It is impossible to ignore the fact that of late, Glee - previously such a cultural phenomenon - has a suffered an not insignificant decline in popularity. This is characterised by the fact that US and UK television ratings are significantly down from last season, and the charting of major songs is not what it used to be, to say the least...
It makes sense that as the 'offspring' (as each Glee album is) of the first section (because 8/22 is hardly a half, is it?) of the third season, the album is less spectacular and less 'passionate' than previous Glee albums and like many Glee albums beforehand (though never to this degree, I think) has failed to accurately select the best tracks of the season.
Let's start with the high moments.
"You Can't Stop the Beat" is an excellent Glee cover; Lea Michele's slow beginning is beautiful and as a unifying whole, this song comes across nicely, like many a season 1 Glee cover. "Somewhere" within the context of the show was a little confused (it was the only interaction between Rachel and her biological mother and yet was left in the show as ambiguous as to whether it actually ever took place) but as a duet between the SPECTACULAR Menzel and Michele, it is very very good. (Though we doubt anything will ever beat Season 1's Poker Face.) "Fix You" was also very good within the show and warrants mention on this album. Finally, "Rumour Has It/Someone Like You", which hit the US charts at no. 11, is a fantastic cover, very emotional and skilfully composed together and it would be inconceivable to have missed it off the album.
And now we come to the low points.
There are many songs on this album that simply don't cut it. "Run the World (Girls)" demonstrates - as if we needed telling - that Heather Morris's talent is dancing, not singing, and unfortunately it's impossible to see her dance while listening to the CD. "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun" is frankly uninteresting. And as for the Jackson songs, because they miss so much of the original New Directions they just don't have that energising Sectionals feel those songs should have.
And now we come to my rant: THE OMISSIONS.
"I Kissed A Girl" - so much has been publicised of Santana's coming out, yet they couldn't ever be bothered to include her coming out celebration song?
And what really annoys me:
Every year after the intense energy of the competitive songs for Sectionals (You Can't Always Get What you Want, Valerie etc.) the glee club as a whole sings one song to Mr Schuester. It is a tradition. Season 1's glorious, "My Life Would Suck Without You", was included in Vol 2; last year's beautiful, "Dog Days are Over" was not included in vol 4; and this year, "We are Young", probably one of the best covers Glee has produced this year - you'll see it hit the US charts later this week, if it goes as well as it has been doing - and the dwindling Gleek community as a whole appreciates this. SO WHY NOT INCLUDE IT ON THE ALBUM WHEN YOU KNEW HOW WONDERFUL IT SOUNDED?
Anyway: to conclude, this does not meet the standard of previous Glee albums and has several glaring omissions, yet as a still loyal Glee fan, I suppose it's worth purchasing.