Glee: The Music, Volume 2
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Glee – The Music Vol 2 brings together the best songs from the second half of the TV show's season 1 onto one essential album including "Lean On Me", "I’ll Stand By You" and "My Life Would Suck Without You”.
The American import Glee has been gaining channel E4’s highest ratings – over a million viewers – since it debuted in January. So it’s no surprise that a second CD of numbers from the show should arrive, featuring over a dozen cover versions of pop songs, standards and show tunes performed by this cast of wannabes, transformed in the storyline into a tip-top vocal ensemble.
Some tracks feature all the principal characters, like the invigorating opener, Creedence Clearwater Revival’s Proud Mary. Others are sung as solos and duets – here, some of the young cast may catch you off guard with their sweet, touching manners. Matthew Morrison and Lea Michele intertwine gracefully on Lionel Richie’s Endless Love, and Morrison takes a solo spot on Don’t Stand So Close To Me, which segues into Young Girl as though the two songs were conceived as one. Michele, the disc’s standout star, duets with the versatile Cory Monteith on Smile, a cover of the Lily Allen song, where she negotiates the awkward lyric like a pro; they then offer a fresh and most appealing version of Charlie Chaplin’s Smile, which sounds newly minted in their hands.
Michele’s spirited take on Don’t Rain on My Parade, backed by a Broadway show band, has an authentic ring of showbiz about it. In the final bars, she and her band pull back the tempo to a challenging degree before a defiant last note. It sends out a signal that this is no carbon copy of the Streisand version, found on the soundtrack of Funny Girl. Another show stopper, And I’m Telling You I’m Not Going, gets a full-on vocal from Amber Riley as befits its dramatic context in Dreamgirls. She shines again on Don’t Make Me Over, a 60s classic from Bacharach and David where beehive hairdos and mini-skirts bob up before your eyes. The simplicity of Riley’s approach to John Lennon’s Imagine is unexpectedly appealing.
The bright, fresh energy of the entire cast in numbers like Jump is a great example of the pin-point accuracy of this singing ensemble. Encore, please, for a third outing! --Adrian Edwards
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Top customer reviews
The standout songs for me on this were:
Don't stand so close to me/Young Girl
And I'm telling you I'm not going
Amber Riley's version of "And I'm telling you..." is probably one of the best you're likely to hear, her voice sounds fantastic. The cast version of Van Halen's classic "Jump" really works well, although it's no "Dont' Stop Believin'".
The problem I have with volume 2 is that although I think Lea Michele is a seriously talented singer, as are the rest of the cast,their versions of some of the songs are almost copycat - notably "My Life Would Suck Without You" and "Crush". The faux-English accent on Lily Allen's "Smile" is almost cringeworthy.
All in all, a good accompaniment to volume 1, but not strong enough on its own.
Okay, I think we're alone now. There just us no-hopers left who have fallen victim to Glee's insidious spell. We're already ruined so I may as well get on with the review.
It occurred to me that it reminds me of a BBC1 Saturday evening show about three years ago in which amateur choirs competed against each other. The songs were, like Glee, very varied but more so. While there were solo vocals, the strength came from the harmonies. To my surprise I really enjoyed the show which, with hindsight, explains why I fell in love with Glee despite my normal predilection for edgier music.
As for this CD, if anything, I think it's slightly better than vol.1, only slightly though. It opens with a terrific version of Proud Mary. Other standouts include I'll Stand By You, Imagine, and True Colours which is just great; the rest of the songs are all fine too. As I said, the harmonies really make the CD, but Lea Michele and Cory Monteith are terrific singers whose playing off each other is particularly striking. This is simply lovely enjoyable stuff and if you liked the first CD then you'll like this just as much as it's more of the same.
My previous review was tongue in cheek but I'm being serious when I say that this isn't deep or profound music and is all the better for it. Sometimes we just need a little light among the shade. You may not always get what you want but sometime you get just what you need and Glee is it.
There are also some glaring omissions: where is the BRILLIANT "It's my Life/Confessions" and "Halo/Walking on sunshine" mash-ups?? and "Crush" had about 2 lines in the show before Mr Shuester switched off the CD!
Minor gripes aside, this is a great little album, easy listening and popular for all!
This volume takes you up to the episode titled "Sectionals", the fall finale for the show before it breaks for hiatus in the States.... until April. "Sectionals" was, simply put, an amazing episode.
Stand out tracks:
Lea Michele's "Don't Rain On My Parade" was truly fantastic
"Proud Mary" was a great energetic track
Amber Riley's vocals on "And I'm Telling You I'm Not Going" are sensational
The cover of Van Halen's "Jump" is also a really fun track.
It's really difficult to narrow down which tracks are the best because that's how good this show is.
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