Various Artists - Glee: The Music, Volume 1
And tell me what you see
You ain't seen the best of me yet
Give me time I'll make you forget the rest.
Another decade. Another generation. And more stories about music and performance setting people free.
Whether you think the Glee soundtrack is a modern marvel or a crime against nature will depend entirely on your perspective. If you think certain songs are sacred and should never be tackled by people who didn't write them, walk away now. If you've heard their version of 'Don't Stop Believin'' and hate it, the rest of the album will not be a damascene revelation to you. Just imagine I've scored the album a '2', mutter "at least it's a pension plan for Journey" and run away screaming.
Right. Now we're shut of the doubters, we can be honest. The Glee soundtrack is pretty good. You'll already know if you can tolerate a full hour or not, and nothing I write will change your mind. Sure, it's the ripest kind of cheese and OK, the cross-generational song choices are obvious. Yes, it's polished to within an inch of its life, but when all's said and done, it's not pretending to be anything more than it is - which is a slice of pop karaoke performed by some very able vocalists.
The problem is that it doesn't really stand up outside of the context of the show. When it isn't being over the top, it's being disappointing: 'Dancing With Myself' in particular is transformed into a pedestrian, jazzy number which sucks the life out of the original. On the flipside, their version of 'You Keep Me Hangin' On' is joy distilled and bottled into a heavily-merchandised school lunchbox-sized flask.
If you are of a certain age and all of this makes you despair, imagine that in a bedroom somewhere, a 12 year old is listening for Kanye and accidentally discovering Queen, looking for Rihanna but finding Heart. Remember their names!