By our guest blogger, Catherine Fuentes
I’ll admit it--I was nervous to see an episode of ‘Glee’ that focused on original songs. To me, part of the show’s charm is in how they over-do a hit song or reintroduce a classic hit into today’s Billboard charts. But more importantly, I was worried of how cheesy ‘Glee’ original songs could be.
Fortunately, music-wise, tonight’s episode was totally on point. The original songs were funny, candid, high energy and they really impressed me. I was still thankful to see The Warblers sing a cappella versions of current pop hits, because we needed something to ground the episode to some sort of musical reality.
Perhaps my favorite part about the original songs was that it helped to move the plot along, and it did something by way of plot dimension. My biggest issue with ‘Glee’ is that I think the characters are largely underdeveloped and at times, extremely one-note. Through original songs, especially the more heartfelt and anthemic “Loser Like Me” and “Get It Right,” we got to see an emotional core to characters, most notably Rachel Barry, who I consider to be the most one-note of them all.
The worst musical moment of the night was the duet between Kurt and Blaine to kick off The Warblers’ Regionals performance. I think The Warblers are so talented, and so high energy, and this was just so sleepy. However, when the entire group got involved in a spirited rendition of Pink’s “Raise Your Glass” – hilarious, considering Kurt had already criticized Blaine for singing too many Pink songs earlier in the episode – I thought they were at their best.
It seems typical for an a cappella group to perform a Maroon 5 song, but hearing the episode immediately kick off with The Warblers singing Maroon 5’s “Misery” was a great mood for people who, like me, were worried about an episode entirely comprised of original songs. I got the hint that originals were geared solely for New Directions, and got to enjoy one of my favorite Warbler songs to date.
I also loved the opportunity for Kurt to sing lead on a heartfelt, more emotional song, since those seem to be conspicuously absent from The Warblers’ repertoire of up-tempo Top 40 hits. In mourner’s black, Kurt sang “Blackbird” to honor his Burberry cage dwelling canary, Pavarotti, who died this episode, presumably of stroke (according to Kurt). The song showed Kurt’s talent and his sensitivity, two things I feel ‘Glee’ has been lacking ever since Kurt enrolled at Dalton Academy.
As far as the original songs go, I felt that Rachel’s ode to being an only child was annoying, offensive, and downright stupid. Sorry, Rachel, as a fellow only child, I really beg to differ with your feelings.
The other character’s songs were funny, energetic and totally fitting to their personalities; Puck’s was hilarious and a little inappropriate, Santana’s was too sultry for a classroom and funny, and Mercedes’ centered around her catch phrase “Hell to the no.”
Musically, Rachel’s regionals solo “Get It Right” wasn’t my cup of tea – I’m never a big fan of her ballads – but the raw emotion behind it brought forth a rare endearing side to Rachel, and really developed her character in a positive direction. I understood her heartache, and I found myself rooting for a character that I so often roll my eyes at.
The finale number of “Loser Like Me” was fun, it was high energy, and most of all, this original song can be a pop hit. I loved it. I was impressed by it. I saw the cast having fun, which is always my favorite part of the big finales. They deserved that regionals victory.
However, the highest point of the episode had little to do with music, but everything to do with timely impressions. Comedienne Kathy Griffen made a way overdue ‘Glee’ cameo as a Sarah Palin-esque Tea Party member, who was judging the Regionals competition. It was so unexpected, but a great reminder of how sharp the writing on ‘Glee’ truly is.