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This is a great pop album. The cast of Glee sing better versions of the songs than the original artists did! The vocals are spot on throughout the album, not one note is out of place on the album. The vocals are shared out throughout the album so each cast member gets their share. There are a mixture of great pop songs on this album and each song is very well executed and produced.
There are also two original songs on this album. These two songs took a while to grow on me as I have never heard of them before (as they aren't cover versions). I like these two songs. One is a lovely slow tempo ballad sung by Lea Michele and the other is a rock-pop number sung by New Directions. The other songs on the album are songs featured in the series, like "Firework" and "Sing". Their version of Firework is better than the original version by Katy Perry. Lea Michele has THE most amazing voice and her voice shines on this song, it's just amazing and I think Katy should be worried!!!
The album is a great singalong pop album and is great to play at parties. It's fun to listen to and is great for all ages as there's nothing offensive on the album. It's just meant to be fun, which it is.
Overall this is my favourite album by the cast of Glee. It contains the best mixture of songs and is the most fun to listen to in my opinion.
As everyone knows by now, Glee is the popular C4/E4 (now Sky TV) American musical comedy where a bunch of Ohio High School students have joined a Glee Club or Show Choir, called New Directions, who perform songs for various occasions or just to please themselves. This is the fifth collection, alongside spin-off discs such as The Power of Madonna and The Rocky Horror Picture Show. Not all songs performed are included, though many are available to be purchased/downloaded as singles, or appear on other albums. Thus far all songs featured in Glee have been cover versions, but this time around there are two original songs featured. Total number of tracks is 16 from a selection of 32 across six episodes.
This particular CD starts off with a big number (something I thought was lacking from Volume 4 which was more dominated by contemporary pop songs), a mash up of Michael Jackson's Thriller and Heads Will Roll by the Yeah, Yeah, Yeahs. I was not familiar with the latter song, but the whole production is very well done with a bit of an electronic edge. It is certainly very catchy and one of the favourites of mine from this series.
Some Glee collections have been a bit heavy on the slower numbers for my liking and I am pleased to note that there are not so many here. One lovely ballad is Lady Antebellum's Need You Now performed by Rachel (Lea Michelle) and Puck (Mark Salling). I am not overly familiar with the original to make a comparison, but I thought it a very nice track and the lead vocalists did a good job, although Ms Michelle's vocals tend to dominate Salling's. Stevie Nick's Landslide is also featured, with Santana (Naya Rivera) and Brittany (Heather Morris) joined by guest star Gwyneth Paltrow. I don't know the song, but this version is played with limited backing instruments, and the ladies' voices work surprisingly well together.
This CD also seems to be a return to form in featuring older, but still well know songs, over the contemporary emphasis of the first part of the series. Finn (Cory Monteith) takes lead vocals in a version of She's Not There (originally by The Zombies) ably assisted by other male members of the cast. Puck takes the lead in a version of Queen's Fat-bottomed Girls, which is suitably rocky with lots of clanging guitars, and is supported by other male members of the cast, I thought it quite a good version. Artie (Kevin McHale) sings another Michael Jackson song - PYT (Pretty Young Thing). It is quite close to the original, although the vocal is obviously different, the arrangement is very similar. In this case I am quite glad they stuck to the original version as closely as they did, but I do often enjoy it more if they twist the songs, by changing the tempo, or by making a solo song a duet or whatever. The Human League's Don't You Want Me is also included as sung by Rachel and rival Glee club member Blaine (Darren Criss), it gets a very cheap and nasty electronic backing track (as opposed to the more sophisticated electronic keyboards used in the original) , as in the show it is sung as a karaoke number. The vocals are top-notch, however I can't quite get over the tacky backing track. Glee Club leader Will Schuester (Matthew Morrison) and substitute teacher Holly (guest star Gwyneth Paltrow) performed a tango-esque version of Prince's Kiss. It was a passable rendition and I do love the song, but this brought nothing new other than to make it a duet (which worked, to be fair). Another guest star (John Stamos) joined School Guidance Counsellor Emma (Jayma Mays), Finn, Rachel and Quinn for Afternoon Delight (original by Starland Vocal Band). The song is incredibly cheesy and Glee play to this fact, but the different voices all complement each other and the harmonies work.
There still are contemporary songs on the album, one is Katy Perry's Firework. Rachel takes lead vocals on this, and the other Glee Club girls support her on backing vocals towards the latter end of the song. Her version is as good as any, there is no getting away from the slightly ridiculous lyrics, so it is never going to be a favourite. Teen 'sensation' Justin Bieber also gets the Glee experience, with relatively new club member Sam (Chord Overstreet - honestly, where do they get their names from?) performing Baby, and Somebody to Love where Sam is joined by Puck and Artie. They are forgettable pop songs, but as far as Bieber is concerned I am not exactly the target audience having left puberty behind some decades ago. Also included is Sing (by My Chemical Romance) performed as an ensemble number. Although the tempo is very similar to the original, the arrangement is different, leaving the rockier vocals behind in favour of increased harmonies and returning Glee to what is does best.
One genre Glee has neglected this series is show tunes. Here they offer Take Me or Leave Me from Rent as sung by Rachel and Mercedes (Amber Riley). I am not familiar with the show, but it is certainly a lively show-stopping duet and I really like it.
This is the first time that Glee have used original songs. Get It Right is a ballad performed by Rachel, was written specifically for her by a team headed by Glee's musical arranger Adam Anders. It is a lovely ballad, with some good lyrics, and the musical arrangement is very Glee, however I wasn't blown away. Rachel and Finn take the lead vocals on the other original song on the album (there were several in that episode) called Loser Like Me, which is very much a contemporary pop song, that I could imagine an artist like Avril Lavigne singing.
Glee seems to have gone back to its roots judging by the old to new song selection, and featuring well-known oldies. Certainly the contemporary pop songs didn't do a great deal for me, with the exception of Sing. Although they may have alienated the younger demographic they seemed to seek at the beginning of this series, they are now appealing more to a slightly older crowd, judging by the song choices. I am also pleased that there are more 'big' numbers here which I think Glee does so well and consider this album to be superior to Volume 4 which covered songs from the first nine episodes of Series 2.
The order of the tracks on the CD (which is not the same as the above) is decided by the order they appear in the show. I paid £3.99 for this on download from Amazon, the actual physical CD being almost twice as much. I cannot comment on the inlay card, but going on previous purchases normally contain a good selection of official photographs of the cast.