenched in sugared syrup--they are made for those with the absolute highest tolerance for sweetness.

The arrangements in "Glee" are very simple--the kind of simple you see on Karaoke tracks, on American Idol or on a party compilation CD. For most  songs carried by simple melodies, it works decently. The vocals are good: strong, charming and are even better when the cast sings in unison. "I’ll Stand By You" is an example of a song that is pretty hard to screw up, but it especially stands out among the other tracks because it is sung by male cast members and because the song is lifted when the entire chorus joins in. The cast’s rendition of "Lean on Me" also is good, particularly thanks to the elevating choir sound the cast exemplifies when they all sing together.

Very few of the song choices were major risks. Songs like "Endless Love" and "Don’t Rain on My Parade" lend themselves to such a task. The most impressive selection is the union of "Don’t Stand So Close to Me/Young Son," which is much less of a mess than expected. In fact, the cast brings a pretty unspoiled cohesiveness to it. Other songs are simply performed very well. "(You’re) Having My Baby" is sung with solemnity and affection. "Don’t Make Me Over" carries a sense of authenticity, successively executing the doo-wop sound, and "My Life Would Suck Without You" is probably the best-suited song for the "Glee" makeover, as the cast make an already fun song a little bit more fun.

On the other hand, there are a number of forgettable tracks and a few of them straight-up stink. A rendition of Jennifer Paige’s "Crush" was one to easily skip over, as was "Smile" (Lily Allen cover). Covering John Lennon’s "Imagine" was a bad idea. They turned a song everyone knows and loves into something no one wants to hear. Their try at rock also wasn't successful. Van Halen’s "Jump" sounds like a kids work-out song, and "You Can’t Always Get What You Want" is completely stripped of its appeal.

There are few purposes an album like "Glee: The Music Volume 2" can offer if you’re not a fan of the television series. For instance, such an album could serve well at a children’s party or maybe even during a quick workout. But while the music is pretty good, the originals are better. And anyway, the new renditions are hardly inspiring. The best they can do is momentarily improve your disposition.

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  1. Sarah said...

    Nice review! Glee is such a guilty pleasure of mine so I love this album, but I have friends that think I am straight up crazy. Your point about having to be a fan of the show to appreciate or even "get" the album is spot-on. Unless someone has been following the show, he or she probably won't relate the sound of this album with the warm fuzzy feelings that the kitschy show provides each week. To those not familiar with the big picture that is Glee, it probably sounds like something Disney would put out for hip pre-teens.